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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

New Release: Mendes Biondo- Young Cruel and Hungry was the Night (Holy &intoxicated Publications, 2019) 18 pages

Mendes Biondo is a young Italian journalist and poet. This chapbook follows two of his recent publications, the bilingual Italian/English “Spaghetti & Meatballs” (Pski’s Porch Publishing, 2018) and “Where Hot Rods Run” (Cajun Mutt Press, 2019). Biondo’s poetry is like hot spilt blood on the page. His work is raw, exuberant, angry and full of imperfections. 

Biondo’s poem “Fighting With Blood-Swollen Veins” is amongst the best which recklessly expresses his passion for life. It is a kind of manifesto of anger in which Biondo openly vents what makes his blood boil. He gets mad, raises his voice and never holds back. He even reckons  that “it is good for my heart.”

In Young Cruel and Hungry was the Night, Biondo writes about writing poetry, Bukowski, fucking and dying. The title of the collection derives from the poem “Landing Phase.” In the concluding lines of the poem, the speaker presumably Biondo, describes the “inner death” and the sense of loss he feels after leaving university:

as far as I am concerned
I feel that gasoline flowing into my veins
I’m just a tired bull
running through the streets of Pamplona
I can feel I lost a unit
like the space rockets do when they abandon the earth
but I’m still waiting for the last hit of the matador
to fall on the ground and drink my own
cruel and

As indicated in the above passage, Biondo likes using mixed metaphors and he especially loves extended metaphors in his poetry. His poems “Boxing With Life”, “Homecoming Blues” and “The Night Death Came To Drink Something With Me” are memorable examples of this trait in his writing.

In the following poem, Biondo draws the incongruous comparison of death being a sexy temptress:

The Night Death Came To Drink Something With Me

she was a redhead woman
               or maybe she was blonde
               I cannot remember now
               how I imagined her

mrs. death
the stiletto-shoes-woman
the sexiest person on earth
so sexy that we all have to pass
a lot of time
with her
at the end of all our struggles

the stiletto-woman was wearing a tight dress
wrapping those rollercoaster
people use to call breasts
and ass and hips
they were shining in front of the moon
             she was sexy and she knew it

my house was a real mess at the time
I lived alone and my only mate was the microwave
a funny guy dreaming of becoming a wooden oven
one of these days

she took out the rum bottle I hid some days before
she opened it and she poured the human gasoline
into nutella branded glasses
                don’t judge me
                they were good glasses
                after all

so it’s my time to go?
not yet
why are you here?
just looking
looking for what?
how did you feel
bad as hell
I know my man but stay cool it will pass
another sip of rum?
yes thanks

we talked with the same rhythm
of a typewriter
crying out a blue story
on a white sheet
then she shut up
               the moon was high
               and we were drunk

so we danced
slowly and tenderly
a cold and reassuring hug
just me and
the death

our glasses of rum
swinging with her stiletto shoes

For more information about this limited release contact Holy &intoxicated publisher

New Release: Christopher Moncrieff TABAC BLOND (Caparison Books, 2019)

Caparison, occasional imprint of The Recusant, is proud to announce the publication of prolific literary translator and poet Christopher Moncrieff's debut poetry collection, Tabac Blond, beautifully illustrated by Emily Carrington Freeman. 

The poetry of Christopher Moncrieff is European poetry, translated into the poet’s mother tongue from original compositions in German and French, but its cadences and rhythms remain Franco-Germanic... Dostoyevsky, Goethe, Kierkegaard, Kavafis, Kafka, Hölderlin, Hofmannsthal, Mann, Stānescu, Brecht, Flaubert and Castiglione populate these lyrical meditations unobtrusively...  The formative poems on school days and experiences as a young officer bring to mind the German Bildungsroman mode and such works as Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther, and Robert Musil’s The Confusions of Young Törless... In these travelling verses we visit Bucharest, Budapest, Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Prague, Belfast... Fitting, then, that this collection is called Tabac Blond, after the once-popular European perfume by Caron (1919), the distinctly bohemian, even decadent scent of which is evoked by Moncrieff in a wonderful olfactory image: ‘citron, tobacco and antiquary leather’
                                                                                                                                                    —paraphrased from Foreword

