This latest collection is a chapbook printed by Kattywompus Press, who took over the Greatest Hits project from Jennifer Bosveld at Pudding House Press. There are now nearly 300 poets who have participated in the Greatest Hits invitational, and I’m honored to be a part, joining Christopher Buckley, Gaylord Brewer, Jim Daniels, Annie Finch, Richard Jackson, David Kirby, Thomas Lux, Floyd Skloot, Pamela Uschuk, Charles Harper Webb and many other wonderful poets. A particularly fun aspect of putting together your “Top 12″ poems is the challenge to write your own introduction–without any guidelines. Here’s a little more about what the Greatest Hits collection is all about with a note from the publisher on mine. Besides being able to purchase direct through the publisher, apparently you can dig up this little gem from Barnes & Noble for a discount.
White-Feathered Bodies was a 2010 limited-release edition from Q Avenue Press, specialists in letterpress quality poetry chapbooks. Isn’t the cover simply amazing? I have to hand it to Jamie Iredell–or as he’s known in another persona, Picnic Cannibal. Jamie is a fantastic designer, and was generous enough to lend his services to this project. I really didn’t know what to tell him to do with a title like “White-Feathered Bodies.” I was delighted with what he came up with. The penultimate poem, “Luca Signorelli’s Late Confession” is a monologue inspired from when I visited Signorelli’s four masterpieces in the chapel in Orvieto, Italy. He painted himself in the center of this one absolutely amazing piece, “The Punishment of the Damned.” I wanted a close-up of Signorelli’s self-portrait in the form of a demon clinging to his (alleged) mistress while she struggles to get free. They say that Michelangelo visited Signorelli’s work before he painted the Sistine Chapel and that Signorelli’s work with the human body was a direct influence. Anyway, I think the rights might be challenging to come by. Sebastian Matthews, co-publisher of Q Avenue Press, says “chapbooks are nice for times ‘in-between’ full collections.”
‘”White-Feathered Bodies’ from Q Ave Press…knocks me out. Every single poem does to me what Dickinson wanted. They knock me over. There is such violence and grace and care in this book. What a pleasure to find these poems.”
–Steve Scafidi, author of Sparks from a Nine-Pound Hammer
“‘A little world made cunningly,’ is how John Donne put it. ‘Once, I believed in myth. Now see how I spin in the dizzy center,’ is how Chad Prevost puts it. And who wouldn’t after reading this amazing little book that begins with a telepathic monologue, a hunting trip gone wrong, cosmic visions and earth tremors. ‘Because the body is mostly water you’re wading / knee-deep within yourself,’ he says later on, but that self contains numerous other selves and places for this is a world whose cast of characters making their cameo appearances include the poet’s father, Buddy Guy, Larry Brown, Egyptians, Hobbes, Larry Levis, the Marlboro Man as we range from Mississippi to Chicago, Italy, Chattanooga and wherever Prevost’s incredibly fertile imagination takes us. There is a huge heart at work here, a Whitmanesque desire to embrace the world and hold it close. Prevost has managed to put into 20 pages or so what most poets are unable to fit into their Selected Poems in this, his finest book yet.”
–Richard Jackson, author of Resonance
A Walking Cliche Coins a Phrase is a 2008 collection which, as the subtitle indicates, is a genre-crossing approach and a lot of fun to explore. I stumbled upon the “pyschic energy” of the prose poem and all the ensuing issues with definition, and where does one really draw the line being “prose poem” and a “microfiction,” etc. No doubt a lot of the poems were early versions of poems that didn’t fit into ‘Snapshots’ for one reason or another. Perhaps what a Goodreads review offered, is fair enough even if don’t agree with all of it.
‘Snapshots‘ was my debut poetry collection, released in 2006, published by the Cherry Grove Lyric Imprint from WordTech Editions.
“In Snapshots of the Perishing World, Chad Prevost takes us on a pilgrimage, finally offering like a communion wafer, the knowledge that ‘home is what you learn to find. ….Ultimately, Prevost urges us to understand even those who appear to mock redemption, urging us to cast light ‘into the mouths of those who only know how to curse.’ Poems in Snapshots of the Perishing World are important, are necessary because they teach perseverance, the importance of being quiet, of listening to hear the cry of the heart.”
