As the crowd around a car accident, WILLIAM SHATNER draws your eye to the devastation that surrounds its savior. Shatner is the subject. Shatner is the object. Shatner is not what you think he is. WILLIAM SHATNER marries biblical verse with Us Weekly, producing a journey for salvation that doubles as a gossip column through the arc of the poems. Williams tells us “william shatner is a ghost. by ghost i mean / he is a great television. in the city square, / william shatner has become multitudes. / or so says my souvenir tee shirt.” Be warned yet assured. WILLIAM SHATNER polishes its brass knuckles before punching you in the face.
—A. Minetta Gould
Yes, this is an animal, cooing under terse lines mirroring old fashioned poetic disturbances. Disturbances in the sense that young poets can be terrorized by mere existence too. Farivar writes
If she wants
to say bird
This is how to break a heart, to rip into poem flesh and say “give me some space to breathe,” to show a subtleness in what plagues the poet that can at once be gendered and completely not. All I want to do is synchronize my movements with this animal. All I want to do is be correct too.
—A. Minetta Gould
The lust-filled teenage heart that Slawson provokes out of the I of Panic Attack, U.S.A. has nothing on the mature articulations of contemporary anxiety these poems present in their hot bellies. As if peeling the band t-shirt off adolescence’s sweaty, nervous body, Slawson opens up the poem to a tragic humor that is so delicate I wonder if its skin has ever seen light: “what sucks about the soul / is not knowing if it ends / like a parade ends.” If poetry had a yearbook, and that poetry yearbook held a vote for “most popular” or “best hair” or twenty other meaningless awards, Panic Attack, U.S.A. wouldn’t win any of them; it’s too slight and quiet to ever be thought of for the ballot. It’s too smart to care.
—A. Minetta Gould
Micro reviews will be posted every Monday on our blog. Interested in submitting? Send your review of ~100 words to email@example.com.
One of my favorite parts of being the online editor for Black Ocean is the chance to talk with our authors and staff members. I love learning what drives them and how they work. This week, it’s my turn to answer a few questions about my role at Black Ocean. With these staff profiles, we hope to give our fans a little insight into how we run our press, the type of people we are, the things we love. I hope you’re enjoying the series! — Nikki
How I got involved:
I discovered Black Ocean while I was living in Northern Michigan watching people shovel off the snow that threatened to cave in their rooftops, requesting books I’d only heard hints of be sent to the small library in town. I loved the vibrancy and richness I found with the books from Black Ocean, and I continued to follow what the press was doing until a year later when the online editor position opened up. It’s been so wonderful to get to know the staff and to be involved with projects I care so much about.
What I do and why I love it:
The position has developed over time to include updating all things virtual—the blog, Facebook, Twitter, and our monthly newsletter. Some of it is sharing content from other parts of the web, but the best part is the content I help create, often through collaboration with staff or authors.
Working on the blog especially has been a fun challenge, because we really want it to have the feel of a virtual community space; so I am always thinking of different features to add that will help bring about that sense. Having an excuse to reach out to poets I deeply admire and ask them questions is great—I’m constantly surprised and excited by the things I learn from our writers. And there really is such camaraderie and collaboration with everyone—authors giving me ideas and suggestions, initiating projects of their own, having conversations with us, with each other—so much wonderful exchange.
What it’s like to work virtually with staff and authors:
It’s kind of a given when working on a blog that a lot of correspondence will be through email, but what’s been really fun for me is the few times we do get to see each other. I started working with Black Ocean before I’d met anyone, so when I went to AWP last year, I was meeting Janaka and Carrie and Ashley in person for the first time, and our authors too. It made returning home to continue the work at my computer a little more dimensional and engaging.