Christopher Moncrieff is a confirmed Europhile, a ‘citizen of elsewhere’ as he puts it. His accomplished and erudite poetry delights in the diversity of Europe and the innumerable opportunities for cultural and personal exchange that it offers… by the same token expressing his revulsion for the closing-down of those opportunities through Brexit, and the ‘island ape’ mentality that seeks to turn the narrow Strait of Dover into an abyss. As a traveller in the same terrain, from the Viziváros district of Budapest to Bucharest’s Cişmigiu Park, I respect his observations… spending time with these poems is like visiting a coffee-house of one’s imagination and sipping, not the ‘black soup’ of the ominous Hungarian proverb, but the finest espresso...”
Norman Jope, author of Gábor Ádám Nyerges/ Storks and strudel
To order a copy of the book please go here:

For a pdf review copy please contact the editor: 

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Featuring Adrian Manning


Hard Skinned

lizards, snakes 
and toads
infiltrate my dream
scurrying into 
the cracks
or leaping at me
cold blood and 
soulless eyes
hard skinned in 
increasing in number
a virus
crowding the nights
silent space
until I wake
damp and
joining them
in my 


We Are Three Old Friends

sat around a table 
with a fresh round of drinks
and the laughter
from so many years of 
not taking anything seriously
still rumbling in our guts

so now when we riff 
on the state of the nation 
and the decline of civilisation 
we can disagree and 
forgive each other
as easily as the rain falling and evaporating on the window pane reflecting 
our gentle leaning
toward last orders
at the bar


Music and Noise

music without words 
that’s what I need right now
some space to breathe

noise static works
sound almost unbearable 
there’s comfort in discord


Das ist Alles

it's been a ride
let's forget it
let's call it quits 
let's get out of here
and really make it
you'll know where to
find me
longitude -1.139759
latitude 52.636878
you may hear me 
coughing into the clouds 
maybe you won't 
be listening
you know where 
to find me
das ist alles
das ist allen


Codeine Coincidence

I’m sat in the doctors
waiting room
reading a book of poems
by John D. Robinson
while a woman is
talking loudly with no
sense of her own privacy 
about her codeine

I turn the page to read
‘codeine haiku’ 
the next poem
as the receptionist tells
her that her script is
with the chemist

“Is there plenty of it?”
the woman asks
and I look at the page
thinking there’s more
than I thought 

the screen flashes
and she is gone
I’ve turned the page 
to the next poem
and that is the end
of the codeine 

I sit hoping
everything will be

A bio:

Adrian Manning is a poet from Leicester, England. He has been widely published in magazines, online and in a number of chapbooks. A full length selected poems collection “Digging Up The Bones” has just been published by Uncollected Press ( ) He is also the editor of Concrete Meat Press.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Review: Puma Perl’s Birthdays Before and After, Beyond Baroque Press: 2019 (ISBN: 978-1892184-207)

Birthdays Before and After is a singular work, much like Puma Perl is a singular voice, and your life will be vastly improved when you buy this book.
Birthdays Before and After has an immediate sense of place and time, and is well served by the framing of birthdays.  There are several poems that serve as bookends as well as rest stops on this enigmatic journey.
From the opening poem you are propelled into Perl’s world of words.  The cadence is assured and confident.  And, ironically, it is a New York poem about Los Angeles.
From The Most Perfect Day (p.2):
A backyard filled with punks and poets,
flowers, a barbeque pit, overflowing trays
of food, back steps leading into the house.
Iris and I sat on those steps and took a picture,
Razor bought a book.  He insisted.
Support the traveling poets, he said.

Simple, melodic, finely tuned.  The poem continues to explore the immediate world around Perl, quick events, flashback; an entire world divulged in 93 lines.  This first poem is critical and key as it sets a tone to what is to come next. And in the next poem we get the boom.

