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Gloria Mindock, Editor   Issue No. 61   December, 2010




Welcome to the December, 2010 Newsletter

It has been a busy time for Červená Barva Press. I nominated one poem from each of the books below for a Pushcart Prize.

To order these books just click on the image!

Nominations for full-lengths have been sent out to various book awards too! Keep your fingers crossed!

Unrestrained by Jennifer LeBlanc

Jennifer LeBlanc's has internship ended.
She did an amazing job and was so much fun to work with!
Bill and I wish her the best as she continues to work on her MFA at Lesley College.
Thanks Jennifer!!!!!

Order Jennifer's chapbook Unrestrained here...

Mary Bonina Clear Eye Tea by Mary Bonina

Don't forget that Mary Bonina is having her book launch for
Clear Eye Tea (Červená Barva Press, 2010)
at the Pierre Menard Gallery, 10 Arrow St., Cambridge, MA.
This special celebration will be Sunday, December 5th at 3:00 PM.
Come join us!!!

Order her new book Clear Eye Tea Here...
Read Mary Bonina's 2006 Interview at Cervena Barva Press

As some of you know, I am in the land of the injured with my shoulder and arm. I will answer your e-mails but the e-mails will have to be abbreviated from now on until healed.

With the Holiday Season just around the corner, Červená Barva Press is having a "Holiday Sale" on 21 chapbooks. This sale will run from now until January 15th. Now is your time to stock up on chapbooks, or order them for gifts. A gorgeous red envelope will be sent with each book.

Now - January 15, 2011

The Following 21 Chapbooks, ONLY $4.00 each! Your Savings: $3.00!!!

A Rarity Balancing On Unstable Ground Brothers Celebrity Slumbers Commodity Fetishism Fishing in Green Waters I'd Rather Be Mexican
Investigations Isolate Flecks Land of The Morning Calm Moments Around The Campfire Passions Paul Celan and the Messiah's Broken Levered Tongue: An Exponential Dyad Ten Songs from Bulgaria
The Book of Colors Painters The Lines Are Not My Friends The Whole Enchilada Up From The Root Cellar Where Sanity Begins W is For War

Red Gift Envelope

Your chapbook comes with a free gorgeous Red Gift Envelope, ready to be given as a gift for the Holidays!

One envelope will be included with each book ordered.

Click below to visit our Holiday Sale page...


Success of the Seed Plants by Leslie Williams

Winner of the 2010 Bellday Poetry Prize
ISBN: 978-0-9793376-3-5
Pages: 66
To order:

"A reader never knows what is coming next in the poems of Success of the Seed Plants — they move as one would cross a stream, by adroitly leaping from rock to rock. The mood here therfore feels risky, as the narrator gambles against falling. I found her mental agility exhilarating."
—Lucia Perillo

A North Atlantic Wall by Donald Wellman

Dos Madres Press, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-933675-53-4
Pages: 95
To order:

"Donald Wellman's A North Atlantic Wall comes to us now as a rare & powerful example of the artist/poet/traveler in motion - a complex & dazzling & always surprising walk around a profoundly observed & imagined Spanish Landscape, turned into a space where historic and ethnopoetic images surface & penetrate the presentday realities of both the writer & the reader..."
—Jerome Rothenberg


45th Anniversary Issue/Fall2010-Winter2011 (Nos.168-169)
Pages: 250

In this issue, to name a few, are: Joyce Carol Oates,Caryl Phillips, Mark Strand, Saul Bellow, Henri Cole, C.K. Williams, Franz Wright, Robert Pinsky, Frank Bidart, Carolyn Forche, Carl Dennis, etc...

To order: Salmagundi, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Ibbetson Street # 28

Pages: 52

In this issue, to name a few, are: Harris Gardner, Ed Galing, Diana Der-Hovansessian, Daniel Tobin, T. Michael Sullivan, X.J. Kennedy,Marge Piercy, A.D. Winans, Tino Vallanueva, Kathleen Spivack, January Gill O'Neill etc...

