Tag Archives: Thomas Beitelman

National Poetry Month Wrap-Up

As April draws to a close, we’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the Black Lawrence Press authors who participated in our National Poetry Month feature:

David Rigsbee, “Pilot House
Marcela Sulak, “Pomelo With Fallen Angel
Shelley Puhak, “War
T.J. Beitelman, “The Inciting Incident
Laura McCullough, “The Ellisionist
Jason Tandon, “Work
Abayomi Animashaun, “A New Religion
Carol Guess, “Kicks
Joe Wilkins, “A Roadside Diner in Iowa
Lisa Fay Coutley, “In the Carnival of Breathing
Matthew Gavin Frank, “After Il Sergente Serbo e Sua Moglie
Michele Battiste, “Nobody Leaves
Katharine Rauk, “How Many Weeks are in a Day and How Many Years in a Month?
Brent Goodman, “Another Prayer
Stefi Weisburd, “Behind My Ear is a Little Palace in Broad Daylight
Larry Matsuda, “Arc de Triomphe, 2003 Invasion of Iraq
Sandra Kolankiewicz, “Winter Sonata
Frank Matagrano, “Waiting with Alexandria for Her Mom
Hayden Saunier, “Beach
Kevin Pilkington, “Milk
Michael Hemmingson, “Sedona
Erica Wright, “Reservoir
Keith Taylor, “At the Living Creche
James Reidel, “Ave Maria afarensis
Helen Marie Casey, “Mary Dyer’s Courtship
Brad Ricca, “Workshop
Daniele Pantano, “The Oldest Hands in the World
Julia Cohen, “Panic at My Wilderness
Rachel Galvin, “In Cambium Lucida

And most importantly, thank you to everyone who read, shared, and commented on these poems — you’ve made this event a big success!

National Poetry Month Spotlight: T.J. Beitelman


Scene: Trafalgar Square. Jude Law meets Gabriel
Garcia Marquez, calls him Gabo.

Marquez slaps the boy and calls him puta,
Bitch, and they are instantly transported

To a deserted island where they must listen
To evangelists until they repent and kiss

On the lips. A stand-off for months. Then the rainy season.
The droplets, open mouths. The two men kiss like dust.

Q: Do you remember where you were and what you were doing on the day you wrote the above poem?

A: If I’m not mistaken, this poem was written in the summer of 2001, which feels like another lifetime now. (Did they even have computers then? Color TV?) I was living in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, had just received my second professionally untenable degree in the humanities, didn’t know if I wanted to write poems or stories, etc, etc. For those and other reasons, my soul felt a little bifurcated. This poem — the subsequent sequence of poems — came from that place. Like nuclear fission. Or something.

Q: What is the last book you’ve read that made you want to grab a pen and write?

A: Darcie Dennigan’s Corinna A-maying the Apocalypse. It restored my faith that poems can be strange, intuitive, otherworldly — breathtakingly so — and still make perfect sense. Or a perfect sense. Writing is an act of connection. These poems connected. Still do.

Q: What is the most sublime meal you’ve ever eaten?

A: Seriously? Ever? This is like choosing between children. Jesus. Uh, well, lots of great meals flash before my eyes, but one recurs: Christmas Eve dinner at the home of my brother-in-law’s friend and business partner. Authentic Lebanese. Kibbi. Fatoush. Grape leaves. Toum. Hummus. Lebneh. Etc. Mounds of all of it and a fugue of conversation, mostly in Arabic (which I don’t speak). All of it strange, intuitive, otherworldly — and it still made perfect sense.

T.J. Beitelman is the Spring, 2008 winner of the Black River Chapbook Competition with his chapbook manuscript Pilgrims: A Love Story, which will be available for purchase later this year. His full-length collection In Order to Form a More Perfect Union will be published by Black Lawrence Press in 2012.

BLP Celebrates National Poetry Month

Black Lawrence Press will celebrate National Poetry Month by featuring a poem by one of our authors every day on the blog. Each poem will be accompanied by a short Q&A with the author. Participating authors include:

Abayomi Animashaun
Michele Battiste
T.J. Beitelman
Helen Marie Casey
Lisa Fay Coutley
Matthew Gavin Frank
Rachel Galvin
Brent Goodman
Carol Guess
Sandra Kolankiewicz
Frank Matagrano
Lawrance Matsuda
Laura McCullough
Kevin Pilkington
Shelley Puhak
Katharine Rauk
James Reidel
Brad Ricca
David Rigsbee
Hayden Saunier
Marcela Sulak
Jason Tandon
Keith Taylor
Stefi Weisburd
Joe Wilkins
Erica Wright

So be sure to check the BLP blog every day in the month of April for some great reading!