May 4, 2006
Steel Toe Books Releases Martha Silano’s Second Book, Blue Positive
Bowling Green, KY—Martha Silano is no June Cleaver.
Like that infamous black-and-white sitcom mom, Silano revels in her children’s births and daily doings in expertly-crafted poems like “My Son Considers the Mockingbird,” “Song for a Newborn,” and “Crown of Sonnets for a Son.” But unlike Mrs. Cleaver and other sentimentally-drawn fictional mothers, the speaker in Silano’s poems writes with authority about “What They Don’t Tell You about the Ninth Month” and sagely advises “If You Want a Girl to Grow up Gentle, Lace Her Tight.” In her follow-up to the award-winning What the Truth Tastes Like (Nightshade Press 1999), Silano writes unflinchingly about her bout with postpartum depression and “shows us how a bright and ultimately optimistic sensibility can overcome disaster,” in the words of Peter Pereira, author of an award-winning book published by the prestigious Copper Canyon Press.
Steel Toe Books selected Blue Positive from 115 manuscripts submitted during its open reading period last summer. We at Steel Toe concur with distinguished poet and Virginia Tech professor Bob Hicok, who writes “Martha Silano’s poems are full of sex and birth and food, mind and body. Their richness of detail makes reading this book like entering a home: there is a bustle to her language as she tries to gather everything she loves…. By the end of Blue Positive, I trust both her surprise and her wisdom.’”
Silano, who earned her MFA from University of Washington in 1993, evinces a palpable delight in language in this collection. Poems such as “Picking a Name While Picking Blackberries” and “To Know a Flower” remind us that, to paraphrase and distort Mallarmé, we don’t make poems out of sentiments, but of words. Here is an excerpt from her poem “My Words”:
Ones I never considered memorable or strange—
bubble, banana, anemone—bloomed
when my son began to use them
to describe falling snow, a crescent moon,
a cockatiel’s plume. Plum is a terrible
word for a perfect fruit,…
Silano’s poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, Beloit Poetry Journal, Poetry Daily, and many other fine journals and anthologies. She lives in Seattle with her husband Langdon and their two children, Riley and Ruby.
For more information about Steel Toe Books, visit www.steeltoebooks.com.
For more information about Martha Silano, visit www.marthasilano.com.
January 1, 2017
Happy New Year! 2016 may have been marred by celebrity deaths, and who knows what this year will bring, but we at Steel Toe Books will be doing our part to ensure that it is a year of great poetry.
Publication of A Woman is a Woman is a Woman is a Woman by Chrys Tobey
Hot off the presses is Chrys Tobey’s first book, A Woman Is A Woman Is A Woman Is A Woman. You can order that now from Amazon.com or directly from us. Next up, sometime in mid-2017, is Street Calligraphy by Jim Daniels.
Results of Fall 2016 Open Reading Period
To keep the party moving, in late 2017 we will be preparing Curtis L. Crisler’s The GReY aLBum [PoeMS] for publication. We just offered Curtis a standard royalties contract today, and we’re thrilled to welcome him into the STB family. We selected The GReY aLBum [PoeMS] from over 100 manuscripts submitted to our Fall 2016 open reading period.
-Click here to read the full press release.