, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

chickenRed Hen Press, a small literary press out of Los Angeles, is one of my favorite sources for poetry.  Their collections are expertly done with a wide representation of voices and styles.  Today’s selections come from two poets of color who brought out collections with RHP in 2009 and 2012.



Orlando White is a Navajo poet ( Dine’ of the Naaneesht’ezhi Tabaahi and born for the Naakai Dine’e) with a BFA in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA from Brown University. Bone Light(Red Hen 2009) was his debut collection. index


Trace a circle on top of another. Both are alike but do not mean the same thing.
Divide zero by zero: both are not something on either side of its given place.
Listen to the clock without numbers, the sound of something not written on.
Write the letter O; see the straight-line curve one end into the other.
Use the color_________to fill in the black dot at the end of a thought.
Without empty form there would be no given fixed point: the center of zero.
The letter L bends white on paper. But the letter O lends itself to be bent by space.
The outline of a zero should roll off the paper after it is written.
The center of black: blank shaped like a circle. Do not think outside of this.




Lillian-Yvonne Bertram , a former Cave Canem fellow and a graduate of the writing programs at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, also brought our her debut collection with Red Hen. Her book But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise (Red Hen 2012) won RHP’s 2010 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award, judged by Claudia Rankine.



The Body Deformed by Tidal Forces

Darkness still here, hunkered against the trees.
Spring so uneasy this year.
No matter morning’s boundary culling our bodies,
another romantic passage assaults us!
O limp future centered on this body!
In the model solar system, planets suspend & twirl
as if from a spider’s whirl.
The quantum in backpedal, in decline, spring so ungripping
this year. Bored mouth. Bored fingers.
The umpteenth day/night running like such—
truly, truly—this troubling with physics!
Not still winter, not yet anything.

O thuggish awakening.
All planets but this one were named after gods.


Follow @RedHenPress for updates on new publications