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Gloria Mindock, Editor   Issue No. 105   August, 2021




Cervena Barva Press August Newsletter, 2021

Hi Everyone! I am so happy to get a newsletter out to you. I have so much to share with you So far this year, we released the following books:

  • Shalom, My Teardrop by Mimoza Erebara
  • How the Twins Grew Up: A Collection of Short Stories for Children by Milutin Djurickovic
  • Temporary Shelter by Olena Jennings
  • In the Arms of the Father by Flavia Cosma
  • Everyday Divine by Noel Sloboda (chapbook)
  • WALL AND NEUTRINO THE POET IN NEW YORK Selected Poems by Constantin Severin
  • SAM, SARA, ETC. A play in two acts by Brian Arundel
  • Millie Collins, Your Barn is Gone by Sherri Felt Dratfield

Currently, there are six books almost ready for the printers.
Visit our bookstore to buy these and other great books!


Puro Chicanx Writers of the 21st Century, A Cutthroat Anthology
ISBN: 978-1-7320170-1-6, Paper, 356 pages, $25
Reviewed by Miriam O'Neil

When Puro Chicanx Writers of the 21st Century arrived in my mailbox, I opened to the pages of contributors' biographical notes. I recognized two names, Sandra Cisneros, Gary Soto and suspected I had read the work of a few others listed but couldn't be sure. Let me start by acknowledging, I didn't know what I didn't know.

As the Editors of this packed anthology explain, "Our focus is on Chicanx culture that has been a large part of this country for hundreds of years and is still under-explored and understood only at a distance by the dominant culture." (3) And here, I have to raise my hand and acknowledge that I am a part of 'the dominant culture' in as much as I am a second-generation Irish-American from the East Coast. And yes, I realize I have 'understood [Chicanx culture] only at a distance'. I have roamed around Western and Eastern European poets' work (mostly in translation) with regularity and dipped into the work of some Pacific Rim poets and a few of the regularly anthologized South American and African poets. I keep a slim volume of Poets of the Tang Dynasty on my bookshelf. And some translated Japanese and Vietnamese poets' work live here too. In short, I consider myself poetry omnivore. However, as I said at the start of this review, I didn't know what I didn't know.

Now, I get to say that I have fallen in love with the work of Lorna Dee Cervantes, Benjamin Nake-Hasebe Kingsley, Diana Mari Delgado, Samantha arriozola, Juan Ochoa, Joyous Windrider and so many other writers I have read for the first time in Puro Chicanx Writers of the 21st Century. I get to tell readers of this review, if you think you know Chicanx poetry and prose because you've read the few bits regularly included in various High-school or College level anthologies of "American Literature," you are in for an education AND a wonderful experience. At a whopping 356 pages, there is much to choose from.

The first poem I read at random was Benjamin Nake-Hasebe Kingsley's "Out of My Apartment Window, West Baltimore: August 2 A.M." Kingsley manages to transform 4 boys struggling to rip off the hood ornament of his older, life-battered Mercedes, into young men struggling to drag Excalibur out of the stone in the Arthurian legend. Unlike the hero of that legend, the speaker notes that these boys may become "Bodies laid/ long/ up the anvil/ of the street." (94). Kingsley's narrow stanzas plunge down the page, sword-like.

In "A Short-lived Family" by Joyous Windrider Jiménez, each of the brief, 19 stanzas reports a moment of brokenness or repair or dissimulation, and finally, truth-telling. Collectively, they explain the gain and loss of much-desired family connections. In what was clearly a stormy childhood, the speaker tells us about her stepmom whose "voice is comforting, colored with normal-sized emotions." (88), which leaves us with hope for the girl for a few stanzas, before we realize there will be no 'normal-sized emotions' provided for this child.

Diana Maria Delgado's, "Last Dream" lays on the page in a fragmented form and relies on analogies that feel based in a lived life: "He comes and goes/ like a sister who rents// the back house/ and refuses to sell her dogs."(47). We don't need to know the speaker to understand the persistence of the interloper in the dream.

And how did I get so old before I read 4 poems in a row by Lorna Dee Cervantes, only to do a simple search of her name and learn that she's considered the matriarch of Chicanx poetry? Her poem, "It's Not The Tulips' Fault"(39) knits the history of tulips as commodity to the migrant work related to their production in a long, image-dense poem that reinforces the immense impact of a single crop on a people.

Again and again, as I read selections from Puro Chicanx Writers... I connected to the ruminations, revelations, meditations, elegies, narratives, etc. in the work. The easy alloying of English and Spanish in many pieces creates a sense of listening in for one not versed in the dual-language life. On the one hand, I was visiting. On the other hand, I was getting to know the place and other ways of walking in the world. Which are both to the good for anyone who doesn't know what they don't know, but is willing to learn.

Pick up this anthology, dip into it or dive in headfirst. Either way, you'll find writing to love.

Spotlight on Rucksack: A Global Patchwork and Poetry is My Passion by Antje Stehn
The photographs pictured here are courtesy of Antje Stehn

Rucksack a Global Poetry Patchwork is an international art installation project created by the artist Antje Stehn. It consists of two macro-works: an installation featuring a large bag, the Rucksack, made of dried tea bags collected by the 250 participants and an exhibition of short poems written by the poets from all over the world. A video loop installation provides the public with the opportunity to listen to the voices of the poets reciting in their mother tongues. The installation is on show at the Il Piccolo Museo della Poesia Chiesa di San Cristoforo, in Piacenza, Italy since September 2020 and the exhibition will continue until 1.5.2021. Afterwards shows and are planned in other countries like Republic North Macedonia, Ireland, and India. In the meantime the videos are published on our youTube channel Rucksack.


