“Hard up for cash, the whales began renting out their stomachs to summer vacationers.”
The first sentence to this week’s vintage feature is the unusual premise for this short but highly amusing piece of fiction. Dive into DB 18 and check out Cassandra de Alba’s “The Whales” to find out what happens when the ocean’s noblest creatures become the hottest beach getaway locations.
Cassandra de Alba’s poetry has appeared in multiple publications including Neon, ILK, Red Lightbulbs, Illuminati Girl Gang, and NAP, among others. Her most recent chapbooks are called Bloodlust (No Spaceships Allowed) and Special Bitch Academy. She lives in Massachusetts and blogs at outsidewarmafghans.tumblr.com, where you can find links to some of her other fantastic poetry.
In the realm of cool news, there’s this:
A poet play called The Descent of Alette by Alice Notley with Alexis Almeida, HR Hegnauer, Yanara Friedland, Serena Chopra, Andrea Rexilius, and Sommer Browning. This is their third poet play – last year, they performed five Gertrude Stein plays.
Alette will have performances in Boulder, Denver, Los Angeles, and Colorado Springs. The group is trying to raise money for flights to Los Angeles. People who donate $75 will receive a hand drawn, framed comic by Sommer Browning. What a deal! Yeah art.
If you want to learn more about the group, the play, and their fundraiser go to this website: https://www.
Today’s vintage selection is another brief, beautiful prose piece that offers a small glimpse of a much larger picture. Get your creative juices flowing and fill in your own details surrounding the circumstances of Marilyn Abildskov’s “Of the First,” which appeared in our Winter/Spring 2001 issue, DB 2, and is still highly deserving of your attention more than a decade later.
“I remember the first dinner with my first married man. I’d made soup that tasted decidedly bland and a spinach salad, because I knew he had never eaten spinach raw, and even though the meal was mediocre at best, I ate with great gusto and pleasure and enjoyed the feeling of this man watching me as if in his watching he were satiating a body that up till now had been ravenous.”
Marilyn Abildskov is a creative writer and professor of her craft at St. Mary’s College of California. A recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, two Pushcart Prize nominations, and other honors, Abildskov’s short stories, poetry, and essays have been widely published. Her travel memoir, The Men in My Country, was published by The Sightline Books Series of The University of Iowa Press. To see what Abildskov is up to recently, check out her tagged posts on St. Mary’s website.
The Ground I Stand On Is Not My Ground
selected by Forrest Gander
Drunken Boat proudly announces the forthcoming publication of The Ground I Stand On Is Not My Ground by Collier Nogues. Congratulations to all of our finalists and contest entrants, some of whom will be featured in a forthcoming issue of the journal.
The Ground I Stand On Is Not My Ground will be published in print and e-book format in 2015 and distributed through Small Press Distribution, with a publication launch party to take place on April 9, 2015 at 7 pm at Honey (@ 205 East Hennepin Avenue) in Minneapolis during the Associated Writing Programs annual conference (where it will be offered for sale at table 1928). Collier Nogues will also be reading selections from her award-winning book during this multi-journal extravaganza at Honey. Drunken Boat invites you to join us in congratulating Collier at this time!
Acclaimed poet, translator, novelist, essayist, and contest judge, Forrest Gander said of The Ground I Stand On Is Not My Ground:
“…this is the best book of erasure poems since Srikanth Reddy’s Voyager. They are meant to include an ‘interactive online version’ of disappearing texts. They don’t necessarily read as erasures, but as lyric poems— even managing rhyme and epistolary. Like Reddy’s Voyager, these carry powerful political implications, regarding Japan and Japanese/US relations before, during, and after WWII. Terrific language: ‘All of us were in a position to suffer a/ temporary safety.’ Despite that they are derived from a dazzling array of incongruous texts, the manuscript manages to sustain a consistency of tone and form. Significantly, the technique— erasure— is well matched to a poetry of war, (re)constructing events through absences and aporias— the missing.”
More praise for The Ground I Stand On Is Not My Ground:
“Collier Nogues, who grew up on a U.S. military base in Okinawa, explores how war has shaped the island of her childhood. She gathers a wide range of historical, political, touristic, cultural, and literary texts about Okinawa, and then she “erasures” these documents to unearth new poems. Moreover, QR codes accompany each poem, transporting the reader to a companion website that features digital and visual renditions of the work. Taken together, these poems not only express a desire to erase violence, but they also attempt to map the topography of islands and nations, caves and embrasures, weapons and flags, grace and dread. Nogues is a brave poet who disassembles the official discourses of empire to articulate a dream for an island of peace.”
—Craig Santos Perez
Collier Nogues’s first book of poems, On the Other Side, Blue, was published by Four Way Books in 2011. Her writing has been supported by the MacDowell Colony, the Ucross Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, and Fishtrap. She teaches creative writing at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and co-edits poetry for Juked.
“Drunken Boat has promoted hybrid and online poetry since its beginnings as a journal,” Collier Nogues said. “I couldn’t be happier that The Ground I Stand On Is Not My Ground, with its dual print and interactive online poems, has found its home here. Drunken Boat’s commitment to publishing new media poems and other innovative writing makes more room in the world for the kind of writing I most love to read. It’s an honor to be part of the journal’s move forward as a press. Thank you, Forrest Gander, for choosing this book, and thank you, Drunken Boat!”
2015 Pushcart Prize
As always, a collection of prose and poetry that ranges from interesting to crushingly good, by writers unknown to me and writers I’ve been reading since I was a boy. An annual pleasure, usually with one or two great surprises.
The Southern Review, Winter 2015
A beautiful magazine that’s a sensual pleasure just to pick up and hold with its high-quality production and its gloriously wasteful use of white space. Again, full of strong work by writers new and familiar.
C.K. Williams, Collected Poems
This hefty collection has been on my bedside table for months. Most nights I’ll dip into it and read a few poems. Sometimes, as was the case with “The Villanelle of the Suicide’s Mother,” I’ll wish I hadn’t—but only because it’s not good to have your heart broken right before bed.
Oleanna by David Mamet
I’m reading this with my grad playwriting class. It’s a brilliantly structured play, great to take apart and analyze.
Children of Paradise by Fred D’Aguiar
I’m rereading this one for the lyric beauty of its prose, and for the brilliance of its ending, which is exactly what you know must happen and which nonetheless is utterly surprising. Brilliant.