Thursday, June 26, 2014

Jonathan Mayhew Wheelbarrow Poem

20,000 wheelbarrows would fit inside your poem
20,000 red wheelbarrows, blue wheelbarrows, green wheelbarrows
But would your poem fit in a wheelbarrow?
How many of them would fit inside one green wheelbarrow? 
This is a parody of The William Carlos Williams (1883-19630) "The Red Wheelbarrow" poem--see it at  "Wheelbarrow" was written on the occasion of the book launch of Melange Block by Denise Low at the Raven Bookstore, June 26, 2014.
Jonathan Mayhew, PhD in Comparative Literature from Stanford in 1988, has taught at the University of Kansas since 1996. He is the author of: Claudio Rodríguez and the Language of Poetic Vision (Bucknell, 1990), The Poetics of Self-Consciousness: Twentieth Century Spanish Poetry (Bucknell, 1994), Apocryphal Lorca: Translation, Parody, Kitsch, (Chicago, 2009), and The Twilight of the Avant-Garde: Spanish Poetry 1980-2000 (Liverpool, 2009). His blog Bemsha Swing comments upon the poetry scene. Mayhew is currently working on a book with the title What Lorca Knew: Fragments of a Late Modernity, and a volume of original poetry, Mayhew’s Mood.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Photo by Holly Wright
Charles Wright's poetry collections include Country Music, Black Zodiac, Chickamauga, Bye-and-Bye: Selected Later Poems, Sestets, and Caribou. His prizes include the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the National Book Award, the Griffin Poetry Prize, and the 2013 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry. Born in Pickwick Dam, Tennesee in 1935, he currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.Highly respected poet Charles Wright is a poet's poet. He attended the Iowa Writers Workshop, was inspired by Ezra Pound and Dante, and has a solid reputation. He is from Tennessee originally, and taught at the University of Virginia until retirement. Craig Morgan Teicher describes the use of time in Wrights work for NPR:
"Time in his poems seems to speed up and slow down alternately, to expand and contract, wavelike. The line dividing the personal from the public is as thin and permeable as the one that divides the present from the past, as in these lines from "Poem Almost Wholly in My Own Manner" from 1997's Black Zodiac:
In Moorhead, Mississippi,
         my mother sheltered her life out
In Leland, a few miles down US 82,
             unfretted and unaware,
Layered between history and a three-line lament
About to be brought forth
          on the wrong side of the tracks
All over the state and the Deep South.
We all know what happened next,
              blues and jazz and rhythm-and-blues
Then rock-and-roll, then sex-and-drugs-and-rock-and-roll, lick by lick
Blowing the lanterns out—and everything else—along the levees ..."
See more at

Late Selected Poems by Charles Wright
The New York Times reports how James Billington, the librarian of Congress, selected Wright:
"... as he read through the work of a dozen or so finalists, he kept coming back to Mr. Wright’s haunting poems, many of them gathered in a Dante-esque cycle of three trilogies known informally as “The Appalachian Book of the Dead.” His “combination of literary elegance and genuine humility — it’s just the rare alchemy of a great poet,” Dr. Billington said." The poet started out by reading Faulkner, not poets: "In high school, he devoured all the books of William Faulkner —  his mother had once dated one of Faulkner’s brothers — and as a student at Davidson College in North Carolina, he tried to write fiction, only to discover that he was, as he later put it, the rare Southerner who couldn’t tell a story." Wright could, however, write a poem. See more at

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Poetry Editor and Poetry: Poetry Review: Mélange Block by Denise Low

The Poetry Editor and Poetry: Poetry Review: Mélange Block by Denise Low: Published by Red Mountain Press, the new poetry book Mélange Block introduced me to the work of poet Denise Low, whose 20 books of award-w...

Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer Camp Online Writing Workshop REVISE LIKE THE PROS, July 7- August 4, 2014

How do professionals revise their poetry, and prose, for best impact? All writers, whatever level, benefit from outside review of work. “Talent” is great, but good editing results in publishable work. This workshop is one of my most popular. Weekly sessions begin with a lecture on revision, with an “assignment” (always feel free to bring your own project). The rest of the time goes to workshopping with peers. In addition, I will provide personal feedback on one or two poems a week (email). At the end of the workshop, I will review the final portfolio of workshop poems, up to 8 poems and make recommendations for publishing. I have experience to share, both successes and failures!
Online classes allow us to participate at our convenience during the week. There are no scheduled “meetings.” Contact me online any time with your concerns, and I will get back to you within 24 hours.
At the end of the course, you will be able to write poetry that immediately connects with your audience. You will recognize inconsistencies and other writing errors and know how to correct them.
  • Week 1-Entrance Your Reader with Deep Point-of-View. Writers hear “Show, don’t tell,” but exactly how can you accomplish this?
  • Week 2-Trout Aren’t Fat: How To Tighten Verse (and Prose). Get your writing into shape by avoiding unnecessary explanations, doublings, overuse of articles and prepositions. Learn to take down the “scaffolding” of your first draft.
  • Week 3-Cutting from the Same Cloth, Part I: Consistency of Time, Number, and Pronoun Reference. Insights into the best usage and common pitfalls. When to use “you” and when to resist the urge; how to go in and out of past time.
  • Week 4- Cutting from the Same Cloth, Part II: Consistency of Structure, Diction, and Tone. Anglo Saxon words are 83% of the most common 1000 words in today’s English. Find out exactly why they are good choices for a poetic diction. Learn the techniques of maintaining consistent sentences and lines, and then why it is important to vary them.

Cost: $140 ($70 nonrefundable due at beginning of workshop, $70 due halfway. PayPal is preferred). Contact Denise Low at for enrollment and questions. PayPal option:
Technical requirements: A Google mail (Gmail) account. From that you can access documents (like this) on Google Drive. Group interactions take place in Google Groups (link provided). Your email account will alert you to all interactions.
A word about “assignments: Always feel free to bring your current work into the workshop. Please bring current writing, not old notebooks from high school (yes, this happens).
Poetry or prose? This class can apply to prose as well as poetry, so feel free to join if you are a prose writer.
Biography: Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, has published over thirty books. As co-publisher of Mammoth Publications ( ) she selects and edits manuscripts for publication. She has taught creative writing across the country, including University of Richmond, University of Kansas, and workshops at Fairmont State in West Virginia, The Writers Place in Kansas City, Anoka Ramsay College in Minneapolis, Excelsior Springs Cultural Museum, Omaha Community Colleges, and many organizations and colleges across Kansas. She teaches private workshops in Kansas City and consults privately. For more information, see

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Donald Levering Considers What the Wealthy Subtract from Earth's Balance

Donald Levering leads an examined life. He considers all networks among beings, economies, languages, genders. By accident of birth, he grew up in one of the wealthiest countries, although not from wealth. He writes from an informed viewpoint, and his voice is essential. He does not dodge the tough questions.

In Levering's work, we enter the lives of desperate exiles, including war victims. His "War Taxes" begins
"We are herded into the junior high school gym,
ordered to roll up our sleeves
to donate blood to the giant
who is leaking oil...."
Levering understands that all of us suffer together, not separated by geography or circumstance. He can laugh, as he describes the flight of the man who leads whooping cranes along a "lost migration route." The reduced condition of the few dozen remaining whooping cranes, however, is not forgotten. Always, his writing is vivid, unforgettable. I've been reading his work since the 1980s. He keeps getting sharper, more focused. This is a great book with a huge lens. You will see more clearly after reading it. Order his book from Red Mountain Press to provide the most profit for the independent press Red Mountain.

Donald Levering Biography: Born in Kansas City, Donald Warren Levering was educated at Baker University (B. A.), The University of Kansas, Lewis and Clark College, and Bowling Green State University. At Bowling Green, he was a Devine Memorial Fellow in Poetry before receiving a M. F. A. in Creative Writing. He has worked as a groundskeeper in Oregon, teacher in the Diné (Navajo) Nation, and human services administrator in New Mexico. He was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Grant in poetry, winner of the Quest for Peace Writing Contest in rhetoric, and an Academy of American Poets Featured Poet in the Online Forum.  In 2012, he was a prizewinner in the Atlanta Review International Poetry Competition and took third place in the Hackney Award, as well as placing as a finalist for the Jane Kenyon Award. A species conservation volunteer and human rights activist, he is the father of a son and daughter and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with the artist Jane Shoenfeld.Donald's most recent collections are The Number of Names, Sunstone Press (2012) and Sweeping the Skylight, Finishing Line Press (2012) and Algonquins Planted Salmon, Red Mountain Press (2012). His latest book is The Water Leveling With Us, Red Mountain Press (2014). For more perspectives on his new book, see reviews at these links.
© 2014. All posts copyright Denise Low. Excerpts of 50 words or fewer may be excerpted if accompanied with the link back to the original post on Denise Low Postings.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

