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Welcome to Song Cave

By Harriet Staff


Oh yes, hi, is this thing on? Yes, hello, we’re coming to you live from Song Cave: that’s S-O-N-G-C-A-V-E. Song Cave, a small press publisher based in Northampton, Massachusetts, is edited by Ben Estes and Alan Felsenthal. In addition to chapbooks by poets and writers among the likes of Lisa Jarnot, Rod Smith, Dana Ward, and Jennifer Moxley, Song Cave has produced its first, two, spectacular full-length books this year. Say hello to My Enemies, by Jane Gregory, and A Dark Dreambox of Another Kind: The Poems of Alfred Starr Hamilton, edited by Ben Estes and Alan Felsenthal.

Jane Gregory, read from My Enemies at University Press Books in Berkeley this weekend and she sure knocked our socks off. You may find your heels far from the ground listening to her read, too. Or, in the Song Cave’s words:

Jane Gregory’s My Enemies records a poet’s search for meaning in a landscape of combined and dissolving definitions. Affirming disaster and its beyond, these poems sing toward belief — a self-made belief that will not rely on any static symbol or logic or idol. Gregory’s dynamic, unpredictable enactments of the modern world avow vulnerability to a belief compatible with self-consciousness. Sometimes triumphant, sometimes overcome or self-ruinous, My Enemies never halts in its search for definition, even when it claims to not have been written—as in the serial “Book I Will Not Write” poems. Each poem here establishes a new, necessary material and mode for our uncertain world that can offer its readers something to believe in; despite forces internal and external that try to undo us, Gregory’s poems redo that undoing until “my enemies” becomes instead “my eyes many,” a new sonic way of seeing.

And there’s another one! Like the best of celebrations, this additional, newly minted Song Cave collection arrives to us bearing the old and the new, one we’ve already mentioned here. Yes, we’re talking about Alfred Starr Hamilton:

Though Hamilton wrote thousands of poems during his lifetime, only a small percentage of them ever found their way into print. His poems appeared in small poetry journals during the 60s, 70s and 80s; two chapbooks, The Big Parade and Sphinx; and one full-length collection, The Poems of Alfred Starr Hamilton, published by The Jargon Society in 1970. In this new volume, Ben Estes and Alan Felsenthal present a collection of Hamilton’s poems from these publications, along with many of Hamilton’s poems that were previously considered lost and poems from posthumously found notebooks.

Send ’em roses! Or… We Do! Or, or, well, why not read it yourself here: SONG CAVE. Send ’em a line and sign up for their mailing list, too, while you’re at it!

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Posted in Poetry News on Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 by Harriet Staff.