Taste Test: Hunger Mountain, No. 18, Winter 2013/2014

World of Blue by Allie Rowbotton (excerpt)
I have read that children adapt more readily than adults. They live through trauma, bear witness, and ferret fear way. It tucks into their bodies, secrets itself there, and they live on, like walking waistcoats full of pockets, compartments where they are tender and untouched. 
I am thinking of the thin band of metal implanted in my mother’s spine. The miniscule hinge of alloy in her hip. Or the copper T-Shape implanted in my uterus. I feel it nestled there, tingling and tweaking, a gate keeper. I am running my left big toe of the the band of skin on my right heel, numb and knobbly, a reaction to years of humid summers and dry winter spent laced into knee-high field boots that rubbed away layers of my skin, until it re-grew, thicker and impenetrable. 

Taste Test: Hunger Mountain, No. 18, Winter 2013/2014

World of Blue by Allie Rowbotton (excerpt)

I have read that children adapt more readily than adults. They live through trauma, bear witness, and ferret fear way. It tucks into their bodies, secrets itself there, and they live on, like walking waistcoats full of pockets, compartments where they are tender and untouched. 

I am thinking of the thin band of metal implanted in my mother’s spine. The miniscule hinge of alloy in her hip. Or the copper T-Shape implanted in my uterus. I feel it nestled there, tingling and tweaking, a gate keeper. I am running my left big toe of the the band of skin on my right heel, numb and knobbly, a reaction to years of humid summers and dry winter spent laced into knee-high field boots that rubbed away layers of my skin, until it re-grew, thicker and impenetrable. 

Taste Test: Hustle by David Tomas Martinez, Sarabande Books, 2014

8.
As a boy I diedinto silent manhood.
I hid the wordsteachers helped me find.
People always pine for the easeof an earlier time, when life
was lunch-boxed with fruitin the water fountain line,
so much explained during recess time.I hid the words the teachers helped me find.
I spoke in the twistof fingers to gang signs.
In the color of shoe lacesor which way my brim was tilt,
I hid the words teachershelped me find.

Taste Test: Hustle by David Tomas Martinez, Sarabande Books, 2014

8.

As a boy I died
into silent manhood.

I hid the words
teachers helped me find.

People always pine for the ease
of an earlier time, when life

was lunch-boxed with fruit
in the water fountain line,

so much explained during recess time.
I hid the words the teachers helped me find.

I spoke in the twist
of fingers to gang signs.

In the color of shoe laces
or which way my brim was tilt,

I hid the words teachers
helped me find.

Taste Test: Van Gogh’s Room at Arles by Stanley Elkin, Dalkey Archive Press, 1993

When the Foundation sent him there, Miller had absolutely no idea that he was to be put in Van Gogh’s room in the small yellow house at Arles. Indeed, he’d no idea that the room still existed, or the house, or, for that matter, even the hotel across the street that it was part of. 
Madame Celli simply handed the key over to him on the morning of his arrival. No special fuss or flourish or ceremony. The key itself, which couldn’t possible have been the original, was attached to a short chain, itself attached to a heavy iron ball about the size of a plum. The number 22 was stamped both on the key and on the ball along with, in French (a language that Miller have but whose vocabulary lists he’d memorized through the first few weeks of the second term of his freshman year in high school, la plume de ma tante), on the ball, a tiny metal legend (he made out "boîte aux lettres"ˆ) to the effect, Miller supposed, that if whoever found it dropped it into a post box, the postage would be guaranteed. 

Taste Test: Van Gogh’s Room at Arles by Stanley Elkin, Dalkey Archive Press, 1993

When the Foundation sent him there, Miller had absolutely no idea that he was to be put in Van Gogh’s room in the small yellow house at Arles. Indeed, he’d no idea that the room still existed, or the house, or, for that matter, even the hotel across the street that it was part of. 

