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Says Kathleen Rooney in an independent-press, summer reading round up this week:

Out from Kenning Editions, the unforgettable Grenade in Mouth by the Venezuelan poet Miyo Vestrini is every bit as explosive as its title indicates. Translated collaboratively by poets Anne Boyer and Cassandra Gillig, this book offers a simultaneously morbid and hilarious selection of Vestrini’s poetry over the course of her career before she took her own life in 1991. As they write in their introduction, her work “contains regular, explicit challenges to the institutions of mental health” as when she writes “I find all my friends treated by psychoanalysts have become/ totally sad totally idiotic.” The opportunity to spend time in the company of Vestrini’s unsentimental and unexpected words is not to be missed.

A fresh batch of micro-reviews from Kenyon Review is up, ranging among the most urgent books in translation published over the last several months, including Grenade in Mouth, by Miyó Vestrini. Highlights include:

“It’s hard for me to read Grenade in Mouth, the inaugural English translation of avant-garde Venezuelan poet Miyó Vestrini, without hearing the echo of co-translator Anne Boyer’s essay ‘No.’ Boyer writes, ‘Death as refusal requires as its material only life, which if rendered cheaply enough by the conditions that inspire the refusal, can become precious again when selectively and heroically deployed as a no.'”

and

“Some readers may see Vestrini’s work as a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk that culminates in its author’s death. For me, Grenade in Mouth is more interesting for its unresolvable tensions, exalting in decadence and austerity, joy and horror, and refusal and revolution.”

Available from SPD and via subscription.

Chicago! Ana Arzoumanian is visiting the U.S. for a performative, collaborative reading from her full-length debut publication in North America, Juana I. She reads accompanied by Gabriel Amor, translator of the book, and musician Marta Hernández. The event comes courtesy of and takes place at The Poetry Foundation in Chicago. Free, 7:00 PM, Thursday, March 21st, 61 West Superior Street in Chicago.

And Portland, we invite you to a special reading to coincide with the AWP conference. Green Lantern Press / Kenning Editions Showcase, 800 SE 10th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Friday, March 29th. Access to the event is through stairs. That said, though the space is not technically ADA, night of, there can be access arranged to an elevator. 6:30pm-8:00pm. Gratis wine provided by Montinore Estate. Readers include John Beer, Adam Novy, Laura Elrick, Joel Craig, Rachel Galvin, Devin King, Lara Schoorl, John Pluecker and Jessica Anne.

Set for publication this June, Devin King’s book inspired John Tipton to say this: “Devin King’s Grand Complication is a dizzy fugue of forms—regular stanzas in radical variety. And the sources of its argument are just as varied—The Thebaid of Statius, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or Melrose Place. It’s reminiscent of Zukofky’s omnivorous, inventive formalism. King orchestrates actors and narratives into a weltering long poem: William leads stoners to his apartment, thinking Julia will follow, but instead, she leads Abbie into Luke’s room and Mike follows, though Mike had flirted with Julia before she jumped in the pool while Amphiaraus was swallowed by the earth. I know. It’s complicated.”

Secure your copy via subscription. Subscribers receive the entire 2018-2019 season’s titles for a mere $75.00. That includes Ana Arzoumanian’s Juana I, Soleida Ríos’ The Dirty TextGrenade in Mouth: Some Poems of Miyó Vestrini, and Kevin Killian’s Stage Fright: Selected Plays from San Francisco Poets Theater among others. Later this year, expect to see The Chilean Flag, by Elvira Hernández, translated by Alec Schumacher and with an introduction by Cecilia Vicuña. Subscriptions are available also by donating to Kenning Editions, a 501c3 non-profit.

Edited by Faride Mereb and translated by Anne Boyer and Cassandra Gillig, Grenade in Mouth: Some Poems of Miyó Vestrini introduces to Anglophone readers the work of one of the vanguard voices of Venezuelan poetry with texts that cover three decades: from the year 1960 to 1990. The book offers a broader spectrum of her poems than ever previously compiled, including previously unpublished texts alongside her best known and most important works.

Critics have called Miyó Vestrini the poet of “militant death.” Vestrini is known, too, as the Sylvia Plath of Venezuela, but if she is a Plath, we think she is one who would have set Ted Hughes on fire. Read three poems from the book via Granta. Learn more about Vestrini and about this important new book here.

