Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dear friends of Lady Word of Mouth,

As this is a blog for friends with books, rather than one about my books, I will simply point out that if you go here, you can find out about Glimmerglass, published in September 2014. Or you can read about Maze of Blood, September 2015...


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Robbi Nester, "A Likely Story"

Cover art by Mary Bullington
Robbi Nester: It’s important to note that A Likely Story, my first full collection of poetry, is a first book. Yes, it’s true that I’ve published a chapbook—Balance (White Violet, 2012). But a full collection is different, especially since I waited my whole life to publish one.

I’ve been writing poetry as a serious pursuit (as serious as any play can be)since I was a teenager, so why not before now? I just simply knew the work was not ready. I was not ready. I got two degrees in writing—the first at Hollins University (then, Hollins College), where Richard H.W. Dillard taught me the craft and he and Dara Weir set me off on the right path, and then, after a few of the brief turns life threw my way, an MFA at UC Irvine, where I studied with Charles Wright, Heather McHugh, and James McMichael. 

But following that second degree, I didn’t write poetry again for 20 years. Instead, I got a PhD in Comparative Literature at UC Irvine, writing a dissertation on Vladimir Nabokov’s literary games, and thereafter settled in to teach writing and literature as an adjunct in a few different places, as well as being a mom and a caretaker daughter to two elderly parents. In 2011, I found myself free—my son pretty much grown, my job gone, and plenty of time to write.

So write I did. I turned out the three books you see above in as many years, and also have a manuscript of ekphrastic poems, Together, in my back pocket. I hope it will be published by next year or so.

A Likely Story is composed of poems written during many different geological layers of my life, but I found in all of them a common thread of narrative. So this is the theme that I have used to construct the book, which is composed of nine different sections related to the elements or themes relating to narrative, from “Tall Ones,” to “A Cast of Thousands,” “Location, Location,” etc.

Some poems seemed to belong in a couple of different sections at once, and so I made these the ones to open or close a particular section.

The book went through eight different versions. Then a publisher who almost took version seven told me that many of the poems’ endings were weak. And though it stung, I realized she was right, especially after another reader told me the same thing.

They may have believed I was not up to the task of doing anything about this, but I did. In a matter of a month or two, I rewrote many poems, threw some out, put in new, stronger poems, and created the collection that now exists.

A funny thing happened during that twenty years I was not writing poems. I guess all that pent up poem energy made me a better writer, more confident, more willing to try new things because I have never looked back.

And I am thankful that people like my friend Marly Youmans, a writer whom I very much admire, who has been a guide and model for my doings as a writer, encouraged me to keep on going since I would never be happy unless I was writing and also very pleased that the poetry community has embraced me so generously and wholeheartedly.

Sometimes, even when it seems unlikely, a story can have a happy ending.
Moon Tide on Robbi's new book:  Moon Tide is proud to announce the release of its 22nd book, Robbi Nester's A Likely Story. The book, which consists of 59 poems and features a wrap-around cover painting by Mary Boxley Bullington, is Nester's first full-length collection. Coincidentally, it follows the first full-length collection by her husband, Richard Nester, whose Buffalo Laughter came out from Kelsay Books in February. 
Robbi’s past credits include the chapbook Balance (White Violet, 2012) and the anthology The Liberal Media Made Me Do It! (Nine Toes, 2014), which she edited. A longtime fixture at Orange County open readings, she lives in Lake Forest and has had poems published in Broadsided, Qarrtsiluni, Prompt & Circumstance, Poetic Diversity, Edwin E. Smith Publishingand elsewhere. 
Robbi's book will have its official launch at a private party July 10, with public readings July 27 at Gatsby Books in Long Beach and July 30 at the Ugly Mug in Orange. In the meantime, you can click here to order a copy or check out two of her poems on our Poet of the Month page.

And Moon Tide on Moon Tide: Moon Tide Press, founded in 2006, is a publisher dedicated to showcasing the finest poets in Southern California. The press has released books — many of them first collections — by national award-winning poets, Pushcart Prize nominees, longtime reading hosts and gifted up-and-comers. Authors published by Moon Tide have featured across Southern California and out of state, been covered in numerous publications, read their work on KPFK 90.7 FM and starred in the press' own reading series at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton.

