Newsletter Issue #33 March, 2014

Newsletter Issue #33 March, 2014
March 17, 2014 Plume

Readers —

Welcome to Issue # 33 of Plume.

With much to note regarding gratitude, new appointments, and such, I thought we’d offer as our “13th poem” this month first a kind of link to the poem referenced in our Editor’s Note this issue: Julio Cortazar’s “Instructions On Or Rather Examples Of How To Be Afraid” — which doubly references the cover art as well — that marvelous and eerie Prada installation outside Marfa, Texas:


In a small town in Scotland they sell books with one blank page hidden someplace in the volume. If the reader opens to that page and it’s three o’clock in the afternoon, he dies.

In the Piazza Quirinal in Rome, there is one spot, unknown even to the initiated after the nineteenth century, from which, under a full moon, the statues of the Dioscuri can be seen to move, fighting against their horses as they rear back.

At Amalfi, where the seacoast ends, there’s a jetty which stretches out into the sea and night. Out beyond the last lighthouse, you can hear a dog bark.

A man is squeezing toothpaste onto his brush, all of a sudden he sees the tiny figure of a woman lying on her back, coral sort of, or even a breadcrumb that’s been painted.

Opening the door of the wardrobe to take out a shirt, an old almanac falls out which comes apart immediately, pages falling and crumbling, and covers the white linen with millions of dirty white butterflies.

There was the story about the traveling salesman whose left wrist began to hurt him, just under his wrist watch. When he removed the watch, blood spurted out. The wound showed the imprints of very tiny teeth.

The doctor finishes his examination and his conclusions are very reassuring to us. His cordial and somber voice precedes the medicines, prescriptions for which he is writing out at the moment, seated behind his desk. Every once in a while he raises his head and smiles, to cheer us up. We don’t have a thing to worry about, we’ll be better inside a week. We sit at ease in our easy chair, happy, and look idly and distractedly around the room. In the shadowed area beneath the desk, suddenly we see the doctor’s legs. The trousers are pulled up just above the knee and he’s wearing women’s stockings.

from, The Prose Poem, An International Anthology, Edited  And With An Introduction By Michael Benedikt, Dell 1976

One almost cannot resist the temptation to add one’s own entries (and I don’t, in the Note): a poem that seems to invite elaboration — as in Teo Savory’s author-permitted  contribution to her translation of Prevert’s “Pall-Bearers”:

the Society of Oysters with Jesus on the half-shell
a member of the prostate with a hypertrophy of the French Academy
a dental son with a prodigal surgeon
a fat horse of the diocese with a seven-hand bishop of the circus
…radioactive disarmament with world fall-out

(You are playing that one now, aren’t you?)

But: to Plume news.

Many thanks to our readers in Seattle: Robin BehnJim Daniels, Mark Irwin, Jill Rosser, Rosanna Warren, and David Rivard — and to Jonathan Penton for his extraordinary emceeing efforts. A good time, I hear from all concerned, was had by all. Though circumstances prevented me from attending (family, hospital — to use the Nabakovian précis), I will be at several upcoming PLUME readings and would love to see you there:

PLUME ANTHOLOGY OF POETRY 2013 New York City Premier Reading
Housing Works Bookstore, 126 Crosby Street (SOHO)
Tuesday, April 8, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Tom Sleigh
D. Nurkse
Rachel Hadas
Nicole Cooley
Peter Cooley
Sophie Cabot Black
Daniel Lawless, Ed.
Alex Cigale, MC

PLUME ANTHOLOGY OF POETRY 2013 Cambridge Premier Reading
Porter Square Bookstore, 25 White St, Cambridge, MA 02140
(617) 491-2220  Wednesday, April 9, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Daniel Tobin
Clare Rossini
Martha Collins
David Rivard
Ciaran Berry
Daniel Lawless, Ed.
Josh Cook, MC

The Palladium , 253 5th Ave N, St Petersburg, FL 33701 (727) 822-3590 Monday, April 21, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. 

Tess Gallagher (with Lawrence Matsuda)

We have a tentative booking in New Orleans in Mid- May: Peter Cooley and others. TBA.

What else — something…ah, yes.

The Plume Anthology of Poetry 2013 is out; you can purchase a copy at our STORE on the PLUME Website or through our publishers at Madhat Press. It will soon be available online at Amazon and other sites, as well.