Says M. Buna at Hyperallergic: ‘In her writings, death and poetry have their own dark choreography that doesn’t shy away from affirming the stark contradictions at its core — exercises in morbidity also result in the resurrection of a new will to live, in a counter-suicidal impulse, even if it’s only a temporary one. These are whimsical poems that reveal the most familiar domestic settings as designed for eternal sleep. She allows no room for cozy feelings or attachments and no space for empty metaphors or shallow formal experiments — when she refers to men as lizards “who open the covers/and enter./without fresh turmoil/without heat or melancholy/without casting a spell,” she conjures a vivid and unequivocal picture. Intimacies and comforts are peeled off to expose the universe to its bare bone, and replace it with hypercharged particles…’

Grenade in Mouth is one of several new titles in translation available via subscription to Kenning Editions.

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Kenning Editions is pleased to announce the publication of Stage Fright: Plays from San Francisco Poets Theater, by Kevin Killian. Collecting work dating from the late 1980’s to the early 2010’s, this is the first representative selection of Killian’s plays. Once describing his productions as a form of “blanket permission,” Killian added, “I think people might come away thinking, I could do that! Isn’t that the best kind of work, something generative? Action painting was sort of like that…” This is a book to read, where reading means catching some action.

Says Lynne Tillman:

Kevin Killian’s plays remind me of Preston Sturges’s movies, with their fast repartee, hilarious ripostes, and crazy situations. Killian lets readers listen in on imagined conversations with literary greats, film-makers, celebs, actors—the Bowleses, Sheena Easton, Lars Von Trier, Kim Basinger, Lauren Bacall, and many more. He invites readers to their smart parties, where wit and scandal run riot, where everyone snipes, conspires, pontificates, and gossips about pop and literary arcana—and each other. Killian’s humor is sophisticated, his sensibility wry, and he knows just about everything. Kevin Killian’s plays are pure, or impure, pleasure.

Details and ordering information here.

 

Kenning Editions is proud to announce the publication of The Pine-Woods Notebook, by Craig Dworkin. Following the traces of the trail blazed by Francis Ponge in Le Carnet du bois de pins (1947), The Pine-Woods Notebook offers a simultaneous study of two environments. It documents the ecologies of two particular stands of conifers (one in the Wasatch front of the Rockies’ western edge, the other in the coastal Cascades of the Pacific Northwest); at the same time, it investigates the linguistic environment at the intersection of the words pitch and pine in all of their denotations. An essay built from densely patterned sentences, The Pine-Woods Notebook records the surprising resonance of chance lexical encounters and argues for the inextricable interweaving of the phenomenology of the conifer (its shape, scent, and cool darkness — as well as the distinctive sound of the wind in its branches) together with the vitality of its fluid sap and disseminating reproductive processes. Here, the erotic longing of pining meets the affective reflex of breath as they articulate the branching of the signifier.

Craig Dworkin is the author of over a half-dozen books of poetry, including, most recently: Chapter XXIV (Red Butte Press, 2013); Alkali (Counterpath, 2105); 12 Erroneous Displacements and a Fact (Information As Material, 2016), and DEF (Information As Material, 2017).

San Francisco-based writers Dodie Bellamy and Kevin Killian will be in Vancouver for two days to lead a brief, but intensive workshop in Poets Theatre that will culminate in a live performance on Sunday, March 10 within the exhibition. Bellamy and Killian co-founded Poets Theatre, the poetry, stage and performance group in the Bay Area, and since the late 1980s have written nearly fifty plays in collaboration with poets Leslie Scalapino, Barbara Guest, Brian Kim Stefans, Norma Cole, and dozens of others. Details here.

Kenning Editions will publish Killian’s selected plays momentarily.

and come away with some goodies, including every publication in the 2018-2019 season, a trend setting tote bag, and even acknowledgment in one of our books!

Kenning Editions is a small press with a regular staff of one individual, who relies on the input of many, and now also your tax-deductible monetary contributions to continue. Consider becoming a supporter of Kenning Editions. 

In 2019, Kenning Editions will publish four titles. In February come Kevin Killian’s selected plays, Stage Fright, and Craig Dworkin’s The Pine-Woods Notebook. In mid-March Kenning Editions will publish Grenade in Mouth: Some Poems of Miyó Vestrini, edited by Faride Mereb, and translated by Anne Boyer and Cassandra Gillig. The Chilean Flag by Elvira Hernández, translated by Alec Schumacher, and Devin King’s The Grand Complication will follow in summer.

Short missives from Kenning Editions authors, with insights into their relationships to their own books. Have a look, and then consider donating or subscribing. Becoming a supporter of Kenning Editions is to literally constitute Kenning Editions. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit, and whatever you give is tax deductible. Click here to learn more about the 2018-2019 season.

 

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