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The final collection by award-winning poet Reetika Vazirani, published by Drunken Boat.

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Annotations of contemporary poetry edited by Lisa Russ Spaar, published by Drunken Boat.


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Poets.org looks different these days! Congratulations on the redesign, and Happy Anniversary! If you’re wondering about the backstory, see below.

The Academy of American Poets, the nation’s largest membership-based nonprofit organization promoting poets and poetry, marks its 80th anniversary in 2014. To celebrate they’re rebranding and launching an entirely redesigned website Poets.org on April 30, 2014 to close out National Poetry Month.Over the past 15 years, Poets.org has become one of the world’s leading online destinations for information about poets and poetry, with tens of millions of visitors coming to the site each year.

The organization worked with design firms Project Projects and Commercial Type to restore the classic American font Electra for use on the web, and enhance mobile viewing, navigability, and sharing experience so that users viewing from their phones, tablets, laptops, or desktops will all enjoy the same experience and share poems easily across social media platforms.

 In addition to the signature collection of poems, biographies of well-established poets, and reference texts Poets.org is known for, the new site will feature new content including:

  • Geographically relevant information (such as local poetry events and organizations)
  • Essays on poetic terms and techniques
  • In-depth video interviews with renowned poets
  • Free lesson plans tailored for K-12 teachers (offered in partnership with 826 National)

Poets.org is the most popular publicly-funded website for poets and poetry, and the redesign has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lannan Foundation, and many generous individuals, as well as members of the Academy of American Poets.

Check it out yourself:












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Published May 08, 2014 - Comments Off


Today’s Vintage DB is special in that it is sort of a double-vintage since it is a translation of a poem originally written by 19th century French poet Arthur Rimbaud. Mark Spitzer’s new translation of the poem first appeared in DB 5, WInter 2002-2003, as an excerpt of his then-upcoming book of translations of Rimbaud’s work.

“The frenzied masses clawed the sky, opened their
throats, and cried for worms. Five loaves made with

rancid barley were divided among the throngs,
delirious in the rays of the blinding sun.”

This vintage selection as well as others can be found in Mark Spitzer’s From Absinthe to Abyssinia: Selected Works of Arthur Rimbaud. Spitzer is currently a professor of Writing at the University of Central Arkansas as well as Editor in Chief of Toad Suck Review. In his spare time he enjoys catching frighteningly large fish, which you can learn more about on his website: www.sptzr.net

Click to read the translation of Rimbaud’s “Evangelical Poem #4″

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Published May 08, 2014 - Comments Off



Did you know?

We’ve launched our inaugural Drunken Boat poetrybook contest. Drunken Boat seeks entries for our first book contest in poetry, open to any work of poetry in English (hybrid, multi-authored, and translations into English are welcome). Winner receives publication, $500, 20 author copies, a debut reading at AWP and ads in print and online sources. Though we welcome multi-author and translation projects, we can only afford to pay one honorarium (which may be split as authors / translatorsprefer). Drunken Boat books are distributed by SPD. Excerpts from all finalists judged in house by the Drunken Boat staff will be featured in a special folio in an issue of Drunken Boat, international online journal of the arts. Deadline is June 25, 2014. Judge: Forrest Gander. For more information, visit https://drunkenboat.submittable.com/submit/27945.

Got art? Special Call, Poetry Comix folio. We are issuing a special call for comics, animations, video art and illustrations for a special Poetry Comix folio, to be guest-edited by Michael A. Chaney and Marco Maisto. Along with short animations, we are open to static comix (especially comics poetry) as well as more dynamic, web-based and digital graphic novel constructions. Particularly for comics poetry, we are more interested in work that expresses itself as comics and poetry simultaneously, rather than work that merely illustrates a poem. We want work that makes the relationship between language and art more tense than intuitive, more associative than referentially grounded.  The potential crossover between literary and visual art is a rich, ever-expanding horizon, and we’d like to capture snapshots of it in this anniversary issue. So please do send us your best work. If you have poetry or flash fiction in the form of comics or a multimedia/animation project, we want to see it! Deadline is May 15, 2014.

