Lauren Gordon wants your poems “with bite”


In the summer of 2011, Jen Lambert and I put out our first call for submissions for burntdistrict, and we were honored and gratified at the work you shared with us. We’re asking you to trust us once again as we transition burntdistrict into an online format. We have loved so much about the physicality of a print journal but our commitment to sustainability (both fiscal and environmental) has pushed us to reconsider. So much about the journal will be staying the same—the excellence of the work, the careful selection of diverse voices, and our vision of community will remain unchanged, as will our twice yearly publication schedule.
One change the online format will offer us is the ability to broadcast your poems farther and wider, and we are delighted about that.

One other change that excites us is the opportunity to reinvigorate the journal with new visions and…

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Lauren Gordon’s “Pledge Drive”

Horse Less Press

Here’s another of several poems that will be featured in our collaborative chapbook PLEDGE DRIVE, forthcoming later this month. You can order a copy, and you can also get some other great pre-order and subscription deals, for the next 35 hours or so, via our spring fundraiser! We are only $190 away from our goal. We thank you for your support!

Pledge Drive

by Lauren Gordon

Shadows shift
under feet
that shuffle
to and from
the liquor
store here she

submits to
a noon in
the sun un
quiet no
mother near
the corner

man wants her
to know god
loves her and
there is time
and hope no
mother prays

when she slides
past Him Her
face in calm
sea water
boiling be

low the side
walk where the
devil roams
His pitchfork
tilted up
poised, waiting

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a Book of Sleep

Two generous reviews of my chapbook “Keen” went live yesterday.  One is up at Luna Luna and one is up with Extract(s).  I feel honored and lucky.  Link here:

I am still in AWP recovery mode.  I had a chance to do a few readings and even though public speaking is not my favorite, I think I did ok.  One reading was at a hole in the wall bar packed with drunk locals, and they applauded after one poem I read – that’s when you know you’ve made it, right?  Something I wrote connected with an unexpected listener.  Pretty cool.

Most important news of all though: I wrote a poem.  !!  I haven’t had time to sit down and write and it finally all came together yesterday.  A year ago I was churning out a poem a day.  Right now I am typing this while in my pajamas and listening to someone upstairs in her crib singing a song to her teddy bear – I have four minutes before this day explodes into a frenzy of responsibility.  So, writing a new poem is an overdue miracle.


working too hard will give you a heart attack ack ack ack

hi friends.  i’m sad to say this is the first year in a few years that i will not be doing the napowrimo challenge this month.  i am spinning a lot of plates right now – or am i juggling them?  things are up in the air?  remember when i used to know how to turn a phrase?  i’m busy!

a poem that is very special to me is up at Poet Republik today and will be in the next issue of Ping Pong magazine.   you can read it here.  last month the featured poet was ALICE NOTLEY!!!  i mean, holy moly.  she’s a goddess.  definitely go back a month and read her feature.

after a few years of fiddling around (i’m being punny) with a manuscript of laura ingalls wilder poems, they are finally in the world as a stupid pretty (as in they’re so pretty it’s stupid) chapbook with blood pudding press and you can see it and some poems from it here

another chapbook is coming out with yellow flag press and “premiering” at awp next week.  i will get more selling details on that one.

what else… here is an essay on parenting and poetry on getting distance from the art you create at radius lit

and i’ve started writing reviews for Damfino Press, a new press and journal that is already publishing some really amazing work here

if i can finagle it this summer, i’m heading to portland oregon for the tin house summer workshop – which i can’t believe i was accepted?  i keep expecting the “oops we made a mistake” email to come any second now.  which is ridiculous. i am ridiculous.  the hope is that i will get some polish on a full length manuscript i have been working on and then i can get it ready to send out later this year.

that’s all my poetry news.

in other news, my daughter is almost three years old and i don’t know how that happened.  one day she was rolling around like a bug and the next she was using chopsticks on a special sushi lunch date.  she’s such a PERSON with EMOTIONS that are COMPLEX and LANGUAGE and HUMOR – i’m in a constant state of awe.  and if you’ve ever been responsible for teaching another human being how to use a toilet, you have my respect.

well, happy national poetry month random band of kind strangers.  see you on the flip side.

