CGP 33: Learning to Draw/A History: Grey
by Basil King  (20 pp. Saddle-Stitched) $7 ppd.

Cy Gist Press is happy to announce the release of GREY, the latest chapter in Basil King's Learning to Draw/A History epic, just in time for the new year, and representative of this year's winter weather thusfar. Baz's wife Martha sums it up best whe she says:

“Every artist finds his own gray” writes Basil King, but for Baz, the British kicks in:  GREY.
A young man dismounts wearing a beautiful long dress. His hair is combed back and there is a hint of make-up on his face. He is a movie star, a creature capable   of lighting up the movie screen. And on the screen written in longhand a poem  declares that the soul is never corrupt. Even when it is visited by bleakness the soul maintains its integrity.
John Wieners faced the page and told the messenger I will not atone. I will not repent for loving death’s disapproval.
Others in this poem include Jasper Johns, Rauchenberg, Twombly, O’Hara, Martha King and daughters, Mallory and Hetty King, when very young. 
Counteract your post-holiday blues with some GREY.

CGP 32: Verbal Clouds Through Various Magritte Skies
by Stephen Campiglio  (28 pp. Saddle-Stitched) $7 ppd.

Cy Gist Press is happy to announce the release of Stephen Campiglio's Verbal Clouds Through Various Magritte Skies. Verbal Clouds Through Various Magritte Skies has much in common with the works that it addresses; like a Magritte, these lyrics appear at first glance almost ordinary, but upon closer inspection reveal distortions and unexpected turns.  They do not bring the paintings to anything so quotidian as Life, but rather they bring them to Dream, wherein the speaker of the poems dwells.  Like a Magritte, these poems reach searching hands toward the dim flame of the enigma of human experience.  Campiglio's surrealism rearranges the normally mute trappings of daily life into configurations that adumbrate something deeper and higher.  They are paintings on the reverse side of Magritte's eye-mirror; peer into them as you would your own.

by Stephen Campiglio

When the blinds are open, it becomes apparent
that the house is a museum; when closed,
the museum, a house
where the living room doubles as a studio.

The paintings are animate lodgers, thinking windows
on the walls; Magritte’s medium, thought itself.

Today’s canvas bears a leaf the size
of a tree or a tree in the shape of a leaf.
A calculated conflict.

On the chessboard, a magic game called Alice
has effectively ended without a trace,
and the chairs are imprinted with the black sun of melancholy.
Squares of loss, escape, salvation, conquest, and no hope
stand ready for another game.

On the table, an old letter by Paul Nougé that René
has been rereading, dated between the great wars,
declares that an unending state of war must be maintained
within and around themselves.

In the hallway a storm of breath, blood and nerves
continually forms and dissipates.

Magritte, a nondescript visitor to the museum
that is also his house, a restless lodger
in his own house that is also a museum,
dwells upon an exquisite problem for his next painting:

he paints his hand in order to have a hand
to hold the brush and paint Georgette
whose presence transforms his disquiet into mystery—
these provocations that incite his vocation.
CGP 31: The Hartford Of
by Christina Strong (32 pp. Saddle-Stitched) $7 ppd.

Cy Gist Press celebrates International Workers' Day with the release of May Queen Christina Strong's The Hartford Of.  Despite being one of the 13 original colonies, the state of Connecticut has historically not been able to sustain an urban development of any significant size.  Its major cities seem case studies in failed urban planning rather than places of residence—what went wrong?  Christina Strong performs textual archaeology on the state’s crown paste jewel, Hartford, and yields a work as ephemeral and violent as the city itself.  Both clinical and passionate The Hartford Of seals in amber the strange insect crawling in the heart of the state.

From "Hartford" by Christina Strong







            P.I. on









            LINES OF

                        AND MORE


                                                            EVERYDAY LIFE. SO MANY
















                   MAN WITH A GUN








CGP 30: Elseworlds
by Chris McCreary  (20 pp. Saddle-Stitched) $6 ppd.

Cy Gist Press is tickled pink to announce the release of Chris McCreary’s Elseworlds.  Born during the fury of Hurricane Sandy, Elseworlds likewise disrupts business-as-usual.  It is an “Underdark” beneath the surface of suburbia, teeming with cast-off popular culture and the shadows of good ideas.  McCreary’s poems both alienate and invite, are never opaque but smokily translucent as they deal with the problems of desire, nostalgia, intimacy, mortality and a wandering soul who has taken root. 

"A Mannered Thing"
Chris McCreary 

O Clockwork Golem, forgive us
our skins. See fat man burn his bald head,
flaunt paunch under too-tight tee. Watch thin

girlfriend hand him Pabst, half-ironic wet
nurse to summer’s swaddled infant. We stew
in our meat, pink & simple deep inside our city’s

steeping moist ammonia reek. Last week
the street caved in & what we saw sank down
into the Underdark. This morning I woke

to my son screaming that our dog was dead
in his bedroom. I have no dog.
I have this fear you’ll scoff each time

my thighs stick to vinyl. I’ve never even heard
you breathe, but I can picture your tick. 
CGP 28: Learning to Draw / A History: Portraits
by Basil King  (28 pp. Saddle-Stitched, full-color drawings & photographs) $6 ppd.

 Cy Gist Press is happy to announce the official release of Basil King's Learning to Draw / A History: Portraits. 
-->Before I began reading grown-up books as a child, most of what I knew about literature came from a card game called “Game of Authors.”  In this installment of his epic “Learning to Draw / A History,” Basil King likewise stacks his own deck of historical personages.  Like King’s exquisite line drawings that accompany the poems, the Portraits offer intimate yet enigmatic limns of such luminaries as Charles Darwin, Joan Mitchell and Amiri Baraka. King's Portraits follow a thread through the labyrinth our intellectual history looking for the bull-headed genius of vision.

From Portraits
by Basil King

Eva Hesse

All she had was a piece of string to dip into fiberglass, paint, dyed nets and papier mache into another piece of string tied to another piece of string tied to another piece of string. Tied to another piece of string.

Paul Klee wouldn’t believe his friends when they told him he had to leave Germany. He was a German. Eve Hesse left Germany with her family when she was three. At Yale she studied with Joseph Albers. Albers had known Klee when they were both at the Bauhaus. Eva was told she would forget her parents their divorce, her mother’s suicide the death of her father.

All she had was a piece of string to dip into fiberglass, paint, dyed nets and papier mache into another piece of string tied to another piece of string tied to another piece of string. Tied to another piece of string.

Aricimboldo claims music like water
Has the face of vegetation
Lemons and candlesticks
Beetle wings and Eyes
CGP 29: Duck Tour: The Movie
by Joseph Torra  (24 pp. Saddle-Stitched) $6 ppd.

 Cy Gist Press is happy to announce the release of Joseph Torra's Duck Tour: The Movie.  Written in response to poet Ed Barrett’s Boston noir Bosston, Joseph Torra’s Duck Tour: The Movie continues the city’s conversation with itself in its sleep. Torra plumbs the strata of Boston’s mythology, its folklore and its clichés in search of the city for real, but knowing said city does not exist. A local color field painting, Duck Tour: The Movie adds to the saga of the “brick city by the water” and hides pearls for locals and aliens alike.

From Duck Tour: The Movie
by Joseph Torra

Sun breaks through storm clouds then rain funeral mass ends late morning procession reforms outside Fenway a complex system of the soul gravitates towards all living things today’s rain played by a young understudy a girl half your age stands in front of a full length mirror measuring herself against her notoriety a continuation of the city’s reputation for publicity stunts as protesters get run off by mounted police wielding clubs now history licks the blue at the back of your face now fishermen on an ocean trawler now the Longfellow House Brattle Street now mousy brown eyes stare back through plastic sippy-cups
CGP 27: Zinc Landscape / Paisaje zinc
by Dayana Fraile, translated by Guillermo Parra (32 pp. Saddle-Stitched) $7 ppd. ($9 ppd. outside of continental U.S.)

In her English debut, Venezuelan fiction writer and poet Dayana Fraile conjures an urban scenario where the self unapologetically embraces a melancholic gait. These are city poems built on a fractured diction, with lines constructed out of tin roofs, skyscrapers, knuckles and traffic. The city might be Caracas, Venezuela but it’s also a stage where the poet maps out her particular narrative of doubt, frustration and visionary fervor. The poems in Zinc Landscape employ the daily panorama as an opportunity for reinterpreting our inner world, where crickets “essay silence” and “the shadow makes body.” Thinking of Baudelaire’s relationship to Paris, Walter Benjamin wrote: “We know that, in the course of flânerie, far-off times and places interpenetrate the landscape and the present moment.” These poems let us witness this interpenetration as it proceeds from tree branches to office cubicles, plazas, avenues and TV screens. Dayana Fraile’s hard poems are furnished with “the aluminum of the season.” --Guillermo Parra

por Dayana Fraile

esta tristeza se me va por las ramas
                                            se cuelga de lianas de plástico
me penetra silenciosa mientras grito