Special Call, Affrilachian Arts folio. Drunken Boat is also calling for submissions of literary and artistic pieces created by, or inspired by, voices of color from the Appalachian region for an Affrilachian Arts Folio, to be guest-edited by Kalela Williams. We are especially looking for work that juxtaposes place and displacement, questioning and confronting how one shapes cultural and personal identity within a physical setting. Submissions of prose, poetry, art, or performance-based work (such as spoken word poetry) will be accepted. Deadline is May 15, 2014. Submit previous unpublished (or published in a small circulation print journal) work as a Microsoft Word attachment, or audio/video links, along with a short bio, to paintedplume@gmail.com.



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Published May 07, 2014 - Comments Off


“To grow ourselves a new body. To give our body their voice back, with a practice of pleasure; to practice growing a body as one would grow a plant; a utopian body; a connected body; an anarchic body….with a brain that melted down to the flesh, the blood, the bones, the guts, the skin…a body in pleasure with eyes that see without naming, they see without knowing…” luciana achugar from OTRO TEATRO



photo credit: Ruby Washington/The New York Times


Witch Craft: to cast a spell through repetition, to find power in the mystery, to call for the unknown, to invite chaos, to get lost, to activate the atmosphere, to cause it to swell, heave, bellow and crack open. We do this in our own rooms, in the woods, by the river, and in a veiled way, when dancing at a club or the back of the bar. But do we do this on a stage? Do we do this behind a podium?


At an Alice Notley reading I attended six years ago, this crazy thing happened. I felt this vibration begin to well up in my throat. It continued to take shape against all the walls of my throat and neck, up through the back of my head and buzzed through my jawbones and then into my eye sockets. She kept reading, though I don’t remember what. I was reading In The Pines then, but was she reading from it? Was she reading from The Descent of Alette? I remember her voice being low.


“except under” “this shawl” “I can have” “this place” “I don’t want you” “Don’t want it” “Please don’t” “give me anything” “Money, clothes…ideas”


…”Under my shawl” “I try to be, I” “am” “another world” “a woman’s world–“Why I may be” “the only one” “the first one”…



 photo credit: Ian Douglas


It was the Summer after the one when I learned of telling the bees. It is that custom where when someone in the family dies, the bees are told the name of the deceased and a black cloth is draped over the hive. I had written then:


Drone in larynx, flayed thryroid


Rotten esophageal swell, STUNG


But a year later, it was happening. To me or within me. Through Notley, or just by coincidence, through her presence. Something somatic. Something slightly dangerous. A transmission? Magic.


The repetition of that vibration causing a swell up and into my mouth.


Recently, I had another reaction. It was in a theater. It was luciana achugar’s OTRO TEATRO; her endless turning, her chanting, turning in one direction and then another, the relentless phrase that was not a phrase that was a ritual that was a spell. It was not about showing me anything.


The theater was black, her cloak was black, and she heaved and shifted and turned. Still there are moments; when I am walking up the stairs to my apartment, when I am turning a corner toward the subway in the wind, when I am staring at the studio walls, I can hear her. Her voice made a space inside me.




photo credit: Ian Douglas


This chanting took shape over the course of an hour. Performers writhed and moaned in the audience, and began to come onto the stage. The bodies multiplied. She remained singular until the bodies formed a swarm that took over the entire room: stage, walls, chairs, stairs, every surface. I was covered in their sounds, their scents, the sight of their flesh.


And I grew beneath these bodies as I watched. Another time took shape, a time that we were making up together. There was no other time.


I watched all the bodies and became all the bodies.


Who talks about being in the audience as a body, who talks about becoming the body one sees? How do you review a body you’ve become? What is the weight of defining the body that performs and the body that observes?


After recording my notes in last month’s post, I began to reflect on the impact that curator, Amanda Cachia’s lecture had on me. I began reading Alison Kafer’s theoretical work. In Feminist, Queer, Crip she quotes queer theorist Jasbir Puar;


“categories–race, gender, and sexuality…are considered events, actions and encounters between bodies rather than as simply entities and attributes of subjects.”


