The Girl Without Arms Reviewed

Brandon Shimoda's The Girl Without Arms, originally reviewed on HTML Giant, and reblogged on Poetry Foundation. The reviewer, Lief Haven writes that "[t]he work is a trip, an experience more than a message, a system that works by itself. " Haven goes on to state:

These surreal moments are unsettling in Shimoda’s. They aim for a particularly uncomfortable region of the sublime: the awkward, the horrific, the unsatisfying. It is a poetry of things that are difficult to look at or impossible to see. A sublime that obscures the self...

The review is rich in direct quotes from the book, so if you haven't read it, you'll get a taste. If you have, it's nice to revisit. 

Read on Poetry Foundation's Harriet Blog here,

and on HTML Giant in its original context here.

Dear Black Oceanographers,

Much like reading, voting is fundamental. Here's some information on voting tomorrow that you can use, and forward to anyone else whom you think could use it--especially helpful for people in swing states (who may face severe voter intimidation) and people in Sandy-stricken states.

Here is information on how to find your polling place, when it's open and what kind of ID you will need. You can also refresh your knowledge of your local candidates:

Here, from Election Protection, is a list of polling place changes due to Hurricane Sandy:

If there is a problem with voter intimidation at your polling place, you can and should call Election Protection at 1-866-OUR-VOTE to report the problem and get suggestions for action. 

Bring your camera and/or your phone, because you can also document voter intimidation (of you or someone else) directly and send it to: 

Here is the ACLU's state-by-state guide to voting rights:

Don't forget to vote on your states' ballot measures as well:


Preorder September 26. Watch this page for the pre-order link--the first 250 orders come with a limited edition pink vinyl 7"!

With contributions from 23 poets, 3 engineers, and over 30 musicians, Pink Thunder presents a musical and lyrical experiment by award-winning songwriter / composer Michael Zapruder, to see what happens when poems are sung instead of spoken. Potent with weird, funny, and singular possibilities,Pink Thunder's playful and startling songs take their form entirely from the shape of the poems from which they are made. The result is a collection of musical readings both compelling and surprising. You are invited to listen.

This full-color hardcover book contains an artist's statement by Michael Zapruder with an introduction by Scott Pinkmountain, and comes with a CD containing 22 tracks. The book also features photographs from the recording sessions and the Wave Poetry Bus Tour and hand-lettered versions of the poems illuminated by Arrington de Dionyso.

Contributing poets include: Joshua Beckman, David Berman, Carrie St. George Comer, Gillian Conoley, Bob Hicok, Noelle Kocot, Dorothea Lasky, Brett Fletcher Lauer, Anthony McCann, Valzhyna Mort, Hoa Nguyen, Sierra Nelson, Tyehimba Jess, Travis Nichols, D.A. Powell, Matthew Rohrer, Mary Ruefle, James Tate, Joe Wenderoth, Dara Weir, and Matthew Zapruder.

Schomburg Tour Dates

Black Ocean author Zachary Schomburg will be touring the midwest during September (and beyond for a few dates in October) with some great readers--Jenny Zhang, Nate Slawson, Jesse Malmed, Joyelle McSweeney! The tour dates from his blog are listed below, and you can also visit his Tumblr for updates.

9/18. Iowa City, IAPrairie Lights Bookstore. w/Jenny Zhang. 7pm.

9/19. Minneapolis, MN. Our Flow is Hard Reading Series w/Jenny Zhang. Harriet Brewing. 3036 Minnehaha Ave. 7pm.

9/20. Racine, WI. Bonk! Reading Series w/Jenny Zhang & Nate Slawson. Black Eyed Press. 312 Sixth Street. 7pm.

9/21. Madison, WI. The Project Lodge. 817 E. Johnson. w/Jenny Zhang, Anna Vitale, & Adam Fell. 7:30pm

9/22. Chicago, ILDollhouse Reading Series w/Jenny Zhang & Jesse Malmed.7pm

And a few October readings:

10/4. Portland, ORMarylhurst University. 7:30pm.

10/11. Tucson, AZ. University of Arizona Poetry Center. Next Word Reading Series. w/Joyelle McSweeney.

10/18. Seattle, WASeattle Lit Crawl. Comet Tavern.

Summer’s Almost Gone Sale!

Take advantage of the final days of summer by dipping into the Black Ocean now through Labor Day, and grab any of six select titles for only $8. Every order will also ship with a FREE copy of Dominic Mallary’s posthumous opus, Destroyer of Man. Just add any number of the titles below to your shopping cart and we’ll automatically include your free copy. As always, we are still offering free shipping on every order!

Objects for a Fog Death by Julie Doxsee
Pigafetta Is My Wife by Joe Hall
Scape by Joshua Harmon
Holy Land by Rauan Klassnik
Dear Al-Qaeda by Scott Creney
Please Stay On The Trail ed. By Matthew Hudson


Blood Lotus Double Review

BloodLotus Journal writes a double review of Feng Sun Chen's "Butcher's Tree" and Janaka Stucky's "The World Will Deny It For You," tracing the lines between poet and poet-publisher: "Paradox, nature, mysticism and spirituality, and loss of human connection are all themes in both Stucky’s chap and Chen’s full-length."