FromBirthdays Before and After (p. 5)

I had wanted to wear my new Saint Anthony medal,
a gift from a friend, but the clasp is broken
A least it’s not lost
Broken, not lost
Like me

I have always sensed a heavy sigh to Puma’s work; a long sigh that ends with a shrug and a smile.  Her work is tough and raw as NYC.

Puma’s work has always been a delicate mix of cynicism, regret, sorrow, and hope.  It is a broad tapestry that draws the reader in deeper.  It is a work that reads quick, but demands an immediate return.

My favorite poem in the collection is What I Need and Don’t Need.

From What I Need and Don’t Need (p.53)

My clothes 
Stuffed into garbage bags
For 3 weeks I lived out of a carry-on bag
More than I brought on a 2-month bike trip

That is all I need

This simple revelation speaks in volumes, telling of where Puma comes from, her values, and what informs her writing.  There is a real honesty, which great poetry should always have and should always espouse.

Also, from What I Need and Don’t Need:

 I have 40 unmatched earrings
100 single socks
I even have unpaired shoes
Due to my tendency of walking
Harder on one side than the other

It is difficult to really let a reader understand the depth and value of a collection of poems without reprinting all the poems.

What I Need and Don’t Need is a great example of a poet walking through moments of time, weaving the past and present together. She talks about the poet¸life and loss, everything in between.  

There is a stanza that well explains the essence of Puma Perl.

From What I Need and Don’t Need:

Most poets are just too serious
There are a billion poems out there to read
Does yours make any difference?

I can tell you this:  Puma Perl’s poems make a difference.  They inspire, they intrigue, they reveal the self in an explosive way.

Ultimately Puma Perl is a true poet.  A true New York poet.  She easily joins a litany of amazing poets (that happen to call NYC home). You can hear echoes of Langston Hughes, Frank O’Hara, Patti Smith, and Dorothy Parker.

As a slight aside I have to compliment the layout and structure of the book.  Iris Berry has a fine eye in edited this book and other editors/publishers should take note. Most of the poetry books I stumble upon feel thrown together.  Sometimes that works.  A collage of words makes the picture, but spending time and effort on the flow, pace, and structure of a poetry book is critical.  Iris nailed it on every level.  While Puma Perl’s work can stand up regardless of the format, the craft within the craft really elevates.  Presentation can be everything.

Birthdays Before and After can be purchased at as well as

-       Jack Henry

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

New Release: Matt Borczon BODY BAG (Nixes Mate Books, Allston Massachusetts, 2019) 68 pages

This is Borczon’s seventh book and consists of 59 short poems of 2-4 lines each. Borczon was a nurse and Navy sailor at Camp Bastian during 2010-2011, which was the busiest combat hospital in Afghanistan at the time. Returning to the United States he was diagnosed with PTSD in 2012 and took up writing as a form of therapy. BODY BAG is a further reworking of Borczon’s war experiences and of his continued fight with the “ghosts of his nightmares” which refuse to go away. 

The poems are pithy and harrowing in content. Interestingly, the poems are not arranged chronologically and are titleless. This format perhaps reflects the random order of the reoccurring images of the war and its aftermath which pop into Borczon’s head through his dreams, associations and personal reflections.

The following poems will give you a better idea of the trauma Borczon is facing on a daily basis eight years after his return home:

We wrapped the dead baby in a bath towel
the color of my son’s eyes.

When I got home
my uncle who served
in Viet Nam said
the real war starts now.

some days I think I hear helicopters
some days I think I hear bombs
some days I know I hear screams

That I cry
at almost everything
finally makes sense.

Nurses give pain medication
while corpsmen wrap stumps
and feed the ones without arms.

The ones who wake up
are usually just happy to be alive
at least for the first day.

(All poems reprinted with the permission of the poet)

Body Bag back cover blurbs (click on to enlarge):

Find out more about BODY BAG and purchase it here:

Read a Bold Monkey review of Matt Borczon’s second book Battle Lines (Epic Rites Press, 2017) and an interview with the poet here: