She Hands Me the Razor
by Richard Krawiec
A Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection
8.5 x 5.5 paperback, 88 pages
Richard Krawiec is the author of two previous poetry collections, including She Hands Me the Razor (Press 53, 2011). His work has appeared in dozens of literary magazines, including New Orleans Review, Drunken Boat, Shenandoah, sou’wester, Dublin Review, Chautauqua Literary Journal, Spillway, North Dakota Quarterly, and Blue Fifth Review. In addition to poetry, he has published two novels, Time Sharing and Faith in What?, a story collection, And Fools of God, and four plays. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council (twice), and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He teaches Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Fiction Writing for the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Courses Online, for which he won their Excellence in Teaching Award. He has facilitated writing workshops with children and adults in homeless shelters, women’s shelters, prisons, literacy classes, and community sites. He is founder of Jacar Press, a community-active publishing company.
Richard Krawiec’s She Hands Me the Razor is a moody collection of poems that is largely concerned with circumference. Thus, these poems summon Emily Dickinson, who wrote in a letter, “How lonely this world is growing, something so desolate creeps over the spirit and we don't know its name.” In the title poem, the poet realizes that “it is always a matter of finding / another’s boundaries / one’s own limits,” and so it is in nebulous territory where these poems do their work of examining how one deals with existential darkness, where they try their damnedest to disavow the notion that it is irreparable damage that defines the contemporary human condition.
— John Hoppenthaler, editor of Connotation Press and author of Anticipate the Coming Reservoir
She Hands Me the Razor is an edgy and satisfying marriage of tenderness and well-honed attentiveness to the connections, often fraying, among people and the various places in which they find themselves, both physically and emotionally...The poems in She Hands Me the Razor ferry us through dangerous waters, leaving us finally upon the shore of grace, that infusion of morning light on a loved face. W.H. Auden wrote, In Memory of W. B. Yeats: "In the prison of his days/ Teach the free man how to praise." Krawiec's new collection of poems culminates in praise, which has always been the goal and gift of poetry.
— Kathryn Stripling Byer, former North Carolina Poet Laureate and author of Coming to Rest: Poems
Samantha Tran graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Sociology and currently works for Dell, Inc. as a software specialist. She picked up photography as a hobby about two years ago and hasn’t looked back since.
“I enjoy taking pictures of things that make people look at life the way I see it, or at least from my perspective,” she says. “I also enjoy doing self-portraiture, and while that sounds horribly narcissistic, it’s actually very cathartic to put yourself out there in photos to be critiqued and judged. It can also be easier than regular portraiture in that I don't have to try and communicate to anyone what I see in my mind’s eye.
“For ‘Rub-A-Dub-Dub,’ I really liked the light in that bathroom, the way it bounced around the bathtub from the privacy glass above. I like photos with an open-ended story to them. Nobody knows what the girl in the tub looks like, or why she is there. It's open to interpretation. I think that always makes for a good photo.”
Samantha is actively building her portfolio with plans to start her own photography business. To see more of Samantha’s photography, visit www.flickr.com/photos/samanntran.
Press 53 . PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130-0314
SHE HANDS ME THE RAZOR
when I ask
she hands me the razor
trust or faith I don’t know
where to begin to stroke
I press the three whip-thin
blades against her skin
how much pressure
does she need do I want
it is always a matter of finding
one’s own limits
I pull slowly
across the arched muscle of her calf
the stretched tightness of her thigh
a few wisps of black hair escape
I press harder feel that catch
which halts my breath in mid exhaust
no rose blooms so I return
to the world of breathing
slower now I scrape off the lather
with mincing strokes reveal
each dimple freckle curve
consider the flesh
where to daub stroke edge
how to reveal the many
smooth faces of God
The poems of Richard Krawiec are not unflinching. The things they discover, observe, and reveal might cause anyone to flinch. But this poet does not avert his gaze; he sees and endures and at last achieves a dearly bought and perhaps unexpected grace. I admire this collection enormously because I never doubted, always thinking, "Yes, this is how it must have been." Powerful experiences powerfully rendered with an art that seems almost casual. I salute this high, rude accomplishment."
— Fred Chappell, former North Carolina Poet Laureate
The razor in the title poem of this stunning collection can inflict pain or instill trust. It shaves away layers of duplicity and complicity, revealing the lies of love, the love of lies. There are no nicks in these poems. They slice into the very heart of life.
— Gloria Vando, author of Shadows and Supposes
Women Who Loved Me Despite
by Richard Keawiec
A Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection
9 x 6 paperback, 88 pages
Praise for Women Who Loved Me Despite
Because this book is a dog song on the edge of the abyss, it's naturally full of death—there are suicides, car crashes, lost children, and mercy killings (which, the poet realizes, are nevertheless killings). There is also some honest and eloquent self-talk. “I swim in the dense brine of old grievances” he says, and “I can't stop the weeds from rising.” And yet, along the way, there is equally eloquent tenderness, especially about love. This, we understand, is a kind man, a man who nurtures, even when it's hard. So we are glad when, in the end, from a stone and a branch, he finds joy.
—Lola Haskins, author of The Grace to Leave
These are the poems of a life lived, their imagery taken primarily from the natural world but also from streets and vacant lots, back seats and back alleys. Women Who Loved Me Despite deals with fatherhood and loyalty, love realized and love betrayed, the lessons and misadventures of a man coming into his prime. I admire their small triumphs and celebrations, their refusal to look away from life's pain, and their hard-won occasional humor.
—Joseph Millar, author of Overtime and Blue Rust
Martin A. Poole is a graduate of State University of New York–Buffalo, where he majored in Fine Arts with a focus on print making. He has since taught classes and workshops in his hometown of Corning, New York, and around the world. His paintings have been in exhibitions in numerous private, corporate, and public collections around the world. The West End Gallery in Corning, New York, is home to the largest collection of Martin Poole paintings. Of his paintings, Poole says, “Life is a gift, and painting is one of the ways we realize what we are given. I paint because it helps me to pay attention to our world, our lives in it and our lives together. Our lives are complex. We have chaos and loss—all kinds of darkness—but with these shadows there is always some kind of light. We build with that.”
Cover art, “shades of the old world—like this is all in an envelope,”
Copyright © 2015 by Martin A. Poole,
used by permission of the artist.
cool air flowing through the screen
a curious cardinal tipping its head
at me from the empty feeder
as if to moor me to this day, as if aware
that I drift still in that day our kisses
slid us down the grassy bank
towards the reflection of a sky
we didn’t feel we had to embrace
to own those breeze-rippled clouds
swaths of bright blue descended
to surface yes love there are things
we can’t claim a familiar table
with years of scars drawers
where my socks might hide beneath
your black lace underwear mindless
routines of coffee-making rubbish
but look at the heron circling
its wings bent in gray-blue welcome
landing in the shallows by the shaded bank
look at those clouds rising with the sun
from the shoreline to cover us like a quilt
look at how our fingers and mouths find
ways to craft tightly what we do have
this boat drifting away from all moorings
from Women Who Loved Me Despite