To imagine identity as an event comes close to this experience. But then to imagine the body as an event. To imagine that the person is not the attribute and the body is not the thing, is then to encounter the person as an event and the body as an experience.


But then to think about time differently. To go toward the slippage from one kind of time into another. OTRO TEATRO was three hours long, but it felt to me like no time. It was ritual time. It was a suspension of that other time, the schedule.


I kept thinking of Cachia’s “Performing Crip Time,” and whether the suspension of time, the slippage, can be considered to be part of this sense. If the other is the event and difference is an experience, than time itself shifts. In Kafer’s words, “rather than bend disabled bodies and minds to meet the clock, crip time bends the clock to meet disabled bodies and minds.”


Maybe it’s a leap to view OTRO TEATRO through the lens of crip time. The bodies onstage were performing a relentless choreography that assumed a stamina and ability, although there were other participants not trained in dance. At one point, the artist, Michael Mahalchik, a long time collaborator with achugar, took off his shirt to writhe his luscious torso. But questioning this one aspect of difference does not detract from the overwhelming permission I felt.


It was that permission that stayed with me long after the performance. It was an experience of another time with other bodies, it was an experience of a space that held all the bodies, and it was also a mass revolt. As moans developed into wails and cries, performers banged on the walls and the hardware of the theater, these sounds growing into a rhythmic pulsing that enveloped the audience. It was our task to be in this together, to allow ourselves to be overcome, and to surrender to sensation.



luciana achugar at the Walker Art Center

 photo credit: Alice Gebura


There is a truth there that holds for many bodies, that somehow the strength to continue and to endure, is not separate from the joy of sensing, feeling and being. Pain is something we see as terrible. We seek to avoid it, but it is also our foothold on this earth, and the body evidence of that struggle. Pleasure as, “a connected body; an anarchic body…” “with eyes that see without naming,” is less about bliss as it is about embodied revolt.



Marissa Perel is a Brooklyn based artist and writer. Her working method is interdisciplinary and includes performance, installation, video, text, collaboration and curating. Her work has been widely shown in New York and abroad, and her criticism has been published on many on-line platforms. She originated the column, Gimme Shelter: Performance Now on the Art21 blog, and was an editor of Critical Correspondence, the on-line dance and performance journal of Movement Research. She has contributed to the Performance Club, Bomblog, Bad At Sports, and Tarpaulin Sky, among others. www.marissaperel.com

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Published May 06, 2014 - Comments Off


Hey digital sailors…

The Electronic Literature Organization is proud to announce the ”The N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature” and “The Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature.” Below is information including guidelines for submissions for each.


“The N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature”

“The N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature” is an award given for the best work of criticism, of any length, on the topic of electronic literature. Bestowed by the Electronic Literature Organization and funded through a generous donation from N. Katherine Hayles and others, this $1000 annual prize aims to recognize excellence in the field.

The prize comes with a plaque showing the name of the winner and an acknowledgement of the achievement, and a one-year membership in the Electronic Literature Organization at the Associate Level.

Call for Nominations: April 15-May 10
Jury Deliberations: May 15-June 10
Award Announcement: ELO Conference Banquet

For more information, contact Dr. Dene Grigar, President, Electronic Literature Organization.

“The Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature”

“The Robert Coover Award for a Work of Electronic Literature” is an award given for the best work of electronic literature of any length or genre. Bestowed by the Electronic Literature Organization and funded through a generous donation from supporters and members of the ELO, this $1000 annual prize aims to recognize creative excellence.

The prize comes with a plaque showing the name of the winner and an acknowledgement of the achievement, and a one-year membership in the Electronic Literature Organization at the Associate Level.

Call for Nominations: April 19-May 10
Jury Deliberations: May 15-June 10
Award Announcement: ELO Conference Banquet

For more information, contact Dr. Dene Grigar, President, Electronic Literature Organization. dgrigar@mac.com

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Published May 02, 2014 - Comments Off

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