It has been an exciting week at Cuneiform! We have three new poetry titles off to press, we would like to share them with you.
This is Lisa Rogal’s le belle indifference. Cover by Flynn Maria Bergmann.
Emily Toder writes, “le belle indifference exposes and inverts the conflict of desire, questioning the basis of want, and conceding the impracticality of the self. Rogal’s poems capture an inner auto-correcting at play in a boldly contemplative voice with overarching homages to Emily Dickinson that seal the work’s paradoxical balance of reservation and avowal. The false enticement of fantasy rings true, providing ‘the usual mode / to construct / a scene,’ and quickly imploding.”
Lisa Rogal is a poet and fiction writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She is the author of Feed Me Weird Things (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2018), Morning Ritual (United Artists Books, 2015), and The New Realities (Third Floor Apartment Press, 2014). Her recent writing has been published in The Recluse, Elderly, and Visceral Brooklyn. A graduate of the MFA program at Long Island University, Lisa teaches writing at The City College of New York.
This is Larry Fagin’s Peaches & Gravy: Selected Poems 1966-2016. Edited by Miles Champion. Cover by Richard Tuttle.
Peaches & Gravy: Selected Poems 1966-2016 is the first wide-ranging selection of Larry Fagin’s work to be published since his selected early poems, I’ll Be Seeing You: Poems 1962–1976. Edited with an introduction by Fagin’s friend and literary executor, Miles Champion, the book primarily focuses on the poetry Fagin wrote after moving to New York City in 1967, his collaborations with the artists Joe Brainard, George Schneeman, and Richard Tuttle, and the prose poems he devoted himself to almost exclusively from the mid-1970s onward. Peaches & Gravy sports a full-color cover by Richard Tuttle.
Larry Fagin was born in New York City, and grew up in New York, Hollywood, and Europe. He began associating with poets and writers in 1957, meeting David Meltzer in Los Angeles, and Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Gregory Corso two years later in Paris. In 1962 he became part of the circle of poets around Jack Spicer in San Francisco, and befriended Michael McClure, Philip Whalen, and Robert Duncan. At the end of 1965 he traveled to London where he lived for two years and met his first wife, the fashion designer Joan Inglis. They moved to New York together in 1967, and Fagin began editing Adventures in Poetry magazine and books, which featured most of the poets of the New York School. In 1975, with the dancer Barbara Dilley, Fagin cofounded Danspace, the dance program at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery; he was its artistic director for five years. Simultaneously, he taught writing at the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s and in 1976 joined the faculty of the Summer Writing Program at Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. At Naropa, he met the writer Susan Noel, whom he married in 1980. In 2000, with Boston publisher Cris Mattison, he revived the Adventures in Poetry imprint; he also began editing and publishing Sal Mimeo magazine. Fagin’s many books include Parade of the Caterpillars, Twelve Poems, Brain Damage, Rhymes of a Jerk, Seven Poems, I’ll Be Seeing You: Poems 1962-1976, The List Poem, Dig & Delve (with Trevor Winkfield), Complete Fragments (Cuneiform Press, 2012), Like Musical Instruments (with John Sarsgard) (Broadstone Books, 2014), and Eleven Poems for Philip Guston. He died in New York City on May 27, 2017.
Alice Notley writes, “How can there be pleasure amid personal and societal dread? How can there be such beauty when one must constantly “survive/ another night in this body, mind/ racing with its tickertape?” Sunnylyn Thibodeaux’s poetry knows that this intermixture, in its idiosyncratic detail, its weather, temperament, tragedy, is the one thing there is. “The things we know/ know us first.” So there’s a surprising amount of radiance and pleasure; San Francisco is real; the family is individuals; politics just there. You go on, shaky and graceful (full of grace).”
Thurston Moore writes, “Poems moving as music, first thought the first chord, playing with trust to a notion of free improvisation, rhythm guiding the tongue to an ending fade. Each page seems as if news from a day, a report made magic by poetry’s promise, a devotion—in love with a world thought safe, yet entirely askew. Sunnylyn’s voice is on the radio, some mystic Southern station, and it sounds beautiful.”
Sunnylyn Thibodeaux was raised by a school bus driver and a taxi driver in a Sicilian Catholic home on a cul-de-sac sandwiched between the railroad tracks and the Mississippi River. Although she had a parish priest and a family psychic, she still felt blasphemed and from another lifetime. She took to writing in notebooks provided by her mother when her overall unease with the world proved to be engulfing. With confessions on the regular and Saint Joseph altars annually in her house, penance was a threaded part of her upbringing and held its weight in worldview, leaving the perceived only options for adulthood to either join the Peace Corps or become a teacher. So, she took the path that led the closest she could get to both—AmeriCorps. While studying education in New Orleans, she wrote a work of fiction about a grief-stricken man who wandered the snow with the hopes of getting to the moon, which caused a reaction in her professor that led her to switch gears to writing, but still ended up teaching in the South. Through good fortune, she landed in San Francisco for graduate school at New College of California where she fell into brilliant like-minded company. She spent years in the restaurant industry in various roles. The demand of which was a never-ending problem to solve. Recognizing the insanity, she opted for more domesticity. After becoming a mother, she joined a neighborhood association where she organized a playgroup for three years, raised funds for neighbors that experienced evictions due to fire, and instigated a movie night in the local park. She stays involved to argue against the pretentiousness of the changing neighborhood, and to ensure tenants are being protected. She began teaching again in the magical world of preschool. After Hurricane Katrina, she dreamed of going home to run a café that provided writing services for youth while functioning as an event space in the evenings, but she’s afraid of behemoth flying insects. She goes back to New Orleans to renew her driver’s license, and of course, for the seasons of King Cake and Sno-Ball. She always carries a notebook.