To order: Ibbetson Street Press, 25 School Street, Somerville, MA 02143


Check your head: A review of Anthony Frame's Paper Guillotines, by Ryder Collins

If Paper Guillotines were a baby, that baby would have a tattoo and kick your prettyboy/girl ass.

If Paper Guillotines were a vice, it'd be something like cloves or menthol cigarettes.

If Paper Guillotines were an opera, there'd be three tenors at least.

If Paper Guillotines were a kitchen gadget, it'd be a Robot Coupe or a Vita-Mix.

What I'm trying to say is, in his chapbook, Paper Guillotines, (available from *Imaginary Friend Press), Anthony Frame is not afraid. He is not afraid to take on racism, homophobia, war, injustice, imperialism. The -isms and the things that people try to ignore because they can seem so overwhelming. Frame is not afraid of being overwhelmed or of showing how much he cares. & while not afraid to care, he achieves that very difficult thing of making the political poetic. He crafts carefully raw delicate screaming poems like "-K-," an interrogation of Katrina and the Bush government's pathetic reaction to it.

The poem begins as a personal narrative but grows and transforms into a collective disintegration; the narrative of the poem breaks down just as the narrative of federal responsibility and humanitarianism did in the wake of Katrina. In "-K-" Frame's teacher-persona pays careful attention to language and how language is used to seemingly construct meaning. He has a new student join his class; he is told by the "Administration" to call her a "transplant" and not a "refugee." In his class, she writes, "'I am a ghost's peer.'" Language, meaning, and narrative then begin to disintegrate:

        finders/looters learn to swim or sink
        finders/looters wade in water with alligators and dysentery
        finders/looters curl up with kerosene
        finders/looters sleep in shifts, waiting for gunfire alarm clocks
        finders/looters pray for streetlights to work tomorrow
        finders/looters hate the beauty of twinkling stars

He ends the poem with the startling simple yet complex realization that language does not create or even obfuscate meaning if no one can be bothered to care:

In between       parades
    and          bulldozers
someone will          ask

    why        it happened.
They will speak     an English
that doesn't translate.

In a world where jaded apoliticality is lauded as hip and cool, political poems like Frame's "Postmodern Guernica," "The Country I Come From," and "Thirteen Things My Military Students Tell Me that They Can't Tell Their Parents" are necessary. Not only are they necessary but they are good. & by good I mean they will kick your ass into caring about something. Best of all, they'll do it not stridently but lyrically. & that's a mean feat to pull off.

*Imaginary Friend Press editors' note: Anthony Frame's Paper Guillotines is available for purchase at for $7, which includes shipping.

Ryder Collins' chapbook, Orpheus on Toast, will also be available from beginning November 14.

Review of IN TIMES OF DANGER by Paul Oppenheimer
Spuyten Duyvil, New York City, 2010
104 pages, $15
42 St. John's Place, Brooklyn, NY 11217

By Barbara Bialick

IN TIMES OF DANGER reflects a trend of poets writing storylines in a suite of interconnected poems. In this collection of some 94 sonnets, the story is the New York poet's response to the viscious terror attacks of September 11, 2001, a love relationship he gets into, and his feelings about the Iraq War. It should be no surprise that he uses the sonnet form; he's done 50 translations of sonnets into English-from Goethe and Lorca to Rimbaud and Rilke. He's also written a book about how sonnets originated in 13th century Italy, "The Birth of the Modern Mind: Self, Consciousness and the Invention of the Sonnet."

He explains his personal reason for creating these 14-line poems which don't necessarily rhyme: "I need a form that I did not invent--/this shrewd eight-hundred-year-old slippery one,…/amid my fear that what may soon be done/with fixing peace to make it more like war/…this form is worn with rubbing bright as steel,/and tuned by ancient anguish to impart/the strain of modern doubt." ("A Matter of Form")

Diving into this book is exciting from the first read: "In the Country" begins: "So in the batty twilight flitting past us,/so close we heard their webbed, tick-tocking wings…" and proceeds until the poem called "9/11": "Who would have thought that two white puffs of smoke,/queer plumped-out bellies…/were not some joke…/and that in seconds blood world-wide would freeze." At first the towers turned into "caves", he wrote, as if contemporary society's high technology of flight could turn the towers into an ancient calamity. "the ordinary stripped to prehistoric…" ("Inside the Towers").

