“Farting Fire” by Justin Blackburn this July

Farting Fire by Justin Blackburn (Virgogray Press, 2009)
Farting Fire by Justin Blackburn (Virgogray Press, 2009)


Just when the world is getting a little too much to deal with, comes a collection of poetry so honest and true that it’s reality is quite relieving. Enter Justin Blackburn, light-healer, performance poet and all around great guy. Justin, who has authored two other books ” Gifted Disabilities” & “Its Hard to Get There When You’re Already There” now proffers his first publication of poetry which deliver a humble view of a twenty-something living life. “Farting Fire” is the answer to those moody blues that sometimes get us down. I really enjoyed reading his manuscript and was surprised at the humanity of some of his work which I encountered. Mr. Blackburn’s publication, Farting Fire, tackles many issues in life from relationships, to school, to parents, to poetry and everything in between. While some poems such as the title poem “Farting Fire” and “Every Fart that Made you Laugh” are light-hearted verse that will definitely bring a smile to the reader’s face, but what is more is the subtle wisdom one gleans when reading the work of this young poet. Take for example a poem like “Channel 2012 News” where Justin admonishes:

Always be sure to say a prayer / before eating your food / other people cook it with their fears / Always remember to create your own reality with love / for other people are trying to create your reality / with their fears

 Or consider, “The Homeless Man Told the Rich Man he was a Failure” in which Justin shares an anecdote about a homeless man offending a rich man by telling him he’s a failure for not having money to lend him. “Rich people are a dime a dozen.” Classic. All in all, Justin Blackburn’s Farting Fire is a candid look into the life and struggles of a young man whose brave enough to share words that, even when tackling difficult subjects like death, remain candid and fresh. His book will be available for purchase July 21st, 2009. Presale on July 11th at www.artopium.com/vgpsa. Also, if you get a chance check out Justin live. We’ll be posting any events you may be able to catch him at, as well as other Virgogray authors!

Virgogray Press Chapbook Anthologies / Updates

Virgogray Press will be producing a series of chapbook anthologies published on topical issues for the poetic voice to express itself. The first collection, entitled  “Valium” (which will include work by Donna Snyder, Anne McMillen & Jonathan Penton among others), will be released on August  25th, 2009 by the press. Currently we are reading for our second anthology named “So it Goes…” a poetic anthology of death. The point of the chapbook anthologies is to get a consensus on each topic from the poetry community, so the more submissions the better because the broader and more diverse the poetic voices will be. To that end, I hope if you write poetry you consider submitting something for these chapbook anthologies. Though Virgogray currently does not have a plan for the third chapbook anthology, it is surely around the bend. “So it Goes…” will be released on November 1st, 2009. The close date for submissions is August 20th, 2009. For more information about submitting to Virgogray Press please click on the “Submissions” tab at the top of the blog.  I am also looking for poetry for a magazine of poetry and culture I’d like to publish around 2010. Stay tuned for submission guidelines on this publication. Also, please note that chapbook submissions are still open and will remain so for the rest of the year. Please do allow ample time for response as the volume of submissions coming in to the office is growing daily. At this rate, however, most of our publishing calender is getting filled and I’m happy to note some future releases will include  Polish poet A.J. Kaufmann and another whizz prodigy from New York state, but details soon…

Suzi Kaplan Olmsted: Institutional Wallet this July

Institutional Wallet by Suzi Kaplan Olmsted (Virgogray Press, 2009)
Institutional Wallet by Suzi Kaplan Olmsted (Virgogray Press, 2009)

I am happy to announce the release of a new publication by poet & writer Suzi Kaplan Olmsted. Her collection of work entitled “Institutional Wallet” is a personal collection of poems that brings the readers to her level– a world as seen through the eyes of a sensitive,  yet anxious woman and a glimpse into life in and out of rehabilitation wards, reminiscence about medications. One of my favorites in this collection is the brief yet touching “Hospital Poem.” Which is complimented by other poems of longing, and poems of youthful curiosity. Poems like “Cassandra, My Favorite Rehab Roommate” and “Every Weekend they Run in a Marathon” are musings in the daily life reflections on Oprah shows and rehab acquaintances, all with a quiet humor, humility and disbelief. Also included in this collection are prose type poems which I think readers will find enjoyable if not somewhat engaging like one such piece entitled “You are going to pee eventually.” Consider this excerpt from the beginning:

No matter the circumstances, you are going to pee eventually even if you have not reached an appropriate location. Control over the ability to choose when and where one pees is a pretty early marker of developmental progress.

 Suzi started pissing inappropriately at the funeral for her Aunt Frances, long after she had mastered the skill of urinary control. “

Read on, reader, read on for Suzi approaches the subject head-on with a deadly honesty. The book is poignant and a window into a world many do not share in. Reflections, routines, the daily life of an individual who thinks on different levels of humanity, a clarity amidst hazy stigmas, Suzi’s collection of writings is a radiant example of sacrifice and passion for poetry & documentive literature.  Suzi’s chap is 26 pages and will be available on July 21, 2009. Pre-order will be available on July 11, 2009 through our online store at artopium(dot)com.