Of Mineral (Nightboat Books)
A collection of lyric mediations cultivated from a deeply personal experience of the natural world, synthesizing the poet’s experiences of the elemental and ephemeral; presence and place.
In Of Mineral, Tiff Dressen initiates a chemical reaction, taking place on the page so meaning is continually created and destroyed. The forces at play create a beautiful and unpredictable stability. With intentionality and deep attention, the poet undergoes an elemental education, learning through articulation how to experience the natural world as an active participant rather than as an observer. As the poet attempts to synchronize their left and right brain, boundaries between the urban and the “wild” dissolve to form a more unified experience of presence.
Tiff Dressen was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. Their latest book is Of Mineral (Nightboat Books, 2022). SONGS FROM THE ASTRAL BESTIARY (lyric& Press, 2014) is their first full-length collection of poetry. They currently live in Oakland and work in the Office of Research at UC Berkeley. They enjoy spending time with their felines, urban flâneuring, and setting type and letterpress printing.
Raw Anyone (The Cultural Society)
Raw Anyone lays bare the intimate invasions of toxins into our bodily cells and environment, revealing our cell phone and consumer addictions, all exacerbated in a global pandemic. This work demands we consider, “What authentic connection remains possible in a late capitalist world where, long before Covid-19, we have been quarantined even from ourselves?” Through a series of epistles, ekphrases, erasures, and sonnets, these poems wrestle metaphysical questions pertaining to time, love, and what we truly value. Raw Anyone is a book of address and query, a love letter to a twin, that shadow self that still expands and contracts rooms within rooms within us all.
Alex Mattraw is a Berkeley poet and educator. She is the author of Raw Anyone (2022), We fell into weather (2020), and small siren (2018), all with Brooklyn’s Cultural Society. You can also find the latest of her four chapbooks at Dancing Girl Press. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Jacket2, Lana Turner, Denver Quarterly, VOLT, and elsewhere. A frequent collaborator with other writers and artists, Alex is also the founder and curator of the Bay Area reading, art, and performance series, Lone Glen, which recently celebrated a decade of community. http://alexandramattraw.com
Street Gloss (Glossarium: Unsilenced Texts)
In this experimental translingual work, Brent Armendinger follows the work of five contemporary Argentinian poets into the streets of Buenos Aires, attempting to map the ways a word might be an echo of the city itself. Interested in the surface areas of language and the generative potential of failure in translation, the author follows a set of procedures oriented simultaneously in the lines as well as in the streets of the city, gathering impressions, associations, and language through unpredictable encounters with the place and its inhabitants. Notes from these encounters appear interlaced, here, between the original poems in Spanish and their translations. Featuring poems by Alejandro M ndez, Mercedes Roff , Fabi n Casas, N stor Perlongher, and Diana Bellessi, and artwork by Alpe Romero.
Brent Armendinger is the author of Street Gloss (The Operating System, 2019), a work of site-specific poetry and experimental translation, and The Ghost in Us Was Multiplying (Noemi Press, 2015), both of which were finalists for the California Book Award in Poetry. He is also the author of two chapbooks, Undetectable (New Michigan Press, 2009) and Archipelago (Noemi Press, 2009). He has been awarded residencies and fellowships at Mineral School, Blue Mountain Center, Headlands Center for the Arts, and the Community of Writers. Brent teaches creative writing at Pitzer College and lives in Los Angeles.
Praise for Of Mineral -
"The contemplative second book from Dressen uses spare language to describe the natural world in lines that often spread across the page… Dressen also draws from music and mathematics, citing the works of Bach and Alan Turing in the same poem to explore the spectrum of human ingenuity." - Publishers Weekly
"There is an intimacy and an urgency to Dressen’s lyrics, as lines and fragments meander across the landscape and days. Dressen’s extended lyrics find their roots in the slant language of their immediate world, and amid the examples of foundational poets". - rob mclennan's blog
“Tiff Dressen’s poems are bold acts of accumulation and dispersal. The result makes for hybrids and synergies and possibly even ‘a new structure for love.’ The readiness to attend is everywhere—these texts are stays against forgetfulness, and a summons to maintain the exquisite tensions of a lifeworld in which ‘we are all responders.’” - George Albon
“Tiff Dressen sets type, and these poems feel like they have been laid down on the page by such a person: with physical precision, silence and serif equally weighted. These are such lyrics that live in a physical world: that know the difference between branch and bird-bone, the qualities of each that permits balance. The collection of them together feels as intentional as construction inside a Cornell Box, as evocative as an early Mondrian.” - Kazim Ali
“Tiff Dressen’s Of Mineral engages city life as it unfolds in an ever changing landscape of flora and human connection utilizing navigation and inquiry to thread the labyrinth, ‘we were denied the original / forest that grew here.’ ‘How do I / create the distance / you need / to reach across.’ Dressen’s compact collection provokes existential thought while acting as a guide to recognize what is possible—’Because you said the sky / is a kind of ocean / we learned the alchemy / of air / we became many.’ Take this book with you on a hike. Read it on a hilltop.” - Sunnylyn Thibodeaux
“While Tiff Dressen’s Of Mineral certainly vibrates with concision and crystalline sharpness, the minerality of their book also pulses animal—skeletal structure and blood pumping warmth, vulnerability, refusal, and all sorts of gorgeous entanglement. An embodied exploration of place and how the city calls us into being and intimate relation: ‘How do I/ create the distance/ you need/ to reach across?’ Dressen has made a world amongst these pages that is both the world we share daily and somewhere else entirely; a visit there will transform your own inhabitance in beautiful and unexpected ways.” - Megan Kaminski
Praise for Raw Anyone -
"The poems in Alex Mattraw’s third full-length collection Raw Anyone offer the reader a deep poetic examination of the social and environmental toxins that affect our lives during these pandemic times. Cells, mouths, and rooms hold spaces for questions and declarations. In “A Room, after Virginia Woolf,” the author implores, “Knock the head-room. / I ask you to live.” This compelling poetry collection burns with detoxifying intelligence and heart." — Maw Shein Win, author of Storage Unit for the Spirit House (Omnidawn)
“Beauty is a constant vanishing,” Alex Mattraw writes, “a hole in the sky that keeps. A widening reason we both believe in ghosts.” Infused with dreams, imaginative readings, leaps of language, and vibrant and sharp insights, Raw Anyone cuts open the cloth, reveals the hidden within our plain sight. These are poems that illuminate through their withholding, trip the wire of time, and fill the hush of silence." — Jenny Boully, author of The Body and Betwixt-and-Between: Essays on The Writing Life
"These are the heights poetry can always take me. I love this book! Alexandra Mattraw’s conversation is an interdimensional connection threading Woolf, Sappho, and the fragility of love and lungs in an all-consuming pandemic. Dear Thought Climate, Dear cell, “As creator, nature owes me.” This is the boldness that sets a reader up the “Ladder’s / head-heart.” — CAConrad, author of AMANDA PARADISE: Resurrect Extinct Vibration