Read it here!

Blood Lotus Interviews Black Ocean Publisher

Read an interview with Janaka Stucky on Blood Lotus and scratch the dirty underbelly of publishing at Black Ocean -- learn about our growth and development, what enthralls our editors and keeps them reading, and a little about what keeps us running. You can read the original interview HERE, and it's also been reblogged on Poetry Foundations's blog Harriet HERE.

We pour ourselves into the editing, design, publication, and marketing of each book because we care deeply about what we do, and because we only publish authors who also care deeply about what they do. Why anyone would settle for mediocrity in the world of publishing is beyond my comprehension. There are so many other paths, so many pleasurable pursuits… Often I think I’d like to spend my days exploring the planet, becoming an athlete an expert duelist or a musician, taking pictures of the sun and the ocean floor, having sex in the morning and just staying in bed for hours… If I’m giving all those things up to be a publisher then I want to be the best publisher I can be.

Web Roundup

Our annual open reading period ended June 30, but there's still plenty happening in our floating world. Our e-newsletter will be out next week with some announcements, but in the meantime, here are a few goodies to keep you going. 

And don't forget to visit us on Facebook and Twitter

FJORDS reviewed in Bookslut

Read the latest review of Fjords vol. 1 by Elizabeth Cantwell on Bookslut: click HERE.

'The world is always as it is, and always as it seems,' as Schomburg notes in "The Animal Spell." There will always be black swans and refrigerators and fists and eyes everywhere we look. What can you really do about that but write it down and note the page numbers and try not to let it swallow you up? That is the only honest option.


And if you haven't seen the trailer, you can view it here on our Youtube channel.


Submit Your Work During the Annual Black Ocean Open Reading Period

For the month of June only, Black Ocean seeks your best poetry manuscripts. We charge no fees, we just want your words. Hopefully, you're familiar with what we publish, but if you aren't, visit our catalog and consider purchasing a book or two. Find out more about submissions HERE.

Our reading period runs from June 1 to June 30, 2012. We look forward to reading!

Micro MICRO Review Monday Part II

Both this and last week's micro reviews are more micro than usual, and extra special. Janaka and Minetta each read close to thirty books in thirty days as part of the National Poetry Month festivities. This week, enjoy Janaka's top three picks from his April reads.

Paige Ackerson-Kiely - My Love Is a Dead Arctic Explorer

Full disclosure: Paige is a good friend of mine and co-edits the literary journal I publish, Handsome. That is just how much I loved this book; I'm willing to risk you thinking I'm a nepotistic asshole just so you'll do yourself a favor and read one of the best collections of poetry I've picked up in years. Paige hits it out of the park with poems that are so completely realized, I can't help but believe she is securing a prominent spot in the history of American letters.

Karen Rigby - Chinoiserie

Although Karen and I are press-mates, I don't know her--in fact, we're not even Facebook friends (OMG!). Black Ocean is known for publishing a fair number of prose-poems but I personally value the line tremendously. Karen's meticulous attention to enjambment and white space, combined with her brutal economy of language, make for a cavalcade of knock-out lines that also amount to really satisfying poems.

Ariana Reines - Mercury

I'm not friends with Ariana either, though I'd like to be if she'd just return my emails... If I loved the other two books for their fine-tuned restraint, I loved this book for its wild willingness to indulge impulse. Peppered with pithy short poems, sigil-like inscriptions and incantatory language that is at times absurd and at times arresting in its seriousness, Mercury is the id within my conflicted heart.

—Janaka Stucky

Micro MICRO Review Monday

Both this and next week's micro reviews are more micro than usual, and extra special. Janaka and Minetta each read close to thirty books in thirty days as part of the National Poetry Month festivities. This week, Minetta shares her top three reads and a line about each.

Emmanuel Hocquard The Invention of Glass  

If you ever have any desire to understand the poetic tradition post Romanticism then you know a thing or two about reflection and know a thing or two about self-reflection in the poem and know a thing or two about how mind blowing the mirror (here glass and its invention) can be to your poet heart. This translation is important and should not be missed. 

Ben Lerner Mean Free Path 

Mean Free Path is smarter than me and my own walk-a-bouts. This doesn't mean I wouldn't fire walk with it if it proposed we do.

Lily Ladewig The Silhouettes 

This books offers silhouettes of brevity brought to the windy paths of the New York style observation: everything I adore about honesty buckled up, gagged, and given mere moments breath. 

—A Minetta Gould

Schomburg in Boise

Black Ocean's own Zachary Schomburg will spend the weekend in Boise, ID, home of our managing editor Ms. A. Minetta Gould. While in Boise Schomburg will conduct two writing workshops, visit Idaho's natural wonders, read alongside local poetry band The True Wheel (a duo consisting and the poet Karena Youtz & her husband Doug Martsch), read with poem films created by local artist John Shinn, and sleep in a swanky hotel. The first reading is at 6PM on Saturday, May 5 and the second is at 8PM on Sunday, May 6. Both readings will take place at The Crux Coffee House and are free and open to the public. 

We will post videos from each reading on our youtube page when they become available.