Thursday, December 15, 2016

AvantAppal(achia) (Issue) 2 and Reminder

(Issue) 2 is live! We have some more incredible, mind-bending art from Bill Wolak. Also in art, introducing Patrick Grim, Marica Casey, and Donna Williams. In poetry, Michael Williams continues his "Nargarjuna" series of poems and Germain Droogenbroodt has shown us what a poetry postcard would look like. Pamela Dae wrote our short story and Rudy Thomas is our Appal(Trad). We are certain you will enjoy this issue. It is like a warm, comfortable drink on a cold day. Remember to see whose work made the Arch(ive) for (Issue) 1, if you haven't already.

As your ed(itors), Kodi and I would like to remind you that AvantAppal(achia) is an ezine for the foremost experimental writing in the world today. So send us your weirdest, most avant-garde, and boundary-stretching work! Please, read the guide(lines) on the Sub(missions) page carefully before submitting. Did you know that you can also submit audio and video pieces, for instance? Together we can make this ezine into a true conversation starter. So as the submission period for (Issue) 3 opens tomorrow (December 16, 2016 and runs through May 31, 2017), please keep this in mind and show us just how magnificent your imaginations are! We are artists - the rules need not apply

Read (Issue) 2 here.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

(Issue) 2 Coming Soon!

The submission period for (Issue) 2 ends today. Then the reading cycle opens. Those of you who have submitted should receive notice of acceptance or not within the next two weeks. (Issue) 2 goes live at some point on December 15, 2016. Then the submission period for (Issue) 3 opens. Deadline for that will be May 31, 2017.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Spoken Word Review: Ellyn and Robbie's "Skywriting With Glitter"

I first met Ellyn Maybe around 2012. She was formidable then; even more so now. Read my review of her "Rodeo For The Sheepish" album for more of those details. So it's been a while. The world has changed a lot since then. Maybe has moved on from Beyond Baroque into a new scene, poetics in general has continued to change, and Spoken Word has gained more respect as an art form that is both poetry and music - its own subset of art.

Accordingly Maybe has upped the ante since "Rodeo For The Sheepish". "Skywriting With Glitter"  features Robbie Fitzsimmons' ethereal music and vocals. In some ways, this album is much simpler and more emotional than "Rodeo". It's like a dream, a whimsical fairy tale a la "The Princess Bride" , The Little Prince", or "The Point".  This is immediately apparent with track titles like "Myth", "What Color is Your Parachute", "The Girl of the Wishing Well", "The Life of a Raindrop", and "Kingdoms in a City Lost to Time". This isn't merely Maybe reading her poetry over Fitzsimmons music, however. Sometimes Fitzsimmons sings haunting lullabies.

Like many lullabies we were sung as children, these whimsical fairy moments have dark underbellies. I can't decide if these are slightly masked emotional introspection or densely weaved commentaries on modern society. At times they could be either or both. The girl in the wishing well nightly "looks history in the eye" and "chews on life a bit". "The Life of a Raindrop" could be a tongue-in-cheek description of recurring depression or angst. "Onset" is clearly about a midlife crisis. "Kiko of Greenville" is an interesting comment about social media. "Anybody" is about the posturing we as humans do to be accepted by those who surround us. But even in its darkest moments, the album never becomes full blown negative. "Kingdoms in a City Lost to Time" proclaims "you are all that you need."

Fitzsimmons' piano and vocals are intrinsic to the overall other-worldly feel of the album. For me, the best track is "Up Is Down". This is lyric poetry at its best, except it is sung. "Dance in moonlight cloud/ forsake the human crowds/ swim into ancient gowns/ underground// there is a light above/stars in the sea of love /reflection in the scope of all you mention"... "Sink into a world of sand/ just like any other man". I could listen to this on repeat some nights.

"Skywriting With Glitter" trumps "Rodeo For The Sheepish" as well as complements it. It's hard to foresee how Ellyn Maybe can improve on her work from here, but I'm eager to find out. And I'm just as eager to become more acquainted with Robbie Fitzsimmons.

Get your copy of "Skywriting With Glitter" at CD Baby.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

(Issue) 2 Deadline is Upon Us!

AvantAppal(achia) is about to publish its second issue of experimental writing and visual art from Appalachia and around the world. Please, join our family by submitting your visual art, short stories and poetry by November 30, 2016. We need you all and love every one of you! Full information regarding submission is available at (Issue) 2 will go live on December 15, 2016.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

"Linger to Look" reviewed on "Braver Self"

Roberta Shultz has reviewed "Linger To Look" on her blog "Braver Self... Tells from the Tall Side".

Among other things, she said: "The over-arching themes of Linger to Look seem to be desire, belonging, transformation, and loss. Many of the poems are spoken in the voice of a woman who longs to dance and break free from the bonds that tether her to dusty reality. Horse, bird, water, and stone images abound. Musical use of language led me to finally read many of the poems aloud to myself to further experience the poet’s skill with sound. ... Linger to Look is a dance of musical language and metaphysical imagery, swirling in experimentation and shimmering in the jingling of human heart."

Thank you, Roberta Shultz, for your kind words!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

AvantAppal(achia) (Issue) 2 Coming Soon!

Hey, Kinfolk! Thank you for being part of the family! It's nearly time for (Issue) 2's deadline. Please remember the deadline for (Issue) 2 is November 30, 2016.  We need your short stories, visual art, and poetry. See the Sub(missions) page at for details Video and audio also accepted under certain circumstances.Get those submissions in, y'all! You are what make our ezine revolutionary!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

"Early Morning Sky" Wins Special Recognition Award

My digital painting, "Early Morning Sky", has won a Special Recognition Award in the Digital and Photography category of the 2016 "Nature" Competition and will be included in the 2016 "Nature" Exhibition on Light Space and Time Online Gallery throughout the month of August 2016.

The painting is available at

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

AvantAppal(achia) (Issue) 1 is Live!

We are an excited bunch here at AvantAppal(achia)! (Issue) 1 just went live! Thank you so much to everyone who submitted! Please submit again. Remember, while we do publish some Appal(Trad) - traditional Appalachian work - our focus is on the experimental, on stretching the boundaries of what can be done in art. I don't mean shocking, although that can be good sometimes, but definitely surprise us. Our motto: If it doesn't surprise us, it'll bore our readers. It's a chance to challenge yourselves as artists and writers and to expand the readers' horizons. The deadline for (Issue) 2 is November 30, 2016! We are overjoyed at the prospect of reading the next batch. Thank you for helping to bring our little dream to life!

Much love to all of you kin,

Sabne Raznik
Poetry and Art Ed(itor)

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Submission Deadline Looms!

Submission deadline for first issue is coming up: May 31st! Get your poems, art, and short stories in our inbox!

Monday, March 21, 2016

National Poetry Month 2016 Challenge Facebook Group Workshop

National Poetry Month is upon us. This year, to mark it, I am hosting a workshop in the form of a closed Facebook Group.

 The workshop is centered around a writing challenge. The challenge is to write one poem a day throughout April, so that when the month wraps up each participant has 30 poems. If, for any reason, a participant misses a day, then it can simply be made up on another day, so long as the end total is 30. Collaborations are also welcome, if any wish to do so. Length, form, or genre don't matter. The only criteria is that each poem must be a "found" poem with a nonpoetic text as its source. Sharing results is optional.

Although the Group is closed, if any like to join they can message me as the administrator at my Facebook Page "Sabne Raznik".

Join the National Poetry Month 2016 Challenge Facebook Group at

Happy National Poetry Month!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Review: "The Architecture of Chance" by Christodoulos Makris

Christodoulos Makris, The Architecture of Chance, (Wurm Press, 2015) 108 pages, poetry, $19.00 U.S.

Christodoulos Makris has established himself as one of the most important experimental poets working in Ireland today. The Architecture of Chance is his latest offering.

This is an exciting collection. Makris is fearless in his experimentation and is pushing poetry into whole new forms and realms of being. Most notable in this regard is "Chances Are", which he calls a mass collaboration poem. It appears in the collection as its HTML code. This poem can be found in application at 3am Magazine. It is a poem composed of every tweet that uses the word "chance" and updates in real time. Another boundary exploder is "From Something to Nothing" in which he took an informational text on the International Monetary Fund website and cycled it through several languages back and forth on Google Translate and turned the results into a poem that reveals much about the dynamics of language in the age of the internet. Given that Makris hails from Cyprus and has spent time in the United Kingdom while being based in Ireland, this experiment could be read as a commentary on the migrant experience.

Many of these poems are also political in nature. In "16 X 16" he writes: "I would have been a completely different person without the politics and a completely different writer." This is evident in poems like "Metro Herald's Advertorial Windbags Let Loose, 28-31 May & 4-7 June 2013"(which, as the title suggests, is a composition of adverts and editorials from Dublin's Metro Herald newspaper), "Civilisation's Golden Dawn: A Slideshow"(which contains pieces of speeches made by members of Greece's Golden Dawn party, whom Makris describes as neo-fascist), and "Public Announcement" (composed from the signs hanging in the Skerries public library on a certain day).

Others are slightly more domestic. Some are composed from emails or tweets sent back and forth in collaboration. One is composed from bits of conversations overheard around Dublin on a particular day. My personal favourite is "Heaney after Rauschenberg", which takes all the four letter words from Seamus Heaney's first collection Death of a Naturalist and places them in order of appearance. While soothingly familiar in vocabulary, it decenters Heaney's careful poetics almost completely, as if Heaney fell into a black hole when he died and this is all that is left of him in the universe. In that sense, it serves as an eerie, aching tribute of sorts - even as it seeks to shatter the comfortable traditionalism of  Heaney's legacy. Here is a brief excerpt:

"sick home hard blow baby pram when came hand tell they were away held hand hers with next went into room time left four foot four foot year

grey only from cows into like away iron gate into bank with from snug rise dead eyes used soon this they cock from left hand came came down this sake spat take your time more hole tree wild more said into mare hill back like that were that time ones that back when

dark fill dead cold like they line from some keep full tall soon back fish load from surf bend turf fear make they like clay seed shot seem they show good from bark feel roots pits live live wild land root died when lain days long clay with eyes died hard bird huts guts from like were with hope like land pits into sore stop they flop down take fill then cold

west mayo crew they from when with eyes like bone skin rose fell like they kept with beef men's then poor make food they like dogs that been hard when they with they were hope less next like dark once port ship free tart from good swim sink with zeal were

from that held arms came with have them word dead till"

This is definitely a book which requires the reader to "do the work" (Anna Strong), but the rewards are substantial. The break with Romanticism and traditional verse that began with the Modernist movement at the turn of the 20th century is spinning into free fall out of control as we become firmly entrenched in the 21st (much like society in general) and, like other experimental writers like him, Makris is making sure this is well represented in today's poetry. Only, he may be doing it better than most.

You can buy it at Amazon.

The Work of Christodoulos Makris

The following was originally published on Yahoo Voices on July 18, 2012.

Christodoulos Makris is quite the rising star in poetry. He has written three collections. The first one is a low-fi publication by Wurm Press in 2009 titled Round The Clock. It is now sold out. The second is a handsome little paperback titled Spitting Out The Mother Tongue from Wurm Press in 2011. The third is a limited edition, numbered art book of 100 copies total and is titled Muses Walk.  Makris was chosen to represent Cyprus in the gargantuan "Poetry Parnassus" festival which was organised in London to correspond with the 2012 Olympics. He lives in Ireland and blogs at This is a review of Makris' three books.

Round The Clock is eclectic and doesn't really follow a theme. Standout poems are "The Impressionists", "Competitor Vassilaras", "Serving And F---ing" (censoring that word is my doing), and "Ginsberg in Fingal". "The Impressionists" is a timely statement on entertainment today and its effect on the artist (I use "artist" here broadly, to include all the arts). Impressionist painters are depicted as being on a reality show competition where the viewers vote for the one they like until all but one of them are dead. It forces meditation on just what art and artists are subjected to in the modern environment. The end result does and should make the reader uncomfortable. "Competitor Vassilaras" reads like a childhood memory of the poet's father and documents a shocking moment when the theatricality of wrestling was invaded by the all-too-real. "Serving And F---ing" is a statement on immigration and prejudice, exile and loneliness. "Ginsberg in Fingal" reflects an ambiguous feeling toward Ireland and perhaps offers a view of it that is clearer than those native to that country can see for themselves. In the U.S., this kind of poem from an immigrant is cliche, but in Ireland it must have been a small revelation. What Ginsberg would think about his increasing cameos in 21st century poems is anyone's guess.

Spitting Out The Mother Tongue is better organised. As the title suggests, it revolves around the experience of a Cypriot immigrant in Western Europe. It is much harder to pick out particular poems in this volume because the poems support each other like paragraphs in a novel. Makris' language is almost unpoetic. There is no attempt at music here and rhythm, while present, does not immediately soothe the ear. The wording is plain and simple, as if the reader was listening to some average Joe on the street describing his surroundings. Sometimes it is that very quality which makes it powerful. Many of the poems focus on adolescence and young adulthood. There are moments when the reader gets the feeling that it's all been said before. But then a phrase or image will smack the reader back into poetic reverie. The best poems in Spitting Out The Mother Tongue are "Muses Walk" and "Nicosia Journal".

