Black Widow Press Mission
Our "mission" is twofold: to bring back into print (and keep in print) at an accessible price point those authors/titles that have had an impact on the cultural, literary, and/or artistic thought of the 20th (and 21st) century and to publish those poets who are still contributing today in a meaningful way to the same. (Read our full mission statement here.)
This book is the best introduction to Tzara available. Made in conjunction with the poet, Harwood's translations are as facile and technically deft as the originals. Culled from a lifetime of publishing, Chanson Dada represents Tzara in all his guises, elements and forms. Rebellious, brilliant.
Until these translations appeared, Neruda had long held the grip on love poetry. Now it is Eluard's time. Not to be confused with Hallmark card sentimentalism, these poems are love in all its raw totality. Nostalgic, lyrical, gorgeous, tough, with the sometimes tenderness of a bruise, Eluard's work will change you. And your lover.
Olson is the premier writer of prose-poetry in this country. A hybrid form too many have brutalized into triteness, Olson's work never falls into those traps. It sings, forces us to question our world anew, and graced by a subtle humor, will make you laugh. Superb.
The definitive work on Breton's life. Illuminating, endlessly readable, Revolution opens the doors on one of the 20th century's greatest artists and thinkers. Without Breton Dali, Picasso, Bunuel and more may never have existed as we know them. Important work, great reading.
This is why we love small presses. Without someone like Black Widow bringing this book into print, she would remain known only in Europe. Like the best collaborations between jazz musicians and singers (think Coltrane and Hartman), Submarine, blows mighty and free. Nearly everything great poetry should have is in here. Don't miss it.
Brinks is the epicenter of poetry in New Orleans. This book is a four part cycle built around Katrina and its aftermath. Tough, tender, always in love with his home city, Brinks' book is a monument to New Orleans as well as to poetry itself. Here is everything good and great about modern American poetry. A treat.
Masterfully translated by Clayton Eshleman, Endure is a hallmark of modern Chinese poetry, a hallmark of modern poetry in general. These poems are tight compositions that never fail to open the mind, to give more back to the reader than was expected. Here is expansive writing, gorgeous imagery, forceful lyricism. Not much more you can ask for out of a book.
For those who like their poetry powerful, political and thought provoking, look no further than Bador. At a time when so much of American poetry is stale, Bador's work is a breath of fresh air, one that will challenge and excite you. Wide ranging thematically, this book is a treat.
Osundare's tribute to his adopted home of New Orleans should be a major award winner this year. If it is not, a great injustice to literature will have been made. Osundare's work is impassioned, lyrical, roaring with the raw energy of a poet using all of his powers to come to terms with both great disaster and recovery. This book will change you.
Tzara is a legend and this book very well might be his masterpiece. Weaving seamlessly from the lyric to the epic, from the Surreal to the real, there is nothing that Tzara can't do. At a time when too much poetry reads like watered down prose, Tzara's work comes as a breath of fresh air. Fearless, capable, a book as important today as it was eighty years ago.
Desnos was one of the original founders of the Surrealist movement, a movement whose impact on history cannot be overstated. Considered dangerous enough as an artist to have the Gestapo arrest him, Desnos died in a concentration camp in 1945. This book is a testament to a brilliant man, a legendary writer, one of the few to truly revolutionize our world. Not to be missed.
Author of thirty five books, we are glad to see this phenomenal retrospective collection of his poetry. Certainly one of the most important writers of the 20th century. His wide stylistic range, experimentation and power are something to behold.
Finally the infamous ribald tales of La Fontaine find an English edition. These poems are not dirty, but rather part of the great bawdy tradition of writing dating back to Catullus. Wild, rollicking, absolutely hilarious, these are witty poems meant to be read again and again.
Incredible that all of these poems were written prior to Sicaud's death from illness at the age of 15. To read them is to enter a treasure of beauty and insight. Intellectually mature, lyrical, impassioned, Sicaud's work is a testament, a tower. It is high time she be discovered by the reading world at large. And loved.
