Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Introducing "Fingers/Dedos" Bilingual Selected Poems (English/Spanish) - Out Now!


Released yesterday and available via Amazon! "Fingers/Dedos" Selected Poems, bilingual (English/Spanish), $10.00 USD.

Sabne Raznik’s latest collection of poetry Fingers, Selected Poems / Dedos, Poemas Seleccionados contains four powerfully emotive poems (“The Bearded Prophet,” “Poetry,” “Through Our Skin,” and “Fingers”). The English original of each poem is followed by an illustration and then by a Spanish translation by María Del Castillo Sucerquia. It concludes with a photo of the author followed by a one-paragraph biography in English and then its Spanish translation. The four poems are extremely different thematically and make use of different poetic languages. The common denominator between them is an underlying existential anxiety resulting from the inability of human beings collectively to understand each other and set aside greed and self-interest, and individually, in the case of the poet, to find consummation in love, and to discover the language in words and images to capture and communicate the essence of her experience. The poet notes in “Bearded Prophet,” she finds herself in “the era of pain -stampeding pain,” one which paradoxically leads her to identify with the “dumb hillbilly,” the bearded prophet who wears a sign that says “The End of the World Is Near.” Impending doom is suggested by images of the destruction of the environment, the open gashes of Appalachian strip mines, trees stripped bear of life to a height of eight feet by herbicide, and the violent midwestern storms intensified by climate change. “Poetry,” the most abstract of the four poems, prescribes in the form of a series of commands (“arm yourself, “leave the figure,” “Virgin love grow bold” which do not lead to consummation; they prove impotent. “Through the Skin” evokes the locus of creativity, where books, and papers, paint and turpentine are present on a table along with cup and saucer, the place where the written word and the painted image are crafted. The poem leaves the reader with a sense of a purpose shared by the “us” of the poem: “to sketch an idea to live by.” The last poem “Fingers” evokes images of a painful, repeated sexual encounter described as a violation, “like cactus thorns raking down my shapeless lines,” but the violation seems not to result from the violent impulse of the other, rather from the inability of the speaking subject to make good on the promise to the self with the words “Never again, never again.” The four poems are satisfying both as individual compositions and as panels of a multi-media whole. –  Yndiana Montes Fogelquist and Jim Fogelquist, Appalachian Latinidad

Fingers/Dedos is a powerful chapbook with 4 elaborate poems in English, with the same poems being translated into Spanish. The poetry captures strong images and emotions: "You sat cross-legged in the grass/And the earth framed your face." I was pulled into these poems and transformed into a cocoon waiting to be released into something with such fingers that would "Feel the bone crack,/Grind against my teeth/As I scream [...]" and become new in the aftermath. – John Compton, the castration of a minor god and how we liberated what secrets we modified

Also, feel free to leave a review and/or stars on Amazon and Goodreads! Thank you! And enjoy!

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Is(sue) 12 of AvantAppal(achia) is Live


Edi(tors) Sabne Raznik and David Sykes are pleased to unveil the latest is(sue) of AvantAppal(achia).
We are spotlighting submissions from The U.S., Greece, India, Ireland, Australia, France, Siberia, and Belarus; seven countries in all.
We sincerely hope you enjoy this collection of the weird and wonderful in the fields of art and writing and we hope to publish another collection, Is(sue) 13 on June 15, 2023.



Ed(itors) Sabne Raznik and David Sykes

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Is(sue) 12 Deadline for AvantAppal(achia) Ezine

Dear Kinfolk,

It’s nearly time for a new is(sue) to go live again. That means this is your final reminder that the deadline for submissions to Is(sue) 12 is November 30, 2022. Send us your experimental poetry, art, and short stories.

You will notice that the date for Is(sue) 12 to go live has been pushed forward a week to December 22, 2022. This is due to Sabne Raznik having scheduling conflicts that could not be resolved otherwise. This way, your submissions will get the attention they deserve.

She and Dave Sykes are thrilled to read what you send us. Please, read and follow the full guidelines at www.avantappalachia.com before sending your emails. We may not have time to inquire and may be forced to reject brilliant work which does not meet guidelines. Thank you so much. 

This is your ezine. You make it the fun, funky, fabulous frolic that it is. 


Sabne Raznik
Poetry/Art Ed(itor)


Friday, November 11, 2022

Review of Scott Ferry's "The Long Blade of Days Ahead"


Scott Ferry, The Long Blade of Days Ahead (Impspired, 2022) 122 pages, poetry, $9.99.

This collection comes from those emotions or states of being we tend to struggle with integrating into our experience as humans. 

It starts with anxiety. Poems like "4/26":

"so I better just be ok

be ok be ok I better just be"

set the tone. But it soon becomes apparent that the anxiety likely stems from grief. Many are the poems exploring Ferry's journey with learning to accept and move forward with the death of his father as a father himself. 


i miss my father most

when my son screams

daddy and runs to me

with so many years

in his hands

The natural human tendency to confusion in the face of these overwhelming emotions is seen here too. Ferry mocks and belittles faith. At the same time, he often speaks of ghosts and hauntings, believing that his father is visiting him in his afterlife state. Yet he seems not to be aware of the contradiction inherent in holding both these viewpoints at the same time. All of this holds true to the illogical emotional noise that accompanies grief and anxiety. 

