Category Archives: Drunken Bookshelf

BOOK REVIEW: “RADIANT ACTION” – Matt Hart (H_NGM_N Books)

Radiant Action
Matt Hart
H_NGM_N Books, 2016
[purchase]

review by William James

By page 34 of Matt Hart’s latest book-length single poem Radiant Action, we’ve already been steeped in the idea of noise. It’s a frantic, crashing cacophony of “hardcore vocalists, birds with jet engines, sandbag pilgrims,” a favorite punk rock band playing loud in the basement, the author “wak[ing] up screaming [his] whole throat to red.” Noise is a common thread in this poem, so when we get to the line “Poetry is language made noisy with god” it’s a moment like standing in a field under a storm-dark sky, seeing the clouds break open, and feeling the sudden brightness of the sun piercing the gray.
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BOOK REVIEW: “Mouthy” – Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan (Thoughtcrime Press)

Oral History: A review of Mouthy by Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan
Thoughtcrime Press, 2016
[purchase]

reviewed by Donna Vorreyer

 

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Emily Rose Kahn-Sheahan is a force onstage and her second book Mouthy (from Thoughtcrime Press) gives the reader both that performance fire, the poems sizzling with crackling imagery and voice, and the quietly woven spell of careful craft.

 

In the opening title poem, the speaker asserts:

“(you) want the pretty to lay quiet, stop
causing all this fuss , but I got
firecracker teeth popping.
They get me into the good
trouble worth all this voice.”

And a section called The Trouble is what we are led to. The book is organized in sections, and The Trouble is full of the body’s salt and sweat. This is a body that is in control of its desire even when it abandons itself to pleasure, and it does. This is a body that knows how to love itself, even though sometimes it forgets, as in “The Trouble With Resisting Temptation is It May Never Come Again: Fortune Cookie”

How dare I be this body
and forget how beautiful it ripples,
the art in bountiful meat, milk skin.
Curve drunk on my own hips,
I let him deserve me.

And what a treat to read poems about sex that aren’t apologetic or shaming or romanticized – these poems are carnal and funny and poignant and real. The repeated diction of words like hum and shiver buzzes through the book like a current, a live wire that, if touched, will both thrill and hurt us.
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BOOK REVIEW: “wreck/age” – Bill Moran & Simon Kindt (Alien Mouth Books)

wreck/age: an odd little book
Bill Moran
Simon Kindt
Alien Mouth Books, 2015
[purchase]

reviewed by Donna Vorreyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not odd at all, this gem of a book gives us a narrator whose “holy mess” of a life is a love affair with the sea, a sailor who is one of the “strongarms and loudmouths” drawn by salt and waves at the expense of all other desires. Divided into three sections, the book follows the narrator’s life from his earliest days to goodbye. In “Slack Water,” we get an origin story of sorts:

“at age 2, your father says he will teach you to swim.
teaching you to swim is tying you into a sack,
weighting the sack with stones,
dropping you in.

the water hits like a delivery room slap
of cold white roar and WAKE UP BOY
THIS WORLD IS NOT IN LOVE WITH THE IDEA OF YOU
THIS WORLD IS NOT GENTLE OCEAN AND WARM BELLY
THIS WORLD IS BIRTH AND BLOOD AND MURDERED LOVE”

The suicide of the narrator’s father and mother are co-mingled with the butchering of a whale, the “holy mess” of the whale’s guts also referring to the father’s bloody death, the “red ribbons” of the whale’s intestines the same as the mother’s self-inflicted stab wound.
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Buy DMC Vol. 1: Welcome To The New Hallelujah

Drunk In A Midnightdmac cover front page-page-001 (2) Choir Volume 1: Welcome To The New Hallelujah

Our first print publication, Drunk In A Midnight Choir Vol. 1: Welcome To The New Hallelujah, is now available on Amazon! Please find us at the following link, to purchase your copy and give us a review!