MAMMOTH PUBLICATIONS REPORTS ITS NEWS: New Books, Reading Success, Author News


* NEW WEBSITE: Mammoth was due for an update, and the new site has better navigation and organization. Please visit and comment. 
*MAMMOTH PUBLICATIONS on FACEBOOK. Please type our name into your Facebook search bar, and hit “Like.” Then you will get regular updates through Facebook.
*MAMMOTH READING APRIL 29, 2014, KU STUDENT UNION Jayhawk Ink Bookstore at KU was the site of a Mammoth author reunion and reading. Denise Low opened the event and described how E. Donald Two-Rivers’s book Powwow, Fatcats, and Other Indian Tales was the first Mammoth book in 2003. This was in association with Woodley Memorial Press, where Low was a board member at the time. Then Mammoth became independent, and LANGSTON HUGHES IN LAWRENCE, co-authored by Low and Tom Weso, was the next project. Tom Weso read from the Langston Hughes book and also his new food memoir.
 Barry Barnes, author of WE SLEEP IN A BURNING HOUSE, recited poems from his book and announced his participation in the International Cajun and Zydeco Festival in the Netherlands, the next day, with the Ernest James Zydeco Band. His photos on Facebook are amazing. Elizabeth Schultz read from WHITE-SKIN DEER: HOOPA STORIES, based on 1950s stories told to her by Hoopa elders.
Stephen Meats arrived from Pittsburg State University and read from DARK DOVE DESCENDING, his 2013 poetry and fiction book. Mammoth has just reissued a new edition of his book LOOKING FOR THE PALE EAGLE.

Global Green proprietors Julie Unruh and Oliver Hall showed their books, VEGETABLE GARDEN and GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, respectively, and read from them. Global Green is one of several groups that Mammoth cooperates with by counsel and other publication support. Thanks to them for a generous donation.

