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Gloria Mindock, Editor   Issue No. 93   August, 2016




Welcome to the Cervena Barva Press Newsletter for August, 2016.
It has been awhile since a newsletter reached your way!

Some catch up news.

In 2015, we published 10 full-length books and 5 chapbooks.

    So far this year, we have released:

  • Fire Tongue by Zvi A. Sesling (March, 2016)
  • Cimmeria by T. M. Devos (March, 2016)
  • The Last Gun by Anne Harding Woodworth (March, 2016)
  • Secret Letter by Erika Burkart, translated from the German by Marc Vincenz (June, 2016)
  • Duino by Martin Burke (June, 2016)
  • No More Happy Endings by Milan Djurasovic (July, 2016)
Fire Tongue Cimmeria The Last Gun

Secret Letter Duino No More Happy Endings

Please check these books out! We depend on sales to survive!
Order here, scroll down...

This Fall, you can expect 10 more full-lengths to be released and 3 more chapbooks. This is exciting!

My new intern, Arielle Chappell, has been helping me this summer.
She attends Lesley University in Cambridge, MA.

Some very exciting news about Cervena Barva Press staff.

Our international editor, Flavia Cosma, has a new book out called "The Latin Quarter" published by MadHat Press.

To order Flavia's book from MadHat Press:

To order Flavia's book from Amazon:

Election Night and the Five Satins

Tim Suermondt has a new book published called, "Election Night and the Five Satins" by Glass Lyre Press. It is available for ordering.

To order Tim Suermondt's book directly from Glass Lyre Press: Please email with your postal address and book title. Your book will be mailed out and an invoice payable by Paypal or check emailed to you.

To order from Amazon: Tim's book:

Pui Ying Wong will have a new book out sometime in September called "An Emigrant's Winter" by Glass Lyre Press.

Whiteness of Bone

My new book, "Whiteness of Bone" is published by Glass Lyre Press and available for ordering.

To order Gloria Mindock's book directly from Glass Lyre Press: Please email with your postal address and book title. Your book will be mailed out and an invoice payable by Paypal or check emailed to you.

To order from Amazon:

It is a good year for all of us at Cervena Barva Press. How wonderful it is for all of us to have new books out all in the same year around the same time. Wow! Very exciting!

Tim and I want to thank all of you who attended our book launch and thanks to everyone who bought our books. We can't thank you enough. Here are a few pictures from our launch. The rest you can see on our FB pages.

Gloria and Tim Tim, Gloria and Pui

Gloria reading Tim reading

Gloria reading


BLEAK SPLENDOR/poems by George Held
Muddy River Books
Reviewed by Pui Ying Wong


In his latest collection of poems "Bleak Splendor," George Held draws from wide historical subjects, World Wars, The Korean War, Vietnam, Iraq, as well as events close to home such as 9-11, Sandy and climate change. In reading these poems one gains insights into the poet's experiences through history's lens, as in the poem "Prague":

      "The photo shows me, on a sunny fall day,
      sitting in the old Jewish cemetery
      behind my office at Charles University,
      not far from where gothic Charles Bridge
      crosses Vltava, and I am well aware
      at least six layers of dead Jews are stacked
      below me, because Christian Czechs had barred

The poem reflects on the Jewish fate in the Nazi era, on how atrocities and destruction took place amidst a city magnificent for its river, its Romanesque castles and old world architecture. The poet, unable to look away will continue to ask questions and turn to history for clues. In the pre-script in "Guernica 2012,"Held writes that the bombing of Basque Guernica compelled Picasso to paint the acclaimed Guernica, first shown in Paris in 1937. When it was shown in Spain in 1981, it had to be displayed behind bulletproof glass:

      "...That's the point of terrorism---
      They have no native land,
      The world is their target;

      We are their targets.
      Look at the carnage in Guernica,

      In Kabul, Baghdad, Mumbai;
      Ask, "Can we end up like that?"

And we ponder the possibility. Man has not learned to resolve conflicts, countless acts of terrorism and destruction continue since Picasso painted Guernica. Terrorism is not something that only happens far away or in the era of Hitler and Mussolini. In "That Tuesday Night," a poem referring to Sept 11, the poet fresh from witnessing the terrorist attacks and devastation in Lower Manhattan looks at himself in the mirror:

      "...and I knew that he
      was lucky to have lived
      to sixty-five---too young for WWII
      and Korea, too old for Viet Nam---
      lucky to have lived his soft
      American life without much fear...

      ...the sirens screaming just up the street
      at St. Vincent's, I knew nothing
      could ever make me
      safe again."

