Aug 12 2017

Dylan Krieger’s collection, no ledge left to love, is the recipient of the Ping-Pong Free Press poetry prize of 2017, chosen by judge and poetry badass, Brian Henry. It is my extreme pleasure to share with you a sneak peek–one of my favorite poems out of this fascinating and essential collection, release date: December 1, 2017.

divine debris

out of the dead leaves, i motion myself sick before the world. little obliterated bits of god, raining down onto this globular water-logged orb. before the fornicating of subatomic fractals even started, the last ledge had already parted from the abyss, rendering a semblance of solidity out of a hologram of steam. and suddenly, the backs of all the elephants and turtles grew heavy, and the amoeba split in two until a multitude of blue lagoons began to spit up monkeys from their goo. maybe evolution ends here, where the creature turns shrewd enough to see its own doom, lets go of that last ledge he always thought would see him through, and propels himself downward into the chasm’s mouth, the floating man falling at long last toward the knowledge that there is no ‘he’ to bottle or bog down with cogs and gallows, only the sorcery of swamp and hollow, and the infinite question: what follows?

About Dylan Krieger:

Regarding the creation of her book Krieger writes, “As the titles in its contents suggest, “no ledge left to love” is a poetry project that reimagines and challenges the frameworks of Western philosophical thought experiments, especially with respect to gender categories, moral certitude, and diachronic identity. Each poem focuses on a different thought experiment in analytical philosophy, from Plato’s allegory of the cave to Nagel’s spider in a urinal. Recognizing that Western philosophy—like most all academic disciplines—has been largely dominated by wealthy straight white men, “no ledge” attempts to dismantle the reductive binaries and disembodied logic of the analytical philosophical vernacular, emphasizing instead the robust physicality and potent mutability of the bodies required to convey its lofty ideas.

Dylan Krieger is a genderqueer feminist who currently works as a trade magazine editor in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she earned her MFA in creative writing at LSU and twice directed the annual Delta Mouth Literary Festival. Before studying with Lara Glenum and Laura Mullen at LSU, she lived in northern Indiana for the bulk of her young life and studied poetry with Joyelle McSweeney and Johannes Goransson at Notre Dame. Her first book of poems, “Giving Godhead,” was released earlier this year by Delete Press and received an glowing review in the New York Times Book Review.

Henry Miller Memorial Library announcement of Ping-Pong Free Press poetry prize, awarded to Dylan Krieger here.

Featured image: Stewart Ferebee Photography

Jul 15 2017

CHRONIC

How I love the hospital

Gift shop—pocketing the penny

 

Candy and ghosting the dusty aisles

The other dead have.

 

Remembering when

I was locked in the Starver’s Ward

 

With the other almost-girls.

How I miss that summer

 

When there was no world.

Smoking endless cigarettes

 

On the fenced-in roof.

A teenage slumber party,

 

The days had no beginning or end

And was one seamless dream.

 

As the months piled up

To nothing.

 

Rain when I woke

Sounded like horses.

 

A little musical surgery

Right now, just might kill off

 

This warm narcotic of nostalgia, this wish

For a sweet smear

 

Death. Like the train I took

Through Paris on my honeymoon

 

In a silvering storm,

This room becomes a kind of

 

Wake, a milk-bashed reverie.

It’s true: my little sister is trying to die

 

With me. It’s true: the world ran out

And the jewel they put inside us.

 

What with the small massacres of childhood

Followed by the decades of hospitals.

 

Like a teenage car wreck,

No survivors, just God,

 

Breathing on the last moments

Of the child, living.

 

This, then, is the weather

At the end.


Cynthia Cruz is the author of four collections of poems: Ruin, The Glimmering Room, Wunderkammer and How the End Begins. Her fifth collection, Dregs, is forthcoming in 2018. In 2018, a collection of essays on silence and marginalization and an anthology of Latina poetry will also be published.

A PhD candidate in the German Department at Rutgers New Brunswick, she teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

Essay on VIDA entitled “Where We go From Here, “Political Poetry and Marginalization,” by Cynthia is an articulate indictment on our current politosphere, and a vital read.

