Farewell Clay Dove is the second book of poetry from Sophia Falco published by UnCollected Press.
“Sophia Falco is a talented, imaginative, driven, raw, crafty, and original poet whose writings overcome and transfigure the stigma and challenges of bipolar disorder in well- crafted poetic forms that communicate and manage the heights and depths of her being-in-the-world. Farewell Clay Dove tracks the levitations and journeys, the loneliness, terrors, illness, as well as the poetic wonder of her journey to health, autonomy, and bliss in imagery of, crimson doves, golden hours of sunset, shrinking stars, hospitals, rocket ships, radiant horses, sheer mania at noon. It is a work of wholeness, honesty, psychic quest, and probing intelligence.”
—Rob Sean Wilson, University of California at Santa Cruz
I am woefully behind in announcing Jason Gerrish’s exceptional and peerless book OLD STATE ROAD. I am so far behind, because I have been struggling mightily to do it justice. I have felt strongly that this book requires an announcement that approximates the elegance, refinement, and uncompromising commitment to as pure and unadulterated an artistic aesthetic as I have come across in my 40+ years in publishing. This is just such a good book and on so many levels. The poems are the product of an artist, two artists – poet and photographer – who clearly know how to coerce beauty into words and images with patience and passion and finely-honed tradecraft.
Jason Gerrish’ poem, Cello Suite, is included in this book. Cello Suite is the winner of UnCollected Press’ Charles Bukowski Prize for Poetry. The contest was gratifying for the editors at UnCollected Press/The Raw Art review because of the numbers and the quality of the entries. There were so many good poems to read. Cello Suite emerged from the many exceptional poems as the most moving, artfully wrought and important poem that we read. It is entirely possible, I still do not know after reading the book many times, that Cello Suite, may not be the best poem of the bunch. There are a lot of other poems that shift, unsettle, and move me at my core. I go back to individual poems as they return to my memory while washing dishes, or reading something else, or nuzzling my pup, or walking on the Trolley Trail. I go back to Jason Gerrish’ poems all the time. I remember them often, individually – a poem must be powerful and impactful – a searing radiance in the dark background – for that to happen so often.
The poems are juxtaposed and balanced, appearing in counterpoint with the equally fine and moving photography of Brad Daulton. Brad Daulton’s photos, like Jason Gerrish’s poems, are individually fine works of art. They are also the product of an artist opening himself to the depths of understanding for inspiration. Brad Daulton’s photos find that thing – the largely indescribable thing at the heart of a moving piece of art. And, like Jason, Brad has the expert tradecraft skills to transform his discoveries into artwork, photos, that are breathtaking in their artistic expression.
In OLD STATE ROAD, each poem, and each photo stands firmly on its own as a sublimely finished work of art. Every poem and every photo also have been integrated into a book that articulates dazzling beauty, forceful impact and penetrating import, and perhaps that most evasive of achievements, true relevance – pure meaning. Poems and photos alternate, and the counterpoint and contrast, juxtaposition and compliment, work beautifully in harmony.
We are including in our announcement the back cover image, so that you can read what some of the finest artist-editors out there have said about this book. Hopefully, we can all convince you to buy OLD STATE ROAD and to experience this rare and shining work of art.
PLEASE NOTE: Because this book demanded the best of materials, it has been printed on very fine cover stock and coated paper. In addition to the refinement of the artistic creations, UCP/RAR has selected materials for printing that are an attempt to do the refinement of the artwork justice.
I would like to address the prevailing show me don’t tell me wisdom with a particular whim and whimsey I am feeling today. As you may have already discerned or may soon discern, we lose track of conventions at UCP/RAR. We like to claim this to be a matter of principles (or willful lack thereof), but it is probably just the wind. We don’t like dogma whenever it blows in. Today, the weather is full of show-me-don’t-tell me bluster.
Today, (perhaps just-today, perhaps not), it seems to me show me don’t tell me is an argument, sometimes invert and backhanded, for photo-realism. It demands an ultimate approximation of what you see (from the prison of your own skull) in a manner that is as close to what is actually there (whatever that means) as you can make it. Assuming the variance of your arbitrary filter and the relative scope of your powers of discernment, there must still be something consistent from all pens and minds – a final standard of sameness to strive for that some will reach and some will not.
So anyway, feel free to tell us – tell away. If you want to lay in a line of abstract impulse, that is presumably yours and only yours, that’s fine – preferably something over the top – rich and purply please. We desire your effusive, hopeless, emotional, personal expression to be be liberated. We want what issues forth from your bewildered and deranged cognition. Please please please have at it without stricture. It’s fine to get the morphology geeks foaming and fulminating. That, in itself, is a precise and perfect morpheme. Oh wait should I compose a picture? Nevermind, of course you can compose your own.
As always, I do not apologize for any dazzling typos – Henry.
