Posts Tagged ‘New Census’

The New Census: Sarah Vap

Our feature of Rescue Press’ new anthology of contemporary poetry, The New Census, picks up today for a final installment: new work from Sarah Vap. She’s included a statement on the poems, below. Please feel free to visit the full feature here, and purchase the anthology here.


These poems were taken verbatim from the dictionary feature on the Investopedia website, and are part of a longer manuscript called Viability — the whole effort of which rolls around in Capitalism’s mechanisms and certainties of owning certain kinds of people, creatures, communities.

from Viability

Lindsay Lohan Stock Index: A stock index comprised of companies associated with actress Lindsay Lohan. Investors might correlate the popularity of Lohan with increased sales surrounding her related products. Firms involved with Lohan endorsements, advertising or movies are included in the index.

Fans may see Lindsay Lohan use a certain product, such as her Mercedes Benz, and rush to purchase one for themselves. The increased demand will usually drive up a company’s sales, merely for being associated with Lohan. Companies involved in the index include Disney (NYSE: DIS), who produce many of Lohan’s films, Daimler Chrysler (NYSE: DCX), and Mattel (NASDAQ: MAT).

As with most celebrity-related terms, buzz words such as this usually have a shorter shelf life and may become irrelevant.

Sleeping Beauty: A company that is considered prime for takeover, but has not yet been approached by an acquiring company. A company may be considered a sleeping beauty for a variety of reasons, including large cash reserves, undervalued real estate, undervalued share price, attractive assets or strong growth and earnings potential. A takeover, or acquisition, is typically characterized by the purchase of a smaller company by a larger firm. The acquiring company generally offers a cash price per share, thereby purchasing the target outright for its own shareholders.

In relation to mergers and acquisitions (M&A), a sleeping beauty is a company that is “sleeping;” that is, one that is ripe for takeover to achieve its full potential. A sleeping beauty might be a new company that has great potential but has not yet been noticed, or it could be an established company that has not been managed well, and is therefore not maximizing its potential. A sleeping beauty essentially lies in wait until a takeover occurs, at which point the company theoretically would be able to live up to its potential.

Leading Lipstick Indicator: An indicator based on the theory that a consumer turns to less expensive indulgences, such as lipstick, when she feels less than confident about the future. Therefore, lipstick sales tend to increase during times of economic uncertainty or a recession. Also known as the “lipstick effect.”

This term was coined by Leonard Lauder (chairman of Estee Lauder), who consistently found that during tough economic times, his lipstick sales went up. Believe it or not, the indicator has been quite a reliable signal of consumer attitudes over the years. For example, in the months following the September 11 terrorist attacks, lipstick sales doubled.

Skirt Length Theory: The idea that skirt lengths are a predictor of the stock market direction. According to the theory, if skirts are short, it means the markets are going up. And if skirts are long, it means the markets are heading down. Also called the Hemline Theory.

The idea behind this theory is that shorter skirts tend to appear in times when general consumer confidence and excitement is high, meaning the markets are bullish. In contrast, the theory says long skirts are worn more in times of fear and general gloom, indicating that things are bearish.

Although some investors may secretly believe in such a theory, serious analysts and investors—instead of examining skirt length to make investment decisions—insist on focusing on market fundamentals and data.


The New Census: Randall Mann

Our feature of Rescue Press’ new anthology of contemporary poetry, The New Census, continues this week with new poetry by contributors to the anthology. Today we’re happy to print a new poem from Randall Mann. You can purchase the anthology here.


Remember the shake-the-salad days of Dragnet
reruns, spray and starch, and that pint-sized fridge?
Tenderloin Heights? The Earth Muffin magnet?
You stalked me on the Carquinez Bridge,

little Pinto; I asked you in to look at my iguana.
You stayed. You smelled like an arcade.
When I threatened to leave you for Guyana,
you swam all up in my Kool-Aid.

Even our losses felt relatively glam:
crullers, snap-on ties. Shadow gloves.
Your pair of black Zodiac-Killer glasses.
A lot of meat, but not a lot of money, like Spam.
And our vinyl wedding, which ended when doves
shot “A Blessing in Disguise” out of their rented asses.

The New Census: Steve Healey

Our feature of Rescue Press’ new anthology of contemporary poetry, The New Census, continues this week with new poetry by contributors to the anthology. Today we’re happy to print a new poem from Steve Healey. You can purchase the anthology here.

