Monday, January 13, 2014


[N.B. You can scroll down on blog or click on highlighted titles or names to go directly to the referenced article.]


Marthe Reed reviews HELLO, THE ROSES by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge

T.C. Marshall engages URSULA OR UNIVERSITY by Stephanie Young


Mary Kasimor reviews THE PINK by Jared Schickling

Nicky Tiso reviews ARK by Ronald Johnson

T. C. MARSHALL reviews CAN IT! by Edmund Berrigan

Genevieve Kaplan reviews FROM THE GOLDEN WEST NOTEBOOKS by Jason Morris with sketches by Jason Grabowski

Richard Lopez reviews THIS DRAWN & QUARTERED MOON by klipschutz

John Bloomberg-Rissman reviews CHELTENHAM and APPARITION POEMS, both by Adam Fieled

T.C. Marshall reviews EYE OF WITNESS: A JEROME ROTHENBERG READER edited by Jerome Rothenberg with Heriberto Yépez

Neil Leadbeater reviews HANDLING DESTINY by Adrian Castro

Eileen Tabios engages SISTER, BLOOD AND BONE by Paula Cary

Eileen Tabios engages THE UNFINISHED: BOOKS I-VI by Mark DuCharme

Bill Scalia reviews LIKE A SEA by Samuel Amadon

Richard Lopez reviews GREY BERET by Jim Knowles

Tom Hibbard reviews BLAME FAULT MOUNTAIN by Spencer Selby

Dee Dee Kramer reviews RADIO AT NIGHT by Laurie Price

Eileen Tabios engages HE LOOKED BEYOND MY FAULTS AND SAW MY NEEDS and DÉJÀ VU DINER, both by Leonard Gontarek

Tom Beckett reviews 88 SONNETS by Clark Coolidge

rob mclennan reviews AIRPORT MUSIC by Mark Tardi

Djelloul Marbrook reviews TEA IN HELIOPOLIS by Hedy Habra

Eileen Tabios engages PSYCHEDELIC NORWAY by John Colburn


John Bloomberg-Rissman reviews KILL LIST by Josef Kaplan

Eileen Tabios engages THE CODICILS by Mark Young

Sunnylynn Thibodeaux reviews ON GHOSTS by Elizabeth Robinson

Rebecca Loudon reviews DISTURBANCE by Ivy Alvarez

Laura Madeline Wiseman reviews DICK WAD by Deena November


Greta Aart reviews GEOMETRIES BY GUILLEVIC, Englished by Richard Sieburth

John Bloomberg-Rissman reviews AUX ARCS by Shin Yu Pai

Neil Leadbeater reviews JEALOUS WITNESS by Andrei Codrescu

Eileen Tabios engages BIG BAD ASTERISK* by Carlo Matos

Anny Ballardini reviews ELISE by Evelyn Posamentier

Neil Leadbeater reviews DARKACRE by Greg Hewett

rob mclennan reviews DEBTS & LESSONS by Lynn Xu

Eileen Tabios engages NEW ORLEANS VARIATIONS & PARIS OUROBOROS by Paul Pines

Allen Bramhall reviews GRADUALLY THE WORLD: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS 1982-2013 by Burt Kimmelman

Neil Leadbeater reviews CATCH LIGHT by Sarah O’Brien

Sima Rabinowitz reviews DOOR OF THIN SKINS by Shira Dentz (1)

Eileen Tabios engages DOOR OF THIN SKINS by Shira Dentz (2)

Bill Scalia reviewsRESTORATION POEMS, 1972 – 2007 by Ed Baker

Neil Leadbeater reviews 10 MISSISSIPPI by Steve Healey

Laura Madeline Wiseman reviews[MARY]: by J. Hope Stein

Djelloul Marbrook reviews REPORTS by Kathryn Levy

Neil Leadbeater reviews CARILLONEUR by Tony Cosier

Eileen Tabios engages HOUSES: A POEM by CB Follett

Dana Wilde reviews CALENDARS OF FIRE by Lee Sharkey

rob mclennan reviews myrrh to re all myth by j/j hastain

Eileen Tabios engages FROM BEHIND THE BLIND by Robert Murphy

Allen Bramhall reviews ANTHOLOGY SPIDERTANGLE edited by mIEKAL aND

Eileen Tabios engages pleth by j/j hastain and Marthe Reed

John Bloomberg-Rissman reviews Z”L:FOR THE FAMILY OF CJ MARTIN AND JULIA DRESCHED edited by Ash Smith

