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The Art of the Sonnet

Two of Ashland’s poets– Jason Schneiderman and Lorna Knowles Blake– are participating in this upcoming reading and discussion.

The Art of the Sonnet: A Reading and Discussion

Book Court (163 Court St., Brooklyn)

Wednesday, November 2, 7 PM

Lorna Knowles Blake
Jeff Dolven
Saskia Hamilton
David Mikics
Jason Schneiderman

Lorna Knowles Blake was born in Havana and lived in South America before moving to the U.S. She is the author of Permanent Address, which Charles Martin called “a wise and joyful collection by a poet of impressive accomplishment.” She has taught at the 92nd Street Y and is on the editorial board at Barrow Street.

Jeff Dolven, who teaches at Princeton, is the author of Scenes of Instruction, and an active poet who has published poems in the TLS, Paris Review, Yale Review and elsewhere. He is also an Editor at Large at Cabinet magazine.

Saskia Hamilton teaches at Barnard, where she directs the Women Poets at Barnard Program. Her books of poetry include Divide These and As for Dream. Alice Quinn has praised her “spare, miraculously explosive lyrics.” She is also the editor of The Letters of Robert Lowell and coeditor of Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell

David Mikics is the author (with Stephen Burt) of The Art of the Sonnet, as well as A New Handbook of Literary Terms and other books. “I know of no other recent book that so steadily illuminates the riches it invokes,” Harold Bloom said of The Art of the Sonnet, and Publishers Weekly wrote, “Learned as well as passionate, this book is a delight.”  Mikics’s Annotated Emerson, a richly illustrated reader’s edition, will be out from Harvard/Belknap in December. He divides his time between Brooklyn and Houston, where he teaches.

Jason Schneiderman is the author of two books of poems, Sublimation Point and Striking Surface, called by Linda Gregerson “witty, tender, trenchant, acerbic, and always, immutably, wise.” He directs the Writing Center at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.


Traction by Mary Makofske

Traction by Mary Makofske

The Ashland Poetry Press announces Traction by Mary Makofske

Winner of the 2010 Richard Snyder Publication Prize 

Publication Date: November 15, 2011

978-0-912592-11-4 | $15.95 | 104 pages

Traction will be available soon from, Small Press Distribution, the Ashland Bookstore, and other independent booksellers.

Traction is a collection of poetry that repays attention. The poems are intelligent and well-crafted. Makofske ranges widely from moving meditations on prehistory to an homage to Walt Whitman, love poems, family poems, poems about nature, mortality, and growing up in the fifties. These poems are not just for the eye but sound in the ear.”– Marge Piercy

“Mary Makofske’s poems create a dialogue with the work of Whitman, Eliot, and James Wright. Her subjects are personal growth but also continuity, how much we ask of nature which asks nothing of us, the way flesh holds the spirit, the fragility of love and desire and the toughness of bone and ritual. She shows us the life cycle of a farm house, a gardener worrying that his creation will be destroyed because an ancient skull has been unearthed, bird tracks in the snow writing the history of their own hunger, mounds of paper at the recycling center crying out that we are constantly engaged in re-creation. The poems bring us out of ourselves and toward an understanding of our own relationship to history.” – Deborah Fleming

“There is a quiet self-possession and maturity of vision in this volume that characterizes all of its poems; yet at the same time they range widely, addressing subjects as various as Neolithic customs, Whitman’s career as a Civil War nurse, the physiology of cetaceans, and a Muslim’s stealthy visit to an adult bookstore. The author is also capable of writing sly accounts of family history and a Cold War childhood that seem archetypal rather than generic, that show evidence of a strong social conscience that never devolves to cant. Traction is an altogether impressive book of great tonal and formal range.” – David Wojahn

“The traction referred to in the title poem here is not of the ‘where the rubber meets the road’ variety; rather it is the meticulously forced arrangement of damaged limbs into the relationships best maintained to restore comfort and health to the afflicted. The poems in TRACTION are as lithe and limber, as powerful, as long distance swimmers– or, better yet, divers, with not a trace of fat, all flat muscle, lean grace, bent to spring.” – William Pitt Root

