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Bookwork Book Release: Mary and Aja Oishi’s Rock Paper Scissors

Mother daughter poets, Mary & Aja Oishi, read from their new Swimming With Elephants Publications collection, Rock Paper Scissors.

 

“…this collection carries both the beauty of human resilience and the searing pain of postatomic burning carnage. The poetry, like hope, is an obstinate and sturdy survivor, for ‘what could i do but write songs.’ These verses often push the envelope, asking questions that make more sense than our grammar. ‘are you out there in the stealth night on the edge of blue? listening/ are you loving me for sending you this fix of heartbreak/ slid down metal, taut and wound. electric. are you?’ …haunting, resonant odes and the rhythmic power of promises and truth, poems spread across Hiroshima and Barcelona, Laos and Albuquerque. These poems bring the world into a familial embrace, but spit out the naked power of truth, both personal and political, as if it were a well-chewed chicken bone, gnawed raw. Through it all, this mother-daughter poetic duo reminds us that, in the beauty of human hope, ‘nothing sacred can be lost.’”

–Carmen Tafolla, State Poet Laureate of Texas

 

Mary Oishi has two poetic voices: one stark and simple like that of her Japanese ancestors, and one that echoes the rhythms of preachers from her upbringing by her American father’s fundamentalist relatives. Both voices sing her songs of truth and social justice. She is the author of Spirit Birds They Told Me (2011) and is one of twelve U.S. poets in 12 Poetas: Antologia De Nuevos Poetas Estadounidenses (2017), a project of the Mexican Ministry of Culture. Her poems have appeared in Mas Tequila Review, Malpais Review, Harwood Anthology, Sinister Wisdom, and other print and digital publications. Oishi is a public radio personality since 1996, most at KUNM-FM Albuquerque, where she hosts The Blues Show.

Aja Oishi lives in northern New Mexico. Her writing draws from ecology, anthropology, and the years she spent in Spain, Japan, and New Zealand. She revels in the uncaged world and makes a living (and a life) by fighting for prisoners as an appellate public defender. This is her first collection of poetry.

 

Event date:
Friday, June 8, 2018 – 6:00pm
Event address:
4022 Rio Grande Blvd NW
AlbuquerqueNM 87107

Pick up this new release from Bookworks ABQ or order from Amazon or Barnes and Noble today!

Already own a copy? Please write a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Goodreads, or submit a review to swimwithelephants@gmail.com for publications on this site.

 

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New Release from Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC

Rock Paper Scissors
Poetry by Mary Oishi and Aja Oishi
Available at Amazon for 14.95

 

“…this collection carries both the beauty of human resilience and the searing pain of postatomic burning carnage. The poetry, like hope, is an obstinate and sturdy survivor, for ‘what could i do but write songs.’ These verses often push the envelope, asking questions that make more sense than our grammar. ‘are you out there in the stealth night on the edge of blue? listening/ are you loving me for sending you this fix of heartbreak/ slid down metal, taut and wound. electric. are you?’

…haunting, resonant odes and the rhythmic power of promises and truth, poems spread across Hiroshima and Barcelona, Laos and Albuquerque. These poems bring the world into a familial embrace, but spit out the naked power of truth, both personal and political, as if it were a well-chewed chicken bone, gnawed raw. Through it all, this mother-daughter poetic duo reminds us that, in the beauty of human hope, ‘nothing sacred can be lost.’”

-Carmen Tafolla, State Poet Laureate of Texas

 

Join Mary and Aja for their official Book Release at Bookworks ABQ on June 8th at 6pm.

 

Mary Oishi

Mary Oishi has two poetic voices: one stark and simple like that of her Japanese ancestors, and one that echoes the rhythms of preachers from her upbringing by her American father’s fundamentalist relatives. Both voices sing her songs of truth and social justice. She is the author of Spirit Birds They Told Me (2011) and is one of twelve U.S. poets in 12 Poetas: Antologia De Nuevos Poetas Estadounidenses (2017), a project of the Mexican Ministry of Culture. Her poems have appeared in Mas Tequila Review, Malpais Review, Harwood Anthology, Sinister Wisdom, and other print and digital publications. Oishi is a public radio personality since 1996, most at KUNM-FM Albuquerque, where she hosts The Blues Show.

