Messing with your head

A review of 'Insolvency, Insolvency!' by Jeremy Hoevenaar

Photo of Jeremy Hoevenaar (left) courtesy of Alex Teschmacher.

It’s only words that tell us what to do. If we listen. Insolvency, Insolvency! doesn’t tell us what to do / but it does tell us how to listen / and when. If we listen.

Those who are familiars of the impetuous wonder of words will understand Jeremy’s poem. Those who read will not.

It’s only words that tell us what to do. If we listen. Insolvency, Insolvency! doesn’t tell us what to do / but it does tell us how to listen / and when. If we listen.

Inverting helplessness

An interview between Christy Davids and Nikki Wallschlaeger

Christy Davids (left) and Nikki Wallschlaeger (right). Photos courtesy of the authors.

Note: Nikki Wallschlaeger is the author of two full-length books of poetry:­ Houses (Horse Less Press, 2015) and Crawlspace (Bloof Books, 2017). Wallschlaeger lives in Wisconsin where she collects and propagates violets. She is a mother; she is a poet; she is at once tender, at once piercing. This interview took place in September 2017 shortly before Wallschlaeger arrived in Philadelphia to read at Philalalia, a small press and book arts festival hosted by Temple University.

David Abel in conversation


David Abel visited the Kelly Writers House recently in order to record his poems for PennSound (his PennSound author page will be available soon), to check with us about our progress in digitizing a box of rare recordings on cassette he has given us for adding to the PennSound archive, and to participate in a recording session of PoemTalk (on a poem by Muriel Rukeyser), to be released later. Among the cassettes are readings by David Rattray and Gene Frumkin.


'Round Vienna'

Sample image by Melissa Hardie
Sample image by Melissa Hardie

Round Vienna is the title of a new chapbook from Vagabond by Kate Lilley, and reminds me that Vienna airport, (my only experience of Vienna) is round. As far as I know, it's the first solo poetry publication from Lilley since her 2002 Salt book, Versary. It is just 4 poems. Yet the elegant production aside - and the splendid (yet understated) sample of images by Melissa Hardie - it does not feel meagre. Titles are important: and if Vienna conjured Freud for you, the first poem title, 'Fraud's Dora' would confirm it. The title is in a sense a balancing of the intellectual weight of the poems: for we are in the realm of psychoanalytic assemblage. There is a similarity here to the poems of Emma Lew in that the lines seem drawn from disparate (if perhaps fictional) sources, yet they present a tonally structured verisimilitude rather than the feel of a field of fragments. Otherwise they are very much their own woman - distinct in terms of rhythm, sensibility and humour:

she did not scruple to appear

in the most frequented streets

she was in fact a feminist


Sidonie was a lesbian patient of Freud's, and there is a homoerotic coupling between the poem on the left and Hardie's image on the left. (These images are not just illustrations but poetically apposite in themselves, encouraging a reading of the book as visual poetry.)

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