Review of Nanopedia

From the Washington Independent Review and the lovely Grace Cavalieri:

The Nanopedia Quick-Reference Pocket Lexicon of Contemporary American Culture by Charles Jensen is a chapbook. By definition a chapbook is “a small pamphlet containing
tales, ballads, or tracts, sold by peddlers.” (I like that!) Or, ―A small paperback booklet, typically containing poems or fiction.‖ Apparently these are sold by publishers who are not peddlers. The chapbook has a time-honored tradition in American Letters, and we can cite first editions from such influential poets as Eliot, Stevens, Pound—in fact, most estimable poets at one time or another issue a chapbook. However, because of its length, the publication is wrongly considered less than a book. It is a type of book and I like to think back to the 18th century when even more diminutive books could be slipped into the pocket of a frock coat. Charles Jensen’s poems are political statements in prose verse. Like a new Mazerati or Lady Gaga’s shoes, the poems are always surprising, never disappointing. His poetry seems to say: If some of us are here to wake you up, then what are the rest of you here for? Jensen’s line lengths trace exactly what the poet feels about a subject, but it happens to be in a unit of measure. Jensen’s poems are acts of civil disobedience. Each is a tiny discourse commenting on society’s foibles and artifices. The musicality and poetic perspective lets the poet speak without having to write an Op Ed piece. Poets wish to be of use. And Jensen certainly is, 25 times in this small book.

My interview with Megan Volpert…

…is now live at Lambda Literary:

2011 saw the publication of several new biographies about Andy Warhol, but perhaps none with such an unusual voice as Megan Volpert’s Sonics in Warholia, from Sibling Rivalry Press. She wrote the book as a direct address to Warhol’s ghost, and took a tone with him that most people never dared to while he was alive. In this interview, Charles Jensen sits down with the author of this distinctive new book to dig into the connections between Warhol and, well, everything.

Sonics in Warholia is a fiendishly complex book, so let’s start with the wide angle establishing shot: as the title suggests, the main throughline of the book is a Hoarders-level obsession with all things Andy Warhol.  What drew you to this subject, and why with such intensity?

I prefer to write in response to things, and the main criticism of my previous books is that they are not “accessible.” So I ran in the extreme direction of Andy (we are on a first name basis), because whatever you think about Warhol, you do think something. And Andy is so invested in this very notion of accessibility—that a Coke is a good subject for a screen print because whether you’re Liz Taylor or a janitor, Coke tastes the same and costs the same for everybody. Also, I have always been interested in empty signifiers, very concerned with people and objects that appear to contain multitudes. As an undergrad, I bet myself that I could use a Rubik’s Cube as a visual aid for every presentation I gave until graduation—and I did. Andy is most certainly an empty signifier; I’m hardly the first person to write about that. I should’ve said first thing that I owe a tremendous (really, tremendous) debt to Wayne Koestenbaum.

Click for more!

Here’s what I posted at this week.


We agreed early on that the web site would be an essential tool for us in expressing our brand identity, reaching out to new clients, and helping clients see our network of consultants (assuming anyone cares to join us, when we’re ready, on this crazy ride).

We have crazy web site experience among the three of us.  Our most astonishing factoid?  The three of us, along with 5 other staff members at an organization that previously employed us all, built an entirely new organizational web site from scratch (including an e-store with over 250 products!) in two weeks.  This includes the full week of training we received in navigating and using the CMS (content management system), so honestly we built everything in a single week.  And nobody worked overtime!

I took up the mantle of bringing the web site to the world.  For the past eight years, I…

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One Pause Poetry

A new poetry media resource has opened up shop on the interwebs: check out One Pause Poetry.

The mission of One Pause Poetry is to “make poetry accessible to all. We are non-academic and non–market-driven. One Pause Poetry honors diversity and quality in our selection process and is dedicated to supporting Michigan poets. We select both established and emerging writers for our series and website, with the goal of breaking down categories and camps and encouraging collaboration and innovation across poetic forms, the arts, and media.”

Poets on the site contributed recordings of three poems—one of their own, one by another poet, and one poem for children, making space for a unique and accessible archive of new and classic work everyone can enjoy.