 

 

Aja Oishi

Aja Oishi lives in northern New Mexico. Her writing draws from ecology, anthropology, and the years she spent in Spain, Japan, and New Zealand. She revels in the uncaged world and makes a living (and a life) by fighting for prisoners as an appellate public defender. This is her first collection of poetry.


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Now Available: BEKIMI I NËNËS / A Mother’s Blessing

In the battle and stand of this people sacrificing and dying to realize its aspiration, we seem like immortals more beautiful and gallant than anyone alive. And there is no power that can stop us on our luminous road.

~Jusuf Gërvalla

Swimming with Elephants Publications is honored to introduce you to our most recent release: Bekimi I Nënës, A Mother’s Blessingpoetry by Jusef Gërvalla, translated by Jack Hirschman and Idlir Azizaj. This is the first time this collection, originally published by the Naim Frashëri Publishing House, in Tirana, Albania in 1983, is translated in the English Language.

Gërvalla was known as a journalist and a musician as well as a poet, novelist, and founder of the Marxist-Leninist group, the National Movement for the Liberation of Kosovo. In 1983, a year after the original publication in his native Kosovo Albanian, Jusuf Gërvalla, his brother Bardhosh, and comrade Kadri Zeka were allegedly murdered by the Serbian secret service in their exile in Germany.

With the publication of Bekimi I Nënës, A Mother’s Blessing, Jusuf Gërvalla’s poetry, including selections from his three books: They Fly and Fall, Green Stork, and Sacred Marks, can be shared by the English-speaking population.

Bekimi I Nënës, A Mother’s Blessing will soon be available at City Lights Bookstore and The Beat Museum Bookstore in San Francisco, along with Bookwork ABQ, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

You can also find Hirschman’s first publication with Swimming with Elephants Publications, Passion, Provocation & Prophecy at Bookworks ABQ, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

 

Jack Hirschman

Biography Adapted from The Poetry Foundation 

Hailed as “one of the left’s most prolific and consistent poetic voices,” by Contemporary Poets, Jack Hirschman was born in 1933 in New York City and grew up in the Bronx.

He is known for his radical engagement with both poetry and politics: he is a member of the Union of Street Poets, a group that distributes leaflets of poems to people on the streets. He has also been instrumental in the formation of the Union of Left Writers of San Francisco.

The former poet laureate of San Francisco, Hirschman’s style has been compared to poets ranging from Walt Whitman, Hart Crane, Dylan Thomas, and Beat poets such as Allen Ginsberg. His poems’ commitment to leftist politics draws comparisons to Vachel Lindsay and Pablo Neruda.

In keeping with his political values, Hirschman’s books are published with small, independent presses, often in small runs (such as Swimming with Elephants Publications). According to the poet David Meltzer, Hirschman is “a great teacher who refuses to work in the university, a scholar of great merit who refuses to publish in the mainstream presses; most everything is published by himself, 150 copies.”

Though Hirschman has rejected mainstream success, he has published prolifically. His 50-plus volumes of poetry include A Correspondence of Americans (1960), Lyripol (1976), Front Lines: Selected Poems (2002), and All That’s Left (2008). His 1,000-page masterpiece, The Arcanes, was published in 2006. The work, written over decades, was heralded by Alan Kaufman in the San Francisco Gate as “unlikely and historically significant a literary production as, say, the appearance of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass or James Joyce’s Ulysses… like Whitman’s and Joyce’s masterpieces, it traces the progress of an individual consciousness through landscapes teeming with the horrible glory of modern life.”

But while he is known throughout San Francisco, his real literary fame has blossomed in Europe, where he frequently publishes both his original work and volumes of translation. Meltzer noted that in France “they consider him a major Communist poet.” Part of Hirschman’s dedication to politics and poetry can be traced to his numerous translations of radical poets from around the world.

