This particular community feature post is focused on the upcoming book launch of three of Airlie Press’s new titles: Ordinary Gravity by Gary Lark, Savagery by J.C. Mehta, and, winner of the 2018 Airlie Prize, Wonder Tissue by Hannah Larrabee!
Here’s the info for those of you in the Portland, OR area:
When: Tuesday, October 1st @ 7pm
Where: Annie Bloom’s Books, 7834 SW Capitol Hwy, Portland, OR 97219
I’m presently in my second year of a three-year stint as a co-editor of Airlie Press and can honestly say that it is a joy to be able to play a part in bringing these books out into the world. Below are excerpts from the new books either to give a taste of the upcoming book launch or to hold space for those of us, like myself, who aren’t able to be there.
Excerpt from Ordinary Gravity by Gary Lark
Hardly anyone dies of typhoid fever
any more. We can send our sons to war
without complaint. Lice are quickly dispatched
and no one freezes to death.
We have piles of antibiotics.
The broadsword wounded aren’t left
in the field to die with others rotting around them.
Of course there are more bombs and bullets
but morphine is readily available.
We can usually save a soldier whose limb
is blown off.
Yes, things are much improved.
We can send more daughters up to the front.
They have the right.
Soldiering is still a good option for the poor.
We’re working on pills for madness,
more medications to calm the nerves
and we’ll get a handle on this suicide business,
yes we will.
Excerpt from Savagery by J.C. Mehta
The Heart Consumes Itself
It’s not true the starved
don’t eat, we die
of broken hips, pelvis
churned to dust—slowly,
the heart consumes
itself. Atrophies and implodes.
(These chambers, remember,
are a muscle.)
Nobody nowhere shoulders
the strength to stop it all, the whole
fat world from slipping
between cracked, wanting lips. We eat
and we hate,
with each bite and gag-
me spoon. Our weakness
displayed like limbs
splayed wide, flushed
shameful folds of pink.
How I wish
I could stop. Let the valves
shut down cold. Listen,
that last organ coda. And you
in dutiful ovation.
Excerpt from Wonder Tissue by Hannah Larrabee
Loose-leaf planet I survive
steeping in a pocket of dust
or lakeside listening to loons,
my tongue curling around
their songs of sorrow, fierce
red eyes, fierce as her body,
its way of going about me—oh,
abandoned bed like a reliquary,
her bone fingers a memory
inside me—oh, I have learned
the language of the homesick on
this planet of horses, this planet
of her legs tightening around me,
force rising against gravity, magma
loosened as from a spur kicked
into earth, foaming at the bit, I am
tamed, I am tamed, come tame me
extraterrestrial, I, too, have learned
the word beautiful, mapped its quiet
coordinates, the wind through her dress
is the conversation of cells, I am alive
in all my fires.
Click on the following to learn more about Airlie’s publishing collective model, our present single poem prize, our national Airlie Prize, and the regional open reading period from which editorships are determined.
And be sure to check out my own new Airlie title, An Empty Pot’s Darkness.