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16 Years of Chapbook Publication, 17 Years of Anthology Publication


Slapering Hol Press, the small press imprint of The Hudson Valley Writers' Center,
was founded in 1990 to publish emerging poets and thematic anthologies.

Call for Submissions

Those interested in reading at the November 9th Slapering Hol Press Writers on War and Peace gathering at the Writers’ Center (with featured reader Maxwell Corydon Wheat) should submit a brief sample of the piece they would like to read to: Submissions, Writers On War and Peace, Hudson Valley Writers’ Center, 300 Riverside Drive, Sleepy Hollow, New York 10591 (no email submissions, please), postmarked no later than September 1st, 2007. Pieces should be no longer than two pages double spaced. Please include name, e-mail address and /or phone number at top of submission for notification of acceptance. Only those accepted will be notified.




Issue 6, July 2007

In this issue:
A poem by Estha Weiner, Slapering Hol Press Advisory Board member; former Press co-editor Ann Lauinger introduces new co-editor Suzanne Cleary; and Mary Kaiser, Slapering Hol Press’s most recent chapbook winner at the HVWC in March 2007. Margo Stever reports on the first Hudson Valley Writers’ Center/Slapering Hol Press Small Press Festival

Authors from the Slapering Hol Press:

New Orleans Has Collapsed
In Appreciation of Frank O'Hara

I was watching the hurricane news
thinking it's bad but it's not as bad
as they thought when all of a sudden
it was worse         why??         the levees broke
and the water poured through the sexy sweet
City of New Orleans         through
cemeteries and jazz
Zydeco and oysters
booze and Blues
balconies and Brennan's
Black and White
Congregation Named Desire
Queen of the River Excess
did the God of those Righteous Boys
now running the US of A.
visit this flood upon your sensuous
banks     No Noah  in these Boys' plans
Oh New Orleans I love you get up!

Estha Weiner, originally published in the anthology, Hurricane Blues (S.E. Missouri State University Press, 2006), for which all proceeds go to hurricane relief.

photo: Estha WeinerEstha Weiner is co-editor and contributor to Blues For Bill: A Tribute To William Matthews. (Akron Poetry Series, 2005) .Her poems have appeared in the New Republic, Rattapallax, and Barrow Street, among other places. She is a 2005 winner of a Paterson Poetry Prize. Estha is a member of the English faculties at City College of NY and Marymount, and the Poetry faculties of The Writers Voice, Poets and Writers, Poets House, The Frost Place, and Stonecoast Writers Conference. She serves on the Advisory Board of Slapering Hol Press, Hudson Valley Writers’ Center. In April, along with Jeannie Beaumont , she participated in and hosted an evening of poetry and blues for the benefit of New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund at the Cornelia Street Cafe in New York City.



photo: Suzanne ClearySuzanne Cleary, New Co-Editor at Slapering Hol Press
By Ann Lauinger

Slapering Hol Press is fortunate to have as its new co-editor Suzanne Cleary; a member of the press’s Advisory Committee, she will serve with co-editor and founder of the press, Margo Stever. Cleary (whose name, by the way, rhymes with “airy” not “eerie”) is the author of two books of poetry, both published by Carnegie Mellon: Keeping Time (2002) and Trick Pear (2007). Her chapbook, Blue Cloth, won the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival Prize of the Hill-Stead Museum in 2004. Cleary is Professor of English at SUNY Rockland and teaches a popular, long-running advanced poetry workshop at the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center; this summer she will also be teaching at the Frost Place. A native of Binghamton, New York, Cleary’s past and her family’s collective memory often provide the matrix or jumping-off point for her poems. “Pond’s Hand Cream” (Trick Pear) relates with seemingly photographic precision the child’s memory of asking to share her mother’s lotion. Abruptly, the poem deepens into a conclusion profound in its truth yet voiced with an unsentimental tenderness: “Hand, first cup, / small valley at the end of the arm, / … / that is when love first touched me. / That is how I know to ask.” Cleary’s past is presented quite differently in the opening poem of Trick Pear, “Anyways,” which, in its title and its wry tone, constitutes a loving homage to the speech and spirit of Cleary’s hometown. In “Skiving” (Trick Pear), past and present crystallize again around a single curious word, when the glimpse of a student working the press at the dry cleaner evokes a memory of Cleary’s grandmother as a child-worker in a shoe factory. The poem pivots on the double experience of the poet (and the reader) who feels, if only briefly, the bodily pain these grueling jobs impose but who also, despite herself, finds beauty, “swift and graceful,” in the perceptions of eye and ear. The achievement here, as in so much of Cleary’s poetry, is to hold both these experiences in balance and thereby to honor both. All of us at the press look forward to working with Cleary in her new position.



Slapering Hol Press’s most recent author:

Ann Lauinger’s introduction of Mary Kaiser
at the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center, Sunday March 25, 2007

To the ancient rivalry between poetry and painting Mary Kaiser has added a new chapter, and a peaceful one. Falling into Velázquez is the work of sight and speech in spectacular collaboration, a collection Peter Meinke called “luminous,” Don Bogen “vibrant,” and Martha Rhodes “clear, rich, smart, and passionate.” So I could sit down now. But I want to say just a bit more.

What Falling into Velázquez is not is a collection of ecphrases. An ecphrasis is a description of a work of art; etymologically, it is a “speaking out,” a plain declaration. But Mary’s poems are anything but plain, and they do not drive toward an outward showing, as the etymological definition would imply. On the contrary, these poems turn their gaze—and ours—from the gorgeous appearance to the hidden life that mysteriously animates it: the life of the creator, the observer, and of the object itself.

The poems in Falling into Velázquez are rich in sensuous particulars—felt and seen— registered by an impassioned intelligence. They are voiced in a diction both precise and wide-ranging, and they are shaped in lines that show a masterful understanding of the possibilities of free verse. And they are imaginative! How is a cathedral like a corset? See “Monet/Corset Shop.” And how about Edouard Manet, who has a personal relationship with a peony: he paints her and she paints him. See “Late Study in Flesh and Oil.” Yes, artists are weird! But above all, art is strenuous, needy, even dangerous: the basket-maker is locked in a losing struggle with his canes (“The Bed at Mullinahone”); the human form “flames you blind” (“Naked in Philadelphia”). And, as the little girl in the title poem finds, falling into Velázquez changes everything.

The beauty that is so often this collection’s point of departure is its end too, in all senses of that word. But it is the gift of Mary’s high imagination to render what she sees more intense and so more gorgeous, more alive, and so more pleasurable. And that, surely, is the work poetry (like all the arts) is meant to do.

photo: Ann Lauinger by Scott SansAnn Lauinger's book, Persuasions of Fall (University of Utah Press, 2004), won the Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry. Her poems have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Measure, Missouri Review, Parnassus, and Zone 3, among other places. She teaches literature at Sarah Lawrence College and is a former co-editor of Slapering Hol Press.

photo by Scott Sans

photo: Mary Kaiser
A native of Detroit, Mary Kaiser lives in Birmingham, Alabama where she teaches American Literature at Jefferson State Community College. She is the poetry editor of the Red Mountain Review and the winner of the 2006 Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Contest.



Hudson Valley Writers’ Center/Slapering Hol Press Small Press Festival
By Margo Stever

The first ever Hudson Valley Writers’ Center/Slapering Hol Press Small Press Festival took place on Father’s Day, June 17 from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. Originally put into motion by long-time and beloved former Executive Director, Dare Thompson, the festival planning and implementation was masterfully carried to fruition by the new HVWC Executive Director, Jerri Lynn Fields.

The book fair featured Slapering Hol, Bright Hill, Perugia, Toadlily, Codhill, Camber, and Blind Beggar Presses. Because the fair was relatively small, a lively interchange occurred between the various press representatives and fair visitors. At least one press sold more books at one event than ever before.

During the 2:00 panel discussion, editors and representatives from Slapering Hol, Toadlily, Bright Hill, and Perugia Presses discussed issues relating to history, aesthetics, and reading processes.

For the reading portion of the festival, four poets represented the various presses. David Tucker, author of Days When Nothing Happens, Slapering Hol Press (2003) who recently won the Bakeless Prize for his first book, Late for Work (Houghton Mifflin 2006), represented Slapering Hol Press. This year he was chosen as a Witter Bynner Fellow and read at the Library of Congress for the second time.

Bertha Rogers who has published three chapbooks and a full length collection, Sleeper You Wake, represented Bright Hill Press (BHP) which she founded fifteen years ago. She read some of her own poems as well as others from her acclaimed translation of Beowulf, published in 2000. Bertha currently serves as BHP program director and works in partnership with NYSCA to create the New York State Literary Website and Literary Map (

Frannie Lindsay read from her new book, Lamb, which was runner-up for the Academy of American Poets James Laughlin Award. Her first book of poetry, Where She Always Was (Utah State University Press, 2005) was selected by J.D. McClatchy as the winner of the May Swenson Award.

Meredith Trede, a founding editor of Toadlily Press, read from her chapbook, Desire Path, and from other Toadlily books. She has had poems in such journals as The Paris Review, The Nebraska Review, and Gargoyle and has had residencies from Ragdale, Saltonstall Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts.

Since many presses are not known on a local level even by their own townspeople, the opportunity to interact with the community is always welcome. The general reaction to the HVWC/SHP Small Press Festival was positive, so we hope to tune in for a second annual festival next year.

photo: Margo Stever by Mark SadanMargo Stever’s Frozen Spring won the 2002 Mid-List Press First Series Award for Poetry. Her chapbook, Reading the Night Sky, won the 1996 Riverstone Press Chapbook Competition. Her poems and essays have appeared in the New England Review, West Branch, Connecticut Review, Rattapallax, and elsewhere. She is the founding editor of the Slapering Hol Press.

photo by Mark Sadan



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