Brain Mill Press Celebrates
To celebrate National Poetry Month, Brain Mill Press is proud to dish up delectable poetry to whet your appetite. We’ll feature established and emerging poets, as well as BMP authors and friends, who tantalize with stylistic feats and a fusion of whimsy and the piquant. Poetry begets more poetry — dig in!
–C. Kubasta, Brain Mill Press Celebrates Poetry Month coordinator & contest judge
If “love calls us to the things of this world,” then poetry too can call us to think about challenging questions, difficult situations, and social justice, implicating and engaging the reader with the world we live in, in the hope that this engagement is a step toward wrestling with our better selves.
We invited poets to submit their poems (any style or form) of no more than one hundred lines to our Poetry Month contest. We particularly encouraged submissions from poets of color, women, and LGBTQIA+ writers. The editors selected a poem or poems each Saturday in April as the editors’ pick(s), and BMP poetry month coordinator C. Kubasta chose a grand prize winner.
Selected poems were published on the Brain Mill Press website and social media channels. Editors’ pick poets were awarded with a Brain Mill Press print book (and associated art gift, if available) of their choice. The grand prize winner received a full set four Brain Mill Press Mineral Point chapbooks from 2015-2016, associated broadsides, and a Brain Mill Press T-shirt. Poets retained all rights to their work.
Poetry and Essays
“Grave Robber Digs with a Pen” by Imani Davis is selected by C. Kubasta to win the BMP Celebrates Poetry Month Contest for 2016. Shortlist and longlist finalists also announced.read more
Intimacy and Poetry: Roan Parrish and Liz Jacobs Discuss Greg Allendorf’s FAIR DAY IN AN ANCIENT TOWN
Novelists Roan Parrish and Liz Jacobs in conversation about FAIR DAY IN AN ANCIENT TOWN by Greg Allendorfread more
“The factory mats were replaced with white shag rugs, / and because I was a child, I was allowed to be the little animal / I was, curled up and hiding in that woolen nest / behind the driver’s seat.”read more
Yasin Mohamud on listening to Kanye West’s gospel anthem as a Muslim fanread more
Dread and Grief, Energy and Song: Cathryn Cofell and Nicole Cooley Discuss Alicia Rebecca Myers’s MY SEABORGIUM
Poets Cathryn Cofell and Nicole Cooley in conversation about MY SEABORGIUM by Alicia Rebecca Myersread more
The heart’s vast and cratered purpose == a decade’s husbandry: / spread out like wild thyme, heal-all, / forget-me-notread more
The editors select poems by contest entrants Shabnam Piryaei, Courtney Leblanc, and Sharon Brooks for the third week of National Poetry Month.read more
“I realized that if hip-hop didn’t always have to be serious and kept in a box, then maybe my poetry didn’t have to be either.”read more
all mist / and movement
my daughter / is messing / with her hair / with her new / body
at the mirror
April, you break my bones. / You sucker punch me right in the side of the head.read more
“It all truly began in dingy strip club turned off-Broadway theatre across from the Port Authority Bus Terminal ten blocks from Times Square.”read more
I remember / how we’d beg to skip church if / we went to Sunday school, if / we helped with the baby, if /
we’d mow that afternoon, / and the permission once given / felt like the hill rising up out of the ditch after / crossing the highway
“Until I was well into my final years of grade school, I genuinely believed that Grandpa had squeezed out some genetic material that made me boy crazy.”read more
Count them lucky / Who know the opening / Of gates within, who / Seated as they are / Remain beside altars / Where blue and green / Sing arias.read more
They didn’t tell me where the funeral was so I know it’s everywhere, / spilling over edges with its overwhelming hunger while I brew tea / the Russian way my mother taught me because strength necessitates / dilution.read more
On the side of Key Highway / a tree is hung with broken / light: diamonds, circles, squares / of glass on wire that glitter / in the January wind. / We stand before it.read more
My baby died / in my arms like a Martian, his ribs / imploded into the oven of his chest.read more
The editors select poems by contest entrants Jessica Jacobs, Olajide Abiodun, and Catherine Chen to wrap up the second week of National Poetry Month.read more
Coyotes sound in the night. Hear it as promise or warning; either way, hear it as a signal somehow for you.read more
be love you see as the lights come up. be love as the helicopters arrive for her close up / her red shoes the shoes / you carry in your backpackread more
“We hesitate to voice our opinions on subjects that are important to us because the media has put this idea in our heads that we should be ‘cool’ girls or girlfriends who don’t bother guys with our “silly” issues—like feminism—or else we will be a downer.”read more
Typhoid had robbed them of their blood / mother during the war that taught them / their sculptor father was uselessread more
You’re twelve and in love with the boy next door / only you don’t quite know it yet.read more
I will / love you under the yellow basement lights of the DMV / I will let you feed me foreign candies in the taxi to the airport / and on the plane I will give you the windowread more
2015 Contest Winner
At eighteen, my mother,
as lean and brown as a leather strap
covered her face and veiled her
to follow my father a hundred miles
Three kids in three years.
Elizabeth Berry’s poems are arresting for their authority and the intensity of their anger at where the women they speak of find themselves. Honed with plain language and sharp metaphor, her poems resolve nothing in their ending lines — and yet push to the reader to catharsis.
BMP Poetry Broadsides
A commentary on art-making and grace. The text is printed in two colors on 110-pound 100% cotton Crane Papers Lettra, overprinted on the chapbook’s signature interior illustration of a keyhole, which also appears as a printed motif.
Reproducing lines from the poem “The Presentation,” the text is printed in two colors on 110-pound 100% cotton Crane Papers Lettra, overprinted on the chapbook’s signature interior diatom illustration, which also appears as a printed motif.
Reproducing lines from the poem “pretty pretty princess vs. the underworld,” the text is printed in two colors on 110-pound 100% cotton Crane Papers Lettra, overprinted on the chapbook’s signature interior illustration of an empty ball gown, which also appears as a printed motif.
Discover BMP Poetry
From “Me and Tanka”
You’re dull, she says, you can’t even
cross your eyes correctly. Your relationships last
five months because you turn so USUAL.
In your Secret Garden
you grow carrots and plastic wrap.
You like Lean Cuisine dinners.
You don’t have fancy shoes.
You hum poorly. And you’re dull.
I know, I say.
Then how did you make me? she says.
Grace, I say.
Now I want joy to arrange you.
Forget the spool, the queue.
May you crow from the prow.
Be your element’s namesake
and alive, know it. My Seaborgium.
My little radish bugaboo, my
pillowfoot jeweler. Sweetgum,
sing, sing to wake the water.
From “The Presentation”
This is my lordosis: look: my part.
It wants to feel the syllables your heart
putters. I want your obsessive pulse
to part with mine only when universe
and starlight disentangle. Dumb stud, come;
I’ll be the radiator and the heat
it hisses. I’ll paint the memory
of you on my closed coffin lid and lard
my arteries with your untamed beauty.
I’ve assumed the posture of a rapt
ocelot: I moan my smell to you:
swell with me: boil with me: glue
your sternum to my sternum and we’ll do
what blue jays do until Orion snaps.
From “pretty pretty princess vs. the underworld”
my tall handsome, you are always
hydrangea in my rib, popped open
always dazzle of salt on my punched lip
love of life
the he & me I will devour
we beneath black cherry tree
all fruits and crystals on your chest
you were my first body—now and always
forever and ever, in the pink bed rippling