Muses Walk the book (versus the poem) is extraordinary. It represents - it is - Makris' best work to date. As part of the "Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts in Dublin" initiative, Makris took "Muses Walk" the poem (which is an attempt to snapshot, so to speak, a particular street in Nicosia) and dissected it to create this little art book. He took each line of the original poem and used it for the title of a poem based on that line until he had done so with every line of "Muses Walk". The result is more than a snapshot of a street. Now it is a full album representing the people of that street, their lives, and their cultures. This little book is a true treasure. With it, one begins to see that Makris is an important poet, not just for sleepy Ireland, but perhaps for the world.

You are not here
and I cup my hands
to gather snowflakes.
I preserve them
for as long as I can;
then blow them back
into the infant summer.

- from "Nicosia Journal".

Review: "In the Language of Miracles" by Rajia Hassib

Rajia Hassib, In the Language of Miracles, (Viking, 2015), 288 pages, fiction, $19.60 U.S.

Most of the reviews for this book talk about how this very domestic story mirrors the Muslim experience in America since 9/11. No doubt it does. But being someone who has experienced personal and family trauma, I read it less as a socio-political parable and more as the domestic microcosm of one family's troubles that it ultimately is.

The story begins one year after the family's eldest son kills his ex-girlfriend and then commits suicide. The pain is potent and real throughout this novel. Each character is struggling to cope with that horrific event and the ostracism that resulted from it in a different way according to each personality. The father throws himself into work, and being overly concerned with reputation, into somehow convincing the community to accept them again. The mother spends her days in the attic where she can still smell her lost son. The grandmother flies in from Egypt and takes over care of the household and the remaining children, trying desperately to protect them with superstitious rituals and other cultural customs.The daughter spends most of her time at another's house and immerses herself in her faith. The surviving son, who is the focus of the novel, attempts to erase his identity as much as possible and experiences a crisis of faith.

The most memorable chapter describes the mother's effort to get rid of her dead son's effects in the attic. It so perfectly parallels the actual experience of losing a child that the emotion smothered me, as it should. The climax of the story - at a memorial service held for the ex-girlfriend by her family - is chaotic and comical after all the weight of grief in the rest of the novel. Personally, the son's involvement in the scene read as out of place even though it was supposed to be his moment of clarity at last. I couldn't help but think that, instead of saving his family from embarrassment, he added to it. But perhaps that is secondary to his religious epiphany.

This book is a poignant portrait of tragedy and the fallout it leaves behind. The book goes through overwhelming emotional moments and moments of numbness. In the end, just as each family member found his/her own way through the initial shock and pain, they each find their own way to carry on and move forward into a future. It's true that - in an emotional way - one can never go back  home. Things shattered cannot be whole as they once were. But one can make a new home that is just as dear as the original one, albeit different. And the shattered thing can be glued together again. So what if the cracks show? It can still be useful, beautiful, and valued. That is what this family eventually realises.

"In the Language of Miracles" is one of the best novels I've read in the last five years.

You can buy it at Amazon.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

"Aura" Receives Award

"Aura" has won a Special Recognition Award in the Photography and Digital Art category of the 2016 Abstracts Art Exhibition on Light Space and Time Online Gallery. The decision was announced on March 1, 2016. See it here! Thank you, Light Space and Time!

Monday, February 1, 2016

"Bright Lights, Big City" Wins Special Recognition Award

Many thanks to the Light Space and Time Online Gallery for awarding Special Recognition to my acrylics abstract painting "Bright Lights, Big City". It will be featured in the Painting Category of the 2016 Cityscapes Exhibition. Prints and other merchandise based off this painting can be got at Fine Art America and the original can be got by contacting me.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

"AvantAppal(achia)" and "Human Erased"

2016 has begun and for me - with a bang!

AvantAppal(achia) launched yesterday. I'm really excited about that. I received a suggestion that I should include examples of the type of work we want, but I didn't want to limit it too much. It is for the avant garde, after all. I did, however, include a reference to Wurm im Apfel Press in the mission statement, for those who feel they must have some kind of guide. But it's an ezine about experimentation so I wanted to keep things as open as possible. We are accepting submissions in written, audio, or video formats - as well as artwork. Submission deadlines are May 31st for the June 15th issue and November 30th for the December 15th issue. See this page for details, as well as the email address for all things AvantAppal(achia) related: We look forward to welcoming you to our Kin(folk)!

Also, "Human Erased" (digital painting; dated December 17, 2015) won a Special Recognition Award for the Photography and Digital Art category of the 5th Annual All Women Art Exhibition at the Light Space and Time Online Gallery. It will featured on the Gallery's website for the month of January 2016, after which it will be archived: It is available for sale at Fine Art America:

It is my hope that all of you have fabulous and challenging (in a good way) year! Thank you all for being loyal as we all head into new, promising endeavors.