Fiddle Is Flood

i just got a stack of the new chapbooks in the mail and they are so incredible.  They really are like little works of art.  I’m so happy these Laura Ingalls Wilder poems found a good home with Blood Pudding Press.  You can read about them or click to purchase here.

well hi, blogosphere.  sorry i’ve been away for so long.  i’m not sure what happened.  one day i was all up in your business and the next i was sucked into a whirlwind of real world action.

publishing is getting off to a slow start this year, because i stopped submitting a few months ago.  i think i’m just now starting to pick up the torch again.  my series of poems about laura ingalls wilder won a contest with blood pudding press and will be published this march.  i’m very happy about it, and also relieved.  i’ve been sitting on those poems for a long time. i can finally move forward with the full length manuscript of laura and nancy drew.  future plans.

oh, and i started doing reviews for a new journal called damfino press – they are going to do great things.  definitely check them out.  the first few poems they published are phenomenal. it’s cool to be on the ground floor for this.

what else?  now that the baby is no longer a baby, i’m starting to apply to residencies.  2015 will be the year of genuflection and writing.  i hope.  i need space and time, but what mother doesn’t?

anyway, sending lots of love into this internet sphere and maybe i’ll see you again.

Interview With Poet Lauren Gordon

Rattle & Pen is thrilled to support the newest publication by one of our own contributors–Lauren Gordon’s collection of poetry Keen (publication information below). Here, we offer you a brief interview with Lauren about the collection, her writing process, and where she’s headed next.



Keen, by Lauren Gordon, Horse Less Press, December 2014

This is such an interesting concept for a collection of poetry. Can you talk about how you composed this collection? Did you have Nancy Drew in mind from the start, or did the connection to the character emerge slowly as you wrote individual poems?

Thank you. When I left my MFA program in 2010, I was a little burned out on writing formal, pastoral poems, which was my bag at the time. I had the idea to write a series of poems about Nancy Drew and the mystery of family that would maybe loosely…

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August Stuff, August Attitude

I recently cancelled my Time Warner Cable bundle in favor of a slow-as-molasses internet speed and Apple TV, so it’s not that I purposely neglect this little blog space, it’s just that any time I need to do something on this outdated netbook, it takes an hour.  And as the parent of a two year old, I rarely have an hour to spare.

It doesn’t mean I don’t love you.  I do.  It’s this technology thing holding me back.

And all my posts are just updates anyway.  You’re like my half assed CV.

Right Hand Pointing nominated one of my poems for a Best of the Net award, which is really exciting and flattering.  You can read it here.

Up the Staircase Quarterly also nominated one of my poems for a Best of the Net award this year, and they interviewed me in their latest issue.  The interview questions were interesting and the entire issue is good.  You can that here.

I’m super stoked to have two poems in the new issue of MiPOesias, especially because it’s in such fine company.  So many remarkable poems in this issue and if you’re interested, you can read that here.

Sugared Water is another beautiful journal that silk screens their covers and they did a little Q&A with me here.

I did a book review for a fabulous book of poetry – Elizabeth Cantwell’s “Nights I Let the Tiger Get You” and you can read the review here.

So, I’m hustling.  I always do.  Meaningful Fingers is still behind at the press, but I’m hoping it will go out this month.  I just did a reading in New York a week and a half ago for the Boog City Festival in Brooklyn and they got some really nice write-ups.  It was a good time.  I have another reading coming up this November and a couple of publications on the horizon, but I’ve slowed my submissions down.   I think I am in the research phase of another project right now.  Or it’s avoidance.  Or something.  Brain hibernation.

Anyway, some of the books I bought (or received for review) last month that I would definitely recommend:

State Sonnets by BJ Best

A House of Many Windows by Donna Vorreyer

Leave Luck to Heaven by Brian Oliu – I haven’t finished reading this one yet, but it’s highly enjoyable

A Small Man Looked at Me by Sara Lefsyk (amazing)

Her Human Costume by Cynthia Marie Hoffman

A Sweeter Water by Sara Henning (review forthcoming with The Collagist)