About the Author: Mary Makofske grew up in Washington, DC, and received a B.A. from Douglass College and M.A. from the University of Minnesota. She is the author of TRACTION (Ashland Poetry Press, 2011), The Disappearance of Gargoyles (Thorntree Press, 1988) and Eating Nasturtiums (1998), winner of a Flume Press chapbook competition. Until her retirement in 2006, she taught expository writing, literature, and creative writing at SUNY Orange. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Mississippi Review, Poetry East, ZONE 3, American Poetry Review, Natural Bridge, Calyx, Louisville Review, and other journals and anthologies. She and her husband live in a solar house in New York State.

Vern Rutsala Announced NBA Poetry Finalists

Vern Rutsala, author of the Ashland Poetry Press book The Moment’s Equation and finalist for the National Book Awards in Poetry, announced the 2011 National Book Award Finalists in Poetry on Oregon Public Radio.  The following is from the National Book Awards website:

2011 National Book Award Finalists Announced on Oregon Public Radio

Silver Finalist Medal The twenty Finalists for the 2011 National Book Awards were announced on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s morning radio program, Think Out Loud, in front of a live audience at the new Literary Arts Center in Portland, Oregon on Wednesday, October 12. The announcement was also streamed live on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s website, Past NBA Winners, Finalists, and Judges announced this year’s Finalists by category:

  • Virginia Euwer Wolff, National Book Award Winner in 2001, will announce the Young People’s Literature Finalists.
  • Vern Rutsala, National Book Award Finalist in 2005, will announce the Poetry Finalists.
  • Sallie Tisdale, National Book Award Judge in 2010, will announce the Nonfiction Finalists.
  • Charles Johnson, National Book Award Winner in 1990 and Judge in 1999 and 2009, will announce the Fiction Finalists.Oregon Public Broadcasting

Think Out Loud host David Miller interviewed each of the four guests, as well as National Book Foundation Executive Director Harold Augenbraum, about their own National Book Award experiences.

New Books Forthcoming from APP

The Ashland Poetry Press is excited to announce its most recent publication selections.  The following titles are forthcoming from APP:

Blue Orange by Robert Grunst
Robert McGovern Prize Selection
Anticipated Publication Date: May 15, 2012

American Urn: New and Selected Poems by Mark Irwin
Anticipated Publication Date: January 15, 2013

The Rattling Window by Catherine Staples
Robert McGovern Prize Selection
Anticipated Publication Date: April 15, 2013

Note: The 2011 Snyder Prize winner has not been announced.  The winner of the Snyder Prize will be announced soon.

Please also note that our website,, is currently experiencing technical difficulties, and we are unable to update the site. All pertinent news and announcements will be posted here until further notice. Any questions can be directed to

Snyder Prize Deadline

The Richard Snyder Publication Prize deadline is fast approaching! Our postmark deadline is April 30, but if you need a few days to finalize that winning manuscript, we’ll continue to take your submissions through the first part of May.

This poetry book series honors the memory of Richard Snyder (1925-1986), poet, fiction writer, playwright, and long-time professor of English at Ashland University. He served for fifteen years as English department chair, and in 1969 co-founded and served as co-editor of the Ashland Poetry Press. In selecting manuscripts for this series, Ashland Poetry Press editors keep in mind Snyder’s tenacious dedication to craftsmanship and thematic integrity.

The Snyder Prize judge for the 2011 contest is Natasha Trethewey.

