jeffrey cyphers wright

City of Shadow & Light (Philadelphia) by Diane Sahms

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City of Shadow & Light (Philadelphia) by Diane Sahms has just been released by Alien Buddha Press. You can find the book here: 

What Others Say About  City of Shadow & Light (Philadelphia)

In Diane Sahms’s ambitious City of Shadow & Light (Philadelphia) there are classical elements, the prominence of the elegiac as well as the lyrical and an oracular power that echoes back to Greece, yet remains rooted in Philadelphia.  The language soars—blooms, although with a dark undertone, illuminating the shadow and shading the light.  The meticulous pairing of the shadow and light allows the reader to explore the connective tissue between the seemingly unalike. Sahms’ syntax alone imparts a musicality and a dissonance to her work. Readers are jarred into a heightened realm of acuity.  Heroin’s inner arm of a clawing dragon/he never slew and Blue Heron’s Blue-gray architecture wades slowly, deliberately/leads slavish eyes knee-deep into still waters. They are yoked together like duets.  In her “Suite for Iris” the poet’s persona explores the world from the perspective of Iris who exists in the liminal zone of part human-part flora, a fertile intersection of the primeval and the reasoned. Iris, tall stalk before shears, /rhizome’s roots as heart’s arteries. Sahms’ often heretical visions push brilliantly into an unseen darkness.

Stephanie Dickinson, author of The Emily Fables and Big Headed Anna Imagines Herself. 

Wade into the mirror with Diane Sahms as she unveils and unravels identities—probing for meaning and finding connections. Different life forms fuse into a “universal soul” in these “heart shuttling” sojourns that sonically imagine the magic of “spirits united.” Morality and mortality yield their secrets in exhilarating lyric passages in which emptiness is purified via resolute perception and consequent insight. —Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

In City of Shadow and Light (Philadelphia), Diane Sahms looks upward to the cosmic, then comes back to the personal, in poems that are full of natural imagery and (often) mystery. The focal point is the “first city,” Philadelphia, and its inhabitants, particularly those connected to the poet. We meet ones who create and others who struggle. What brings them together is the poet’s care for each and every one. Through these poems, you will gain a new appreciation for a place and some of its ordinary (and extraordinary) people. This is an eye-opening, heart-tugging collection. —Thaddeus Rutkowski, author of Tricks of Light

Diane Sahms’s City of Shadow & Light opens with the loss of two sons and continues to hearken more challenges as the book unfolds. But as she quotes from Jung in one epigraph, dark shadows only heighten the brightness of light. Thus, the book’s ending of “light” is hard-earned, and the fortitude is as inspiring as the “brave Raven, who stole light / from total darkness // for everyone.” The reader is left gladdened that this poet managed to retain her voice and that, despite everything, that “voice, still sings.”—Eileen R. Tabios


City of Shadow & Light (Philadelphia) by Diane Sahms – 



Cantata by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

Cantata by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright
Drought robs the sycamores, plucking
leaves in June. A breeze pushes them
into a swarm of withered pages
rasping anxiously across the court.
Then stillness. They die back down.
Invisible forces carry us along.
I am a prisoner of hope.
A congress of loneliness. A dry tear.
An old motor sputters before purring.
Empty boxcars couple with a boom.
Copying Ovid’s playbook, I hold out
for change. Home is made of wings.
Thunder clears its throat but won’t sing.
The goal in life is joy. Today sun reigns.
Jeffrey Cyphers Wright is a publisher, critic, eco-activist, and artist.He is best known as a poet and the author of 15 books of verse, including most recently Blue Lyre from Dos Madres Press. He has an MFA in Poetry from Brooklyn College where he studied with Allen Ginsberg and also taught. Recent poetry is included in New American Writing, 2017. For many years, Wright ran Cover Magazine, The Underground National. Currently, Wright stages events showcasing artists and writers at KGB Lit Bar and La MaMa ETC in NYC, in conjunction with his art and poetry journal, Live Mag! He regularly contributes to American Book Review. Wright is a Kathy Acker Award recipient for 2018.