Some embarrassingly kind testimonials regarding the anthology and the online Plume site:

“Plume continues to publish amazing poets in beautiful formats–both
online and in-print. The magazine has an exciting vision, embracing
a broad gamut of poetries, including collaborations. The work has a
consistently intriguing quality about the joys and unsettling aspects of
being alive.”
~ Denise Duhamel

“I’ve never seen a literary magazine become so important so quickly.
I have no idea how Daniel Lawless does it, but I dare anyone to find
another journal that contains 1) the high quality of the individual
poems, 2) the wide range of voices and styles, and 3) the large number
of leading voices in contemporary American poetry. I would love to
see all these poets in the same room, but I’ll take them here, all in the
same book.”
~ Jim Daniels

“Plume’s apparent lack of a narrow editorial policy (except a fondness
for interesting poems) makes for lots of strange bedfellows, but what
was the last time that was a bad idea?”
~ Billy Collins 

“The list of contributors to this second Plume anthology is testimony to
editor Danny Lawless’s open secret: He’s highly selective and thrillingly
inclusive. His brilliance lies in assembling a community of poets and
celebrating the glorious literary freedom of their work. Plume keeps
giving us back what we always wanted from poetry–the voice of the
human heart speaking to us with passion, intelligence, wit, ferocity,
and imaginative aplomb.
~ David Huddle

“Plume is one of the most exciting, eclectic gatherings of writers on the
web. Editor Daniel Lawless has a knack for putting together voices that
create surprising neighborhoods of words, related in complex ways that
only gradually reveal themselves. It’s one of very few webzines that I
always read.”
~ Chase Twichell

“Plume is rapidly becoming one of the best places in America to read
poetry, on-line and in print, thanks to the untiring efforts of Danny
Lawless. It’s where to find dazzling work by new and established writers,
and, thanks to the new technology, it is available instantly to readers
by the millions. Plume proves once more that poetry is essential to our
lives, and that ‘Men die every day for want of what is found in it.’”
~ Grace Schulman

“Plume magazine, and now the second volume of its Plume Anthology
of Poetry, is a beautifully edited and stylishly presented cross-section of
what is alive and well in contemporary poetry. I always feel honored
and a part of a distinguished family when Daniel Lawless selects one
of my poems.”
~ Diane Wakoski 

“I usually hate to read poems on the computer but Plume has changed
my mind. It is attractive, well-edited, and possesses the compelling
virtue of being concise–not too many poems, not too few. Since I
always end up wanting to print out one or two, I’m grateful for Danny
Lawless’s equally exciting, good-looking, and well-chosen, Plume
~ Lawrence Raab

“Plume is a gem–in the rare-and-wondrous-find sense. Each issue is a
hand-plucked, precisely curated composition, tended with great care,
full of mystery, and delivering batches of the freshest, most provocative,
and necessary writing around. Danny Lawless’s vision is exquisite.”
~ Lia Purpura

“Blurbing a book you’re in is like telling people where to find the
baby in the King cake. It’s not fair, but if the cake is good, the baby’s
lagniappe. The main thing is the cake.”
~ Andrei Codrescu

“Plume is a new force in the poetry world, bringing together, in its
online zine and in this anthology, a unique, eclectic and impressive
group of poets.”
~ Rae Armantrout 

“Of all the things that might claim one’s attention, and they are in
the multitudes! Plume is well worth making time for since it isn’t just
another magazine. Its difference? Wonderful work, on the edge, room
for play and dash, new forms, a great discerning editor in Danny
~ Tess Gallagher

“It’s a fantastic poetry magazine. A selection of work from American
and International poets, emerging and established.”
~ Anzhelina Polonskaya

“Like all the poets who appear in the Plume Anthology of Poetry 2013,
I’m delighted to be included in this dazzling collection of U.S. and
International poetry. The range of poems is stunning in its breadth,
depth, and variety; running from Catullus to Jorie Graham, from
New Orleans to Taipei. Editor Daniel Lawless has an unerring eye for
selecting and publishing complex poetry filled with aesthetic surprises.”
~ Mary Mackey

“Plume is a gathering place where strangers become old friends. Each
issue is a celebration of images and words that touch the heart and bind
us together as community.”
~ Lawrence Matsuda 

“Plume, the most exciting online magazine of the decade, has consistently
surprised and delighted readers, attracting the best contemporary writers
of the day. With every issue I am reminded of the early Muslim tale that
Allah’s first invention was the pen, or as  the French might say, un stylo a plume.
With offerings from acclaimed American writers as diverse as
Denise Duhamel, Lydia Davis, Sharon Olds and Billy Collins as well as
from International heavy-hitters Yves Bonnefoy, Cees Nooteboom,
And Karl Krolow, the second anthology of Plume is nothing short of a must-read.”
~ Nin Andrews