The Winner of the Snyder Prize Receives:
• $1,000.00
• publication of winning manuscript in a paperback edition of 1,000 copies
• 50 copies of the published book (in lieu of royalties)

2011 Submission Guidelines:
• Book-length poetry manuscripts
• Original collection of poems of 50 to 80 pages, with no more than one poem per page
• Single spaced
• Bound by a single clip: No Folders or Notebooks, Please
• Two title pages: one with name, address, and phone number and one with title only
• $25 reading fee made payable to The Ashland Poetry Press
• Deadline: April 30, 2011
• Translations are not eligible
• Ashland University employees and their spouses are not eligible

Mail to:
The Richard Snyder Memorial Publication Prize
The Ashland Poetry Press
401 College Ave., Ashland, OH 44805

Enclose an SASE for notification. All manuscripts other than the winning one will be recycled.

Expedition by Arthur Vogelsang

Expedition by Arthur VogelsangExpedition by Arthur Vogelsang is available through the Ashland University Bookstore, Small Press Distribution, and, among other online and independent booksellers.  Here’s a sampling of the attention Vogelsang’s book has received in the last few months:

  • Arthur reads “The Nut” as a feature on Boston Review during poetry month
  • A review by Barbara Berman at
  • An interview with Arthur Vogelsang and review of Expedition was featured on Yaakov Murchadha‘s blog
  • #4 on SPD’s Poetry Best Sellers List for February
  • A review of Expedition was featured on the February Small Press Bookwatch
  • “Help” was poem of the day January 14, 2011 on Poetry Daily
  • “Changed My Mind” was poem of the week December 8, 2010 at The Missouri Review
  • “Reductive” appears in the September/October 2010 issue of Boston Review online

“We have in Vogelsang a poet furious with history but attempting a mad escape.  It’s a swollen poetry, maximal at the least and packed with his rare rage.  Sexual, sizzling really, and full of indestructible stories of fragility.  Local as Pop art, it has international shadows—demotic, properly tilted, and glowing.  The stories are ardent; the double binds are musical.  The museums in his poetry are perturbed or disturbed spaces, and the language of surveillance and trembling is upon us: the poetics of a panicked or manic Kafka.”

— David Shapiro

“. . . generated by energetic, unconventional inquiry into all manner of human experience . . . . the sweeping, ironically interrogative aspect of the poems . . . the authoritative, oddly direct original persona . . . . These are dreamlike yet wide awake poems, and they are vulnerable, despite their big-time bravado.  They are doors, opening onto new vistas.”

— Carol Muske-Dukes, The Los Angeles Times

“What I love most about Vogelsang is his mind, prophetic, wild, loony; and his language, rapturous and ironic.  The two work together, indeed they are one—the mind, the language.  This is true of much poetry, but it is steadily true of Vogelsang, who is the purest poet I know.  I have a feeling (a thought?) that Vogelsang is stretched out over a boiling globe, that he’s trying to enact some control over the chaos he lives in, we live in, that he reflects that chaos in his poems, that he enacts (rather than re-enacts) that chaos, which sometimes seems like the true madness, even the true horror, of existence.  He has reached a new level of lyric elegance and has become an absolute master at what he does.”

 — Gerald Stern, The Iowa Review

ISBN: 978-0-912592-71-8 | $22.95

For more information about Arthur Vogelsang and Expedition, visit his website:

Mary Makofske Wins 2010 Richard Snyder Poetry Prize

Congratulations are due for Mary Makofske, winner of the 2010 Richard Snyder Poetry Publication Prize!  David Wojahn selected Makofske’s manuscript from 19 finalists.  The finalists were chosen by Deborah Fleming, editor of APP, out of 375 manuscripts. 

David Wojahn had this to say about Makofske’s book, Traction: “There is a quiet self-possession and maturity of vision in this volume that characterizes all of its poems; yet at the same time they range widely, addressing subjects as various as Neolithic burials, Whitman’s career as a Civil War nurse, the physiology of cetaceans, and a sexually repressed Muslim’s stealthy visit to an adult bookstore. Yet the author is also capable of writing sly accounts of family history and a Cold War childhood that seem archetypal rather than generic, that show evidence of a strong social conscience that never devolves to cant. Traction is an altogether impressive book of great tonal and formal range.”

Traction will be published by the Ashland Poetry Press in the fall of 2011.

Read more…