Tea bags have a long history dating back to the eighteenth century, when the Chinese started sewing small square bags to better preserve the aroma of the different teas. Tea bags continue to be one of the smallest containers that we use and find in every home. Carrier bags were among the first tools used by women and men to carry objects and memories. Our ancestors were hunter-gatherers, but actually gatherers were predominant, given that 80% of their food came from collecting seeds, roots, fruits in nets, bags and in any type of light container. Bags were important tools for transporting goods, yesterday just like today, as we can see bags being used as shopping containers in the supermarkets. This is why we decided to place the tea bag at the center of attention, as the heart of a cultural meeting, and the Rucksack as a trace of our bond with nature and migration.

However, we cannot but wonder why are depiction of great hunting scenes predominant on the walls of caves rather than people busy harvesting and carrying bags to collect food? This question also occurred to Ursula K. Le Guin, a science fiction writer who wrote the so-called Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction, based on the Carrier Bag Theory of Human Evolution by anthropologist Elizabeth Fisher. Le Guin noted that it is difficult to tell a story about how seeds are extracted from the peel, day after day in the same way. Hunting, on the other hand, is a real adventure, full of dangers and surprises, its final apotheosis being the killing, when a huge mammoth, for example, falls to the ground. This is material for an action story and it is what our ancestors probably told each other sitting around the fire. But also, tragically, it marks the beginning of the normalization of violence and of a narrative focused on it. The act of gathering, on the other hand, had little narrative potential; at best it was suitable for poetry dealing with the world at the margins, that few cares about. However, on closer inspection, poetry tells us about a different look at the world, of an alternative to the monopoly generated by a single story. This is the reason why the project includes the Rucksack made with recycled tea bags, a collection of short poems by the participants and an audio loop.

We created a You Tube Channel called Rucksack where we publish the videos of the participating poets.

The project is curated by Antje Stehn (Germany) and Mamta Sagar (India) and supported by Piccolo Museo di Poesia Chiesa San Cristoforo (Italy), Kaavya Sanje (India), La macchina sognante (Italy), The Dreaming Machine (US). Letters with Wings (Ireland), Teerandaz (Bangladesh), Time of the Poet Republic (Zimbabwe), WorldCityMonthly (Canada), Los Ablucionistas (Messico), and the international group Poetas Sin Fronteras - Poets Without Borders.

For the second edition we added new curators: Viviana Fiorentino for Ireland and the trio Igor Pop Trajkov, Violeta Kalikij, Daniela Andonovska-Trajkovska for the Republic of North Macedonia, who will after the Covid Pandemic, organize Rucksack- exhibitions in their countries.

It was an honor participating in the Rucksack project.
Thank you Antje and I loved reading in May on Zoom in Istanbul, Turkey.

Cervena Barva Press has a YouTube Channel

Cervena Barva Press has a YouTube Channel thanks to all the work by R. J. Jeffreys. A huge thank you to him!!!

Many of our 15th anniversary readings that took place last summer for 2 months are posted. Check them out and our other videos such as Behind the Book, Reading Series, and Book Launches to name a few... Please like and subscribe to our channel. We have a big playlist to choose from and more videos to come. We are just getting started so keep checking back.

Červená Barva Press Book Launches

Olena Jennings had a book launch on August 5th at 7:00PM at the KGB Bar in NYC for Temporary Shelter

Flavis Cosma and Noel Sloboda launched their books on August 11th at 7:00PM/Zoom

Launched: In the Arms of the Father by Flavia Cosma and Everyday Divine by Noel Sloboda (chapbook)

Červená Barva Press Reading Series
Wednesday, September 8th, 7:00PM
Readers: Indran Amirthanayagam and Sara Cahill Marron

Červená Barva Press Reading Series
Thursday, October 14, 7:00PM EDT / Zoom
Readers: Linda Conte, Paul Sohar & Cindy Veach

Červená Barva Press Reading Series
Wednesday, November 17th, 7:00PM EDT / Zoom
Fiction Night
Michael C. Keith, Olena Jennings & Ned Randle

Červená Barva Press Reading Series
Wednesday, Dec. 1st, 7:00PM EDT / Zoom
Cammy Thomas, Marcia Karp & John Cuetara

Cervena Barva Press reads around the world

Červená Barva Press Reads Around the World/Zoom
Sunday, September 12th, 1:00 PM EDT (Date may be changed)
Ukraine (Readers to be announced shortly)
Hosts Michael Nayan and Gloria Mindock

Červená Barva Press Reads Around the World/Zoom
Saturday, October 16th, 1:30PM EDT
Germany (Readers to be announced soon)
Hosted by Antje Stehn and Gloria Mindock

Other readings around the world coming soon from Italy, Bulgaria, Turkey and more!!!

That is it for this month. A huge thank you to all of the Cervena barva Press Staff! You are the best!

Červená Barva Press Staff

Gloria Mindock, Editor & Publisher
Flavia Cosma, International Editor
Helene Cardona, Contributing Editor
Andrey Gritsman, Contributing Editor
Juri Talvet, Contributing Editor
Renuka Raghavan, Fiction Reviewer, Publicity
Karen Friedland, Interviewer
Gene Barry, Poetry Reviewer
Miriam O' Neal, Poetry Reviewer
Annie Pluto, Poetry Reviewer
Christopher Reilley, Poetry Reviewer
Susan Tepper, Poetry Reviewer
Neil Leadbeater, Poetry Reviewer
R. J. Jeffreys, Associate Editor, Web Development
William J. Kelle, Webmaster

See you next month!


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