Review: Chapbooks– Beautifully Whole & Badass

by Lee Gulyas March 24, 2016

Years ago, in a bar, talking about poetry, a friend of mine said, “Poetry. What do you do with that? I guess you could always write chapbooks.” Things have changed since then, and chapbooks (usually fewer than 30 pages of poetry) are not just plentiful, but proliferating. See chapbooks from Tupelo Press, Sarabande (authors Louise […]

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Fourteen New Poems, Four New Stories For Spring

by Contrary Magazine March 17, 2015
Janet McNally

Janet McNally’s poems captivated us—viscerally—from the first lines, not just the imagery, but the sounds: “kick past coral,” “conch shells,” “plate glass.” As we read on, we entered a web of thematic strings that tie the poems together: flower petals, pomegranates, rubies, shades of red, myth, and fairy tale. These poems are so beautifully interwoven, […]

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Review: The Cartographer’s Ink

by Lee Gulyas March 10, 2015

The Cartographer’s Ink Okla Elliott NYQ Books 2014 Gilles Deleuze wrote: “Writing has nothing to do with meaning. It has to do with landsurveying and cartography, including the mapping of countries yet to come.” This is the quote that came to me as I read Okla Elliott’s “The Cartographer’s Ink.” We begin with an invitation […]

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Brought to a Boil: An Essay on Experimental Poetry

by John Olson April 23, 2014
John Olson

“All poetry is experimental poetry.” ~ Wallace Stevens Turning words into art is unnatural. It begins with a contrary attitude. It says, I am unhappy with the way things are and desire to make things different. Rather than represent the world, I will make something wildly and savagely new. I will defy logic. I will […]

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What it Means to be Contrary

by Contrary Magazine April 22, 2014
Contrary N

“Turning words into art is unnatural. It begins with a contrary attitude. It says, I am unhappy with the way things are and desire to make things different. Rather than represent the world, I will make something wildly and savagely new. I will defy logic. I will invest in new perceptions. I will combine and […]

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Changing Stories, Stories for Change

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein April 7, 2014

  We know a good story can change us. But can our stories really change society? Writers, poets, journalists, arts educators, and cultural activists based in and around Dar es Salaam, Tanzania convened on Saturday March 8 at Soma Book Cafe to explore the link between art and social change in a one-day workshop organized […]

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A New Video from Nicelle Davis and Cheryl Gross

by Contrary Magazine January 13, 2014

Nicelle Davis is working on a new project, and fortunately for all of us, that means a new video collaboration with illustrator Cheryl Gross. You can watch the video on our little screen in the upper-right hand corner of Contrary Blog. Here’s more on the collaboration: Illustrator Cheryl Gross and poet Nicelle Davis create a grotesque peep-show […]

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The Church of Poetry

by Dane Cervine July 30, 2013

There is something wrong in the World of Poetry (of course, something’s always wrong, which is part of the fun).We quibble over doctrinal disputes like the institution we love to hate: the Church. How many recovering Catholics, or any denomination, have found refuge now in the Church of Poetry, this “better scripture”? Yet if we […]

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Scalpel and Salve: A Conversation with Shaindel Beers about The Children’s War

by Frances Badgett July 1, 2013

“This is the part where you realize/every broken window is a part of you.” Frances Badgett: You start off with the ekphrasis of children’s drawings in wartime and move into the personal—the structure lends the book a feeling of deepening connection. I can’t remember seeing that kind of a structure in a collection before—were the […]

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This Is Why We Do This Thing

by Contrary Magazine March 24, 2013
The Bees Are Waiting

Karina Borowicz sends word that her first collection of poetry, The Bees Are Waiting, which already had been selected by Franz Wright for the Marick Press Poetry Prize, has just been named a Must-Read Book of 2013 by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. Karina’s debut publication, the Maintenance of Public Order, appeared in Contrary in […]

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A morning with “Mr. Hurricane” – Haji Gora Haji, Zanzibar’s most beloved poet

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein October 12, 2012

Just when I think that Zanzibar and I are at complete odds with each other, I have a morning like this one, where a beloved poet walks into my office and speaks to me in poetry. Never mind that he is approximately 80 years-old and speaks a kind of Swahili that is so deep and […]

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Your thoughts on Adrienne Rich, please

by David Alm March 29, 2012

I first learned about Adrienne Rich, who died on Tuesday at her home in Santa Cruz, CA, at the age of 82, in college almost 20 years ago. I was 18, and many of my professors adored Rich. They taught entire courses about her, or at least included her poems on their syllabi, and by […]

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Dreams and visions: A visit to Mohammed’s underground wedding chapels of southern Ethiopia

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein February 5, 2012

When is the last time you remembered a dream? Saw images in your mind as palpable points of light, saw roadmaps and systems, heard the word of god? I barely remember my dreams let alone follow any distinguishable directions given by friends, presidents, or gods there within. I find it nearly impossible to remember my […]

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Write Here

by Tasha Cotter January 28, 2012

When I moved back to Kentucky I gave up the city life, moving six hours away from Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood and my local Starbucks to a land of green pastures, black barns, and large homes nestled against picturesque rolling hills. Gone is my tiny apartment that was not unlike Sandra Cisneros’s own small cramped place […]

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Political poetry

by Rebecca Lehmann October 16, 2011

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about poems. My first book of poems is about to come out (obligatory self endorsement), I’ve been teaching poetry in all three of my classes (one a creative writing class, one a composition class, one a glorious class on contemporary poets in which I get to teach all my […]

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