On Nox

Canadian poet and classicist Anne Carson began writing and compiling Nox following the unexpected death of her brother Michael in 2000. A scrapbook epitaph, the book is Carson’s attempt to make sense of the loss of her brother, an elusive figure who had disappeared from her life long before he disappeared from the world.


A “book-in-a-box,” Nox is also a stunning and unwieldy physical object, a finger in the eye to the readers of e-readers. It exists as one long sheet, a concertinaed facsimile of Carson’s handmade book, which includes poem fragments as well as a collection of collages, family photos, and old letters. A frank and generous eulogy, Nox is a work that feels somehow hauntingly archaic and yet entirely new. It is a deeply affecting meditation on grief, and on our paradoxical desire to both seek out and turn away from the forsaken.

Here’s an elegy for Carson’s elegy, written by Malvernite Taylor Jacob Pate

NOX: an elegy/ in a box/ for a brother/ like a scroll/ in a coffin/ mirror box/ take it out/ touch it/ damage it/ hold it in your eyes/ mirror box/ for a brother/ a sister/ melancholic/ concerned with history/ his story/ her story/ sorry/ sorry/ sad/ pictures & pages copied onto the scroll/ unroll it/ for fun/ for depth/ being dead takes a long time/ flip through it to keep your distance/ late in the night/ late in the night/ late in the night/ a starry lad/ an aperture/ a vent/ angrily/ violently/ from one place to another/ define/ explain/ as far as X is concerned/ enigma/ dark fact/ ask/ survive/ cry/ mirror box/ the phoenix mourns by shaping/ amazed at the strange things humans do/ leave behind a memory/ part of the sea/ in small white sleep mits your hands protrude/ vanish by night into nothing/ scraps/ fragments/ run away/ that dead girl/ was the love of his life/ I HAVE NEVER KNOWN A CLOSENESS LIKE THAT/ mirror box/ places in our bones, strange brother/ a tomb/ a wall in her/ this ash was a scholarly gift/ what is a voice?/ to subtract/ to take up time/ the sad one/ full of shadow/ a brother never ends/ blush/ nox/ a man is not a night/ etching/ pressure/ impression/ eraser/ for lack of a better term a windswept spirit/ he refuses/ he is in the stairwell/ he disappears/ just like him/ negotiator with the night

The Magic of Mirov

Malvernite Taylor Jacob Pate is back with another top-notch reading recommendation for all you poetry fiends…

Hider RoserBen Mirov is a cloud. His book HIDER ROSER is a downpour of rainbows made of colors that have no names. The poems inside pound you in the face softly and honestly like a fuzzy blanket. The poems pound you in the mirror until you recognize yourself. The poems are love letters playing with jellyfish in the surf at night. To keep you safe. To keep us safe. What do you want? These poems are that. Or not. Either way this book is alive and raised by the sweetest of wolves to act like itself. “Now open your eyes. / Not those eyes. / The eyes inside you.”

Words To Go For

For those of you craving a little Swedish poetry in your lives, here’s a recommendation from Malvernite Taylor Jacob Pate. (NB. Taylor is also editor-in-chief of smoking glue gun, so you know he has impeccable taste in all things literary!)

You Go the WordsYou Go the Words by Gunnar Björling, translated by Fredrik Hertzberg
(Poetry, Action Books)

This collection of poems explores the power of the absence of words through hypnotic rhythms and lyrical minimalism. Although much of his lexicon is comprised of seemingly insignificant words like like-the-that-it-you-if-as-and, Björling’s emotional territory is immense and cuts to the heart and shimmers erotically. Large amounts of white space and disjunctive syntax come together to form a work in ten parts that, thanks to Fredrik Hertzberg’s supple and nimble translations, can be consumed in an afternoon or savored for days on end.

Two-For-One Tuesday

I hope your holiday Monday was chock-full of good books, strong coffee, and assorted Presidential celebrations. Today we’re helping to banish the post-long-weekend blues with not-one-but-two! splendid recommendations—we’re generous like that.

Recommendation #1: You should come to Malvern Books tonight at 7pm to hear poet Cindy St. John read from her forthcoming collection, I Wrote This Poem. W. Joe is hosting, and will be taking questions from the audience as well as asking a few of his own.