Jeff Harrison engages DERRIDA: A BIOGRAPHY by Benoit Peeters

Eileen Tabios engages AND SO FOR YOU THERE IS NO HEARTBREAK by K. Lorraine Graham

Robert Kelly interviews Anne Gorrick.  Also featuring the poem "Night Repeated Daily by a Teacher of Italian Intervals" by Anne Gorrick

Neil Leadbeater interviews Mervyn Linford



Dana Wilde reviews THE BOLT-CUTTERS: POEMS by Thomas R. Moore

Eileen Tabios engages “SONG” in HUNGARIAN LANGART by Marton Koppany

Poets: You are invited to participate in “Poetry and Money” 

Poets: You are invited to participate in “Snapshot of a Poet: What Are You Reading” 

Poets and Others: You are invited to participate in “What Do You Re-Read?” 



Thanks as ever to Galatea Resurrects' generous volunteer staff of reviewers. In addition to some wonderful feature articles, we have 78 NEW POETRY REVIEWS this issue! 

Poetry has enhanced my love of lists so here are GR's latest poetry-lovin' stats!

Issue 1: 27 new reviews
Issue 2: 39 new reviews (one project was reviewed twice by different reviewers)
Issue 3: 49 new reviews (two projects were each reviewed twice)
Issue 4: 61 new reviews (one project was reviewed thrice, and three projects were each reviewed twice)
Issue 5: 56 new reviews (four projects were each reviewed twice)
Issue 6: 56 new reviews (one project was reviewed twice)
Issue 7: 51 new reviews
Issue 8: 64 new reviews (3 projects were each reviewed twice)
Issue 9: 65 new reviews
Issue 10: 68 new reviews (1 project was reviewed thrice and 1 project was reviewed twice)
Issue 11: 72 new reviews (1 project was reviewed thrice)
Issue 12: 87 new reviews (1 project was reviewed twice)
Issue 13: 55 new reviews (1 project was reviewed twice)
Issue 14: 64 new reviews (3 projects were reviewed twice)
Issue 15: 72 new reviews (1 project was reviewed thrice and 4 projects were reviewed twice)
Issue 16: 73 new reviews (2 projects were reviewed twice)
Issue 17: 108 new reviews (3 projects were reviewed twice)
Issue 18: 104 new reviews (3 projects were reviewed twice)
Issue 19: 68 new reviews (1 project was reviewed twice)
Issue 20: 64 new reviews
Issue 21: 78 new reviews (2 projects were reviewed twice)


With Issue No. 21, GR has provided 1,343 new reviews and 99 reprinted reviews (the latter brings online reviews previously available only viz print or first published in now-defunct online sites). With this issue, we also increased our coverage of poetry publishers by 20 to 498 publishers in 17 countries. This is important as I feel that much of the ground-breaking poetry work is being published by independent and/or relatively small presses who (by the nature of their work) are not always as well-known as they deserve. 

I continue to encourage authors/publishers to send in your projects for potential review—note that because we believe in Poetry's immortality, GR does not limit reviews to just "recent" poetry publications. And, obviously, people are following up with your review copies (see below)! Information for submissions and available review copies HERE. Future reviewers also should note that the next review submission deadline is MAY 11, 2014.

Of reviewed publications, the following were generated from review copies sent to GR:

Issue 1: 9 out of 27 new reviews
Issue 2: 25 out of 39 new reviews
Issue 3: 27 out of 49 new reviews
Issue 4: 41 out of 61 new reviews
Issue 5: 34 out of 56 new reviews
Issue 6: 35 out of 56 new reviews
Issue 7: 41 out of 51 new reviews
Issue 8: 35 out of 64 new reviews
Issue 9: 42 out of 65 new reviews
Issue 10: 46 out of 68 new reviews
Issue 11: 46 out of 72 new reviews
Issue 12: 35 out of 87 new reviews
Issue 13: 38 out of 55 new reviews
Issue 14: 40 out of 64 new reviews
Issue 15: 43 out of 72 new reviews
Issue 16: 49 out of 73 new reviews
Issue 17: 73 out of 108 new reviews
Issue 18: 84 out of 104 new reviews
Issue 19: 41 out of 68 new reviews
Issue 20: 50 out of 64 new reviews
Issue 21: 46 out of 78 new reviews


The beauty of Blogger is how typos can be corrected at any point in time.  If you see any typos, feel free to let me know as I can still correct them even after the issue's release.