As much as Oppenheimer's deft turn of language keeps you reading, by the middle of the book, the sonnets don't stay equally mesmerizing as they did in the first half of the book. But that's no reason not to give this book a read. It has something for every kind of sonnet-lover and/or poetry or story-teller aficionado.

Paul Oppenheimer is a novelist, journalist, translator and widely published short story writer. He wrote three previous books of poetry, and the book and translations mentioned earlier. He won an Alfred Hodder Fellowship and a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award to Germany. He teaches at the City College and The Graduate Center of the City University of New York.


Berislav Blagojevic

Write a bio.

My name is Berislav Blagojevic. I'm a writer and geographer. Born and raised in a little town in Northern Bosnia, I live and work in the second largest city in Bosnia & Herzegovina called Banja Luka, for over a decade. Three of my books were published during last five years: "Lamentacija po Sofroniju" (prose, 2005), "Trebao sam biti rijec" (poetry, 2005), and "Ja, revolucionar" (short stories, 2010). My writings were also published in a great number of literary and cultural magazines in my country and abroad. Some stories have been translated into English, Spanish and Macedonian.

Talk about the publishing scene where you live.

There are very few "serious" and large publishers in B&H. They publish mainly world bestsellers and have the ability to translate established authors from around the globe. However, these publishers don't pay a lot of attention to domestic authors and their work. I presume the main reason for that is hard competition with large publishing houses from neighboring countries (Croatia and Serbia) so publishers from B&H need to publish famous and known names that can bring a profit. On the other hand, there are a great number of smaller publishers, but they have small budgets and depend on grants and donations, sometimes from the local government, and sometimes from higher institutions like the Ministry of Culture. For all these reasons, many writers from B&H also publish their work in Croatia or Serbia, and that's possible because of the similarities between languages, naturally.

What is the writing scene like in Bosna / Hercegovina

Uh… This is a hard one. Many recognized authors that are originally from B&H now work/publish in other countries (for example Miljenko Jergovic in Croatia, Aleksandar Hemon in USA). During and after the war, there were many writers that wrote almost exclusively patriotic prose/poetry. Nowadays, the writing scene is going forward, towards new horizons and global movements in literature. Young talented people are emerging from all around the country writing and publishing in and outside B&H. There are several very interesting poets that won numerous awards not only in B&H but also in the region and Europe. In addition, there are quite a few young authors writing mainly short stories, but also novels. Unfortunately, most of these authors are coming from just a few cities - Sarajevo, Banja Luka and Mostar, although there are many talented people writing in smaller communities but can't break through.

Where do you get your writing ideas from?

To be honest, most of my ideas are driven from life in or out of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I like to deal with humans and humanity in my writing - humans in the past, present and future; boundaries (in all its meaning), lessons learned, or wisdom that just slipped through our fingers and it shouldn't. Some stories I wrote were autobiographic and inspired by living in war and post-war B&H. The Balkans in general is geographically, religiously, ethnically and culturally diverse in a way that it can be writer's polygon for thinking and inspiration for several lifetimes. However, I like to use my geography/history knowledge to place my plots in various spaces - in the USA, (Republic of) Georgia, Germany, England, Spain… Sometimes I get an idea for writing by reading other authors, but this happens pretty rare.

Talk about your book, Ja, Revolucionar. I love the cover. It is absolutely great!