Recommendation #2: If you’re in need of some startlingly smart reading material, Malvern staff member Taylor Jacob Pate would very much like to press into your hands a copy of the brilliant Bluets by Maggie Nelson. Here’s what Taylor has to say…

1. Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color…

BluetsBluets by Maggie Nelson is a love story like many love stories; a thrilling ride of magic that can only be described as: blue: derelict: tarp flapping in the wind on a rooftop in a gray sky: a grey sky beaten first purple then blue: a tiny cheap locket: salt tears: trinket after trinket: memory of what never happened: what happened:

In a deft & passionate voice readers experience falling in love with the color blue through a series of numbered sections that jolt the reader from Geothe’s Blue to Joni Mitchell’s to Mallarme’s.

This is the dysfunction talking … this is the deepest blue talking, talking, always talking at you.

The intensity & voracity creates a whirlwind that sucks readers in & tosses them about in a mess of confession, sex, love & rock-n-roll.

Academically speaking this book of {what many consider to be} poems proves the value of research & close reading, though as a love story Maggie Nelson stalks the color blue in its physical form as well as in the abstract & theoretical realms. Happy, sad, crazy, lovely, human, human, human this collection is a gem.

229. I am writing this down in blue ink, so as to remember that all words, not just some, are written in water.

232. Perhaps, in time, I will stop missing you.

Meet The Malverns #5

I hope you’re feeling suitably social, my dears, because it’s time to meet another esteemed member of the Malvern mob. Today we’re saying hello to Taylor Jacob Pate, whom you might remember from our Grand Opening festivities. As well as performing assorted Malvern duties, Taylor is editor-in-chief of smoking glue gun and the art director for Bat City Review. And today he’d like to introduce you to one of our all-time faves, the artfully alarming Holy Land by Rauan Klassnik.


Hold on to your face and dance around wildly while you still can. Holy Land is a smash and grab job that will slam your heart in and out of human tenderness and violence. In this dreamy world everything’s gleaming and bloody like smashed glass in the light of the moon. Klassnik’s language is swift, direct and brutal as he darts from the domestic to the cosmic to the afterlife to the ditch by the side of the road.

          And so, we stood before him at last, our ribs shining
          through like painted blood, and he shook his cage,
          there in the center of the universe, howling, till we gave
          him a cigarette and he leaned back, his eyes a newborn
          child’s. It isn’t hard to kill. The beauty of a dove
          trapped in a circle filled with smoke.

Something Grand!

Party CatYes indeed, that glorious time is upon us: the Grand Opening of Malvern Books! We opened our doors softly six weeks ago, and now that we’ve mastered the tricky stuff—shushing politely and making the cash register go ping!—we’re ready to fling open those doors with ribbon-shredding abandon. And, such is our OMG WE’RE A BOOKSTORE!!! excitement, we decided that a one-day celebration just wouldn’t do… so we’ve arranged for y’all forty-eight hours of wanton literary festivities.

What’s the plan? Well, we indicated that there might be free cheese, and I think we can make good on that promise, and possibly include several other pleasant foodstuffs as well. There will also be beverages, music (did someone say… marching band?), and very special discounts on very special books. Most importantly, there will be readings! So, what are you waiting for? Get your sharpies out, pull that Goats in Trees calendar off the wall, and put a big ol’ GONE TO MALVERN through November 22nd and 23rd.

On Friday, November 22nd, we’ll be hosting a reading from poets Joshua Edwards and  Lynn Xu. Joshua and Lynn are currently on a 650-mile walk across Texas, from Galveston to Marfa, and will stop in at Malvern to give their aching feet a rest, share their adventures, and read from their new collections. Joining them is acclaimed poet and translator Kurt Heinzelman, an English Professor at UT Austin and the editor-at-large for Bat City Review. Kurt will be reading from his hot-off-the-press collection, Intimacies & Other Devices.

But wait! There’s more! The following night, Saturday, November 23rd, Malvern will play host to a trio of irreverent poets: Matt Hart, Taylor Jacob Pate, and Tyler Gobble. Matt is the co-founder of the literary journal Forklift, Ohio and the author of five poetry collections, including the recent Debacle Debacle. Taylor is an MFA candidate in the New Writers Project at UT Austin, as well as the editor-in-chief of Smoking Glue Gun and the art director for Bat City Review. And Tyler Gobble is Malvern Books’ most impressively named staff member—and a poet to watch out for. His first collection, More Wreck More Wreck, will be out from Coconut Books in 2014.

On both nights, plan to stop by Malvern at 6.30pm for nibbles, browsing, and chitchat; the readings will begin around 7pm. And please do remember to invite all your chums… the more, the Malvernier!