Monday, April 28, 2014

NPR/PBS-inspired anthology

Nine Toes Press, an imprint of Lummox Press

Featuring Poets:
Martha O. Adams, RD Armstrong, Anne Baber, Sally Ball, Kris Bigalk, Lavina Blossom, Allen Braden, Kirstin Bratt, Julie Bruck, Mary Bullington, Sheryl Clough, Michael Colonnaise, Barbara Crooker,  Donna Decker, Barbara Duffey, Blas Falconer, Jennifer Flescher, Rupert Fike, Deborah Gang, Howie Good, Rick Hamwi, Kenneth Hart, Juleigh Howard-Hobson, M.E. Hope, Kate Hutchinson, Luisa Igloria, Tim Kahl, Marie Kane, Deda Kavanagh, Elizabeth Kelikowske, Kathryn Kopple, Judy Kronenfeld, Jane Rosenberg LaForge, Ron Lavalette, Christina Lovin, Amy MacLennen, Joan Mazza, Kelly Nelson, Robbi Nester, Barbra Nightingale, Hal O’Leary, Susan Blackwell Ramsey, Penelope Schott,  Brittney Scott, Patricia Scruggs, Martha Silano, M.E. Silverman, Susan Snowden, Nina Soifer, Onna Solomon, Robin Stratton, Lisa Stonestreet, Meryl Stratford, Marly Youmans, Kit Zak.
View a sampler of poems on ISSUU.COM
ISBN 978-1-929878-72-7
154 pages; Perfect Bound; 6 X 9 inches

$20 Retail – 25% off to Lummox Customers

About the anthology - Robbi Nester, editor

  Art is made from the substance of our everyday lives.  Anything that occupies us is fair game, from our relationships to the places we inhabit, the ideas we entertain.
  For those of us who live with radios and televisions pre-set to our favorite public media programs, these stories become an integral part of our lives, the stories we share with our friends at dinner parties, the tidbits of information we stash away for safekeeping.   
  On any given day, news programs alone provide a wealth of tantalizing angles on events. Then there are documentaries, scientific, and cultural programming, making for an almost endless array of subjects writers can draw on in their work.
   I had been writing poems about the stories I was hearing on public radio for years when a conversation with poet and publisher R.D. Armstrong alerted me to the fact that I might not be the only person engaged in such an activity.
  Sure enough, it turned out that many poets out there were writing work inspired by public radio and television, spanning national shows like All Things Considered, Nightly Business Report, RadioLab, and Prairie Home Companion as well as local and regional shows aired on individual public stations.
  The work came in every variety—topical and  political, humorous, narrative, and personal, having in common only that they were all based on these stories and were written by poets from nearly every corner of the United States.
  This diversity delighted me, but I found that writers returned  especially to a few chosen programs, like RadioLab, which merges science with story-telling in a particularly vivid way.
  I had myself written a poem, “Fistulated Cow,” inspired by a RadioLab story, “Holey Cow,” in which science writer Mary Roach explored the innards of a cow with a fistula as a way of discussing digestion. So I was not surprised to see that other writers chose to focus on other RadioLab stories, like the one about Lucy, the chimp raised as a human child by a benighted psychologist in the 1950s, and the two poems inspired by the “Seeing in the Dark” episode of the program, about a man who, after he lost his sight entirely, stopped trying to envision the people and things he was now no longer able to see.
   Kris Bigalk’s poem “Seeing” explores the story from the perspective of the blind man himself, examining his motivations for embracing the new limitations he experiences  rather than denying them, and the consequences that arise from this change in perspective.
  In contrast, Christina Lovin’s poem  “The Forest of Her” approaches the subject in a very different way, from  the  third person rather than first. The poem creates a resonance by offering an epigraph within an epigraph.
  Lovin reminds us of other blind men in the tradition, citing Marvin Bell quoting from The Gospel of Mark, a line that suggests that the sight Jesus restored to the blind man was perhaps not as complete as we might assume. Following this, she offers Bell’s own assertion embracing blindness: “ truly, one must close one’s eyes to see.”
  Bigalk’s poem retells the story told on the radio, capturing its rhythms of speech and details. At 15 lines, the poem retains the compactness of a sonnet, though it lacks a sonnet’s formal elements, its turn or meter.
  Lovin’s poem too dallies with form by repeating lines in each succeeding stanza, a pattern that fits nicely with its epigraph, echoing a theme.
  As this formal element suggests, Lovin’s poem takes on a less personal tone than Bigalk’s, applying the blind man’s situation metaphorically to our own, while Bigalk’s poem hews closely to the radio story itself.
  These are only two poems of several written about the same stories.  Reading them together reminds us that our lives are made, after all, of the same elements,  but that what we make of those, out of the stuff of our own characters and experience, makes all the difference.
  I have probably not responded here to Marly’s question about my objective in compiling this anthology. What purpose, aside from the “purposeful purposelessness” of all art, does any volume of poetry have?