–Vivian Shipley, author of Hardboot
“Snapshots of the Perishing World,” is to use poet Chad Prevost’s own line, ‘a miracle made from the world itself…’ Prevost’s careful attention to the world is complemented by rangein addition to the lyric, his subjects explore the scientific, cosmological, and historical as well as contemporary culture. From Heraclites to chaos theory, Sanskrit to baseball, these are poems of intensity, music, and clarity…the imagination soars, poem by poem, toward a transforming light, reaching for an understanding of the rush of that experience, for a truce with our transience.
–Christopher Buckley, author of And the Sea and White Shirt
“The poems in Chad Prevost’s first book meditate on a variety of landscapes–the one glimpsed from the hood of a junked RX-7, the one seen looking south across the Rio Grande from Big Bend, the one experienced looking back through time. ‘From the narrative of the grounded oak/ [and] the lyric lift of a block of startled wings,’ these ‘snapshots of the perishing world’ remind us how redemptive poetry can be, and how generous can be our poets.”
–Gerry LaFemina, author of Vanishing Horizon
“…Prevost’s gift is a storyteller’s keen eye for detail and a grace for language. One can say these poems are personal and self-referential in the way the best of contemporary poetry is, but the collection beats with a stronger heart than most…an essential first collection that should be read by everyone.”
–Virgil Suarez, author of 90 Miles: Selected Poems
We did the best we could with this cover at the time, though in retrospect it’s kind of weak, and the thing is, people do judge books by their covers (but that’s another subject). We also made the painful mistake of running 1,000 copies of this anthology featuring 101 poems from 95 different poets. Ryan and I were optimistic that we’d organize readings and get the contributors to adopt it for courses and so on. Little to none of it happened, and I think it’s because in the early days of running C&R, we wore too many hats. Anyway, I’m proud of this 2009 anthology and I’m still hopeful it’ll find the wider audience it deserves. It features many wonderful poets. To check out some sample poems from Beth Ann Fennelly, Albert Rios, Martin Espada, Barbara Crooker, Kim Addonizio or Diane Wakoski, click here.
The back cover copy: “A testament to the stunning variety of the human experience, this timely anthology reminds us of the singular importance of poetry to our lives and our souls. The influence of Horace, Keats, and Neruda is deeply evident in the lyric beauty of these poems, but more than a few defy conventions and challenge the form itself in an exciting expansion of boundaries. Selected for their language, their imagery, their honesty, and their insight, this gathering of 101 poems by 95 poets is a fresh sampling of memorable new odes in the English language. Contributors include Kim Addonizio, David Baker, Marvin Bell, Christopher Buckley, Elena Karina Byrne, Kelly Cherry, Carl Dennis, Denise Duhamel, Martín Espada, Richard Jackson, Thomas Lux, Naomi Shihab Nye, Stanley Plumly, William Pitt Root, Pamela Uschuk, Jane Shore, Gerald Stern, Diane Wakoski, Gary Young, and many more.”
Evensong was my first anthology, and it was a pleasure to work with Gerry LaFemina on it, and to find such a wonderful and supportive small press publisher as Larry Smith with Bottom Dog Press. I don’t know how many copies it’s sold, but it was a top seller the first few months after its 2006 release with Small Press Distribution. It’s also available in an ebook version as well. The approach contains profiles, statements, and 5 poems from each poet. The contributors include Francisco Aragon, Robin Behn, Christopher Buckley, Chris Bursk, Todd Davis, Travis Denton, Camille Dungy, Stephen Dunn, Stuart Dybek, Angie Estes, Annie Finch, Patricia Goedicke, Dennis Hinrichsen, Richard Jackson, Mia Leonin, Timothy Liu, Denise Low, Shara McCallum, Alicia Ostriker, Eric Pankey, Tim Seibles, Ravi Shankar, Vivian Shipley, Elizabeth Socolow, Cathy Song, Gerald Stern, Marc Straus, Michael Waters, Claude Wilkinson, Sholeh Wolpe, Charles Wright.