Featured image: Stewart Ferebee Photography

“Chronic” first appeared in the 2012 issue of Ping-Pong Journal of Art and Literature

May 15 2017

The Life Fact Shines

Eleni, don’t drive so fast

˜˜˜˜˜˜

In my house I have a girl, a funny
little blonde, & a window, take
stock, a rose bush that keeps her
(the soul) from flying off
two legs thus far hold me pinned to the ground
and still ten fingers clacking around
the cups and plates of the house
In that house, I have a dictionary
of fabulous, ominous words     others
with words in French, in Greek
The words never match up   like two left
hands facing each other   hand la main    the outlines are messy
hold up life & life & try to trace them: the moving
shadows and their figurines bleed
which is to say I see     I am not in love with
my objects but I am in love with
their colors   I am in love with their
curves but not in love with their
tenacity   I hate & love their entropy, bury
the picture in the background, the little bird
in the back
yard
the cracked blue cup in the dirt
the mouse the cats dug up
the gutted corpse of the raccoon   the new
old moon   the gate & the broken door
glass shards in the garden

Eleni Sikelianos is the author of the just released, Make Yourself Happy (Coffee House Press 2017)You Animal Machine, The Loving Detail of the Living & the Dead (Coffee House Press, 2014/2013), Body Clock (Coffee House Press, 2008), The Book of Jon (City Lights Publishers, 2004), The California Poem (Coffee House Press, 2004), The Monster Lives of Boys & Girls (Green Integer, 2003), Earliest Worlds (Coffee House Press, 2001), The Book of Tendons (Post-Apollo Press, 1997), and To Speak While Dreaming (Selva Editions, 1993). She has won numerous awards for her writing, has taught at Naropa and the University of Denver. This fall she will begin her tenure as part of the the teaching faculty of Brown University. She rocks.

 

Apr 2 2017

When Word Came of My Mother’s Death

I had just finished an order of fried fish.
I had picked clean the spinal column, lifting it entire and whole from the meat and skin.
I had sucked the meat from the cavities of the head,
had crunched and eaten the crispy tail and fins,
leaving nothing edible;
just the way my mother would go at boiled lobster,
picking and sucking meat from every cavity, from every crevice, from every hidden chamber,
even the spiny, spindly, reed-thin legs,
leaving behind nothing, nothing but bare shell.

Poem forthcoming in the collection, White Fire, published by Ping-Pong Free Press, May 2017.

pc: Wendy Moorty

 

Professor Emeritus at Monterey Peninsula College where he taught composition, literature, public speaking and humanities for 32 years, Elliot Ruchowitz-Roberts is co-editor of the college text Bridges; co-editor/co-translator of two works from the Telugu, Sudha (Nectar) by Chalam and The Selected Verses of Vemana, both of which have been accepted into UNESCO’s Collection of Representative works: Indian Series; and co-author of Bowing to Receive the Mountain: Essays by Lin Jensen and Poetry by Elliot Roberts.   His poetry has appeared in various journals and anthologies.

Ruchowitz-Roberts serves as Vice President of the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation in Carmel, California. He also coordinates the Foundation’s annual Prize for Poetry and its annual reading series, and serves as a tour docent.   He coordinated the National Endowment for the Arts “The Big Read: The Poetry of Robinson Jeffers,” during which he read and performed Jeffers’s poetry at venues throughout Monterey County, including local libraries, high schools and colleges. In 2009 he read Jeffers’ poetry at two bi-lingual readings in Prague, the Czech Republic.

Poet-in-the-Schools for the Carl Cherry Center for the Arts, Ruchowitz-Roberts presents poetry writing workshops in high schools throughout Monterey County and coordinates the annual Monterey County High School Poetry Awards.

photo credit for featured image: Stewart Ferebee

Feb 2 2017

Poet Republik Ltd. is happy to publish J. Hope Stein’s new collection of poetry, Occasionally, I Remove Your Brain through your Nose. No spoiler alert, but there’s something going on in this collection that is a kind of petroglyph for the times we are living through. These poems are original, experiential and vital. Read on….