Yes, everyone is saying how good the cover is, no one is saying that for the content of my book. HaHaHa! I had an idea for a cover based on the title and one more story from the book called "First ant." My dear and talented friend Dragana Nikolic from Belgrade made it happen. The book contains 52 short stories that were divided into three chapters. First chapter contains very short stories, second one what I like to call "real stories" while the third chapter contains stories about writers and writing. Stories in this last chapter were written in a humorous way with the intention to demystify the writing process and to represent all problems that writers confront during writing and publishing activities. The end of the book also contains selection of eleven short stories translated into English. This was done by Branislav Blagojevic, my brother and translator, but we were given a very short period of time to do this, so we both think we could do this task better. Hopefully, we will have another chance to translate more stories and do it with more care and detail…

Recently, I read some of your stories that were published in Diogen: Pro Culture Magazine. Please discuss the work that was published in this issue. I think the stories are amazing.

The Diogen Magazine from Sarajevo is, as long as I know, the only magazine in B&H that is bilingual (or to be exact it publishes work in Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian and English). I wanted to use this opportunity to make a wider audience aware of my writing. Thanks to Sabahudin Hadzialic, editor of Diogen Magazine, because it is possible for other authors to do the same thing (and vice versa - foreign authors can present their work to our public). Five short stories were included in the issue. Four of them are short-short stories, while the story entitled "Meeting" is a bit longer. "Meeting" was awarded at last year's "Sea of Words" international short story competition in Barcelona.

You mentioned in an e-mail that you were getting ready for a book fair in Belgrade. Tell us about this book fair.

It is a great privilege for any author to present his/her book at the Belgrade book fair, since it's the biggest one and the most important one in Southeast Europe. This year, a book fair gathered over 800 exhibitors from almost 20 countries. Since the presentation of my book was scheduled for 12:30 on a Wednesday, I thought there would be no people interested or present. Fortunately, I was wrong and that means that this book fair really has its visitors throughout the day! Thus, I would say the presentation was successful. This book fair is also a good place to meet other authors, to make new contacts and friendships.

One of your stories was picked as the top 15 in the Goethe Institute Competition. You are attending a 5 day workshop because of this honor. Please discuss your thoughts on this.

Yes, I should participate in this workshop in Sarajevo and it will be a great chance to learn something new and to meet other young writers from B&H. Workshop will be led by Velibor Colic and Marica Bodrozic - writers from B&H that now live and work abroad (Colic in France and Bodrozic in Germany). I suppose they will bring some new facts about literature scene in Europe, and that should be interesting.

As long as we speak of workshops, I just finished a 3 day long creative writing workshop in Sofia (Bulgaria) which was really good and inspiring. This workshop was a continuation of "Sea of Words" competition in 2009. It was a great experience and it was really nice to have a chance to meet with friends I met last year during my stay in Barcelona and Toledo for the first time.

What writers influence you?

I don't have a specific role model in a traditional way, but I surely like some writers and their work. Since I read a lot and not just a particular genre, I like very diverse writings. For instance, I like the work of Danil Harms, Kurt Vonnegut, Borges, Thomas Bernhard, Ephraim Kishon, but also some writers from ex-Yugoslavia countries like David Albahari, Mirko Demic, Milos Crnjanski, Ivo Andric, Milorad Pavic, Danilo Kis, and others. It's pretty hard to name every writer whose work I like and whose work influenced my way of thinking and writing.

Why is it important to have your work translated into other languages for you?

I think it is important to try to reach as many readers as you can. The best way to do this is to translate your work - into English in particular, since English is the most popular and world wide spread language. This also gives an opportunity to enter English language based magazines and journals. By doing so, a writer can get important feedback from the public/critics/readers outside his/her homeland. It's important to me to know what people outside B&H think about my writing and how do they react to stories that are in a way bonded with the Balkans. I was always wondering, can I reach those people, can they comprehend some issues I'm talking about.

What are you working on now?

I have a lot of ideas cooking right now. However, most of my work nowadays is on a manuscript about young couple and their everyday problems and issues. The idea is to write a collection of stories that would be "light" and fun reading, but at the same time to picture the hard reality of life for young people. Considering the global crises and globalization in general, I think people will easily relate with these stories. Stories will also have the exotic aroma of the Balkans' spices, that's for sure…


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