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We are currently accepting poetry submissions until 11/1/2014.

Radha Says

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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As editors, contributors, and regular readers, we know that there is a lot to love about Drunken Boat, so it’s always exciting when others recognize this too.

Recently, NewPages.com, a website dedicated to news and information about all things writing-related, posted a glowing writeup of DB 19. Kirsten McIlvenna’s brief review of our latest issue not only praises the general selection but also suggests a few of her personal favorites. To share in the lit mag love, click here! 

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Published Oct 02, 2014 - Comments? None yet


by Iris Cushing


I’m in “my own home,” yet “finding myself” gowned in a bong Winnebago. My new name is “chimney gingham.” There is a “clear spiritual quality” where spirit animals appear on spirit plains and roam a portfolio of her long soul-searching. The poems abandon me on “the outskirts” of a “town called Nowhere” to encounter the language of strangers. Stories from the Interior era empty of omissions and omens and emerald women. Sequined sequoias. Her “state lines” stand in the wind, and I why? like listening “to a lit candle.” A giant sign by the rising highway – the sun is always glamorous.


Young Tambling

by Kate Greenstreet

It’s about intimate anonymity. The book is a “brook” as “daybreaks” – a missing person torn into the fog – “looking for a way to look.” Lurking, corner-camera, I “found her in the churchyard, writing on herself.” Internal dialogue, deer-to-deer, “otherworldly” interrogation. Hear how our girl-hero – “young adult” with a “hunting gun” – once verbed barefoot in a prerecorded forest. Absconded into abstraction (was actually called) to be variously impregnated by drams of murderous herb. Symbolic psychodrama. The word “sawn” and “sung” – I am both “doleful soldier” and “runaway nun.” Fear interacts with fact, and fortune, and act of faith, to collage her mysterious disappearance.


Monkeys, Minor Planet, Average Star

by Gracie Leavitt

“Above ground” but “dumbfounded.” I’m now a “dear bureaucrat” knee-deep in dense boxwood, heaping deepwood, lumpen boggy, parataxis. Her bawdy sauntering, overstepping, loony-tuned consonance, pretty stresses. Through “furzy sparse,” her “touch-and-go” is “thorough-going” and “thick of referents.” These are “wheatears” very much “fern-blurred,” irrigated by eros and “vernal beer.” Somesuch stumbling and “tactically tumbling” are categorically sorted (sordid) bits. My tongue mums “between” sentences – meaning “betwixt”? I lean the italic habitat – and later I read “italicked,” do a number of Boolean swoons.


The Posture of Contour / A Public Primer

by James Belflower

On a continuous lecture tour i.e. “terrorist circle.” I’m so aware of the surrounding postulates – pissy students flipping burgers. Community attention is fluid and flickering – my life is a brief “poverty of belief.” His hypnotic histrionics cum slick communication model cars. This mechanical perv tells us (“virtuosos”) how to curve our bodies into an audience. Then reverses the spectacle – stares at me until I see stars. He courts motion censors with rhetorical flourish, porous puns, some super rude “quackulations.” Like Zeno with a saxophone throat, dude’s got sticky notes.


Stop the Ocean

by Laura Neuman

 Get-to-know-you poetry over sea-water martinis and surface tension. Second date – beach city vegan Wal*Mart – we “botch the order” of “each others” erasure. Ze’s a busy beggar in a wet T-shirt trying (not) to “separate” the sex of every “experience.” Meanwhile – I’m in a “time share” tearing pages from our “care package.” Venn diagram the inevitable environmental calamities – dirty governments, spilled dildos, liminally swimming. A li’l confrontation with policed online profiles is now out-and-out war on “the visual.” I can’t escape and can’t stay still. Scream at the screen: “It seems I am reading but what?”




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Published Oct 02, 2014 - Comments? None yet

Appearing like ethereal sunbursts from the Trance Poetics: Cell/Soul section of DB 16, Winter 2012, Brian Lucas’ series of four colorful canvases are sure to brighten up your Throwback Thursday.

Currently based in California, Brian Lucas is not only a visual artist, but also a poet and musician who has published several books of poetry and plays with multiple bands. Check out his forthcoming artwork, as well as audio and written releases on his blog: brianlucas.tumblr.com.

Click the image above or here to check out “Untitled”

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Published Oct 02, 2014 - Comments? None yet

     painting by Etel Adnan


I wake up in the morning and I check the internet for news. I wake up reading. If it were twenty, or even ten, years ago, I’d be reading the paper. Instead, it’s Facebook.