Occasionally, I remove your brain through your nose

Sure, I’ve thought about fucking you in my desk chair, silently not to disturb the neatness of your yellow summer shorts. Silently, not to disturb our colleagues in surrounding cubicles. You putting small paperclips in my hair, your hands suggesting the rocking of my skull. Me straddling your lap, your bare ass in my desk chair, shapes suctioning into each other— We would continue to make the sounds of good business. A conference call with Coca-Cola, an email to Citibank, a spreadsheet of year-over-year gross profits. Me elevated in your lap, my face clearing just over the cubicle partition, just visible enough across the office, my expression dismembered like a poet who’s fallen out of favor with her king.

J. Hope Stein is a secret poet living in Brooklyn. To read another poem from her collection, Ted & Sylvia, go here Lenny Letter

Here blog can be found here: J Hope Stein and here: Poetry Crush

Jan 14 2017

How many ways of knowing can you think of? Sure, there’s the kind of knowing physically, emotionally, or psychologically, and then there’s a bird’s kind of knowing, or a turtle’s, or a girl’s. Here Joanna Penn Cooper invites you to explore a kind of knowing shared with scrawny trees as witness. And everyone knows what Shakespeare says about trees, they give many their ear, but to no one their voice.

Kenning

How to cultivate wound-deep knowing
with only these scrawny trees around.
Even on the first really warm day
strangers at the park remain closed-
faced, squared off.  The wrong kind
of wounding.  One girl, though,
blond, Hasidic, alone in middle childhood
surreptitiously follows you around
the playground.  Testing out
knowing.  Going the wrong way down
the slide, twisting into a circle to get
her shoe back on.  Soul pate, is what
you think. Whole-souled human,
kenning what she can.

Joanna Penn Cooper is the author of The Itinerant Girl’s Guide to Self-Hypnosis (Brooklyn Arts Press) and What Is a Domicile (Noctuary Press).  Her creative and critical work has appeared in South Dakota ReviewZocálo Public SquareOpen Letters MonthlyMELUSPoetry International, Ping Pong, and other journals.  She is an editor at Trio House Press. 

Dec 2 2016

Brynne Rebele-Henry is a poet who maps the body’s horizon with a surveyor’s prism stick, and plums the emotional lanternfish of the deep like Jacques Cousteau. Who is the mighty Read More >

Nov 7 2016

Have you ever been at war with yourself? Have you ever not been? “Devotional poem” by Kate Lutzner, explores this particular human predicament with the precision of an astro-physicist studying the star that may one day annihilate the earth. We here in the Poet Republik love all of Kate’s poetry, and this is just a sample of her forthcoming collection, Invitation to a Rescue which will be out by Poet Republik Ltd. later this month.

Devotional poem

I am at war with myself, all the cells
in my body gathering their weapons,
their fists. The doctor says there will
be a decline, to look for it, to give
myself over to it when the time comes.
I was used to suffering before words
formed on my tongue, my mouth
filled with a concern, the opposite
of empathy. Bits of grief build
like nodules in my throat, all
the devotion that will someday
form there threatening to dissolve
into need. Help me to express
all the uses of my being, to learn
what it means to live with this
urge, this right to nothing
but lending myself to others,
this right to be healed.

fullsizerender15

Kate Lutzner‘s poetry and stories have appeared in such journals as Antioch Review, Mississippi Review, The Brooklyn Rail, BlazeVOX, Rattle and Barrow Street. She was awarded the Robert Frost Poetry Prize by Kenyon College and is recipient of the Jerome Lowell Dejur Award and the Stark Short Fiction Prize. Kate holds a J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from City College. She has been featured in Verse Daily. Kate has a novel, The Only One Who Loves You, on Amazon Kindle.

hotpinkprl

Oct 28 2016

Calaveras (literally, sugar skulls,) are traditional satirical Mexican poems published on and around the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos). The celebration of the day of the dead predates the independence of the countries in North America. Something native here, this idea of the dead living amongst the human. B-waaaaaahhh. Below you can read a calavera in Spanish about Donald Trump, everyone’s favorite meerkat. Feel free to add your calavera here!

The Calaca of a Vaquera
(The Skeleton of the Cowgirl)

Not a tequila swilling,
sombrero wearing,
bandolier brandishing,
pistol-poppin dama,

but something pre-Columbian,
both creator and destroyer.
A molcajete grinding,
horseback riding Calaca.

Hot the pepper,
cool the salt,
when she licks the dust
from your bones.

