How We Kill a Glove

How We Kill a Glove

by MA Lan

Translated by Charles A. laughlin w/ Martine Bellen

RELEASE DATE: April 2023
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Ma Lan writes poems that carry us suddenly into the vast, strange worlds of myth and dream. Blurring the lines between subject and object, Ma’s poetry reveals the character, the liveliness inherent in objects, which seems hidden but never really was (“I wrap a floral tablecloth around my body/making the napkins line up naked”); her poems operate their own internal logic that aligns and then departs from the logic of shared reality (“Death never rejects a reason for ceasing to breathe”). Charles Laughlin’s sensitive, acute translation of Ma Lan’s poems bring readers into a world where “Poets are flirtatious horses”, moving with all of the might and symbolism of ancient folklore. Ma, a member of the Muslim Hui ethnic nationality in China, builds surreal spaces in these poems, embedding them with mysterious and at times menacing political undertones. “Where does it come from, this ponderous density?” she asks, using language to search the physical and metaphysical. “Like dreaming a dream beyond the universe.”

Ma Lan was born in Meishan, Sichuan, in the People’s Republic of China, a member of the Muslim Hui ethnic nationality. Formerly an accountant at China Construction Bank, she emigrated to the U.S. in 1993. Lan began publishing poetry in 1982, and has published poetry and fiction in Chinese literary journals such as Hua cheng (Flower City), Zhongshan, Renmin wenxue (People’s Literature), Xiaoshuo jie (Fiction World), Jintian (Today), and Poetry Monthly, in addition to selected works in various annual and topical poetry anthologies. Ma Lan has self-published a poetry collection Zuo zai nali (Where to Sit), a short story collection Hua fei hua (The Flowers are not Flowers), and for many years served as editor of Olive Tree online literary magazine, the first online journal of serious contemporary Chinese literature. Recently, fifteen of her poems were included with works of twenty-two other Chinese poets living around the world in the anthology Sihai wei shi (Poems in All Directions) edited by Mi Jiayan and published by Shanxi Media and Publication Group.

Jumping into the American River

Jumping into the American River: New and Selected Poems Volume 1

BY Mary Norbert Korte

Edited By Iris Cushing & Jason WeisS


This is a true Outrider tale. Mary Norbert Korte (1934-2022) first went to the Catholic nunnery, and then to the woods to live deliberately as Thoreau did at Walden, aching for a radical spiritual frequency, a space and pace to breathe and awaken her own biophilia. Then she jumped into the wild mind of the New American Poetry and also kept evolving in the faith that never left her, continuing that devotional deliberation as the world kept opening its sensorium and she further dedicated her life to the saving of the giant sequoia. She was never not a poet. Her poems are often rituals in service of creation. Quirky too, even salty, down to earth, yet always with a dose of the sublime. Korte is a practitioner of the wild, as Gary Snyder would have it, which is more and more inside us as it disappears. There are so many beautiful, visionary poems in this book. Meditations on dust as the “road that lives with you on your plate,” same dust on the same rhododendron, on the river, every mountain into the sea…Deep elegies for Lew Welch and Brother Antoninus, her lengths of loyalty there, an effortful dream of pushing her grandmother’s puce velour sofa up Mt. Everest, in “Sisypha: Running Down.” Myriad animalia, winged and walking always entering with their own lifestyles, scent of wild sage, and place at the bottom of the canyon where the sky breaks open a few moments a day and you look up the way you’d check for spiders on the outhouse seat. “A Breviary in Time of Drought” had me weeping, with a sense of the timelessness of mystic faith. How we might better count and dedicate our hours. As she does with her sharp ecological attentions to the thousand things of this world. She was a rarity, brave steward of her own life and held what was around her always in companionship and with awe. May this book travel far and wide. And may Mary Norbert Korte be recognized as well for the communities she inhabited, and brought life to, alongside the Beats and San Francisco cultural poet heroes. Welcome to her gates of Eden. – Anne Waldman

Don’t take my word for it; take Michael McClure’s, Jack Spicer’s, Lew Welch’s, Diane di Prima’s, Denise Levertov’s, and Allen Ginsberg’s, for these poets and more recognized a fellow practitioner of the state of the art in Mary Norbert Korte. Bursting into the Berkeley Poetry Conference in 1965 in a soon-discarded nun’s habit, Korte published in the thriving mimeo scene of the era, but then largely dropped out, going off grid and devoting herself to redwood preservation. Jumping into the American River: New & Selected Poems instead shows Korte pursuing the art as a devotional practice within her life. Unashamedly occasional, quotidian, diaristic, Korte’s poems nonetheless partake in a mystic ecological consciousness, her art concealed by apparent clarity. But check out a mid-’80s tour de force like “In Memoriam” to glimpse the sheer range of subject matter and linguistic material she can bring to a single poem. A much-needed reintroduction to a missing figure of San Francisco Renaissance/ Beat poetry, with an excellent biographical introduction and an intimate portrait as afterword, Jumping into the American River is a crucial rediscovery from a heroic era in American poetry. – GarrettCaples