Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Books

'Plume,' brainchild of St. Petersburg resident and professor, features poets from around globe

Poetry might not be the first thing you think of when you think of the Internet. But Plume, a new poetry journal, has flourished on the Web, thanks to its founder and editor, St. Petersburg resident Daniel Lawless.

In the year since its inception, Plume has published original work by an international roster of contemporary poets, including such literary heavyweights as Rae Armantrout, Charles Bernstein, Lydia Davis, Tess Gallagher and Paul Muldoon.

"People have been so generous, it's just unbelievable," says the soft-spoken Lawless.

He decided to create Plume after encouragement from Jason Cook, owner of Ampersand Books, an independent press in Gulfport. Lawless says he placed requests for submissions at other poetry journals online last year. "Within three hours, I had a poem from Alicia Ostriker," a noted feminist poet and National Book Award finalist. Soon after, he had one from Charles Bernstein, a poet, scholar and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Plume was on its way. It has now published 14 monthly issues at its elegantly designed website, plumepoetry.com. The site, Lawless says, gets about 2,000 visitors per month. Each issue features 12 poems contributed by poets from around the world. Many of the poets are American, but others live in Macedonia, Taiwan, Ireland, Ukraine — a global roster.

That international scope is just what Lawless had in mind. Lawless grew up in Louisville, Ky., and was swept away as a teenager by a love for modern poetry. His "Eurocentric" tastes led him to such writers as E.M. Cioran, a Romanian philosopher and essayist; surrealists such as Andre Breton and Paul Eluard; and a variety of other modern poets whose work, Lawless says, exemplifies "knee-slapping bleakness."

Lawless earned a master's degree in English and creative writing at the University of Louisville and taught in France and England before joining the faculty at St. Petersburg College, where he is a professor in the English department — and teaches his classes in online formats, too.

Starting up a literary journal used to be a fairly expensive proposition, usually requiring affiliation with a university or some other funding source to cover printing and mailing costs. Publishing one on the Web means costs are "minimal," Lawless says, minimal enough that he's been able to do it independently.

And now Plume has come full circle from digital to print. The Plume Anthology of Poetry 2012, its first print collection, will be published in September by Pequod Books. The book features more than 70 poems, most gathered from Plume's first year, some new, by a remarkable array of prize-winning poets.

It also features a dozen poems by M. Vasalis, a Dutch poet and psychoanalyst who died in 1998. Her poems are printed on facing pages in Dutch and in English translations, by David Young and Fred Lessing. (Other poems in the collection that are translated also include their original versions, such as those by Taiwanese poet Hsia Yu, whose poems appear both in English and Chinese.)

"It's really been amazing," Lawless says of the response to Plume. "I think poets are just happy to have their work be read."

Colette Bancroft can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8435.

Comments

Events: Tarbell.org founder Wendell Potter to discuss, sign book

Book TalkTarbell.org founder Wendell Potter (Nation on the Take: How Big Money Corrupts Our Democracy and What We Can Do About It) will discuss and sign his book at 4 p.m. May 23 at the St. Petersburg Main Library, 3745 Ninth Ave. N.Applications are ...
Published: 05/21/18
The real stuff is how Tom Wolfe best used his write stuff

The real stuff is how Tom Wolfe best used his write stuff

om Wolfe’s best writing lifted real people into legend: car designers and astronauts and disciples of LSD. With that writing, Wolfe lifted himself into legend as well.The author of 16 books, including such bestsellers as The Right Stuff and The Bonfi...
Published: 05/18/18
Review: In Stephen King’s ‘The Outsider,’ evil can’t be true but must be true

Review: In Stephen King’s ‘The Outsider,’ evil can’t be true but must be true

On a July day, Terry Maitland, one of the most popular men in Flint City, Okla. — high school English teacher, Little League coach, husband and father, recently named the town’s man of the year — attends a teachers convention in a city over an hour’s...
Published: 05/17/18

Events: Gilbert King to discuss ‘Beneath a Ruthless Sun’ at Inkwood in Tampa

Book TalkCutter Wood (Love and Death in the Sunshine State: The Story of a Crime) will discuss and sign his nonfiction book about a murder on Anna Maria Island at 6 p.m. May 14 at Bookstore1, 12 S Palm Ave., Sarasota.The Gulfport Historical Society p...
Published: 05/11/18
Notable: As Mother’s Day nears, these new books are timely

Notable: As Mother’s Day nears, these new books are timely

NotableMore about mothersFor Mother’s Day, three new books offer a range of takes on motherhood.Beauty in the Broken Places: A Memoir of Love, Faith, and Resilience (Random House) by Allison Pataki is a memoir by a novelist whose 30-year-old husband ...
Published: 05/11/18
Review: A criminal’s confession is just the beginning in Michael Koryta’s compelling ‘How It Happened’

Review: A criminal’s confession is just the beginning in Michael Koryta’s compelling ‘How It Happened’

It’s what every investigator hopes for: a tough case finally solved when one of the criminals confesses, providing solid details and even describing where the bodies are buried.Or, in Michael Koryta’s compelling new psychological thriller How It Happ...
Published: 05/10/18
Anthony Award nominees include Tampa’s Michael Connelly, Down & Out Books

Anthony Award nominees include Tampa’s Michael Connelly, Down & Out Books

When the World Mystery Convention, a.k.a. Bouchercon, takes place in St. Petersburg in September and hands out its coveted Anthony Awards, the Tampa Bay Area will be well represented among the nominees.The award nominees, announced May 9, include Tam...
Published: 05/09/18
Updated: 05/10/18
Review: In Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘Barracoon,’ the voice of slavery’s history speaks

Review: In Zora Neale Hurston’s ‘Barracoon,’ the voice of slavery’s history speaks

It has taken Zora Neale Hurston’s book Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" 87 years to see print. But maybe it happened at just the right time.Just a week before the book’s May 8 publication date, rapper Kanye West opined in a TMZ intervie...
Published: 05/09/18
Review: Rick Bragg’s ‘The Best Cook in the World’ a loving food memoir about his mother

Review: Rick Bragg’s ‘The Best Cook in the World’ a loving food memoir about his mother

When Rick Bragg told his mother that his new book about her would be titled The Best Cook in the World, Margaret Bragg protested: "I wasn’t even the best cook that lived on our road." Bragg writes, "I told her we couldn’t call it The Thi...
Published: 05/09/18
Review: Ace Atkins takes an artful turn with Spenser in ‘Old Black Magic’

Review: Ace Atkins takes an artful turn with Spenser in ‘Old Black Magic’

Art can bring us joy, enlarge our perspective, even enlighten us. Sometimes, though, it can make us behave badly.In Ace Atkins’ new novel, Old Black Magic, art makes people behave very badly indeed.Three works of art, to be specific. A Picasso sketch...
Updated one month ago