GR is also delighted to be the first publisher for one of our contributors, Brooke Kressel who engages with poems by Wislawa Szymborska and Sandy McIntosh


I am now blogging more bibliophiletically at EILEEN VERBS BOOKS. You are invited to visit  and stay to peruse.  Poets are invited to participate in three of the blog's ongoing features: "Poetry and Money," "What Are You Reading?" and "What do you Re-Read?"

I hope you enjoy this issue of Galatea Resurrects!

Eileen Tabios
January 13, 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014



Hello, The Roses by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge
(New Directions, New York, 2013)

Open to Accident: “Mei-mei Berssenbrugge’s Hello, The Roses

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge’s new collection, Hello, the Roses, takes its reader on a spiritual journey, a record of investigation into the imaginative and intuitive connection between her speaker and the world around her.  The long, discursive lines for which the poet is well-known move meditatively outward from the inner locus of longing for connection through a series engagements sited within the “home” places of the poet: New York City, northern New Mexico, Maine. A collection of “essays” or tries in the original sense, these poems record a journey toward beauty and spiritual connection as a process of healing. We “open to accident,” she assures us, “intimacy can be the bridge.”

Intimate with what? Berssenbrugge reaches out to the peopling creatures, plants, and weather of her home places, the first poem titled “Animal Voices.” In lines often reaching beyond the width of the page, the poet chronicles a sustained attention, often visual in nature, though at times instigated by touch or smell or sound. These attentions call into question how it is we live in the world, how we attend or don’t attend to our intimate neighbors, and hypothesize possible means to breaching the silences between in a language driven by the potencies of dreams/dreaming, yet also often borrowing the lexicon of science.

I begin by imagining I hear thoughts. There’s a sense of pervasiveness; particles go back and forth in me. I write down today’s encounters, including the mosquito, as a dream to interpret. Certainly, one’s tie to an insect is imaginative truth. Not that my horse represents the union of intuition and imagining, she is that. Turning her head to smell the wind, she shifts into wind’s seamless dimension—mane, tail. (4)….A horse does not change frequency to change form.

In this poem, Berssenbrugge uses “form” as “intent” (4), the poet’s, which
bridges the gap between self and other, whereby “discontinuity becomes continuity” (5): a sense of the moment “deepening” or increasing in intimate connection. In the effortless way the horse becomes a form of wind, the concentrated attention of Berssenbrugge’s speaker allows her to be drawn out of herself, by “filaments of light like whispers” (9) into another presence: “within the illusion of my body, an emergence place” (11). Yet this is no “dialectic of self-other…. // Mists and petal together form their own pathway, precepts threading back and forth as if through live wires in air.” (29) A new compound reality forms, not two separate experiences, but a shared valence of experience.

Hello, the Roses offers an evolving awareness of how connections between self and her place-others manifest, operate, change, a record of movement from a state of alienation/isolation to communion: “I myself may be part of an emergence, dizzy, unaware I’ve crossed a threshold into new focus.” (25) Meditations on the nature of feeling/memory/being, the lines of these poems are laid down like accretions of understanding across the boundary of inner and outer, self and world: “wind, heartbeat, object falling into water, perception merges with the surface.” (39) Her attention caught by the material manifestations of the world “emplaces” her in the world, making her present against the background noise of illness – “my plans are still a sick person’s.”  (23)

The attention of which Berrsenbrugge writes and the resulting sense of communion suggests the Buddhist notion of satori, the experience of shifting from isolated experience to immersive oneness: “Looking at the plant releases my boundaries” (51) – “My seeing becomes so slow, it seems to disengage; it grows cloudy; then suddenly meaning as a whole interweaves with my perception.” This sensibility is strongest in the second section of the book where the green world is Berssenbrugge’s focus. “Forest is the originatory fullness of presence.” (44)