6:05 pm on a Wednesday

This is what a bridge looks like.
This is a bridge crossing a river on a planet
orbiting a sun. This is a structure
providing passage over a physical obstacle
such as a river on a planet once upon
a time. What being in a vehicle
crossing a bridge looks like upon a time.
This is a vehicle that looks like
many vehicles shiny in the light
of the sun, moving across a structure
that looks like a perfect horizontal strip
of land across nothing but air.
This is a person who once upon
a 6:04 pm on a Wednesday in August
thinks nothing about what gravity
looks like at one-hundred-and-fifteen feet
above an actual river. What people
look like in vehicles wearing sunglasses,
remembering a chicken salad sandwich
for lunch, listening to news about
a war happening somewhere,
people who are killing other people.
This is in fact what a bridge seen
by a security camera on a Wednesday
in August at 6:04 pm, the shiny vehicles,
the planet turning away from the sun,
the sun falling in the sky a little more
toward evening, looks like.
In fact, the bridge begins to fall
at 6:05 pm. It drops quickly, in fact,
under the force of gravity. In fact,
this is what one-hundred-and-fifteen feet
looks like. The bridge and the vehicles
on the bridge and the people
in the vehicles and the sunglasses
on the people. This is what falling
looks like. This is what afraid.
This is what my God. This is what
no bridge, in fact. The absence of bridge.
Once upon a time, in fact. What
nothing looks like. This is absence
seen by a security camera at 6:06 pm
on a Wednesday. What,
in fact. In fact, this.

Note: This poem was commissioned by the city of Minneapolis and published by Rain Taxi Review of Books in a limited-edition poetry collection marking the 5th anniversary of the I 35 W bridge collapse.

The New Census: Kyle Dargan

Our feature of Rescue Press’ new anthology of contemporary poetry, The New Census, continues this week with new poetry by contributors to the anthology. Today we’re happy to print a new poem from Kyle Dargan. You can purchase the anthology here.


If my heart would only mimic
David Blaine more than Houdini—
suffering in place for excruciating,
short spells instead of shocking
audiences with escapes.
Endurance is not magic,
sadly. Imagine ever-lasting
love as a simple chant—arcane
language that will fuse souls
given proper enunciation.
Or am I thinking of sorcery?
(A wizard might wand your lips
into Japanese hornets for calling him
a magician.) Either way,
I admire David Blaine
for the same reasons many
think him a charlatan—
he is just a man, one who’ll risk
standing within the caging ice
of human limitation until
his nerves numb or he forgets
to sink back into consciousness.
My heart thinks too much,
sees opening as an illusion
masking constraint. It fidgets,
tucks and rocks with the same
passion that it once slipped within
the straightjacket’s long arms.
Free, my heart rises from the body’s
river of blood. Along the banks,
men extend their palms to collect
from all the fools who bet against.

The New Census: Eric Baus

Our feature of Rescue Press’ new anthology of contemporary poetry, The New Census, continues this week and next with new poetry by contributors to the anthology. Today we have two short poems from Eric Baus. You can purchase the anthology here.

                Ambient Centaur

                The agrarian century absorbed me into a horse. I was busy being a
                parable  in  a  film  about  stormlessness. We  wore a  pair of  grass
                glands. We watched the  sun give birth to a lamp. We knelt to bury
                our glass in the sand.

                The Recessive Sea

                The  accident  exposed a tiny song when the  floating  wires
                grounded. The  protozoan organ played an undetected tone.
                The tranquilized tongue woke up in a cell. The trees blurred
                into a seed.

The New Census: Darcie Dennigan

Our feature of Rescue Press’ new anthology of contemporary poetry, The New Census, continues this week and next with new poetry by contributors to the anthology. We continue today with a poem by Darcie Dennigan. You can purchase the anthology here.

The Ambidextrous

All poems should bear the title “Reasons for Living Happily…” …That was what X, the retired exterminator, quoted to me one night when we were… moving… from one warehouse to the next… crates… for… the Resistance… The Resistance… We all… I… worked undercover… toward… for… whatever the daily email… urged… Till the night… while emptying the sea back into a sack… the police got… At the trial months later… I drew Magistrate Beverly… it was information he was after… The Magistrate sat on the pulpit… stroking his pet beaver… Tell me he said… What the Resistance is against… I told him… I went right ahead…! Four times I said conglomerate… I got very specific… for instance…! … for instance…! for instance…! But perhaps broad strokes would… So I said We are against… everything… but at the same time we love the whole thing… We are against… the fat white men snoring… But not all of them… no… yes… All of them… But… during… Magistrate Beverly had fallen… the magistrate was sleeping… Now awoken… Now again beaver stroking… Will the court stenographer please read back the testimony…? Yes Your Honor The Resistance is against Alzheimer’s charity whales and the Ottoman Empire… How extraordinary… The courtroom denizens were all smiling… congratulating… What a machine… What a… They… they… could mishear anything… And their smiling… their smiling… I was about to say they smiled from ear to ear… but no… they… from hair to hair… They had no ears…

