THE NEWSLETTER OF SLAPERING HOL PRESS
Slapering Hol Press, the small press imprint of The Hudson Valley Writers' Center,
was founded in 1990 to publish emerging poets and thematic anthologies.
Issue 9, April 2008
2008 SLAPERING HOL PRESS
Nevin teaches for Arizona State University where he is the assistant director
of the Young Writer’s Program and is co-editor of 22 Across: a Review of Young
Writers. His poetry has appeared in The Gettysburg Review, North American
Review, 5AM, JAMA, Hayden’s Ferry Review and other journals. He is the recipient
of a Literature Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts
and two fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. He is the author
of the chapbook, A House That Falls which won the Slapering Hol Press Chapbook
Prize and Oblivio Gate winner of the Crab Orchard Award Series First Book Prize
and will be published by Southern Illinois University Press in October 2008.
Nevin on Winning the Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition
After the mid-day phone call from Margo Stever, founder of Slapering Hol Press (SHP), letting me know that my manuscript, A House That Falls, was selected as the winner of the SHP Chapbook Prize, after I closed my office door and did my publication dance quietly and alone beside my desk, after the editing conference calls with Ann Lauinger and Margo to discuss my work, after their few wise and gentle suggestions, after the galley proofs were returned, after the monetary prize came (and went), after the long and pregnant wait for the UPS guy to arrive at my door and hand me the box of chapbooks, after I sliced it open, ran my fingers over the paper, the embossed cover, after I buried my nose in its clean inky pages and inhaled, after all that, I got on a plane for my first SHP reading at the Cornelia Street Café in Manhattan.
One of the many reasons I submitted to SHP was the promised reading in New York, my previous home. I moved to Arizona several years ago from Manhattan and most of my family and friends were beginning to wonder what I was doing for the last seven years. I was eager to show them. Many of them came to the reading filling a few tables right up front. I took my seat on the cramped stage between David Tucker and Suzanne Cleary in the small horseshoe of folding chairs set up for the five or so poets to read. David leaned over and said this is a good prize to win. Things started “happening” for me after I won, and the reading began. As each new poet read, I felt more and more privileged to be on that stage and part of the press.
My chapbook grew from a culling away of dissimilar poems and a gathering of the poems that shared a theme. It wasn’t the book I intended to write, but I began writing towards these images, towards carpenter bees and garden gnomes and dementia. The poems came faster. I began to exorcise the obsession and felt, finally, I had completed something. SHP felt this too, honored it, and helped me send it out into the world as a beautiful chapbook of which I am very proud, but I was glad to move on in my writing.
However, like any worthwhile obsession, it was not done with me. As the chapbook was out working for me, getting me residencies, readings, fellowships and reviews, it continued to grow. It became the beating heart of my larger collection, Oblivio Gate, which recently won the Crab Orchard First Book Prize and will be published by Southern Illinois University Press this September. Now three years into my relationship with SHP, the support and sense of community is only getting stronger. I feel even more privileged to be a member of this growing community of talented writers. I’ve been back for at least a half-dozen SHP readings since that first one, and David was right, “things started happening,” but not on their own.
Hol Press Poets At Manhattanville College’s Reid Castle
Collaborations continue between Manhattanville College and The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center. On November 14th, Manhattanville’s Master of Arts in Writing program hosted a reading by recent winners of HVWC’s Slapering Hol Press Annual Chapbook Competition in the historic Reid Castle’s East Library. Featured poets included: Susana H. Case, Mary Kaiser and Sean Nevin. Suzanne Cleary, poet and co-editor of Slapering Hol Press (SHP) also read selections of her work and work by David Tucker. A reception and book signing followed the reading.
This was the fourth in a series of collaborations between Manhattanville’s Master of Arts in Writing program and HVWC, which has included two readings at the Neuberger Museum featuring poetry written in response to exhibitions of artwork by Cleve Grey in June and July 2007. On Sunday, May 4th at 4:30 pm, HVWC will again host a reading by poets and writers of Manhattanville’s Inkwell literary journal at the Writers' Center.
The November 14th event began with Linda Simone, Associate Director of Manhattanville’s Graduate Writing Program, welcoming the readers and the attending audience and introducing host Cindy Beer-Fouhy. Before introducing the readers, Cindy emphasized the importance of supporting poetry and poets by attending readings, writing and reading poetry and, especially, buying books.
The first poet of the evening, Susana H. Case, charmed the audience with her wit, wisdom and literary flair with a poem from The Scottish Café (Slapering Hol Press, 2002), “Fixed Points”. She also read “Springing Abbie Hoffman from Jail”, and concluded with a poem of dark humor, “And Now Let’s Revisit Sex and Death”.
Suzanne Cleary, co-editor of SHP, prefaced her reading by acknowledging her joy of being a part of the Manhattanville series at Reid Castle. "It's a thrill to read in this room where I've heard some great poets, including Gwendolyn Brooks and Galway Kinnell."
Cleary began with a poem from David Tucker's chapbook Days When Nothing Happens (Slapering Hol Press 2003) titled "Soon They: A Song for Good Times" and continued with several poems of her own including new poetry and poetry from her books, Trick Pear (2007) and Keeping Time (2002), both from Carnegie Mellon University Press.
Mary Kaiser read from a series of poems inspired by Eakins from her chapbook Falling Into Velazquez (Slapering Hol Press, 2006) including "Eakins Makes a Hot Day," "The Resistance of Bones," and "Naked in Philadelphia" and two new poems, "The Single Condition" and "Of the Body."
Sean Nevin concluded the reading with a selection of his new poems and poems from A House That Falls (Slapering Hol Press, 2005) and Family Matters: Poems of our Families (Bottom Dog Press 2005).
After the reading, books practically flew off the tables. The audience, in appreciation and support of the poets and the readings, bought books so they might take home a precious piece of the readings and begin or add to their own poetry libraries at home.
Mary Kaiser, who is from Birmingham, Alabama, was thrilled to be part of the event and eloquently summed up the feelings of all participants. “I really enjoyed the reading at Manhattanville. The room was beautiful, with its gracious fireplace and coffered ceiling, and the poets were hot! The group reading format led to a fascinating evening of poetry in a rich variety of voices.”
Look for more HVWC and Manhattanville collaborative readings and events on the HVWC calendar! All events are open to the public.
Beer-Fouhy is a freelance writer and arts publicist and President of the PublicEye
Publicity Company (http://www.thepubliceye.info/
). She was founder and Director of the Literary Arts Department at the Northern
Westchester Center for the Arts and curator of the award winning Creative Arts
Café Poetry Series. Her poetry has been published widely in literary journals,
magazines and anthologies including Bronx Accent: A Literary and Pictorial
History of the Borough (Rutgers University Press) and her articles and interviews
appear in Westchester Arts Council’s Arts News.
Slapering Hol Press at the 2008 AWP Convention In New York City
Newsletter edited by Susana H Case
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