 Xánath Caraza finished the event with readings from her first book, CONJURO. Caraza’s awards include Number one Author of the 2013 Top Ten “New” Latino Authors to Watch (and Read) by The International Latino Book Awards 2013 recognized CONJURO for Second Place: Best First Book Written in Spanish; Award Winning Finalist, Multicultural Fiction; and Honorable mention, Best First Book Written in Spanish, Mariposa Award. She has published two more books, What the Tide Brings In (Mouthfeel Press) and Noche de Colibríes: Ekphrastic Poems (2014) if from Pandora Lobo Estepario Press. Mammoth will publish another book of poetry in 2015. Mammoth is honored to be her first book publisher. Lisa Eitner of Jayhawk Ink facilitated the project and provided publicity. This is the second event for Mammoth sponsored by the KU bookstore, and we appreciate the support.
*MAMMOTH ASSOCIATE’S PROGRAM Mammoth has been able to advise several community groups and individuals involved with publishing. Mammoth associates include Global Green Publications, Parcel literary journal, A Kansas Bestiary and its authors, and more.  Look for “Published in association with Mammoth Publications” for this cooperative venture. Congratulations to Global Green Productions for their books VEGETABLE GARDEN, GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, and MLK. JR., MEMORIAL, words by Martin Luther King, Sculpture by Lei Yixin, and Photography by Oliver Hall. The book has been nominated for a Coretta Scott King Book Award. Global Green presented Mammoth Publications with the first copy of the book. We sincerely thank them.
MAMMOTH ANGELS APPEAR! If you have ever wondered what wooly mammoth angels looks like, they are not giant pachyderms with large wings. They are more subtle and appear in human form to us mortals. Two such angels have asked for our catalogue list and then bought every single book. That income has helped us pay for the next book set-up costs. We are not a non-profit, which helps us keep our independence. We appreciate the support of angels and all ordinary folk who buy our books, review them on media, give us encouragement, and otherwise act as angels.
NEW MAMMOTH BOOKS  Robert Day’s TALK TO STRANGERS AND STOP ON BY: Essays on William Stafford and Other Folk of the American High Plains, with an Introduction by Scott Bontz, was published just in time for the Washburn University William Stafford conference, March 30, 2014. Thank you to The Land Institute for a grant to help fund this publication.
Stephen Meats has updated his 1994 collection of poetry LOOKING FOR THE PALE EAGLE and added interviews, revision notes, and a “Letter to a Young Poet.”
Caleb Puckett is the newest Mammoth author, and I hope to meet him one day soon! His FATE LINES / DESIRE LINES is poetry moving among histories and digital media. His experimental poetry satisfies the mind and makes emotional connections.
NEWS FROM MAMMOTH AUTHORS   Elizabeth Schultz has a new book of poetry, The SAUNTERING EYE, from FutureCycle Press. Join her and Mammoth friends when she reads from it at the Raven Bookstore May 22, Thursday, 7 pm.  Denise Low has a new book of poetry, her first since the award-winning Ghost Stories of the New West (Woodley 2010). MÉLANGE BLOCK (Red Mountain Press), blends Low’s ancestries with history and landscape to create aggregate-like poems. Readings are Santa Fe, June 15, 2:30 pm, op cit bookstore; June 25, Lawrence, Raven bookstore, 7 pm.  Xánath Caraza started a new international poetry project called “US Latino Poets en español.” This online poetry column is published monthly and is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum and Periódico de Poesía. She will be traveling summer 2014 and presenting readings in Spain, Portugal, and El Salvador.  Stephen Meats is working with another Mammoth author, William Sheldon, in preparing a book of interviews with Kansas writers. Mammoth will publish the book in 2015.  Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is working on three forthcoming books: Poem on the Range: A Poet Laureate's Love Song to Kansas (Coal City Press), Caryn's memoir about the political and geographic journey of her poet laureate years, will be out this summer; Chasing Weather: Tornadoes, Tempests, and Thunderous Skies in Word and Image (Ice Cube Press), her collaboration with weather photographer and storm chaser Stephen Locke, is being released in September; and Transformative Language Arts in Action, the anthology she's co-editing with Ruth Farmer, will be out toward the end of 2014.  Lana Wirt Myers reports she is retiring from her job with the Harvey County Historical Society spring of 2014. She has plans for another book. Her Mammoth book PRAIRIE RHYTHMS: THE LIFE AND POETRY OF MAY WILLIAMS WARD received a Kansas Notable Book recognition from the state library and Kansas Center for the book. 


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Israel Wasserstein writes "How It Is for Eyeless Things in Caves" and more in prize-winning book.

Israel Wasserstein of Washburn University will read from his book This Ecstasy They Call Damnation and new works April 24, Thurs., at the Raven Bookstore in Lawrence, 7 p.m., with Joseph Harrington. He is a life-long Kansan, and that mythos/landscape enters his work in diction as well as topics. In an interview with Miranda Ericsson, he says, “I think open landscape, and wide spaces under a sky that seems to go on forever, are always there in my poetry, even poems that don’t have anything directly to do with landscape.” In this poem, he seeks the inverse of sky, deep cave topography. Rather than sight, touch becomes the primary touch. For a sky person, this is a phantasmagoria

How It Is for Eyeless Things in Caves

Maybe they wander in, foraging deep down
for food or seeking shelter, and they get lost far
beneath the surface. Or they decide
they like it in the dampness
of the earth, where predators venture
rarely, and sunlight does not scorch
        Slowly they forget
the things they saw above, the harsh light
receding into memory,
into carefully forgotten dreams.
Then they lose sight itself
and creep along, cold as stone.
Their children are born
        knowing nothing else.

Wasserstein says of his new work, in his interview for Ericsson and the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library: “A lot of what I have is more explicitly autobiographical than much of what I’ve done previously. And there are a series of poems in the voices of villains, especially horror movie villains. I’ve long loved persona poems, and I’m engaged with pop culture and interested in marginalized voices, and I think these poems allow me to explore all of that at once.”
Born and raised in Topeka, Kansas, Israel Wasserstein received his BA in English from Washburn University, and his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico. He is currently a Lecturer in English at Washburn University. . His work has been published in Flint Hills Review, Red Mesa Review, Border, seveneightfive, Senses, Fickle Muses, Inscape, and others. He has also contributed work to the anthologies Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, A Face to Meet the Faces, and Earthships. His poetry collection, This Ecstasy They Call Damnation, was published in 2012 and received a Kansas Notable Book Award.