Farmers, Queens, Trains and Clowns by g emil reutter


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Alien Buddha Press has just released g emil reutter’s poetry collection, Farmers, Queens, Trains and Clowns.

The collection is available on Amazon at this link: 

What Others Say about Farmers, Queens, Trains and Clowns by g emil reutter

In g emil reutter’s Farmers, Queens, Trains, and Clowns we are treated to a panorama of a fractured Americana. The singer/seer/poet weaves the celebratory and the lament in his masterful “Philadelphia.” The ghost of a railway station is conjured along with the past majesty of derelict neighborhoods. Gut-wrenching abandonment abounds—turkey buzzards on rooftops, icy furnaces,  vacant-eyed buildings, carp that float sideways next to legless frogs. Laced through the graffiti-scarred souls who wander these poems, the moon’s splendor shines as does the richness of family and the poet’s compassion. reutter blesses us with a raw poetry of savage beauty like his bees encased in a silken coffin. His acute powers of observation witness the spider’s captive brown butterfly as well as what is ensnared in the vibrating strands of a divided America.  We are left with the haunting image of Orion frozen with his back to the earth as if an entire civilization has been discarded.

            —-Stephanie Dickinson, author of The Emily Fables and Big-Headed Anna Imagines Herself

Red, white, and blue-collar—g emil reutter champions the past glory of America, finding triumph in his avid, dead-on descriptions. Suicide, cancer, abandoned tracks, those down-at-the-heels and down on their luck—these are the subjects this poet describes with boundless compassion, flawless cadence, and drum-tight metaphors. Here is a distinctive, authentic, and powerful voice. And beautiful. He makes rust sing.

            -– Jeffrey Cyphers Wright, author of Party Everywhere 

You can get the book here:

A reading from 2018

Blue Lyre by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright


The Romantic Surrealist’s Ear —A Review of Blue Lyre by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

by Larissa Shmailo

The second-best thing I like about Blue Lyre, Jeff Wright’s Kathy Acker Award-winning book, is that I can’t pigeonhole the voice, although a surrealist Frank O’Hara with a richer metaphoric lexicon comes to mind. Kinda. For O’Hara, the part where the everyday meets the unexpected trope. For surrealism, Wright’s way with original images and their juxtapositions. For example, these lines from Wright’s invocation of his muse:
I pick up some words
and toss them in the air
to see if you pay any mind.
Just to see
if your breath catches fire.
                        —“Begging for It”
Wright is a self-proclaimed New Romantic, and perhaps that’s what has been missing from surrealism to date: there is a yearning in these poems with their diamond glitter on the beach that complements the surrealist’s art as it jumpstarts romanticism. Unusual language meets love, and poetic devices are freed from their leashes:
Take me to your navel.
“Aye aye, Capitan.”
. . .
Ready for the Canon
to come on.
And by the way, your clown
costume becomes you.
“Aye aye capstan.” Let me
hoist you from the depths.
A winch I’ll be for my wench.”
—“Titania’s Tool”
What I like best about Wright’s work is reading it aloud. Live Mag! editor Wright is a known New York impresario of spoken word and the oral tradition, and Blue Lyre’s jazzy rhythms attest to his ear. No mushiness here: The line breaks are crisp as ice and right:
            Black plums from Madame X
            conspire on the sill.
. . .
            Following the choir.
            Listening to the “new” air sound.
            Looking for a “new” word order.
Like a wise Zen teacher, Wright offers his share of koans in Blue Lyre: “Now only ashes remember / how many ways we burned”; and “Always the sky / has the last say” and the brilliantly titled “(B)utterfly)”:
            Yeah, well,
            My heart’s a reed
this poem
blows through.
—    “(B)utterfly”

With its expansive minimalism, surrealistic romanticism, and page-meets-stage poetry, Blue Lyre would clearly win the approval of Jeff Wright’s muse and, most likely, yours as well.


You can find the book here:


Larissa Shmailo is a poet, novelist, translator, editor, and critic. Her latest novel is Sly Bang.