  By way of excuse I can offer only the desire to meet others engaged in the same pursuit--to discover the work of writers I have not as yet discovered, and to introduce them and their work to the world.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mary Meriam, editor, "Irresistible Sonnets"

Click to purchase +
Click to like


The editor travelled for several decades throughout the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, and Australia (with side trips to Finland, France, and Greece) to collect the rarest, most beautiful, most irresistible contemporary sonnets. The trip was fruitful. Among many colorful characters, the editor found Old Tom in the garden, a bull rider from the American West, God's secretary in His Office, the magician's bashful daughter, and Aunt Mim and Uncle Jimmy at the Rehab Lounge. Published by Headmistress Press on March 31, 2014, Irresistible Sonnets consists of 71 sonnets by 71 living poets. There are city poets, country poets, older poets, younger poets, 43 women poets, 28 men poets, rising poets, and poets laureate.


This is a treasure that you must allow to ravish you slowly.
--Robin Williams, Author of Sweet Swan of Avon: Did a Woman Write Shakespeare?

Irresistible Sonnets has a personality, at times whimsical, at times serious, but always passionate.
--Quincy R. Lehr, poet, critic, and general man-about-town

This stunning collection of "Irresistible Sonnets", like a handful of snowflakes, contains no two alike.
--Rayne Allinson, Author of A Monarchy of Letters: Royal Correspondence and English Diplomacy in the Reign of Elizabeth I

Meriam has assembled a collection of arresting, frequently astonishing poems that prove the sonnet is still alive and well, emotionally urgent, linguistically inventive, and, just as the title promises, irresistible.
--Joy Ladin, American Poet

Note: I feel compelled to say that I did not in any way suggest to Mary Meriam that she use my sonnet here, but I thank her for the kind surprise and am grateful to her for the work she put into this lovely book!  --Marly

by Marly Youmans

Let it go, let it all go down the drain—
The forest ashes where a witch was burned,
Dirt from the cellar where a queen was slain,
No heir escaping death, and nothing learned,

The crescent moons of darkness under nails,
Ditch-digger’s drops of sweat, the blood from soil
That sprouted fingertips, the slick from snails
Where the butchered peasants were left to spoil:

Let it swirl, let it all swirl down the drain—
Let murderous grime be curlicues to gyre
Around the blackened mouth, let mortal bane
Be gulped, and waste be drink for bole and briar.

Here’s a new-washed babe; marvel what man mars,
The flesh so innocent it gleams like stars.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Phillips, "A Pocket Book of Forms"

A Pocket Book of Forms, available in a variety of colors, 
with or without a slipcase. Pink. Brown. Blue. Orange. 
Gold leaf! And made at the wonderful Penland School...
I just ordered one--why not you?   --Marly
A Pocket Book of Forms

A Pocket Book of Forms is a letterpress-printed, travel-sized guide to poetic forms, a reference to be used on the train, on adventures, or when a small book is all that's needed. It covers some usual suspects—sonnets, pantoums, ghazals, blues—as well as an assortment of French repeating forms, among others.

The book was printed by the author at Penland School of Crafts. The text is set in Bembo and Twentieth Century, with hand-drawn headings, and printed on Legion Bamboo paper, with covers in Canson Mi-Teintes. The standard edition offers three cover options: pink, brown, or blue. The fancy edition has orange covers, hot-pink title text overlaid with faux gold leaf, and hot-pink lokta endpapers. It includes a bookcloth slipcover for safekeeping. Both editions are pamphlet stitched, with rounded corners.