Maria Garcia Teutsch

peniscarriage

Penis carriage from Dia de los Muertos, Mission District, San Francisco, 2014

Below you can read a calavera in Spanish with a loose English translation. It’s from here. It’s making fun of that pro-choice, tree hugging candidate we all know and love, (that’s also a joke, remember when we wrote stuff and made fun of each other?) yeah, that’s a calavera.

Donald Trump te lo aseguro

Le dijo la calavera
Que no vas a hacer el muro
Porque una hirviente caldera
Rebosante de cianuro
En el infierno te espera.

Y por lo tanto, te auguro,
Que todo buen mexicano
Predecirá tu futuro
Que allá en un lugar lejano
Por tu discurso tan duro
Se te va a podrir el: anillo periférico.

Donald Trump I assure you
He told the skull
You will not make the wall
Because a seething cauldron
Brimming with cyanide
In hell awaits.

And therefore, I predict,
Every good Mexican
It will predict your future
That there in a faraway place
For your speech so hard
You’re going to rot on: beltway.

redprl

Calavera for Thelonious Monk

Play asymmetrical swing
with hands
hep to the jive.
Cherubim don’t let fly
Maybe Bird and Dizzy
Can take it high.

River Atwood Tabor

ofrendacroppe2015

Calavera for Kauai

The ancients speak through Pele’s children,
scarlet roosters who reprimand pushy Nene geese,
chase tiny mourning doves into hibiscus groves.

The jagged silhouette of a sleeping giant
lifts volcanic hills, sprouts ghostly plumeria.
Steep Na Pali coastline protects royal bones.

Kauai sneezes silver rain,
scatters battalions of wandering banyan.
Poetry spills from belligerent clouds.

Jennifer Lagier-Fellguth

kauaiheliocoastline

 

 

Aug 21 2016

We are happy to announce Jameson O’Hara Laurens as the winner of the Ping-Pong Free Press Poetry Prize 2016: Judge, Melissa Broder. Her collection MEDÆUM will be published Fall of 2016, here is a poem from this upcoming collection. Congratulations Jameson!

INVILE

In my back patch
blackberries coagulate through sticky skins
You can’t pick them without drawing blood.

Each year the house hidden at the far end in the bramble
slinks an inch farther away.
What is the opposite of an exile? An invile?
Sweeping the clay with her robes,
curing swaths of shorn grass
with a train of her grieving?

Not yet alive are the hills with their howling.
The sky scowls.

Three dogs told me in a dream.
A bird opened the Bosphorus for his crossing.
A bird flew into the house.

History about as light as a loadstone.
The soul of the proprietor is worn thin.
The partriarchs are dying off
but no one can pull the keys from their clutches,
rigor mortis crisps, & their
lips & gates smack shut.

I see them here outrunning
what they didn’t know still ran in their veins

Outrunning sleeves they forgot they were wearing
so long they spill over their limbs and to the ground.

 
Don’t try to affect airs.

 
Get out of my light.

Jamie #7666 B&W

pc: P. Bouclainville

Regarding the creation of her book, Laurens writes that she was already working on a series of persona poems when she discovered that the voice of Medea rang especially true to her: “I felt that it needed to speak through one of my characters. [Moreover,] what if we recognized that her crimes are metaphorical?… Like any enemy, Medea was easier to label as a murderess than she was to truly understand as a character who transformed from ingenue to warrior, to outcast, to mother, to sorceress, to murderess.”

The result, Laurens states, is: “a manuscript on misbehavior. Its intention is to investigate with empathy the peculiarity and rage that inhabits the Medea of Greek mythology. It also allows for the uncomfortable notion that she is incarnate today in women who,… caught between duty and true nature, are faced with impossible choices.”

Jameson O’Hara Laurens completed her MFA in poetry and translation in 2014, and has collaborated with artists, choreographers, and translators. She is fortunate to call a bilingual secondary literature classroom her professional home, and has recently received research sabbatical and leadership grants for teaching projects. Having grown up in the West, she has an ongoing concern for the natural world, and for all things apiary. She became a feminist writer by necessity. Her work has appeared in Enclave, Alexandria Quarterly, Hawkmoth, and Poet Republik. MEDÆUM is her first collection.