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Selfless: a preview

July 7, 2016

To call Zoe Dzunko’s poems wild is a temptation I have fallen for so many times and it would not be inaccurate to describe them as such. But these words and their bevy of applications occasionally miss the point, misrepresenting a complex and cerebral journey as a feral wilderness, removing agency (re our heroine) from the epic, and presuming an analog between the natural and the inscrutable darkness of the troubled mind. Nothing wrong with that, except that in being captivated by the frenzied lyric, one might not hear the knotted thread of her rhetoric and academic insistence. It is true that you experience these poems from your guts outward and it is true that you experience a deliciously rare sublime rush while reading, but it is also true that Zoe writes hard, with unequivocal precision and might. She is smart as hell, and the medium of the poem only demonstrates one small surface on which she capitulates and recapitulates her intellectual grievances. Insofar as these poems also address trauma, hunger, consumption, and a quasi-religious disbelief, Selfless is a chapbook of remarkable trouble. It is with the utmost pleasure that we present a small preview of Zoe Dzunko’s Selfless by publishing one of her most harrowing emblematic poems, “Pudendum.” In addition, Zoe and I had a great conversation about her chapbook, which follows the featured poem. Also included in this blog post is a chapbook trailer conceived of and edited by Emily Raw, a transpacific collaboration between Emily and Zoe (Zoe lives in Australia; Emily, Brooklyn). If, upon experiencing this trailer, the hairs stand straight up on your neck and you feel you have become a bereft witness of the private life lived, that’s a completely normal sensation. Emily, n.b., is also the cover designer of this gorgeous book. I hope you have the opportunity to pick up Zoe’s chapbook before they disappear. This is a poet of extreme talents. Remember her name.
—Natalie Eilbert, publisher of TAR Chapbook Series/The Atlas Review




PUDENDUM
 
Yes, I have crawled. Splayed the bed,
been fucked or flushed to red-raw
by the domestic. I’ve had my finest ideas turning
dishes in the sink. I dry them off.
Take my sleep on silk to stave the sagging. I did
I do because of guilt — a shame I can never sever,
a limb I cannot cut from limbs
of which it ballasts: one for my mother,
another for my daughter, already blushing
at the thought of her own life. Did I gape,
breathe in time with the bleeding? Did I tear
with the tear when I birthed her,
this notion of mine, or was it yours all along?
i.e. stay very hungry, i.e. remain on the brink
crumbling with starvation. I have housed
and wifed and tried to grasp within the loop.
You do not wish to hear the truth,
the ways it might ruin for you the taste of meat.
We have not always been willing. By we:
your girls. By you: the world. I did not elect you
president, I did not, although I did invite you
to the party of my body. You looked at me,
you saw a hole. A void from which you might be
filled, unfledged, or unfleshed — a [...] Continue Reading »
Dear readers,
 
We are excited to release our inaugural online issue—and you’ll notice a feature right away, and that is, we made the decision to divide Issue 6 into many “episodes” over a period of time. Think of it like a Netflix drama. Or perhaps more precise, like a pre–Netflix television series on cable, where you must wait for the next installment with bated breath. Whatever your preferred metaphor, the germ of this idea is simple. For Issue 6, we accepted approximately thirty pieces of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. As had been our heretofore process, we wrote rich letters to all accepted contributors and switched gears from readers to production staff. Unlike previous iterations, we had already determined we would no longer be in print. Printed matter tends to languish, only being savored by the few. This is an unfortunate reality to any paper effort and one struggle we decided was an unnecessary one to continue battle. Why vote once when you can vote twice? So we compromised on our desire for the physical object by announcing our new project, TAR Chapbook Series. We would create beautiful, small-print runs of already-immaculate chapbooks, establishing the urgency of artifact; we would create a gorgeous and completely visible online platform for our journal contributors, establishing the urgency of voice; and, with the money saved in not printing hundreds of issues, we would pay (albeit a nominal amount) all of our contributors. It’s a superb win on all fronts, we think, and we hope you feel this too
 