como toda bestia sagrada se adorna con cayenas
arde como un horizonte entre las manos
se unta mascarillas de pepino y miel

cerril                     montaraz
desorienta a los vecinos         lleva piedras en la boca


celebra el camino del abismo
no deja dormir
toma el agua directamente de las jarras
escucha discos de Chopin hasta bien entrada la noche
by Dayana Fraile 
trans. Guillermo Parra

this sadness gets tangled in branches    
                hangs from plastic vines
silently penetrates me while I scream

like all sacred beasts it adorns itself with cayennes
burns like a horizon in your palms
dabs itself with cucumber and honey masques

untamed           rough
disorients the neighbors      carries stones in its mouth


celebrates the road of the abyss
leaves no room for sleep
drinks water straight from jugs
listens to Chopin records well into the night

Foreign orders click here: 
CGP 26: A City of Angels
by Ben Mazer  (40 pp. Saddle-Stitched) $9 ppd.

A verse play in three acts by the author of Poems and January 2008. It would be fair to say that the drama takes place in an unspecified European university town with much to suggest more than tenuous comparisons to certain locales in Wales, that the play takes place in the latter 1930s, prior to the outbreak of the second world war, and that the play involves a complicated interweaving of issues concerned with identity, inheritance, and begetting. More concretely the play includes an ancient blood feud between rival clans, an ageing university president, an avant-garde theatre troupe, a pair of knitting aunts, a pair of drunken murderers, a man named Cross, a repossessed kingship, a wedding, and a great deal of lyric poetry. This is the poet's first published play (though he has been quietly writing plays for a great many years).

Praise for Ben Mazer's poetry

Mazer’s poems find aesthetic unity by arranging their emotional resonances in the themes and variations of the musical phrase, giving both voice and silence to the personal experiences that evade language. [ . . . ] Mazer’s layering of details, coupled with a tautness of form that is carefully governed by an exceptional musical ear places him among the most dynamic and original poets of his generation."
            —Christopher Bock in Jacket magazine
"Ben Mazer is lyric poetry's true hero and has not compromised one iota, as his amazing works attest with their singular purity, beauty and heartbreak."
           —Philip Nikolayev
"Like fragments of old photographs happened on in a drawer, Ben Mazer's poems tap enigmatic bits of the past that suddenly come to life again. To read him is to follow him along a dreamlike corridor where everything is beautiful and nothing is as it seems."
            —John Ashbery 
"Ben Mazer is one of the few poets of his generation to understand that only mastery of craft will bring you to the natural breath, and that to sing memorably in verse, with the body, on the line, is the only way to sound the depths of the passing moment."
            —Glyn Maxwell 
"I am a great admirer of Ben Mazer's poetry."
            —John Kinsella 
"A poet unabashedly enthralled by the past, one who has the good sense to turn his own obsessions into his poems' strength. Memory simultaneously masters Mazer and is made to speak through him." 
            —Patrick Morrissey in Harp & Altar 
"Mazer recognises that the lyric poem is more like a movie than like other literary forms [ . . . ] By deliberately withholding information he seems, at first blush, to betray the contract between poet and reader. The illusion of lyric is of a soul being bared. In fact, Mazer is here being more honest than most about the trick of lyric, and his illicit overtness (another kind of soul-baring) gives the poem its thrill.
            —Ailbhe Darcy in The Critical Flame 
“Whose poems are these? It looks like the heads of a hundred people made them, yet there is no disjunction, no coil of expression, no tragic dissolution here that fails our understanding. Don Juan, at the end of his life and trapped in a mineshaft, might have called these poems up to us. We need more of these poems, quickly, and we are in a state of distinguished penury now, for only one person, Ben Mazer, can supply them, and however much he provides there will always be gasping for more.
           —Stephen Sturgeon, editor of Fulcrum

Just in time for St. Valentine's Day--CGP 25: Jessica Rogers' HOT WATER

CGP 25: Hot Water
by Jessica Rogers  (16 pp. Saddle-Stitched) $7 ppd.

In 1979 the philosophers the Brothers Gibb noted that nobody gets too much love anymore.  Thirty-two years later their postulation seems to hold even greater validity.  Jessica Rogers tries to even the score with her expansive love poem Hot Water.  Like the love-child of Walt Whitman and Joe Brainard (& they certainly would have had one), Rogers’ poem is a brazen love letter to the world, mining memory & returning with precious jewels for everyone, all of the time.