                And… I now noticed… the magistrate’s beaver… had no testicles…

                Upon my release… they gave me a smile… and a Popsicle… Back home I tried to write a poem… about… their smiling… “Reasons for Living Blithely…” I copied it 100 hundred times… on my at-home copy machine… taped the copies to the walls of my bedroom… Smiles from lair to lair… I lay there… beneath the poems… in bed… I stroked the pet rat with my left hand… the sleeping child with my right… We in the Resistance had to keep working… till no one living was… young… or young enough… to believe in reasons…

The New Census: Chris Martin

Our feature of Rescue Press’ new anthology of contemporary poetry, The New Census, continues this week and next with new poetry by contributors to the anthology. Today’s poet is Chris Martin. You can purchase the anthology here.


So the bag

on your head is exactly

like the bag on

mine. That’s how it’s

always been. One bag

for every head

in every city on Earth.

A measure to shore

against the face’s simple


anarchy. Preempt

behavior. History

of the bag hinges

on the dominion

of Persona, how Western

identity (before the bag) was

hopelessly face-shaped, how

the oval theater of the face

ruined the world. Palliative,

antidote, rescue: bag. In order

for one to be

oneself: a bag. Exile

Proteus, you know?

Or spread

him so thin he begins

to form a bag sea

where we float in circles.

The thing is, you

already know all of this.

You have been wearing the bag

your whole life. And yet

you don’t

understand and I know you

don’t because you ask

to see my face. My very

own face. And because I love

you, because I would

also be nothing

without you, I have to think

very seriously about this and explain

everything once

again. “I only have a face,”

I say, “if you haven’t

seen it.” But that doesn’t seem

to be enough. I can

almost feel your eyes

tearing through

my bag. “What if you don’t

like my face?” I ask.

And of course you swear you

will and that the heart will

hold sway so

that it could never truly matter, owing

to the deep root

of love. This does not

convince me. “Once you’ve seen

it,” I say, “it will cease

to be my face. It will either

be your face or it will be some endless

parade of faces I can’t

control.” Your eyes rip

and slash. “What about the inevitable

contagion?” I can see the vein

in your neck lift

your bag like a tiny fist

knock knock

knocking. “If I take it off

will you promise never

to remove yours, no matter

what I say or do or

become?” You nod and your nodding

is eerily fluid and my hands

are burning and before

I can change my mind I take

off my bag.

The New Census: Dora Malech

Our feature of Rescue Press’ new anthology of contemporary poetry, The New Census, continues this week and next with new poetry by contributors to the anthology. We begin today with Dora Malech. “Progress” will be featured in the fifth season of Motionpoems, premiering at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis on May 22. You can purchase The New Census here.


Already failed resolution to spend less
time staring at squares, enrectangled up
in pixels, justified prose, polarized glass.
Data entry, no exit. Lint trap’s just that.
Geometry that gestures toward itself
or not at all as in the inward wave
that in one culture simply greets and in
another draws one closer. Figures that
in my eyes it would beckon. Patterns swim
familiar but no one’s there to take
an order and connecting the dots in
the vitreous humor makes a child’s
stakeless game, a “now let’s say” to made-up
playmate (and say that which we say it is
it is until we tire or some other
specter floats aview). Are you saying
you’d rather queue for keeps? Phantom limn
a charged perimeter? Wasting time
no matter but on what (all-important
distinction between phenomenon and
illusion). Mind’s the former, sure, but great
stakes shaking no one’s boughs’ but mine but mine
tracing, racing, generating orders,
families, genera
the likes of which
the earth has yawned and swallowed in its sleep.
How to take a turn to lean a body
through not to the execution? As if
we could adapt the course by tricking
out the question, force feed fattening
infinity on its own tail. Wakes into
passing scenery, a world of ramifications
blinking Darwinian landscaping escaping
into can’t see for the topiary signing
line-on-line perpendicular, means ends.