I wake up and I read about another rape.


I go to work, where I have a situation ongoing that I can’t discuss here. It is a source of anxiety.


Earlier this month, an internet friend posted a student course evaluation that said: “Baby girl I would fuck you in the ass so hard.”


Another rape, another unhappy reveal of who exactly, and at what date and time, will blame the victim: why was she even there? why didn’t she leave?


Another crime, another injury porn or corpse porn image to share virally for a day. Another accused criminal, another mug shot porn image to share virally for a day, with black banners and white text telling the viewer in one sentence how to channel their rage.


The woman implicated in the Philly beating of two gay men, it turns out, is the daughter of the police chief. Apparently, allegedly, she brags on social media about calling in favors to her father.


Comments on Cop Block’s image of her chugging from a bottle of Fireball (something at least one person I love has done) suggest she be given “the Ray Rice treatment.” Now a celebrity is metonymic for cold-cocking a woman (consider that verb, if you will). Ah, the mutability of language! The shortcuts through critical thinking it makes possible!




I’m reading Etel Adnan right now, To look at the sea from Nightboat. Yesterday on the train I read a scene in which a woman is drawn and quartered in front of her classroom of deaf and mute children.




Ok, hi, so this is the world. What can a person do? Lots of options. Some artistic people turn to various mediums and genres of fine art to express their inner turmoil or joy, as the case may be. I’ll tell you what I do: I operate Belladonna Series, Inc. a 501c3 literary non-profit based in Brooklyn.


I do this because I believe that publishing work by underrepresented women writers changes the world. I believe doing good work to benefit other people feeds me.


From my contribution to a publication by Acts + Encounters in 2013, co-authored by three Belladonnae. Though the full work was a collaboration, I feel a need to account for the “I” here:


We enter into institutional time, and we exit. In 2010, Belladonna* was a non-profit at the state level, and secured grant funding through the fiscal sponsorship of our friends at Litmus Press. This worked well, but after gathering together ten women to form the new iteration, the Belladonna* Collaborative, we decided to move forward independently. Acquiring federal non-profit status would enable us to apply directly to a wider variety of funding sources, and so I worked with the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA) to make this happen, meeting several times with our assigned attorney high in the Condé Nast Building, overlooking Times Square. Now thanks to a piece of paper (the IRS Determination Letter), the thing officially called Belladonna Series, Inc. is able to apply directly to foundations and government agencies whose missions include funding the arts. I took on this task because it seemed important to me. I had the desire to see it done, and I secretly love paperwork.

We enter into Belladonna* time, which is so very non-institutional, and we bring with us the facts of the institution, which we then manipulate. I take pleasure in describing us as “intentionally anarchic.” This state of being allows for the spontaneity that hierarchy seeks to eliminate. It is also why I frequently cry at our board meetings, and the women around me pause the conversation to take care of me. Then, later, everyone follows up with me—because we have individual relationships in addition to our community ones, are always allowed to continue being people in bodies at Belladonna*. Admitting that one is overwhelmed isn’t a problem among us. Belladonna* is a body too.

We travel as Belladonna*, each of us with a portion of the agenda internalized, like a spy ring. The archive of the future is the knowledge each of us carries, which we combine and recombine in whatever fraction/fragment of our group is present in a given situation.



Krystal Languell was born in South Bend, Indiana. Two chapbooks and a full-length collection of poetry are forthcoming: LAST SONG (dancing girl press, 2014), BE A DEAD GIRL (Argos Books, 2014) and GRAY MARKET (Coconut, 2015). FASHION BLAST QUARTER was published as a poetry pamphlet by Flying Object in 2014. A core member of the Belladonna* Collaborative, she also edits the journal Bone Bouquet.

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Published Sep 30, 2014 - Comments? None yet


Slip into a cozy sweater, sit down with something pumpkin-spice-flavored and enjoy the first vintage post of fall. This week, the poem “Macau” by Kathryn Rantala takes the throwback stage, having appeared originally in DB 5, Winter 2002-2003.

“Neither diseased nor young,
we were awkward;
too old to marry, too tired to court,
a couple of stone monkeys
bartered to half in the market
then left in a bag on the bench.”

Kathryn Rantala is a writer of both poetry and prose who has put out multiple chapbooks and has been publishing her work for more than 40 years. Aside from writing, she is also a world traveler and a co-founder and editor for Ravenna Press. You can find out more about Kathryn on her website: ravennapress.com.

Click to discover “Macau”

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Published Sep 25, 2014 - Comments? None yet

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