I see her multiple aspects as living representations, her symbiosis with birds, relation to originatory plants, fragrance as medicine administered by an oracle. These aspects are not referred to, not associative, but intrinsic to my sight, as slowly gaps diminish and missing images appear or experience fills in; one transforms to another along an extended multi-dimensional axis of seeing the plant. It’s not a metaphor for the flow of our surroundings.  (52)

The “flow” the speaker’s consciousness and the flow of the organism’s biological processes are imagined as sharing a single wavelength or motion: the speaker enters the flow of being, at least imaginatively. The poems read as records of awareness brought to deep stillness, as the speaker’s body moves in attentive deliberateness through an environment, through sustained perception/response: “My seeing becomes so transparent and natural, a vista of awareness into which consciousness forms.” (42)

Formally, Berssenbrugge’s poems resemble Wittgenstein’s linguistic clarifications in Remarks on Colour, both in their formal arrangement and analytical attention. Wittgenstein develops his claims as a series of points presented in short discrete statements. Similarly, each line or stanza in Berssenbrugge’s poems encodes a discrete stage of unfolding awareness/insight in a spiritual journey, composed as stages of a mystical argument. Though the foci are quite different for Wittgenstein and Berssenbrugge, there is a correspondence in the formal arrangement and progress of text on the page.

In the final section of this collection, the speaker’s illness moves to the forefront: the speaker “writing in empty space between pain symptoms.” (65) In attending to the visual field around her, Berssenbrugge’s speaker experiences not only a sense of communion or oneness, there is also relief, spiritual if not also physical. And where language had at times previously verged into the fabular (“clairvoyance,” “fairy realm”, “touch dimensionality”], in this final section Berssenbrugge becomes more concrete and explicit: “I may confuse longing with response from a plant, creativity I mentioned as air in the riverbed I know to be blue and loose as a bundle of petals in summer, when disease didn’t exist.” The speaker’s burden of physical suffering weights the transcendence described in the middle section of the book, the motive force for the speaker’s outward reaching: “I render physical pain into emotion.” (67) In the poem “The Lit Cloud,” the writing of poetry and its tropes manifest as the process underlying the unpacking of perception and awareness.

I come to a rock by water to watch the sun set. Sun lights a gray cloud above me with so many rooms and convexities. When I look up, it’s a scrim of lighting effects. There’s no volume to the object. I watch sunset in late summer, trying to quiet myself, to open my heart desiring relatedness; it comes as metaphors of weather, To work with a metaphor, it’s first visualized, then energized to this gray transparency expression in a shaman. (69)

Driven by suffering, the language of the poem maps a process of revelation and self-nurture. In sending ourselves outward into “an open circuit” in which “Our reflections are part of the play of sunlight and reflections,” Berssenbrugge argues we will find relief both physical and spiritual: “My being becomes fused and transformative, like a river in rain.” (71) A record of seeking, a book of spells to release grief/suffering, Hello, the Roses, is an offering to the reader of the “the immortal, a wave in the environment,” (87) “cosmic time coming forth as beautiful pattern.” (88) An exploration of the possibilities of communion and healing experienced as love via focused attention upon the human/other-than-human nexus, these poems point us out of ourselves, even and perhaps most vitally at the most intense experiences of embodiment, illness, disease. Berssenbrugge reminds us that we must reach outward into the world and find ourselves in intimate connection, in “streaming exchange” (84): an insight to liberate us from the tyranny, not only of pain or suffering, but also of deadlines, over-commitment, and the quotidian busy-ness in which we so often immerse ourselves. “Sacred means saturated with being.” (92)


Marthe Reed is the author of four books: Pleth, a collaboration with j hastain (Unlikely Books 2013), (em)bodied bliss (Moria Books 2013), Gaze (Black Radish Books 2010) and Tender Box, A Wunderkammer  (Lavender Ink 2007). A fifth book of poems will be published by Lavender Ink (2014). She has also published four chapbooks as part of the Dusie Kollektiv; a fifth is published by above / ground press. An essay on Claudia Rankine’s The Provenance of Beauty: A South Bronx Travelogue appears in American Letters and Commentary.  With Nicole Mauro she publishes Black Radish Books.