Hirschman continues translating the work of radical poets with the publication of Bekimi I Nënës, A Mother’s Blessing.


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Now Available: bliss in die/unbinging the underglow

Now Available from Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC

bliss in die/unbinging the underglow

Poetry by

Bassam

“Bassam writes poems that feel like slow motion car crashes where, at every turn, you’re also reassured that it’s ok to feel like this, like even if nothing is going to be ok, there is strength to hold like a parking brake, like the axis of a planet. Bassam’s words are a gut punch, a pull to beating heart chest, a hand that holds yours in the bleak. One senses that the act of poetry for Bassam is truly one of survival. What a strength it takes to show our deepest insecurities, to not ask for forgiveness. To not be the hero of your own story. Bassam is a bright non binary voice. One that asks not for acceptance, but simply is, and tells the stories of body and mind that is so intimate and accessible to those of us who endlessly battle with our shapes, our selves. What a gift to give.”

—Charlie Petch, Spoken Word Artist, Playwright, Musician

 

About the Author

Bassam (they/them or xe/xim) is a spoken word poet, proud auntie, and settler residing on the traditional territory of the Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant (Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendatt, and Mississaugas of the New Credit). they are a member of the League of Canadian Poets, an executive board member with Spoken Word Canada, and has toured Turtle Island performing spoken word. Bassam earned title of national poetry slam champion at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (CFSW) in 2016 with the Guelph Poetry Slam team, and Canadian Individual Poetry Slam (CIPS) finalist in 2017. they were editor-in-chief for ‘these pills don’t come in my skin tone’, a poetry collection exclusively by Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) on the topic of mental health and illness, released in fall 2017. a (gender)queer, Jewish person of Middle-Eastern descent and a long-time sufferer of body dysmorphia, bipolar and eating disorders, bassam believes in radical kindness as resistance to colonization, that there is no peace without justice, and that intersectionality is vital in the struggle against kyriarchy.

Order today from Amazon or Barnes and Noble

bliss in die/unbinging the underglow


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Now Available: Nail Gun and a Love Letter by Beau Williams. 

Heralding from Portland, Maine, Beau Williams describes himself as a “fairly optimistic” poet, and what better way to describe his newest collection of poetry from Swimming with Elephants Publications than as “fairly optimistic.” Bittersweet journeys to bar floors and the bottoms of bottles, Nail Gun and a Love Letter is reminiscent of beat poetry days and the pilgrimages we must take to find ourselves.

Whether these pilgrimages occur literally or otherwise, Beau has managed to make an astonishing and beautiful book; these are love letters soaked in liquor, poking nails through your heart only to fill the holes with the sort of honesty that only being three sheets to the wind can bring. This book is better described as a cure for hangovers, best enjoyed with a hot cup of tea (or maybe a hot toddy for those frigid winter nights). Beau is undeniably honest in his descriptions, and there’s something chilly in his work, reminiscent of winter along the Northeast coast, but he always manages to wrap the reader up in warm words. From micropoems like “Sacred Vows” to full length bar hymns like “Looking for Brooklyn in a Shit Bar in Portland,” it’s clear that Beau has an inspired affinity for storytelling based heavily in symbols and setting. This book is a journey.

I first met Beau when he was on his own journey with GUYSLIKEYOU, a poetry collective with Wil Gibson and Ryan McLellan. It was his soft demeanour that caught my attention, allowing a contrast to his occasionally sharp edged poetry. Again, this brings to mind poets like Allen Ginsberg; there is a subtlety in these pages, a sharp as a nail, unforgiving as alcohol sort of sensation. And yet, reading this collection was like having a drink with an old friend. Like coming out of the Maine cold to warmth, at long last. And maybe he’ll burn a bit of you, but he will always wrap you up again with a love letter.

Nail Gun and a Love Letter will be released soon. Meanwhile, don’t forget to like Beau’s Facebook page to show him some support and for book release updates.