And it all makes for some intriguing poetic moments. Overall, this is a collection worth buying and reading.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Book Review: "Why We Argue and How to Stop" by Jerry Manney


Jerry Manney, Why We Argue and How to Stop: A Therapist’s Guide to Navigating Disagreements, Managing Emotions, and Creating Healthier Relationships (TCK Publishing, 2022) 175 pages, self-help, $19.99. At Amazonhttps://jerrymanney.com/

I'm not thrilled with self-help books, to be honest. Generally, they are too quickly read and forgotten. The real benefit comes from application - and that rarely happens without the buddy system, someone to gently hold you to account and enthusiastically encourage you along the way. This is why working with a professional therapist has a much better success ratio than reading some random book.

This particular book, however, is different. This one is interactive. It is set up like a workbook. Get your pens and pencils out and write in it, please. Get interactive. Get involved. Journal. Take notes. Be specific. This one encourages you to actually apply the suggestions it makes to real scenarios in your life. In real time. In a realistic way. 

Would you still do better with the buddy system? Absolutely. But this is a solid place to start. This is a self-help book that is actually designed to help. If you do get your pens and pencils out and do the exercises, you'll be less likely to just trash this book in a week. You might even remember a few of the suggestions when emotions are peaked. And that's about as high a bar as a self-help book can reach. Bravo.

Monday, June 20, 2022

North/South Appalachia Anthology Vol. 2 Submission Call

Call for Poetry Submissions

 From North/South Appalachia! 

 DEADLINE: July 30, 2022 

 The Watershed Journal Literary Group is joining Studio Appalachia and AvantAppal(achia) to publish a second anthology of Appalachian Poetry in the fall of 2022. 

 Watershed/AvantAppal(achia)/Studio Appalachia poets are invited to submit up to five poems for consideration by the editors Patricia Thrushart, T. Byron Kelly and Sabne Raznik. 

 You can view the first edition on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/.../ref=cm_sw_r_awdo 

 Submission Guidelines:
 1. You must have been published in The Watershed Journal or AvantAppal(achia) previously 
 2. Previously published poems are acceptable. Please be sure to provide any credits your former publisher requires 
 3. Submit up to five original poems via email to studioappal@gmail.com along with a bio of less than 100 words 
 4. There is no fee for submission 

 If selected, your poem(s) will be published on North/South’s website and included in the printed anthology, which will be available for purchase on Amazon and at Watershed Books. 

 Send questions to studioappal@gmail.com. Learn more about North/South Appalachia at https://www.studioappalachia.com/northsouth-appalachia.html 

 We look forward to your submissions!

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Is(sue) 11 of AvantAppal(achia) is live!

 Dear Kinfolk,


Is(sue) 11 went live around 10 pm EDT on June 15, 2022. With this Is(sue), AvantAppal(achia) entered year 6. Thank you all very much!


This is(sue) features 3 countries and 12 states. Almost all of Appalachia is represented and a number of other places as well, along with Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina. You will also find chapter 4 of Jim Meirose’s mind-bending Beckettian novel that flips the concepts of death and resurrection on their head.


The submission period for Is(sue) 12 is now open. The deadline for that is November 30, 2022. We need your weird, fun, experimental poetry, art, and short stories. Please read Guidelines and follow them because the reading period is only 2 weeks, so we will now have to automatically reject any submission which does not follow the instructions.


Also, stay tuned for an announcement from our sister endeavor North/South Appalachia, which should be dropping into your email or on social media channels in a couple of days. Exciting, I know!


Until we meet again!





Sabne Raznik

Poetry/Art Ed(itor)

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Wednesday Night Virtual Poetry Feature - May 11, 2022


Review: "Drinking Guinness With The Dead" by Justin Hamm

Justin Hamm, Drinking Guinness With The Dead (Spartan Press, 2022) 163 pages, poetry, $15.00. At Amazon.

Justin Hamm presents us with a selection of his poems from 2007 through 2021 in this amusingly titled volume. While Hamm is strongly based in the American mid-west (he lives in Mark Twain territory), he proves himself to be a strong poet of place wherever he is writing from. Even poems that address relationships and inner child work are firmly grounded in earth and to specific locations.

"The air in this place/ is ripe/ with some kind/ of weather."- from "Ohio County, Kentucky, 1985".
"They come from the mountain, he says,/ Their faces cold as the moon's." from "Stranger at the Only Fueling Station in Kingston, Arkansas".
"a night train torches/ through the dark stomach/ of the prairie" from "A Moment in Kansas"

Hamm is a man walking the planet and keenly aware of roots, of ground, of river, of tree-sway, of time, of turning-turning-turning in outerspace at all times. He never loses sight of it. He has a connectedness to all the moving machinery of nature and reminds us that it is machinery. He raises a toast to it - to history, to place, to time, to people past and present - and passes us the pint.