In the aftermath, the image of war invades our lives and intercepts the most private moments as experienced by the lovers in the poem "War Lovers":

      You grabbed my hair and pulled me
      On top of you and I thrust into you

      While the gray-headed anchor
      In undertaker's suit intoned
      Shock and awe, shock and awe, shock and awe"

There are poems about everyday life, neighbors and love ones, aging and life change. But in this collection the poet's gaze is unflinching in confronting history's violence and conflicts. In choosing to examine these dark chapters the poet is also saying no to oblivion. In that way, Held is a poet of a moral vision even as he chides himself for living this "soft American life," and in these powerful poems he holds open for us his canvass of modern landscape that is also the "bleak splendor."

RED INDIAN ROAD WEST (Native American Poetry from California)-edited by Kurt Schweigman and Lucille Lang Day, Scarlet Tanager Press, 2016
Reviewed by Tim Suermondt


I like how in the first poem of this intriguing anthology-Jennifer Elise Foerster's "California" jumps right in with a stanza like this:

      I went to the arcade of angels,
      offered my bucket of shells-
      in exchange I was given a map of hell.

Yes, there is to be found here "The Great Spirit," wolf dances and the like, but don't be fooled. While the Native American reverence for nature and the spirituality of things is real, the poets writing for this book take a hard look at a large slice of Indian concerns, not all of it sweetness and light, but necessary in some of its hard truths-and though it's difficult to define an individual let alone a people, this anthology gives it a sincere crack.

Tough times abound, but the poets and the folks in them don't flinch and dignity won't be so easily erased. I particularly like what Natalie Diaz has done in her two poems "Why I Hate Raisins" and "A Woman with No Legs". And I don't know if Leonard Peltier is innocent of the crime that has put him behind bars for many years, but I found Stephen Meadows' "Through the Walls I Am Calling" to be often powerful in his defense through the incantations:

      I am calling you from Dull Knife
      I am calling from Ishi
      I am calling from Modoc Jack
      I am calling from Red Cloud

There is humor to be had here as well, even if you might have to cry through the tears a bit. I especially enjoyed E.K. Cooper's poems: "Women Laughing" and "Pomo Shuffle"-and Sylvia Ross' "Tribal Identity Grade Three" along with Sal Martinez' pokes at John Wayne.

From this rich California landscape (I remember as a boy watching tumbleweeds rolling down the hills and taking over our front yard) I'd like to end with the poem I liked the best, a poem that displays all the resiliency and humanity of Native American men and women who will always be the real Americans. From Senna Heyatawin:

      A Failed Poem by the Light of the Moon

      Sam drank whiskey, we smoked enough weed
      unleashed coughing fits-crackling night.
      Tonight was warm enough to sit on the porch
      watching ponies shadow the moonlight. She told me,
      Maybe horses are wishes, whiskey tastes better.

Glass Lyre Press (Poetry), 2016
Reviewed by Tim Suermondt


What I particularly like about Marc Frazier's new book of poems EACH THING TOUCHES is its expansiveness. So instead of having reams of poems written to "Life in Pittsburgh" (though I'm sure it's a nice city) or focusing on "Saving all the Whales" (though I'm all for saving them), we get an interesting terrain of subjects, among others: Diaghilev, Pioneers, hunger strikers, looks at the works of painters, writers and film. Yet, every poet has his/her concerns that move up to the front. For Frazier it's deft descriptions of nature-fitting coming from a poet who has a poem titled "The Weight of Each Word":

      I hear the bold claims of America and tropical birds,

      synapses fire, coasts wander.
      I see the sudden dip of yesterday's gulls,

      creatures caught in the heat of mating,
      the bay of Fundy's lonely sweep,

      flashes of flowers, of flood,
      the shell's swirl mimicked in our patterns.

And then we have his take on growing up, trying to understand the myriad mysteries of families, the good and the bad and everything in between. While it's hard to consolidate all the territory, "Taskmasters" puts things in stark perspective:

      On a wall I see father's chart
      of weekly chores.
      I redid them again and again,
      but they didn't pass inspection.
      My broom searched every corner,
      every crack
      of a dusty basement.

      Anything worth doing
      is worth doing well.

That searching broom says it all.

And, finally, Frazier shows himself to be a love poet-or more correctly a searcher of love, one who faces love's disappointments with strength in his knowledge that despite the pain often involved, love is as necessary as breathing-the whole body involved in the journey. The last poem "What's to Come" ends with:

      Who then shall inherit the earth?
      When blood stills on the body.

      Bones wither.
      Ribs splinter.

      Burnt-out houses-a humble
      housewife taking stock

      as bittersweet grows silent.
      The seawall groans.

      A detached fan of broken fingers
      waves in the city of corpses.

      Sleep my children.
      The azaleas know.

But as long as there are azaleas, there's always, as the poets like Marc Frazier remind us, hope and even love.


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