From Hot Water
by Jessica Rogers

I loved a young man
on the subway last week;
I want to describe him.
I want to say
how he reminded me
of you,
of so many other loves

(like the way Todd says
he loves the women
who jog toward him
on bridges:
as they get closer,
you can imagine
the whole thing going down.
She would look
so beautiful,
in her private moments,
so that as she jogs by,
you can’t help but tear up
to be that close to her,
having already lived and died
in your racing thoughts,
and so sigh
at some memory,
and turn to look
with relief—at least
you didn’t share any names).

But then
my stranger
got off the subway
and I loathed him for it,
and missed him a little bit—
his reading a book,
shirt half tucked
(just like a real relationship,

CGP 24: The Day the Sun Rolled Out of the Sky
by Phill Provance  (28 pp. Saddle-Stitched. B&w illus. by Christopher Schmidt) $7 ppd.

In his debut collection, Andalucian dog Phill Provance weds humor and pathos.  The speaker of The Day the Sun Rolled Out of the Sky is not so much an anti-hero as a secret identity viewed with precision and candor.  Provance makes the quotidian magical employing only the most mundane of objects; no false bottom in his top hat and his rabbit speaks in tongues.

by Phill Provance

When the last one left

a knife lay
on the kitchen table
for three days.

It was an eight-inch
chef’s knife
she’d been slicing

a Christmas orange with.
Now, I’m normally a tidy man,
but you see,

she left the day the sun
rolled out of the sky
demanding to know
who had stolen his shoes.

He beamed darkly
at the chief of police and refused
to leave the place
where the World War II

had stood. So it was
three days of trying to spray
him out with fire hoses

while the children bathed
and roasted marshmallows
from the roof of Town Hall. Then,
on the third day,
the moon alighted
and admitted
to stealing the sun’s shoes.

So I went home
to find the knife
and a seed fused to
the caramelized juice.
And I decided, right then and there,

that I’d never let
another woman
cut a Christmas orange.
CGP 23: Sharpsburg
by Joel Chace  (24 pp. Saddle-Stitched.) $8 ppd.

In Sharpsburg, Joel Chace splits open the archive and finds the seeds of consciousness inside;  contrapuntal narrative threads are woven together in an asynchronous braid for the muse of memory.  History’s violence eclipsed by the violence of living and the violence of desire.  Chace makes a mandala of the disparate grains of syntax, cognition.

From Sharpsburg
by Joel Chace

Your rope is our hope.  He tried to explain what his mother meant, but the doctor told him to shut up; there was no way he could translate her suffering.  During that hour, while bullets snipped leaves from a young locust tree growing at an edge of the hollow and powdered us with fragments, we had time to speculate on many things.  Huge problems with the petard.  Night started at the end of creek water.  His handwriting is neat and legible, he spells accurately, his observations are hardly ever emotional, and he rarely mentions religion. I would like to think that he is part of the burial party in that photograph.

There were a great many left unburied, and where they were exposed to the sun they were as black as darkies.  I will here correct an effort made on page 13.  Butterfly or penguin?  Manifestly, there’s a point to bad taste.  She could feel it coming, so she kept her composure when—right in the middle of the viewing—he said, “What do you think’s going to happen?”  He runs the place, on paper, at least.  Wrenching an answer out of that set of variables.  I avoid clichés like the plague.  He was officially released about three weeks later, which meant that, as he says it, “I was once again, legally and technically, food for powder.”
CGP 22: cock-burn
by j/j hastain  (20 pp. Saddle-Stitched.) $7 ppd.

Sex lost its teeth when it became an abstraction, but in cock-burn, j/j hastain remembers that fucking has always been and will always be revolutionary.  Teeth and all other parts.  Here is a map in 1:1 scale, without gloss or euphemism.  The oracle in the temple of the body speaks from the shadows, long absent.  The news is good.

from cock-burn
by j/j hastain

then later             post come
the rose-quiet
            the acknowledged sub-terra bruises
                  tears that are masticated
                         in order to verify that they
                                    can be taken in as nourishment
this is spiritual fusion that is so sure
            that it turns our physiology
                        into an opus of awes
CGP 21: Megton Gasgan Krakooom
by Paolo Javier  (42 pp. Saddle-Stitched w/B&W illus.) $8 ppd.