I am an unrelenting, completely immersed, hopelessly addicted consumer of the poetry of John D. Robinson. The fix I get is exquisite. When I read a John D. Robinson poem, I so often experience a powerful rush of the most potent concoction – a mix of uncompromising honesty and painful empathy; a sweet and deadly solution of brutal expose and unconditional love . John’s poems deliver to me what I am always, without apology, and with admitted compulsion, seeking from life – truth and love. The poems in these books, like the poems in every John D. Robinson book, are dangerous. Prepare yourself. Make sure you have uncovered your most courageous self. The one that is willing to see things as they are and to feel the most penetrating anguish at their state. Find and sharpen the only weapon that will get you through Johns’ books whole to the other side – Love. If you can do this, you will be following after the author. John is fearless. John is courageous. John does not compromise. His books are not decorative art. His books are not the exercise of the commercial artisan. His books are stripped of 21st century consumer bullshit. His books are a way in to what matters. Getty ready to deep read. It is going to hurt. And you will love it.
ANNOUNCING THE PUBLICATION OF “BLACK ICE AND FIRE” BY JAMES ROSS KELLY
A finely crafted James Kelly poem is born of knowing. When you read a poem from “Black Ice and Fire”, you will unequivocally NOT be reading about a thing. You will read a poem from within a thing; you will be imbibing presence from outside and all around a thing; you will be gathering all of it up in your arms and you will embrace a thing. You cannot be mild, indifferent, cavalier. You must give of yourself. Engage.
James Kelly’s’ poems demand intimate participation. You are required to join Kelly’s inner circle where you can not indulge in the superficial. The poems are tender and brutal, generous and challenging, broad in scope but also full of small, important detail. As reader, you are James Kelly’s neighbor, friend, family-member, and companion. You will be asked to join with the writer/narrator in facing and grasping profound loss, cruelty, anger, evil, as you will also be invited to admire and experience the most exquisite beauty, friendship, understanding and compassion. This is life resonant with all its incomprehensible, glorious meaning. And, when you participate in this way, give the book all of yourself, the experience of Kelly’s artistry will be moving and relevant and deeply satisfying. The poems are resonant and impactful both because of the polished tradecraft and because they come to us from the rich depth and breadth of total, fearless immersion.
“Black Ice and Fire” is breathtaking in its conjuring. You cannot avoid reading it.
The older I get the more I find I am blown away by some of the systems the human body deploys to meet the demands of our daily lives. (Especially since some of them are beginning to break down.) Last night I spent 20 minutes in our kitchen searching my wife’s back for a miniscule (to my eye mostly microscopic) hair that had been tormenting her. She was wearing a sweater she calls “Brown Wooly” which is an exquisitely warm, dense and complex, interwoven mat of hairs – essentially a pelt. How could she feel so desperately one tiny hair under all that wool? And, this morning, leaving for the studio, I inadvertently spilled a few beads of millet seed into our key drawer. In the dark, casually and easily, my fingertips found and removed each tiny sphere.
The miracle of Touch.
And then, this morning, sequestered inside of a rolling box made of glass, steel, plastic, rubber and iron (among other elements), I negotiated a massive, expertly engineered machine (which next to the human body is no more than a Legos construction) right up against the concrete curb. Wrapped up in 4 layers of clothing, including a double layer of gloves, sitting comfortably in something that is pretty close to an Anechoic Chamber, I deftly negotiated the rolling box within 1/4 of an inch of concrete that threatened to drag off some rubber.
The miracle of Proprioception.
Unbelievable. I found myself sitting in my car outside my studio in that state of awe and astonishment often reserved for much bigger displays of of overwhelming power – like a mountain or an ocean or a god.
What a way to start the day – over come by a little mysterium tremendum et fascinans.
The brilliant and intense poetry in Joel Peckham’s tour-de-force, MUCH, can not fail to move us. The poems are so rich and deep with meaning that they resonate emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and even physically. The use of long lines and overflowing enjambment moves our reading along at an exhilarating pace and is done so artfully that the pure act of reading this book delivers a palpable pleasure. This book is brimming with novel use of language, but never to the detriment of feeling and understanding acutely the details of the poetic epiphanies, as well as the reverberating fulcrum at each poem’s heart. The imagery is vivid and tactile, securely situated in recollection that is at times tragic and painful and at other times joyful and ecstatic. This is such a good book. I loved it. I have read it at least a dozen times. So, grab something soothing to drink, sit back in the overstuffed chair and prepare yourself for a read that, with its insights and compassion can’t fail to transform your mood, your day and perhaps your life. The miracle of exceptional poetry.
Today I made the difficult decision NOT to submit a batch of poems to a publication that required me to reformat my poems to double-spacing. For me, modifying my poems with double-spacing significantly changes their impact. The primary argument for double-spacing seems to be an editorial one – double-spacing makes the writing, in particular prose writing, easier to consume. It is easier, for example, to distinguish between a period and a comma when reading double-spaced lines. I don’t believe it is the artist’s job to accommodate the editor’s job. It is not the artist’s responsibility to facilitate the job of editing for the editor. Especially when our submissions include a reading fee.
At the Raw Art Review we do not require you to reformat your submissions. In fact, we want to see them exactly as you devised them.