Now, onward the actual contents of Issue 6, episode 1. Our technologist, Jue Yang, worked tirelessly after many awesome conversations over the last few months with web designer extraordinaire Angela Protzman and myself to produce the looks and feels of the new interface. We wanted readers to feel entirely immersed in the experience of reading this innovative, often genre-melting work. And with this immersion, we did not want readers to feel at any point daunted by the mass quantity of extraordinary work (and to be sure, it is all extraordinary). That is the most essential of desideratum—our desire for others to truly engage the work, the internalize and meditate on art with space still to breathe. Think of it as a museum made up of many galleries, should the Netflix metaphor not be adequate (and of course, it’s not). In these lavender and orange and pink and green and blue rooms, we present you with our first episode’s contributors, Kofi Opam, Tafisha Edwards, Diane Exavier, Shauna Barbosa, Adrian Silbernagel, Theis Ørnthopf (translated by Julia Cohen and Jens Bjering), and Ruth Baumann. It is absolutely a curated house—each of these pieces travel our senses down the body’s viscera, the alien village, the intentional animal of our curiosities. As Kofi Opam tells us in their heartbreaking essay, “Dating Dysphoric,” “Let me tell you about bodies, and about blood.” “Take your bloodless / body back to bed and forget // you have a voice,” Tafisha Edwards seems to reply in “How to Drain [...] Continue Reading »
 
As a very new chapbook press, we couldn’t be more ecstatic to convey the multitude of ways in which our first chapbook, Mike Lala’s In the Gun Cabinet, operates. It is a book arranged by lyric urgings, lush images of static and lips, and even a one-act play. To communicate all the mediums of the book in time for its release, we decided to show you In the Gun Cabinet three ways: a sampling of the first section of In the Gun Cabinet, an interview with Mike Lala about the chapbook process, and a stunning book trailer created and edited by chapbook cover designer Emily Raw. If that doesn’t whet your appetite, you might not have insides, and that might make you a robot. As a robot with the sophistication to process and read language, we should all be very concerned about the future of humanity. Just kidding, we should all be very concerned about the future of humanity anyway. Here’s Mike Lala with more on that . . . :
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Introducing TAR Podcast!

March 7, 2016

 
We are excited to announce TAR’s first-ever podcast, edited by madam podcast-a-lot Amy Brinker (we really need to figure out a clever title name—tweet @theatlasreview with your bright ideas [but also know that Amy is precious to me and the publisher will break your nose if it isn’t 100 percent complimentary]). We will be interviewing TAR contributors near and far who have recently come out with books. This will also be a time for Amy and Natalie to drink wine and talk into a mic and generally do whatever we (I mean they) want with whomever. Anyway.
For our first episode on TAR’s podcast, Amy and TAR publisher Natalie Eilbert sit down and chat with issue 2 contributor Jay Deshpande, whose first book Love the Stranger is out now from YesYes Books. Buy your copy here!
I updated one of the tags of this post to include “great poet wedged between two goobers on a couch” and, well, here is a literal depiction of that tag (with special guest Meeko from Pocahontas):
Great Poet Wedged Between Two Goobers on a Couch.
On this podcast, we talk about Chet Baker, Denis Johnson, Kim Kardashian, quiet poems, academia, and Vin Diesel. We can’t think of a better list of characters and themes to sum up this episode. Also, Jay’s pretty brilliant. Have a listen!
Jay Deshpande is the author of Love the Stranger (YesYes Books), named one of the top debuts of 2015 by Poets & Writers. A Kundiman fellow, he has held residencies at the Saltonstall Arts Colony and the Vermont Studio Center, was a fellowship finalist for the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and was selected by Billy Collins for the 2015 Scotti Merrill Memorial Award at the Key West Literary Seminar. His poems have appeared in Narrative, Boston Review, Sixth Finch, Atlas Review, Handsome, Spork, Prelude, and elsewhere. He holds degrees from Harvard and Columbia. Born in Austin, Texas, he now lives in Brooklyn.
 

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