Madame Celli simply handed the key over to him on the morning of his arrival. No special fuss or flourish or ceremony. The key itself, which couldn’t possible have been the original, was attached to a short chain, itself attached to a heavy iron ball about the size of a plum. The number 22 was stamped both on the key and on the ball along with, in French (a language that Miller have but whose vocabulary lists he’d memorized through the first few weeks of the second term of his freshman year in high school, la plume de ma tante), on the ball, a tiny metal legend (he made out "boîte aux lettres"ˆ) to the effect, Miller supposed, that if whoever found it dropped it into a post box, the postage would be guaranteed. 

Taste Test: Amnesia of the Movement of Clouds and of Red and Black Verse, by Maria Attanasio, translated by Carla Billitteri, Litmus Press, 2014

VII
Parlare della morte poi scopareo litigare a più non posso––leis’appiattiva nell’angolo: per tein forma di ragno per medi scarafaggio, cieca, paralizzata,morta la morte––le guglie tremavanole maniglie delle porte si aprivanoda sole la bellezza era vicina di tavoloe compagna di letto il passo baroccoacuminato nell’anima che mi hai dato.
VII
To talk about death and then to fuckor fight as hard as we can––shesquashed herself in a corner: for youin the shape of a spider for meof a roach, blind, paralyzed,dead death––steeples trembleddoorknobs openedof themselves beauty was at next tableand a bed companion the baroque stepacute in the soul that you gave me.

Taste Test: Amnesia of the Movement of Clouds and of Red and Black Verse, by Maria Attanasio, translated by Carla Billitteri, Litmus Press, 2014

VII

Parlare della morte poi scopare
o litigare a più non posso––lei
s’appiattiva nell’angolo: per te
in forma di ragno per me
di scarafaggio, cieca, paralizzata,
morta la morte––le guglie tremavano
le maniglie delle porte si aprivano
da sole la bellezza era vicina di tavolo
e compagna di letto il passo barocco
acuminato nell’anima che mi hai dato.

VII

To talk about death and then to fuck
or fight as hard as we can––she
squashed herself in a corner: for you
in the shape of a spider for me
of a roach, blind, paralyzed,
dead death––steeples trembled
doorknobs opened
of themselves beauty was at next table
and a bed companion the baroque step
acute in the soul that you gave me.

Taste Test: Albedo by Kathleen Jesme, Ahsahta Press, 2014

Collectively
Planes go over in smears of sound:leaves click down through the trees
center the daylet it fall intoits crevice
and the night flow evenlyon either side

Taste Test: Albedo by Kathleen Jesme, Ahsahta Press, 2014

Collectively

Planes go over in smears of sound:
leaves click down through the trees

center the day
let it fall into
its crevice

and the night flow evenly
on either side

Taste Test: Belladonna #158, 2014

Juliette and the Boys by Sueyeun Juliette Lee (excerpt)
C writestells me he’s beenwatching those videosof meam I around in Octobercovered in honeythere are all kindsof ways to getlost in a beautiful blackcornfield bent overbackwards and hairam I thinkingabout the Perseidswhen I showerthe next one inknee socks orthe newswhicheveram I thinking ofit too

Taste Test: Belladonna #158, 2014

Juliette and the Boys by Sueyeun Juliette Lee (excerpt)

C writes
tells me he’s been
watching those videos
of me
am I around in October
covered in honey
there are all kinds
of ways to get
lost in a beautiful black
cornfield bent over
backwards and hair
am I thinking
about the Perseids
when I shower
the next one in
knee socks or
the news
whichever
am I thinking of
it too

Taste Test: Reckless Lovely by Martha Silano, Saturnalia Books, 2014

Size
What she thought was huge––a 64-ounce Big Gulp,boxcars creaking from one end of town to the other,
Jupiter’s red spot, the silvery, sweeping pinwheel galaxy––are tinier than the tiniest bone in a pygmy shrew.
Big, it turns out, is 300,000 light years-wide,a dark corona surrounding the Milky Way,
which it wears like a halo of an angelin mourning, a cloud-like penumbra, a gypsy’s
funeral kerchief ten times the size of every visible star,every trace of dust, gasp of gas, each planetary speck.
Try that on for size. Try on the black babushkabeyond which everything else is shroud-less mycoplasma.
This is the size of her thoughts as she walks down row after rowat the Tomb of the Unknowns, lowers her uncloaked head. 

Taste Test: Reckless Lovely by Martha Silano, Saturnalia Books, 2014

Size

What she thought was huge––a 64-ounce Big Gulp,
boxcars creaking from one end of town to the other,

Jupiter’s red spot, the silvery, sweeping pinwheel galaxy––
are tinier than the tiniest bone in a pygmy shrew.

Big, it turns out, is 300,000 light years-wide,
a dark corona surrounding the Milky Way,

which it wears like a halo of an angel
in mourning, a cloud-like penumbra, a gypsy’s

funeral kerchief ten times the size of every visible star,
every trace of dust, gasp of gas, each planetary speck.

Try that on for size. Try on the black babushka
beyond which everything else is shroud-less mycoplasma.

This is the size of her thoughts as she walks down row after row
at the Tomb of the Unknowns, lowers her uncloaked head. 

Taste Test: Black Warrior Review, Spring/Summer 2014, 40.2

The Taxmen by Sabrina Orah Mark (excerpt)
When the taxmen come for father’s heart, father is on the phone. I hear him say, “They’re here.” I hear him say, “Keep the bones.” And then there is a long pause and then he says, “In a bucket, a bucket.” And then he says something about the moon, or ruin, or home. Lately, father’s skin has seemed the color of fog. 

Taste Test: Black Warrior Review, Spring/Summer 2014, 40.2

The Taxmen by Sabrina Orah Mark (excerpt)

When the taxmen come for father’s heart, father is on the phone. I hear him say, “They’re here.” I hear him say, “Keep the bones.” And then there is a long pause and then he says, “In a bucket, a bucket.” And then he says something about the moon, or ruin, or home. Lately, father’s skin has seemed the color of fog. 

Taste Test: The Long Story, No. 32, 2014

The Lightning Left No Mark by Renée Branum
Mama used to tell me that when I was still in her belly, still gaining shape and getting ready to be born, that she was crossing Mr. Landry’s corn field at dusk, and it was empty just after harvest, the stalks all crooked and bent and their shapes in the failing light were strange and other-worldly. She told me that as she walked, her feet making the husks rustle, she thought she heard words in the sounds, a lisping that she listened to but couldn’t understand. She saw heat lightning a mile or so ahead divide the sky and leave a sort of film behind, a spindling glow ribboning across the twilight like a crack in a mirror. It was just afterward, she would say, that she felt the sudden pain start at the roots of her hair and spread down her spine and through the soles of her feet into the soil. There was slight everywhere and the smell of burning, and she thought that maybe it had been God’s voice stuttering in the leaves of the absent corn. She came to with the tang of bater acid spreading like flame over the cindered flesh of her tongue, and when she opened her mouth, she felt the shards of shattered teeth loose against her cheeks. It was then that she realized she’d been struck and worried for the child within her womb. 

Taste Test: The Long Story, No. 32, 2014

The Lightning Left No Mark by Renée Branum

Mama used to tell me that when I was still in her belly, still gaining shape and getting ready to be born, that she was crossing Mr. Landry’s corn field at dusk, and it was empty just after harvest, the stalks all crooked and bent and their shapes in the failing light were strange and other-worldly. She told me that as she walked, her feet making the husks rustle, she thought she heard words in the sounds, a lisping that she listened to but couldn’t understand. She saw heat lightning a mile or so ahead divide the sky and leave a sort of film behind, a spindling glow ribboning across the twilight like a crack in a mirror. It was just afterward, she would say, that she felt the sudden pain start at the roots of her hair and spread down her spine and through the soles of her feet into the soil. There was slight everywhere and the smell of burning, and she thought that maybe it had been God’s voice stuttering in the leaves of the absent corn. She came to with the tang of bater acid spreading like flame over the cindered flesh of her tongue, and when she opened her mouth, she felt the shards of shattered teeth loose against her cheeks. It was then that she realized she’d been struck and worried for the child within her womb. 

Taste Test: Primary Lessons by Sarah Bracey White, CavanKerry Press, 2013

(excerpt)
Chapter 1
Antonia Bracey White is the most important person in my life. I call her Aunt Susie because that’s the name she took after so many people mispronounced her real name. She’s my mama’s big sister. I’ve lived with Aunt Susie ever since I was a little bitty baby. Our phone number is BA 5-4008. Aunt Susie made me memorize it, in case I ever get lost, but the only time I’m ever away from her is when I go to kindergarten, and I know my way home from kindergarten. 
We live at 2304 North Smedley Street, Philadelphia, PA, in a red-brick row house with white marble steps. Aunt Susie loves me very much. I know because she tells me so, all the time. Whenever I tell her that I wish she was my mother, she miles and says I already have a mother, but that she loves me just as much as any mother ever loved her own child. 

Taste Test: Primary Lessons by Sarah Bracey White, CavanKerry Press, 2013

(excerpt)

Chapter 1

Antonia Bracey White is the most important person in my life. I call her Aunt Susie because that’s the name she took after so many people mispronounced her real name. She’s my mama’s big sister. I’ve lived with Aunt Susie ever since I was a little bitty baby. Our phone number is BA 5-4008. Aunt Susie made me memorize it, in case I ever get lost, but the only time I’m ever away from her is when I go to kindergarten, and I know my way home from kindergarten. 

We live at 2304 North Smedley Street, Philadelphia, PA, in a red-brick row house with white marble steps. Aunt Susie loves me very much. I know because she tells me so, all the time. Whenever I tell her that I wish she was my mother, she miles and says I already have a mother, but that she loves me just as much as any mother ever loved her own child. 

Taste Test: Beauty Mark by Suzanne Cleary, BkMk Press, 2013

Food Poems 
I.
In the Russian orphanage, each nightthe child is given a piece of breadto hold in her hands while she sleeps,so she knows that tomorrow she will eat.
II.
In a village outside of Addis Ababa,one child gives another a banana.The second child peels it, returns the fruit,eats the peel.
III
On Yom Kippur, Avenue of the Americas, a woman hands the homeless man a sandwich,which he refuses, saying, No thank you.Today I’m fasting.
IV.
The parent is becoming a child.Mother of God, feed those who will feed her.
Holy Mother, rest your arm across her shoulders,your other arm behind her knees.Lift her like a child being carried to bedin a world where children are carried to bed.

Taste Test: Beauty Mark by Suzanne Cleary, BkMk Press, 2013

Food Poems 

I.

In the Russian orphanage, each night
the child is given a piece of bread
to hold in her hands while she sleeps,
so she knows that tomorrow she will eat.

II.

In a village outside of Addis Ababa,
one child gives another a banana.
The second child peels it, returns the fruit,
eats the peel.

III

On Yom Kippur, Avenue of the Americas, 
a woman hands the homeless man a sandwich,
which he refuses, saying, No thank you.
Today I’m fasting.

IV.

The parent is becoming a child.
Mother of God, feed those who will feed her.

Holy Mother, rest your arm across her shoulders,
your other arm behind her knees.
Lift her like a child being carried to bed
in a world where children are carried to bed.

Taste Test: Red Holler: Contemporary Appalachian Literature, edited by John Branscum and Wayne Thomas, Sarabande Books, 2013

Back of Beyond by Ron Rash (excerpt)
When Parson drove to his shop that morning, the sky was the color of lead. Flurries settled on the pickup’s windshield, lingered a moment before expiring. A heavy snow tonight, the weatherman warned, and it looked to be certain, everything getting quiet and still, waiting. Even more snow in the higher mountains, enough to make many roads impassable. It would be a profitable day, because Parson knew they’d come to his pawnshop to barter before emptying every cold-remedy shelf in town. They would hit Wal-Mart first because it was the cheapest, then the Rexall, and finally the town’s three convenience stores, coming from every way-back cove and hollow in the county, because walls and windows couldn’t conceal the smell of meth.

Taste Test: Red Holler: Contemporary Appalachian Literature, edited by John Branscum and Wayne Thomas, Sarabande Books, 2013

Back of Beyond by Ron Rash (excerpt)

When Parson drove to his shop that morning, the sky was the color of lead. Flurries settled on the pickup’s windshield, lingered a moment before expiring. A heavy snow tonight, the weatherman warned, and it looked to be certain, everything getting quiet and still, waiting. Even more snow in the higher mountains, enough to make many roads impassable. It would be a profitable day, because Parson knew they’d come to his pawnshop to barter before emptying every cold-remedy shelf in town. They would hit Wal-Mart first because it was the cheapest, then the Rexall, and finally the town’s three convenience stores, coming from every way-back cove and hollow in the county, because walls and windows couldn’t conceal the smell of meth.

Taste Test: The Mom Egg, 2012, Vol. 10: The Body

Close to the Heart by Nancy Cook (excerpt)
I am planning the perfect tattoo. Where to have it applied is not in question: It is going to cover my entire chest. But beyond that, I have some decisions to make. 
My relationship with my breasts has always been complicated. So much different than Joel’s relationship with his penis. Joel’s penis has a name. the penis is named Max, basic and simple. Max has a personality, so Joel believes, a life of its own, completely separate from Joel’s. Well, not completely separate, of course. Our son Aaron views his little penis in much the same way. Aaron thinks his penis is his friend, although he hasn’t give it (him?) a name. Joel is convinced this is evidence of relational capacity. I say if you are in conversation with a body part, addressing it as Other, that’s distancing, not intimacy. But to be candid, I don’t care enough to get into a real discussion about it. 

Taste Test: The Mom Egg, 2012, Vol. 10: The Body

Close to the Heart by Nancy Cook (excerpt)

I am planning the perfect tattoo. Where to have it applied is not in question: It is going to cover my entire chest. But beyond that, I have some decisions to make. 

My relationship with my breasts has always been complicated. So much different than Joel’s relationship with his penis. Joel’s penis has a name. the penis is named Max, basic and simple. Max has a personality, so Joel believes, a life of its own, completely separate from Joel’s. Well, not completely separate, of course. Our son Aaron views his little penis in much the same way. Aaron thinks his penis is his friend, although he hasn’t give it (him?) a name. Joel is convinced this is evidence of relational capacity. I say if you are in conversation with a body part, addressing it as Other, that’s distancing, not intimacy. But to be candid, I don’t care enough to get into a real discussion about it. 

Taste Test: Southern Women’s Review, Spring 2010, Volume 2, Issue 2

Pentecostal Girls by Julie Buffaloe-Yoder
When it got too hot,Pentecostal girlswent swimmingat the shore
in long white dresses,sneakers on their feet,braided hair covered with bandanas.
From root to toenail,their sins werebound as tightas the binding on a new white Bible.
When us bad girlscame bouncing upcute as hellin silver hoopsand red bikinis,
the boys
couldn’t stop lookingat those Pentecostal girls
dripping in salty sinlaughing, splashing
flashing hintsof bra strapsand panties.
Satan herselfdidn’t standa chanceagainst the saintswho had beenimmersedin the armorof wet, hot cotton.

Taste Test: Southern Women’s Review, Spring 2010, Volume 2, Issue 2

Pentecostal Girls by Julie Buffaloe-Yoder

When it got too hot,
Pentecostal girls
went swimming
at the shore

in long white dresses,
sneakers on their feet,
braided hair covered with bandanas.

From root to toenail,
their sins were
bound as tight
as the binding 
on a new white Bible.

When us bad girls
came bouncing up
cute as hell
in silver hoops
and red bikinis,

the boys

couldn’t stop looking
at those Pentecostal girls

dripping in salty sin
laughing, splashing

flashing hints
of bra straps
and panties.

Satan herself
didn’t stand
a chance
against the saints
who had been
immersed
in the armor
of wet, hot cotton.

You know what really makes our day? When a book we love that’s published by a member press we love CRACKS THE NY TIMES BESTSELLER LIST. 

Congrats to Leslie Jamison and to the entire team at Graywolf Press. And to indie presses in general, for continuing to publish difficult, fascinating work, and trusting that readers will follow.

You know what really makes our day? When a book we love that’s published by a member press we love CRACKS THE NY TIMES BESTSELLER LIST.

Congrats to Leslie Jamison and to the entire team at Graywolf Press. And to indie presses in general, for continuing to publish difficult, fascinating work, and trusting that readers will follow.