We deserve our monsters.  We are our monsters.  In Megton Gasgan Krakooom, Queens Poet Laureate Paolo Javier opens the box of the id and the planchette goes ballistic.  Janus is both Jeckyl and Hyde and speaks with two mouths.  Javier is a mutant toreador, daring the minotaur with verboten speech.  Feed the Gorgon and you’ll notice you’re the one in the cage.  With cryptozoologic fieldwork by Ernest Concepcion.

by Paolo Javier 
Love as a maximum ablution
No tenements. L’amourat sea
                       unwrit a diver riddle
a diver riddle fraction lyric animé
somber, frisky, fed supplicant chose sequence
Sarajevo’s era recalled
            Will fucking among stranger armadas question the equation
taunt port of entry for adored id dulcinea
ocular riddles pattern importune
lair Im in rattled at two
hail circuitry!
between grand echelon laid open port west of entry
            border to border borders sold in glove
color of rose averred, intoxicated envy at scenic rate
sex lead lantern
to know crescendo in summit question colloquy
            lair Im rattled into
rigorous voyage a picador Jihad
in total tyranny, carnage, sullied ladle deicide
what murder they’llsecond next
                                                            all gold in us
            despair, anxiety, plain entry
                        Saddam for Sunni ranks satyrs
magnificent diaspora of Amazons to heed us
I comfort Eros, buttons intact
lost seismic nautilus
o diem italic dads Ive bitten
                        I brag!
              o Oracle ruins
my entire sustenance induce coma all experience
all gold in us, sanguine, solar, terrible entry synapse appear
I compare a supplicant
murder, grave, pulsating
sub-prime synod atlas serbis soiled I
             assume redundant agave tan
Etreus destiny Aquinas in lessons
pigeons in the circle sojourn kneeling
Christian aspersion aspersion simpering
CGP 20: Feast Day Gone & Coming
by Frank Sherlock  (16 pp. Saddle-Stitched) $7 ppd.


In his second chapbook for Cy Gist Press, Feast Day Gone & Coming, Frank Sherlock gives us a map of the heavens as revolutionary love song, replacing Andromeda & Orion with you & me.  It may cost us dearly to be humanized, but Sherlock’s work is what we get for our trouble.  With beautiful cover comix by James Comey.

From Feast Day Gone & Coming
by Frank Sherlock

    Each creature is secured by the sling

         of culture   

    as asserted in the press materials                       





            & still there is no explanation of

            the meaning of ordinary rendition

                    Of course

        there is a human cost

            How much does it cost to be humanized
CGP 19: Wild Cards
by Basil King (40 pp. Saddle-Stitched w/ full-color illustrations) $8 ppd.
In Wild Cards, Basil King gives us art & history from street level.  Monet, Manet, Blake and others are face-cards in his full hand & hands.  King  builds a Japanese Bridge between word and image in this section of his epic Learning to Draw/A History.  Accompanying the text are four full-color plates of King’s own paintings from the “Blackjack” series.  You’ll lose your shirt.

From Wild Cardsby Basil King

John Abbott McNeill Whistler was born in America. His father, a civil engineer and a graduate of West Point, was employed in 1842 by the Czar to build a railroad from St. Petersburg to Moscow. In Russia, Whistler learns French and studies drawing. 
In 1848, John’s father, Major George Washington McNeill Whistler, dies of cholera, in Russia.  Whistler’s mother brings the family back to America. Whistler is 15. The next year Whistler enrolls in West Point. He is dismissed and doesn’t graduate. When he decides to be a painter, he goes to Paris, then to London. Whistler’s mother, half-sister, and brother all move to London, and Whistler never returns to North America.
Whistler hung his hat and coat on wooden pegs. Possibly the same pegs his great-great-grandfather had used before he left England for the colonies. 


“It’s always the same work that’s so hard and uncertain,” Whistler wrote Fantin LaTour. “I am so slow,” said the man who signed his paintings with a butterfly. I am so slow, lotus blossom. Amour. To know what to paint, and then to paint it.

Whistler loved Franz Hals
Loved his defiance
Alms give me Nocturne
Give me The White Girl
Her tranquility
Bewitched by Butterflies
Japanese prints Degas  Mallarmé
Oscar Wilde and Thomas Carlyle
Whistler was not like his friends
Not everything can go into
One painting one poem
Not everything can go into
One painting one poem
Oh! St. Luke, patron saint of painters
Whistler’s literal translations
Can be mistaken
For a mistake
Consider the originator
Whistler is an expatriate a migrant
A whistler challenging beauty
Find the question
Before you find the answer
Not everything can go into
One painting one poem
Not everything can go into
One painting one poem
The ancient seamen believed
The ocean was flat
And if you went far enough
You would fall off the edge
So it is with a painting
Its edges are liken to a waterfall