Monday, August 3, 2015

Blood Milk Book Club August:

Sally Wen Mao

Sally Wen Mao: from 'Mad Honey Symposium'

Lisa Ciccarello

Lisa Ciccarello from 'At Night' 

I've chosen two titles of poetry for the Blood Milk Book Club this month. I'll be changing format each month, so for September it will be a book of short stories. In tandem to a more "traditional" conversational style book club post (this time, as per some feedback I received, I'll post some prompting questions to incite discussion), I hope to have extra posts revolving around these books live during the month, including an author interview, or two. 
I've been thrilled with the response & honored by the support I've been receiving. 

If interested in reading along this month, please pick up: 

Mad Honey Symposium by Sally Wen Mao from small press Alice James Books HERE.

At Night by Lisa Ciccarello from Black Ocean Books HERE.  The kind folks at Black Ocean are offering 30% off of Lisa's glorious book for the month of August. Enter BLOODMILK at checkout and feel good about supporting a small independent press. 

I know some people cringe when they think of reading poetry. & while some of these poems are written in a more 'traditional' format, I promise that if you are at all interested in my aesthetic or have read and liked other books I've recommended, these poems will be like daggers to your heart and at least one poem from each book will snare you forever. I've posted one of my favorites from each author above. 

Further reading to nudge you along:

Publisher's Weekly review of At Night.
Lisa's blog. 
Lisa's Tiny Letter.
An interview with Lisa.

Publisher's Weekly review of Mad Honey Symposium.
A cluster of glowing reviews on Sally's site.
An interview with Sally.
another interview with Sally.

1 comment :

Saarlezley said...

I don't read much poetry, let alone write about it, but I stayed up late last night (like a nutcase) jotting down my thoughts on Lisa Ciccarrello's 'At Night'. Thank you so much Lady Bloodmilk for doing this book club and introducing me to such lovely books.  You have exquisite taste!

While these poems are about fear, vigilance, crimes, suffering, yearning, punishment, and death, they are subverted by such beautiful imagery that (contrary to the book's back blurb) I found them very comforting. It's like writing about one's list of terrors in such an ethereal way serves as an incantation to dispel them.  An incantation that's created by repetition of acts like putting salt on window sills, and covering mirrors with fabric. I really loved the dark atmosphere, and being transported to a netherworld from a long past century. Just like night obscures perception, many of these poems are wonderfully confusing, kind of undermining themselves.  I like the odd syntax and sometimes rather goofy grammar choices, like an autistic person wrote them (and I mean that as a compliment). This is demonstrated in the poem you chose, and also the one (on page 9) about the dead and string. And the poem (on page 41), where she describes a "hollow pin tunnel through the body"....."with teeth inside" reminds me of the kind of logic that occurs right before sleep. Feels like the time I thought I'd invented a new way to breath. The first line (on page 57) "Our home has a song: boiling water", conjures a soundtrack to a menacing tale. This collection of poems really takes it to a higher level by creating a single, opaque story that is dark, brooding, really beautiful and disquieting.

Lezley Saar