BUY DMC VOL. 1 ON AMAZON

Available for purchase at:

Portland, OR – Powell’s Books – Main Store

Portland, OR – Powell’s Books – Hawthorne

The book features works published on the site, plus new works exclusive to the book, from:

Eirean Bradley                                   Sophia Pfaff-Shalmiyev

Tony Brown                                        Katherine Pivoda

Melissa Chandler                               Baruch Porras-Hernandez

Cortney Lamar Charleston              Douglas Powell (Roscoe Burnems)

Robert Delahanty                               Jeremy Radin

Calvin Fantone                                   April Ranger Continue reading


DMC Anthology Volume 1 – PRE-ORDER!!!

Drunk In A Midnightdmac cover front page-page-001 (2) Choir Volume 1: Welcome To The New Hallelujah

Our first print publication, Drunk In A Midnight Choir Vol. 1: Welcome To The New Hallelujah, is now available for Pre-Order! The book will be available in August 2015, and will ship as soon as the first copies are ready. We are doing our best to have copies ready for the DMC Showcase at NPS Finals in Oakland on August 12. If you would prefer to pick up your copy then, rather than have us ship it, please say so in the Note section on your order form. Order NOW, the cover and shipping price will go up soon!

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The book features works published on the site, plus new works exclusive to the book, from:

Eirean Bradley                                   Sophia Pfaff-Shalmiyev

Tony Brown                                        Katherine Pivoda

Melissa Chandler                               Baruch Porras-Hernandez

Cortney Lamar Charleston              Douglas Powell (Roscoe Burnems)

Robert Delahanty                               Jeremy Radin

Calvin Fantone                                   April Ranger

Mckendy Kils-Aime                           Jess Rizkallah

Lauren Elma Frament                       Oliver Michael Robertson

Todd Gleason                                      Melanie Robinson

Gray                                                      Meggie Royer

Robert Duncan Gray                         Carrie Rudzinski

Heather A                                            Sam Sax

M.E. Hirsh                                           Clint Smith

Joanna Hoffman                                  Sarah Myles Spencer

Jelal Huyler                                           Rob Sturma

William James                                     Adam Tedesco

Robert Lashley                                    Tommy

Chillbear Latrigue                              Kayla Wheeler

Jenny Olsen                                          Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib

Emily O’ Neill                                      Joy Young

Melissa Newman-Evans                   Amie Zimmerman


 

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DRUNKEN BOOKSHELF – Ring of Bone – Lew Welch

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Drunken Bookshelf is where we pull down books we love, books we hate, books we’ve forgotten until now, books that have built us, broken us, and ultimately changed us in some way. Or, maybe just some books we think you should know about. In honor of National Poetry Month, I’m pulling down one of my favorite poetry books.
 
 
“This is the last place.
There is nowhere else to go.

Human movements,
but for a few,
are Westerly.
Man follows the sun.

This is the last place.
There is nowhere else to go.

Or follows what he thinks to be the
movement of the Sun.
It is hard to feel it, as a rider,
on a spinning ball.

This is the last place.
There is nowhere else to go.

Centuries and hordes of us,
from every quarter of the earth,
now piling up,
and each wave going back
to get some more.”

-From “The Song Mt. Tamalpais Sings”

 
 
This book was a going-away gift from my oldest friend (we’ve known each other since we were 6), when I moved from San Francisco to Portland three years ago. It was a perfect gift in many ways (he knows me well), not the least of which being the geographic connection. Lew Welch was one of a group of undergraduate poets at Reed in the 1940s, along with Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and William Dickey, who later regrouped in the Bay Area during the “San Francisco Renaissance.” He was never as famous or celebrated as many of his Beat peers, but he was a core member of the group, and well-respected among them for his work and for his endearing, charismatic persona (Dave Wain, his stand-in in Kerouac’s thinly-veiled autobiographical novel Big Sur, is one of the major characters.) Welch also suffered through decades of severe alcoholism, and in 1971, at the age of 45, he had enough. He walked out of Gary Snyder’s house, and into the wilds of the Northern Sierra with a gun, leaving behind a suicide note. His body was never found. Continue reading