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
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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
Tanka & Me broadside
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.
My Seaborgium broadside
A commentary on a mother’s love. The text is printed in two colors on 110-pound 100% cotton Crane Papers Lettra, overprinted on the chapbook’s signature interior illustration of the element Seaborgium, which also appears as a printed motif.
Fair Day in an Ancient Town broadside
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.
My Tall Handsome broadside
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