The New Census: A Conversation With Lauren Haldeman

This week and next, we’ll feature The New Census: an Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry, a lovely new book edited by Lauren Shapiro & Kevin A. Gonzalez, and published by Rescue Press. You can purchase the anthology here. Today’s conversation is with two-time THERMOS contributor Lauren Haldeman, who did artwork for the anthology.

Phrases about The New Census from an Online Chat (Continued):
…in their introduction, the editors hope that The New Census will be “tucked under the arm while riding the train or spotted askance on the floor of a dorm room…bent in the library, lent to a new friend, and scarred by the marks of a reader’s pen”…saying, it’s more fun than your boring high school English teacher…does a center of argument nonetheless emerge…(to be continued)…

1. Your illustrated author photos in The New Census are SPECTACULAR. Could you tell us about your process for making them?

Alright, but get ready to be really BORED. It ended up being a much lengthier process than I thought it would be. I started by creating a grid-system within a 5-inch by 7-inch framework in order to keep everything uniform. And then I cropped all of the bio photographs to that size and merged them into the framework. Using those as references, I would draw each of the photographs by hand, in pencil. (I even bought a special new sketch pad for the project). So I ended up with these pages and pages of portraits. This took the longest time. Then, I scanned them all into a computer. Imported to Photoshop and employed some manipulation there, Curves and Levels mostly. Then I brought the images into Illustrator and had a very exact Live Trace set up for the drawings to turn them into vector. After this was done, I sent them over to Sevy and he basically made them all 3000% better.

2. Whose picture was hardest to draw?

By far, the hardest pictures to draw were the pictures of the people I actually know, in real life. Knowing someone really changes the way you represent them in your mind and skews the way you THINK they should look. You can’t actually see how they REALLY look anymore. Does that make sense? So that makes the details so much more intricate and frustrating in a two-dimensional representation. I would spend hours on a 2 centimeter long line, just to define the edge of a smile to get it to be how I thought it should be. Because it had to be right. Because, second point: drawing people who you know comes with the enormous fear that they will not like the drawing. That they will be mad. That they will stop being friends with you because of the drawing! It is a ridiculous fear; I mean, can you imagine saying to someone “Yeah, we used to be friends. But then one day she drew a picture of me, and it was not up to my standards. Now we are not friends”? But it is a real fear.

Other than that, teeth. Teeth are the hardest things to draw ever.

3. Whose was most fun?

My favorite portrait was Yona Harvey. I just loved drawing her face, because of the line of her profile. No offense to everyone else, but her drawing just ended up being my favorite. There. I said it.

4. Whose facial hair is your favorite?

Any facial hair. All the facial hair. Bring me some facial hair, friends and I will draw it.

5. Did you read or avoid reading the contributors’ poems while working on the drawings? In general, are there poets/poems you like to read when you are working on visual art?

I didn’t read any specific poetry while I was drawing. I set up a space in my basement with a table and a lamp. I would put on Netflix basically to have it playing in the background. The portraits were almost exclusively drawn to Doctor Who episodes. The 10th doctor only. I could probably tell you which episode for which portrait. It was a long winter.

Later, I read everyone’s poems, after the drawings were done. It was really amazing how much CLOSER I felt to each poet. It was like “Oh I know you! You had those great earlobes!” (I do love drawing earlobes). It made the reading much more personal. So now I declare that every reader should have to draw the writer before opening the book. Law.

6. I’m trying to pass a law saying that all author photos have to be illustrations. How do you think that would change how people read and write poetry?

Dangerous stuff there, Zach. Within one generation, all the children of the world would sleep under sheets printed with poets’ faces. They would wear poet-face-themed underwear. I can’t tell if this is a good or bad thing, really, but that’s what would happen.

The New Census: A Conversation With Sevy Perez

This week and next, we’ll feature The New Census: an Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry, a lovely new book edited by Lauren Shapiro & Kevin A. Gonzalez, and published by Rescue Press. You can purchase the anthology here. Today’s discussion is with Sevy Perez, book designer for Rescue.

Phrases about The New Census from an Online Chat (Continued):
…aesthetic statements here are confined to the action of the poems, the prevalence of modes which haven’t really yet been theorized…what would an 18-year-old reader find in this anthology, especially if they want to write…(to be continued)…

1. Tell us about the design process for The New Census. I imagine some of its elements (multiple authors, illustrations, the desire to be substantial without being overwhelming) presented distinct challenges.