“This book is the best reason to go out and buy anything with pockets—especially if you are a poet. Elegantly designed and printed, it is a portable prompt and expander of your repertoire of poetic forms.”

—Thomas Cable, author of A History of the English Language

About the author:

Anna Lena Phillips is a poet, teacher, editor, and maker. Her other projects include the endearments, a group of anagrammatic poems, and Forces of Attention, a series of letterpressed objects designed to help people mediate their interactions with screened devices.

A Pocket Book of Forms is available for preorder through April 15, 2014, at Indiegogo—

—and thereafter at its permanent home:

Friday, March 28, 2014

Corbett, "Credo for the Checkout Line in Winter"

Maryann Corbett, Credo for the Checkout Line in Winter
Able Muse Press, 102 pp.

Maryann Corbett’s second full-length collection, Credo for the Checkout Line in Winter, draws on profound experience of deep winter in the lived environment, while keeping alive faith that the thaw will come and bring with it the bloom of “uncountable rows of petals.” The themes of this finalist for the 2011 Able Muse Book Award range from the quotidian to the metaphysical. Corbett’s keen eye brings to focus uncommon detail. Her masterful technical repertoire spans received forms, metrical inventiveness, and free verse. This is poetry that amply rewards the reader with its boundless imagination, insight and visionary delight.

Poems from Credo for the Checkout Line in Winter have been featured on Verse Daily, American Life in Poetry, and at The Poetry Foundation website.

Praise for Credo for the Checkout Line in Winter:

“What makes Maryann Corbett such a rare, excellent writer must be her talent for weaving together various artistic impulses, so that her poems often sound both traditional and brand new, both humorous and serious, both worldly-wise and, as John Keats once put it, “capable of being in uncertainties.” [She] remains a poet of the first order, and her poems are cause for gratitude, and deep enjoyment.”
—Peter Campion (from the foreword)

“...full of real gems!”
—Gail White

“Corbett is as comfortable and affecting within the tight confines of the Old English alliterative meter (“Cold Case”) and the Sapphic stanza (“Paint Store”) as she is with her supple blank verse and terza rima. Yet never does her rigorous craft interfere with the thoughtful, insightful content of these poems. A stunning collection, from one of America’s most gifted contemporary poets.”
—Marilyn L. Taylor

“I am mightily impressed by the perfect imagery of the title poem, the just-right form of the moving “Ballade for the Last Move,” and much more.”
—Jean Kreiling

“Sharply visual, skillfully and cleverly crafted, her poems draw out essences, ‘concentrated’ and persisting. ‘Beauty changes us,/ calling up wonder from our deepest selves/ to its right place.’”
—Catharine Savage Brosman

“These masterful poems announce themselves as winter pieces, and indeed they are so full of sleet and snow that readers may wish to dress warmly. But Corbett’s winter, a season when “dull forms come in the mail” and we eat “tasteless, stone-hard, gassed tomatoes,” is always lushly haunted by the other seasons, the way a house in one of her poems is fronted by a “three-season porch.” Corbett is one of the best-kept secrets of American poetry, and this is one of the best new collections I’ve read in years.”
—Geoffrey Brock

“...a newborn Robert Frost, with a wicked eye for contemporary life. Each poem surprises.”
—Willis Barnstone

About the author:

Maryann Corbett grew up in McLean, Virginia, and now lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, and works for the Minnesota Legislature. Trained as a medievalist and linguist, she holds a doctorate in English from the University of Minnesota.

Her poems, essays, and translations have appeared in Southwest Review, Barrow Street, Rattle, River StyxAtlanta Review, The Evansville Review, Measure, Literary Imagination, The Dark Horse, Mezzo Cammin, Linebreak, Subtropics, Verse Daily, American Life in Poetry, The Poetry Foundation, and many other venues in print and online, as well as the anthologies Hot Sonnets, The Able Muse Anthology, The Best of The Barefoot Muse, Forgetting Home: Poems About Alzheimer's, Ekphrastia Gone Wild, Imago Dei: Poems from Christianity and Literature, and Obsession: Sestinas in the Twenty-First Century.