“The first word I remember using to describe Danny Lawless’s online
Plume was the word elegant. And now I discover that the word derives
from a Latin verb for to select. Plume endeavors to select and showcase–
yes, elegantly–the best poems of the twenty-first century. Plume not
only encourages, it honors poetry.”
~ Ron Smith

“Though I’ve been known to shy away from on-line publications, I’m
an avid reader of Plume, a beautifully designed monthly periodical
featuring an international selection of works by some of today’s best
poets. Hard to beat that.”
~ William Trowbridge

“Plume (Noun): An anthology or journal of fine writing edited with
passion and immaculate attention to detail.
“Plume (Verb): To erupt with energy, enthusiasm and poetic spirit. To
“Derivative of Plume: Plumelike (Adjective): As fine as down and as
lively as peacock feathers.
“Origins of Plume: American, but with an internationalist bent, some
time during the 2000s.”
~ John Kinsella

“Plume magazine is an anomaly of taste: any literary dwelling that can
shelter under one roof a family of poets as distantly related as Rae
Armantrout, James Richardson, Kim Addonizio, Jorie Graham, Linda
Pastan, G.C. Waldrep, Grace Schulman, Carl Phillips, Sharon Olds,
Billy Collins, and more, must be both capacious and odd. What in the
world unites these writers, one thinks? And then one reads an issue
of Plume with the dawning recognition what they have in common is
Danny Lawless, the founder and editor of this superb new journal.
Lawless has the audacity to choose the poets he loves, and believes
are writing good poetry, no matter on what wildly disparate branch
of the family tree he finds them. And then he gets these poets to send
him poems. Plume establishes its place on the literary scene somewhere
above fashion, apart from all questions of Hipster vs. . . . Whatever.
The work within its pages has the unpredictable, idiosyncratic strength
of things that haunt, and may endure.”
~ Jeffrey Skinner

“Always astonishing and diverse in content, Plume is one of our
most elite and essential online journals and a roving museum of
contemporary poetry curated by Daniel Lawless. ‘Glancing blow’ after
glancing blow, it makes me hungry, ad infinitum, for the strange and
beautiful–and the annual anthology is a sumptuous feast of enduring
American poetry.”
~ Mark Irwin

“In less than three years, Daniel Lawless has created, in the online
journal Plume, an exciting outlet for contemporary poetry, including
translations. In this second annual Plume Anthology, he continues his
practice of gathering a wide-ranging group of aesthetically diverse poets,
almost all of them represented by previously unpublished poems.”
~ Martha Collins

“Like Antaeus and Ironwood, two of the greatest American poetry
magazines of the past fifty years, Plume is eclectic in the most
purposeful and pleasurable of ways. In a very short amount of time,
Danny Lawless has made it a ‘must-read’ like no other. Plume is one
of my favorite sources for new poetry–online or in print. Thoughtful,
entertaining, capacious, with no use for aesthetic axe-grinding, its
highly-enriched oxygen will add energy to your life!”

~ David Rivard

You see? So generous, and many more such blush-inducing endorsements in this month’s Editor’s Note.

But back on earth —

Again, I am afraid, …a bit of favor-asking: one, if you are on Facebook, or Twitter, and like a particular poem very much: share, retweet. The best way for Plume to grow is, as with everything, word of mouth.

Our cover art this month, that Prada Store, about which you can read more in the Editor’s Note: I tumbled upon it online, frittered away the better part of an hour with it, and you can, too.

Next up, after this issue’s Featured Selection by Page Hill Stargazer, a multi-media project from Hank Lazer, followed by a stunning piece from Amit Mujmudar.  Several more features are in the pipeline, as has been noted, with Nin Andrews the latest to join the queue. (Here, too, again, let me add as always: those with projects that might be suitable for the Featured Selection, please do contact us with your proposal at

New faces at Plume: we now have an Associate Editor For Special Projects, Nancy Mitchell, and a Copy Editor, Steven Elder. More on these two in the Editor’s Note. as well.

Last, David Cudar is on a brief excursion from his duties at PLUME  (reading, no doubt). His book recommendations will return next issue.

As always, I do hope you enjoy the issue.

Daniel Lawless

Editor, Plume