Well I’ve never before designed an anthology. In the beginning, I pulled a few from bookshelves to get an idea — whenever you’re creating something there’s a neurosis to know what everyone else is doing, but what I saw was endemically boring and stuffy. We know we wanted to do something traditional in a modern way, something sincere in a fun way. Rescue specializes, in my opinion, in good, weird stuff. It’s always a task to make substantiation digestible, but there are a lot of elements in this collection that work to ease the pain: whether it’s the illustrations, polls, use of black or the typeset itself — as a designer, there are certain typefaces that just yawn academia, so we don’t even use those — so it was built from the ground-up to be just the right amount of weird without being unrecognizable. It’s black because black is always in. It’s natural paper because it’s easiest to read.

I’ve set hundreds or writers’ work, and this anthology has maybe the top ten most difficult pieces I’ve ever encountered. This is good, though. Most poets, whether they know it or not, are constrained by the tab or enter keys, but there’s a lot of variety in these pages. Some poems I just turned sideways to fit true. Others had to break some rules. The most distinct challenge in any book is making the typeset true to form: sometimes your pages aren’t the same proportions as an 8.5 x 11 or you have more space between lines, &c. And since poetry is what it is, I can’t have a reader mistaking a typesetting anomaly into some type of authorial intent. Yes, we have graphs and illustrations and things, but just being honest to the work is always the most challenging and rewarding.

2. One of the first things people will notice about the book are its “census” graphics, which represent contributors’ responses to questions including “what is your shoe size” and “do you eat meat.” Which of these graphics is your favorite? Which one do you think reveals the most about contemporary poetry?

I think the question what genre do you read the most is my favorite. It’s relevant and humbling, with answers like email, job advertisements, the genre of the dark-yet-fancily-dressed.

I don’t know a thing about contemporary poetry, but I think there’s something representative in what contemporary poets are reading. I wrote one poem once. That’s the extent of my poetry knowledge.

3. You’ve designed other books for Rescue. How would you describe the overall aesthetic of your work? What are some publishers/designers you look to for inspiration?

I’m pretty formulaic. I think rules are what separate design from art. Most of my work for Rescue is consistent without being predictable, which I think is always the name of the game. You’ll always see the logos in the same spots, same general layout, but with something attuned to the work. You always read the thing first, and you never make your part in the final product obvious. E.g., for one of our most recent books, Jonathan Blum’s Last Word, I created this canvas painting from crushed witch hazel pigment because witch hazel is a recurring symbol in the work and Blum’s surname etymology is the German blume, or flower. So you never want to make it so obvious because you don’t want to risk misleading the reader by prepping them to encounter a certain symbol or image. I think the best covers are bespoke, yet open to interpretation, yet easily identifiable as part of an overall brand. So it’s always a triangulation.

As far as other designers or publishers, I think Knopf and Wave are putting out interesting visual stuff. Knopf tailors its brand to each work, and I’m just kind of obsessed with the new Wave book aesthetic in an oogly, far-away way. Most small presses have this grungyish, DIY design style I don’t buy. Big press design tends to be hit or miss, though lately there have been more hits, partly because the whole e-reader revolution has done us all a favor in a way. It sounds silly but we have to think about what books are doing. Our anthology is a product, yes. But it’s a product meant to, depending on who you ask, either engage or disengage you into/from the so-called real world where most products move you along your basic like existence instead of interrupting it. Culturally books are the new vinyls: they’re extremely thoughtful things that lend themselves to sentimentality. It’s always nice to digitally detox with the printed word here and there. There aren’t a whole lot of commodified, functional art objects you can own nowadays. For a birthday once, a friend surprised me with a totally mint, original 1988 Paris Review (because there’s a David Foster Wallace story in it I love) that I totally cherish. You can go read that online — here, I’ll even link you. But it’s just not the same. I doubt anyone’s going to run off the story on their Epson and tuck it away to pass on to their kids or whatever. Sorry about ranting there.

4. Unlimited budget. Unlimited hours. You are designing a single-copy special edition of The New Census. What would you do?

You know, I’m sitting here up in Prairie Lights mulling over what this would look like. The truth is, disappointingly maybe, that I wouldn’t change a thing. Not because I think what we did already is perfect or whatever, but — especially with designing books — the designer should be invisible. My job is to pull you in and then make you forget I ever pulled you in in the first place. I don’t do ornamation. And from a brand perspective, you don’t want one thing in a line of things to be a mutation.

On the other hand, though, I do wonder what a solid gold book would look like.