Her books are Breath Control (David Robert Books), Credo for the Checkout Line in Winter, a finalist for the Able Muse Book Prize, and Mid Evil, winner of the Richard Wilbur Award for 2014, forthcoming from the Evansville Press.

Credo for the Checkout Line in Winter is available from the publisher or from Amazon:


Bailey, new edition of "The Astrologer"

A new edition from MDA Books.

Please see the original post about Scott Bailey's The Astrologer here.

And there's a new review by critic David Myers here: "Despite its historical setting, The Astrologer is not really a historical novel at all. It is a self-concealing but ambitious attempt to resuscitate the revenge tragedy. The delight of reading it lies in the discovery and tracing of Bailey’s scheme." While you're there, take a look around the blog. D. G. Myers is well worth reading.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gary Dietz, "Dads of Disability"

"I am humbled by the honesty, strength, love, and perseverance shared by these dads of disability. I believe this book will help new dads understand they are not alone and dads like me realize they never were."
       --Edwin L. Thompson
"If you were in the least inspired, as I was, by how the writer Christy Brown lived his life, then this book offers that inspiration to the nth. But read with a box of tissues handy and be prepared to have your socks blown off. Wow!"
       --Sam Smith
"Dads of Disability is direct and insightful and a valuable resource, not only for fathers, but for mothers, extended family, and health care professionals alike."
       --Patti Chadwick
* * * 
"I applaud Gary Dietz and the other contributors for telling it like it is, honestly and without apology... The essays and poems included in this book will allow you to see not only the children but also the parents with a clarity that defies expectations. 
       --from the introduction by MaryAnn Campion, founder and director of the M.S. program in Genetic Counseling at the Boston University School of Medicine
Please hit the like button on facebook and see what Gary is doing 

Dads of Disability is a collection of 41 essays and poems rich in context and imagery that illustrate a father's perception of and reaction to being a father of a child that experiences disability. From before and through birth, to diagnosis, to the workplace, to serious medical or behavioral issues, to father's support circles, and much more, including aging and death are explored by the fathers themselves as well as the mothers and children in their lives. Each entry focuses on male and fatherhood themes.

This is not a 'how-to' book or a book of '5-ways to do this' or '10-ways to do that.' Rather, this collection uses a storytelling approach to illuminate the emotional lives of these fathers. Dads of Disability will begin or extend the conversation between and amongst fathers, mothers, extended families, care circles, and individuals with disabilities themselves. 

This book is for fathers and mothers. For friends and support circles. For care professionals. For teachers. For friends  trying to understand their neighbor's challenges. For anyone interested in the variety of the emotional lives of fathers whose children experience a disability.

Regardless of the age of the father, the child's challenge, or even the gender of the essayist (remember, they are not all men!), Dads of Disability strives to paint pictures of a variety of different men who have one thing in common--they deeply love a child who experiences a disability. 

Topics of essays and poems include:
- A woman who chooses to live with her ex-husband to enable her children's father to continue to be in their life on a regular basis.
- On his way back from an airplane lavatory, a man gets into an interesting discussion with a flight attendant about fatherhood.
- A husband's rising in the middle of the night is finally understood and accepted by his dedicated and supportive wife.

Paperback, just out:

Also special order at Indie bookstores
  ISBN-13: 978-0615971865 (garymdietz)
  ISBN-10: 0615971865

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Vandermeer's list

                                                           Dear readers,

Here's a list Jeff Vandermeer posted on Ecstatic Days; I've simplified it to fit any book, though you should go by and see his new books from FSG Originals as well. Jeff is one of those writers who is good at all the things writers have to do these days, including marketing.

         Lady Word of Mouth
How You Can Help! 

—Buy the book now.
–Buy the book during release week. Barnes and Noble. Indiebound. Powell's Books. Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.uk. Indigo Chapters (Canada). Etc.
—Review the book. Blog, review site, or on social media. Any mention, especially noting whatever you really liked about the book, helps immensely.
—Review it on Amazon. Go to the Amazon sales page for the book and tell other readers what you liked about it. A quick and easy way to help get the word out and create interest.
—Make sure local booksellers carry it.
—Request it from your local library. 
—Spread the word through twitter and facebook. Tell people about the book through social media, using your favorite link about the book.