Poets who contributed to the site include Mary Jo Bang, Joel Brouwer, Bryan Borland, Alfred Corn, Victoria Chang, Oliver de la Paz, Kathy Fagan, Sarah Messer, Kevin Simmonds, and Daniel Nathan Terry.



Now accepting submissions
Deadline:  March 1, 2012 

The Kundiman Poetry Prize is dedicated to publishing exceptional work by Asian American poets.
Winner receives $1,000, book publication with Alice James Books and a New York City feature reading.

Alice James Books is a cooperative poetry press with a mission is to seek out and publish the best contemporary poetry by both established and beginning poets, with particular emphasis on involving poets in the publishing process.

General Guidelines

  • Entrants must reside in the United States.
  • Manuscripts must be typed, paginated, and 50 – 70 pages in length (single spaced).
  • Individual poems from the manuscript may have been previously published in magazines, anthologies, or chapbooks of less than 25 pages, but the collection as a whole must be unpublished. Translations and self-published books are not eligible. No multi-authored collections, please.
  • Manuscripts must have a table of contents and include a list of acknowledgments for poems previously published. The inclusion of a biographical note is optional. Your name, mailing address, email address and phone number should appear on the title page of your manuscript.
  • No illustrations, photographs or images should be included.
  • The Kundiman Poetry Prize is judged by consensus of the members of Kundiman’s Artistic Staff and the Alice James Books Editorial Board. Manuscripts are not read anonymously. Learn more about our judging process.
  • Winners will be announced in June.
Guidelines for Electronic Manuscript Submission

You may submit your manuscript to The Kundiman Prize electronically by accessing our online submission manager here.  Entry fee is $28.

Guidelines for Print Manuscript Submission

Should you wish to submit your manuscript via postal mail, mail your entry to:
P.O. Box 4248
Sunnyside, NY 11104

Send one copy of your manuscript submission with two copies of the title page. Use only binder clips. No staples, folders, or printer-bound copies.

MANUSCRIPTS CANNOT BE RETURNED. Please do not send us your only copy.

Entry fee is $28.  Checks or money orders should be made out to Alice James Books. On the memo line of your check, write The Kundiman Poetry Prize.
Checklist for print manuscript entry:
  • One (1) copy of manuscript enclosed, with acknowledgements and two (2) copies of title page
  • $28 entry fee
  • Business sized SASE
  • Stamped addressed postcard
  • Postmarked by March 1, 2012

Prize Events

For information on Prize Events, click here.

Previous Winners


Mezzanines by Matthew Olzmann

Matthew Olzmann is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.  His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Kenyon Review, New England Review, Inch, Gulf Coast, Rattle and elsewhere.  He’s received fellowships from Kundiman and the Kresge Arts Foundation.  Currently, he is a writer-in-residence for the InsideOut Litereary Arts Project and the poetry editor of The Collagist.


Pier by Janine Oshiro

Janine Oshiro holds degrees from Whitworth College (now Whitworth University), Portland State University, and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is a Kundiman fellow and the recipient of a poetry fellowship from Oregon’s Literary Arts. She lives in Hawaii and teaches at Windward Community College

Praise for Pier

“As if through an echolocation of brilliant and insistent off-rhyme, these poems effect a delicate placement of self into body, body into world, world into word. And at the center of it all is even more delicate loss.  Oshiro’s Pier takes its measure in precise instances that ache with intelligence. A truly masterful first book.”  —Cole Swensen

LOCUSPOINT: Quad Cities!

A new edition of LOCUSPOINT has arrived!  Please welcome E. Marie Bertram’s Quad Cities, featuring poems by Neal Allen, Bertram, Ryan Collins, Sarah J. Gardner, Farah Marklevits, Lucas A. Street, and Amber L. Whittle.

Of the place, Bertram writes, “It’s the only place in the country where the Mississippi River runs east to west, not north to south, save New Orleans.  I like to think this bit of cartographical trivia suggests something about the area, about being lesser-known, but worth knowing about.  The area is also one of just a few that are regularly referred to in the singular (“the Quad Cities is . . .”) and the plural (“the Quad Cities are . . .”), leaving subject-verb conjugation up to context, to the speaker, whatever sounds more natural to the ear.

Check it out!