A miracle of poetic invention, Luca attempts to create new notions of love out of our old, shop-worn versions. He examines love in all its facets in order to reinvent the word, the feeling. Here is lyrical freedom, passion, experimentation with meaning--all things too often missing from our current poetry.
This book has all the wandering joy of Kerouac's and Hesse's best. An extended ode to the pleasures of rambling, of introspection, of breaking away from constrictive norms, Fire Exit is a book to be stuffed into the glove compartment and taken across the globe. Endlessly rewarding, you will be changed for the better for having read this book.
A hero of the French Resistance, Char's poetry is every bit as daring, tough and impassioned as his life. When Camus called him France's greatest living poet he was not overestimating him. This book is essential reading for all lovers of literature.
Raconteur, surrealist, screenwriter, Prevert is a man hard to categorize. Regardless, he wrote some of the most memorable poetry of the 20th century. This book covers his lengthy career and is the best way to discover the endless rewards of reading Prevert. Too long neglected in this country, it's time more people discovered him.
A journey between Arkansas and New Orleans, Lavender's book is both creative nonfiction and poetry. It is a lyrical portrait of a man, our times. Surprising, haunting and told with a rare energy too often missing from our modern poets.
This book has never gone out of print in France since being published in 1926. A landmark, it has been treasured and carried, handed from one person to another in the same manner that caused the explosion of the Beat Generation. A masterpiece of literature, Capital of Pain is a remarkable book, one the world is greater for having around.
The first major anthology of Guillevic's work in English, this book will show you why he's legend in Europe. His singular poetry, written in clear, sharp lines, sings like the best song. These are moving poems, deep as a river, but without any of the fuzziness too many American poets use to cover a lack of vision. Just impassioned work made visible for all. Landmark poetry that is not to be missed.
Mansour was one of the leading Surrealists and made her legacy as one of Europe's finest poets with her gorgeously erotic, strong-willed pre-feminist poems. These are wild and impassioned lyrics, the music of late night and smoke and love and all the fine corners found right. Here's a book for the ages.
National Book Award winning Eshleman may very well be America's greatest living poet. If not, he's in the top three. Grindstone should be in the library of every aspiring writer, every thoughtful reader, every person who ever wanted to sit down with a book and have their heart opened. This one comes on our highest recommendation.
Guillevic's manifesto of the art of poetry. But it is more than that, it is an exploration of how we mine the mystery and come up with something that lasts. Open this book at random and see profound wisdom at work. One of those rare books that you know should belong on the shelf of every home, every writer's desk, every good bar worth its salt.
One of the major poets of our time, Rothenberg's latest is an investigation into the possibilities of first person writing. At a time when narcissism has invaded more than just our literature, Rothenberg's work challenges that presumption and asks us to reinterpret our own potential.
Finally one of the supreme French writers gets the translation she deserves. Here is a poetry of raw power, a bursting sense of life and vitality that is refreshing to read in this era of Wonderbread poets. The Comtesse's poems adhere to no school or rules but her own and because of it we are left with one of those rare and great works we too often need. Remarkable.
Olson's collection of prose-poems are howls against the void, against the complacency that too often passes for literature these days. Whether he's calling himself "the anti-Gary Snyder" or writing his poems in the form of imaginary letters, Olson is afraid of nothing. This is a unique and special book, one that has deep and forceful rewards.
A compendium of poetry and prose from the Algerian writer Tengour. Tengour is a fine way to introduce yourself to the vast world of Arabic literature. He is a powerful example of all that is wonderful with world literature: political, stunning writing, wide vision. Incredible work.
One of the founders of Surrealism, The Big Gfame still sells in France, eighty years after its publication. Don't let his association with the Surrealists scare you: these poems are accessible and forthright, without ever speaking down to the reader. We look for books to read over and over again, treasures to be pulled out when we most need them. This is one of those books.
Beginning with his Blakean-visonary poems written on LSD in the late 1960s and going through essays written about today's leading poets, Eshleman's book is a stunning exploration of self in relation to the wider world. As always, Eshleman's insight and force and lyric sensibility remind us that he's one of our very best. Like all his work, he never fails and always inspires.