February News from Rescue

Have you been wondering what the Rescue crew is up to? Here are a few updates and a bunch of new work from Rescue Press authors and editors: Marc Rahe has new poems up at Petri Press.

Madeline McDonnell’s new book, PENNY, N., will be published by Rescue this spring. You can find the first copies at this year’s AWP, where Madeline will be reading here with fellow Rescue authors Zach Savich and Mary Hickman. She’ll also be reading at Prairie Lights in Iowa City on April 16th.

Shane McCrae’s second book, BLOOD, will be released this month by Noemi Press. He will be reading at Prairie Lights on April 10th with Carmen Gimenez Smith. Check out these lovely interviews with Shane at VOLTA and PEN/America.

Zach Savich is currently judging Rescue Press’ first annual Open Prose Series with Hilary Plum. He reviews C.P. Cavafy’s “Half an Hour” here.

Andrea Rexilius is interviewed as part of “The Next Big Thing” series and at 12 or 20 Questions.

Danielle Rosen (aka Patricia Rose) continues with new research and experiments at the Institute for Species Systemization. An interview about her scientific and linguistic interests can be found in jubilat 22.

Vinnie Wilhelm’s collection of stories, IN THE ABSENCE OF PREDATORS, was reviewed at Front Porch journal.

Melissa Dickey has new poems up at Propeller magazine.

Phil Sorenson will read on April 5th at the SPECTRA reading series in the Quad Cities.

Blueberry Morningsnow reads a divination poem (as part of a collaboration with the visual artist Aleta Lanier) at jubilat 22.

Managing Editor Danny Khalastchi talks about the forthcoming R+P poetry anthology, THE NEW CENSUS, in his “Next Big Thing” interview.

THE NEW CENSUS editor Lauren Shapiro’s first book of poetry, EASY MATH, has just been released by Sarabande Books (read a poem from it at Verse Daily).

Open Prose Series editor Hilary Plum’s first novel, THEY DRAGGED THEM THROUGH THE STREETS, will be out this month from FC2; read an excerpt at berfrois.

Also, come find us at AWP at the Rescue table and this reading!!! And look for upcoming collections by Mary Hickman, Jonathan Blum, Todd Melicker, and Hannah Brooks-Motl!

Melissa Dickey (Safety Book #18)

I'm going to cheat here. My book has no name. It looks like this: I began writing and reading in it in June, 1999. A gift from my high school boyfriend, it is not a journal, but rather a sort of “copy book” as my friend Jay and I have always referred to it. This is a log of loved poems.

I really got serious about it in 2003. Before then, I'd used it for copying snippets of whatever I was reading, mixed with Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Velvet Underground lyrics—all the usual stuff for age 17. By 2004, my first year of grad school, I'd filled it up with whole poems copied out mostly by hand. For me, it's a record of another time, of a sort of naïve faith I had in poems and myself and the world. (I was to win the Yale Younger by 21! Be fluent in many languages and translate for a living! Win a Stegner, a Fulbright, and a Guggenheim! Study at the Academy in Rome! Etc. etc. etc.)

Herein lie the usual suspects for a young and passionate reader of poems: e.e. cummings, Dickinson. Also a whole lot of Hopkins, Yeats, and Auden. I don't think I write anything like Hopkins, Yeats, or Auden. But there it is. There they are. Right beside this weird poem by Laura Jensen:

Bad Boats

They are like women because they sway. They are like men because they swagger. They are like lions because they are king here. They walk on the sea. The drifting logs are good: they are taking their punishment. But the bad boats are ready to be bad, to overturn in water, to demolish the swagger and the sway. They are bad boats because they cannot wind their own rope or guide themselves neatly close to the wharf. In their egomania they are glad for the burden of the storm the men are shirking when they go for their coffee and yawn. They are bad boats and they hate their anchors.


I love this book because when I am completely fed up with poetry and feel certain it will never again speak to me, a poem in here will. When all modes seem tired and there are too many books, poets are assholes, teaching is misguided, and art is self-indulgent and useless, I can flip through this book, reluctantly, and some phrase will jump out: “Beyond all this, the wish to be alone” (Larkin); “In a dark time, the eye begins to see” (Roethke); “so many languages have fallen” (Clifton). Poems I used to know by heart, or nearly. Lines imprinted on some neurological path of mine and, certainly, in the minds of others.

This book influences my writing because these poems have a life in my brain. Have clarified my life, my brain. Probably the rhythms of the language more than anything else—what I've taken in subconsciously, what I've relied on to remember them.

I think it was Linda Bierds, in a workshop at the University of Washington in 2001 or 2, who turned me on, in her sweet wisdom, to this idea. I don't think it's an amazingly original one, though I do wonder how many poets my age (I'm 30) are copying their favorite poems out by hand these days.

I don't do this anymore. Now I keep a separate notebook in which I write about every book I read—quotes, whole poems, thoughts, publication data. It doesn't serve the same purpose or have the same effect as this one does. It's more orderly, formal. Driven less by urgency and more by habit. Like an adult.

And I don't love all these poems anymore, either. I'm not, after all, such a huge fan of Anthony Hecht or Denise Levertov or Randall Jarrell. But, re-reading what's here, I remember what I loved, or learned. They clarify what I want or do not want, what I value. I still love “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner,” anyway.

Also, this book is not politically correct. Women and minorities are grossly under- and mis-represented. Many of the poets have been dead for a hundred years. And that's just the point. When I read these poems and let myself be moved, I can let go of my own expectations, criteria, and notions of what it's acceptable to love, what it's all right to like. What a gift, to be divested of those.

Rescue Press published Melissa Dickey's first book of poems, The Lily Will, in October, 2011. She lives, teaches, writes, makes stuff, and mothers in New Orleans, LA, with her husband Andy and their two small children.

Banjo Band's Tamborine News:

1. Check out this beautiful review of Melissa Dickey's THE LILY WILL at iO: ". . .The Lily Will is also a book that has a changing of seasons, a cycle of both natural and unnatural dying and rebirth. In the poem “Of the Summer Garden” we move from the luminous opening image, “A bee deconstructs a magnolia blossom” to the dark ending, “As when I knew one war/ was over and another would come,/ afraid to tell anyone.” And in the following poem, “Token,” we shift directly from “Love the tracks that go around the bend” to “The memory of that horse shit smell/ Those few times you entered the stable,” a pungent reminder of where Dickey is leading us down that unknown trail. . ." (review by Anne Barngrover)

2. New poems by Marc Rahe at iO.Banjo Band Rescue Celbration

3. Liner notes from a forthcoming interview with Shane McCrae at the Kenyon Review Online blog.

4. An amazing review of Marc Rahe's THE SMALLER HALF at Jacket2:

". . .More than just a show of resignation, refusal, or wariness of the comedic or the sublime, Rahe’s poems are reflective of the times in which we live. Why wish so hard for alternatives that don’t exist? Why indulge in the complex mysteries . . .  when it’s hard enough to get the errands done, furnish your house, try to be good?" (review by Steve Langan)

5. Zach Savich's EVENTS FILM CANNOT WITHSTAND appears on No Tell Motel's Best Poetry Books of 2011, thanks to Gary L. McDowell.

Rescue, Cyber Monday, and Real Live Books:

CYBER MONDAY DEAL:  11/28 (midnight to midnight)Choose any two R+P titles and pay only $20 (+ free shipping)

Write the titles of the books you would like in the comments/notes section of PayPal or send us an email at rescuepress@gmail.com indicating which books you would like.