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Gloria Mindock, Editor   Issue No. 98   March, 2020




March, 2020 Cervena Barva Press Newsletter

Hi everyone! What a horrible time for the whole world. Who would have thought we would see a virus make so many ill and cause so many deaths. So sad. Please be safe!

I cancelled all our events for March and April. It does not look like it will be safe for any gatherings for a while.

In January and February, five books were released. They are:

Fly Fishing in Times Square
by William Walsh

Asking the Form
by Hilary Sallick

Down Cemetery Road
(Fiction) by Ned Randle

Momentary Tubulence
by Brad Rose

Little Brown Mouse (children's book)
by Jack Mindock, Kellis Mindock Dryer and Gloria Mindock

In March, we released a poetry chapbook.

by Susan Tepper

Interviewed this month are Anne Pluto and Michael McInnis.
Thanks to Karen Friedland for this interview.

Michael McInnis and Anne Pluto are the founders and co-editors of Nixes Mate Books, a Boston-based independent small press that publishes 12 books of poetry and fiction yearly, and of the Nixes Mate Review, an online literary magazine that publishes online quarterly, and has a print year-end "best of" anthology. Poets published by the review and the press include Rusty Barnes, Heather Sullivan, Jennifer Martelli, Gloria Mindock, Mark DeCarteret, Lauren Leja, Kelly DuMar, Karen Friedland, and many others. See the Nixes Mate website to learn more.

Anne Elezabeth Pluto is Professor of Literature and Theatre at Lesley University where she is founder of Commonthought Magazine and the artistic director of the Oxford Street Players. She was a member of the Boston small press scene in the late 1980s. Her chapbook Benign Protection was published by Cervena Barva Press (2016). She has a book of poems, The Deepest Part of Dark forthcoming from Unlikely Stories Press in December.

Michael McInnis was the founder of the Primal Plunge, Boston's first and only bookstore dedicated to zine and underground culture and small press literature. His poetry and short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Chiron Review, The Commonline Journal, Naugatuck Review, and others. He has a book of poems Secret Histories just released from Cervena Barva Press.

About Being a Poet:

What started you on your poetic journey? What called you to poetry?

Michael - I started writing when I was a kid - I felt the need to write.

Annie - I started when I was 8 - wrote stories and poems with illustrations.

Tell us a little about your poetic practice-what inspires you to write a poem? How do you prefer to work?

Michael - I wish I had one.

Annie - I write them in my head - or they write themselves and I'll stop what I'm doing to jot down the words/phrases/or the complete poem and come back to it later.

Which poets, contemporary or otherwise, have most inspired you? What quality of their poetry speaks to you?

Michael - Charles Simic. Black Humor.

Annie - There are many. Dickinson, Akhmatova, Shakespeare, to name three.

What other art forms or life experiences have informed or influenced your work?

Michael - Music - playing in crappy punk bands and composing soundtrack music. Spending six years in the Navy.

Annie - Theatre - Music - Photography - Painting - History. Life experiences: relationships: family, friendship, love.

About Being an Editor:

As an editor, what draws you to a certain poem that makes you want to publish it?

Michael - there is an immediacy when I read the poem with their use of language, or their telling a story.

Annie - I am drawn in to the rhythm of poems, language, images, their story. Like Michael, it is the immediacy of my connection to the poem that makes me desire to share it with others.

As a press, how do you find great work?

Michael - Word of mouth, because we only solicit manuscripts.

Annie - Ditto.

Tell us a little about the process of founding and maintaining a successful press.
What are some tips you'd give others who are thinking of starting up a press and/or literary magazine?

Michael - Lots of procrastination, a fair amount of money, and a willingness to explore language and design and bring good design to small books.

Annie - I'll echo Michael and add: a partner you trust who can deal with your shortcomings - who you can create with - the writers are out there.

How do you see yourself in the literary community in this country and internationally?
What are your feelings about the state of the literary community right now?

Michael - We are growing a reputation for publishing good work. We want to work on marketing our books better. The literary community is fragmented.

Annie - We are growing - we have a good "product"- we need to work on marketing. The community is fragmented - there are "pockets" of writers in different communities - the cross over is always good.


Review of Denise Provost's "Curious Peach" by Callie Gonsalves
ISBN: 9780359711888
Ibbetson Street Press, 2019

Denise Provost's "Curious Peach" is a delightful read. It's poignant and nostalgic without being overly sentimental. The descriptions Provost uses to describe the seasons stick with readers as a striking metaphor for our own existence. Though light and peaceful on the surface, this book is full of wit, cynicism, and anxiety- all in the best way. "Curious Peach" accompanies the soul through a journey of reminiscence and angst regarding the future of our planet and ourselves.

Aside from the content, the form of these poems is beautiful. They carry a traditional scheme-- rhyming pattern and all- while maintaining a contemporary feel. We're treated to a variety of different poetry structures, varying length and complexity evident between lines and stanzas. I especially enjoyed the slant rhymes and the instances where Provost abandoned the traditional rhyming scheme altogether. "Curious Peach" manages to stay refreshing while discussing a timeless topic, nature, in a timeless form, poetry.

The work contains twenty-eight poems that bring us from the beginning of spring to the end of autumn. They vary in length and style, but not in quality. Provost combines personal experiences with universal themes to create a work that is both longing and comforting: an overall joy.

In Memoriam: William James Austin

I am so sad to report that William James Austin passed away on August 15th. I first published Bill's work in the mid 1980's in the Boston Literary Review/BLuR. After that, we became friends and over the years, he has read for my series BluR Reads and the Cervena Barva Press Reading Series here in Somerville and in NYC.

I thought the world of Bill and his work always spoke to me. I published 2 books of his under S. Press. Underworld 1 and Underworld 2. Bill published a magazine called Blackbox, which I loved. It was an honor to be published in this magazine. Years later Bill and Igor Satanovsky founded Koja Press. They published such beautiful books. Bill continued to publish his Underground series of books. When Igor wrote me to tell me this news, I was so devastated. Igor and Bill worked so closely together on Koja Press. Igor has lost a close friend too.

Bill worked as an Associate Professor of English and philosophy / artistic director of the Visiting Writers Program at SUNY, Farmingdale. He retired recently. I was out of contact with him lately and learned he was in and out of the hospital fighting Cancer.

Bill always spoke highly of his wife Rena. I never got to meet her. I knew it was special. I have been thinking of her. Bill was a wonderful, wonderful person, and a great writer. One of my favorite writers! I am going to miss him, our discussions, and laughs.

I took this picture from Igor Satanovsky's site. I love this photo of Bill so I wanted to share it.
Also pictured here is a photo of Bill reading at the KGB Bar in NYC for the Cervena Barva Press Reading Series.

RIP sweet friend...

They are a few more writer friends who just passed away. I am so shocked and saddened about them.
I will write about them in the April newsletter.

I would like to welcome new poetry reviewers to our staff. Miriam O'Neal, Chris Reilley, Annie Pluto, and Gene Barry (Ireland). I am so happy to have you all be part of the press!

Continue to be safe.
All my best,

Cervena Barva Press Staff

Gloria Mindock, Editor & Publisher
Flavia Cosma, International Editor
Helene Cardona, Contributing Editor
Andrey Gritsman, Contributing Editor
Juri Talvet, Contributing Editor
Renuka Raghavan, Fiction Reviewer, Publicity
Karen Friedland, Interviewer
Gene Barry, Poetry Reviewer
Miriam O' Neal, Poetry Reviewer
Annie Pluto, Poetry Reviewer
Christopher Reilley, Poetry Reviewer


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