Les Figues Press Summer Read-a-thon

Hello Friends,

Les Figues is an important press; their books are innovative and edgy.
I am hopeful that you will help me support this press during their summer Read-a-thon.

This summer I plan on reading 20 Les Figues titles and writing brief response to each, in hopes of sparking a conversation about these works while raising money towards future Les Figues titles. I’m asking for sponsorship in this Read-a-thon; please consider donating $5 dollars toward each book read.

Book love to you,
Nicelle Davis

Day 2 of 30 for The Les Figues Press Read-a-thon

NOT BLESSED by Harold Abramowitz

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Do you have a story? You know, The Story—that story that is dusted off for every grant application, personal statement, awkward dinner, cocktail party, newly developing friendship—that story. You’ve told The Story so many times you can feel it shifting on you. Eventually it isn’t even your story anymore, even though it has been drafted and redrafted to define who you are; it’s just a story. You can change it to be funny, tragic, flippant, didactic, meaningful, meaningless. You can feel when your heart is not in it and it flops. You can feel when the story is swelling and growing to be larger than the actual event.

This is the problem with storytelling. The more telling, the more difficult it is to know if the story is true.

NOT BLESSED, by Harold Abramowitz, is a novella in which there is a boy, a grandmother, a hunter, a war, a police officer, a mystery. There might be rain. There might be a radio speaker. There might be a car. There might be a ghost. There might be a doppelganger, or a missed friendship. I say might because these facts change as this same story is told 28 times.

It works! This is really all I can say about this book. It works and works well. I was on edge, turning pages as fast as I could, counting the repetitions, marking the slight changes, and delighting at what felt like small reveals to a larger story. This book works the way intimacy works, that is how intimacy fails; I thought I could figure this character out—thought I could know another person—not by what the character was saying, but by filling in what they weren’t saying.

This is the problem with listening. The more listening, the more difficult it is to know if the story has been heard as it was intended.

This novella is a problem, and like any delightful problem, it isn’t designed to be solved. This work is uniquely human—it feels alive. It morphs a single page story into 81 pages that seem to expand and contract the way most human interactions do.

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Day 1 of 30 for The Les Figues Press Read-a-thon

SONNET 56 by Paul Hoover

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Today I had 30 minutes because my son had swimming lessons. “Had” is an interesting word—it seems having time these days is about the same as stealing it from the day-to-day. Stealing is what I love most about poetry. Poetry gives us space to think, to be, to choose—poetry allows us to steal our lives back from the daily grind. One poem, one good poem, has infinite possibilities; in this way, poetry is the closest thing I know to freewill. While I may not like the state of the world, there are always other worlds ready to manifest. Poetry is proof of this.

Paul Hoover’s SONNET 56 spins one poem, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 56 into a Haiku, Jingle, Villanelle, Epic (really liked the Epic), Erasure, Ballad, even an Answering Machine fight and a Chat Group discussion. And there are more variations; Hoover has Sonnet 56 bend and shift to 56 incarnations. It’s lovely—it is hopeful and liberating the ways great Jazz or dance can be. Sure, it’s the same idea again and again; however, Hoover is able to deliver somethings entirely original again and again; Hoover proves one idea has endless perspectives—love has endless possibilities. Anything can, could, and will happen.

The variations in this collection range so vastly in tone and form that my stolen 30 minutes felt like a secret lifetime. In this lifetime I was able to question love: how to love, how to be loved, and the relationship between time and love. These poems go from comical to tragic; they skip with satirical-zeal across the shallows of love and submerge its depths even at the risk of drowning. It’s an amazing book.

It was 105 degrees today, so the YMCA pool had more people than water in it. The indoor pool-house was an echo chamber of laughter and splashing, oddly a perfect location for the reoccurrence of  the lines, “Return of love, more blest may be the view; / Else call it winter, which being full of care / Makes summer’s welcome thrice more wish’d, more rare.” Between pages, I glimpsed my son’s bright smile bobbing across the waterline. His swim instructor, a kind and beautiful person, would obviously be his first summertime crush. I owe Les Figues Press a great debt; they gave me this moment—this summer—which due to poetry, seems endless.

SONNET 56 (by Shakespeare)

Sweet love, renew thy force; be it not said
Thy edge should blunter be than appetite,
Which but to-day by feeding is allay’d,
To-morrow sharpen’d in his former might:
So, love, be thou; although to-day thou fill
Thy hungry eyes even till they wink with fullness,
To-morrow see again, and do not kill
The spirit of love with a perpetual dullness.
Let this sad interim like the ocean be
Which parts the shore, where two contracted new
Come daily to the banks, that, when they see
Return of love, more blest may be the view;
Else call it winter, which being full of care
Makes summer’s welcome thrice more wish’d, more rare.

Sonnet Variations by Paul Hoover: 

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The Poetry Circus Will Return To LA: Come Fly with Us!

We did it LA!


With $2,000 donated, we will be able to have The Poetry Circus return to LA!

Save the date to hear these and other poetic voices:

The Second PoetryIf you can’t make it to L.A. I have an idea to fly you here! The Living Poetry Project is hosting a contest–The Haiku Balloon Contest! Three lucky poems will be professionally printed on balloons to help decorate the event with your words. Please submit poems to:

nicellecdavis @ gmail.com

snowflakeIf you are a Poetry Circus lover, please consider contributing to the GoFundMe campaign. There is only 5 more days to contribute to the Circus–the circus fly across the country.

Go Fund Me 

Blessings to all,

Nicelle Davis

What is The Poetry Circus:

The Poetry Circus was inspired by the release of the collection, In the Circus of You published by Rose Metal Press . The Poetry Circus is part workshop, community outreach, performance, ride, dance, and creations. This community focused and driven event blurs the line between performer and audience to allow everyone the chance to run away and join the circus.

By presenting poetry in an alternative venue, the egalitarian characteristics of poetry are amplified. Poetry IS for everyone, regardless of where we come from or how we got there; we all process and understand the world through metaphor.

Day 3 of 30

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The Poetry Circus Fundraiser UPDATE

It is day-three of The Poetry Circus Fundraiser and we have already raised $1,000! “Thanks” does not begin to approach the gratitude I feel for those who have contributed to this project—there are not words for such joy and overwhelming appreciation.

The word I have found to describe The Poetry Circus is synergy; yes, The Poetry Circus is the creation of a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts. “Working together” we are able to create memorable moments—together art transcends product and becomes a way of life–a place to feel alive!

The Poetry Circus is based on the idea that location is more than a place; it is a character. The motion of a merry-go-round, the controlled chaos of the circus tent, and the pulse of a poem work together to create an invisible hold on the moment. As we are allowed to interact with our environment we are able to discover one another. The point of a ride, a show, a poem is not an end product, but a means to become fully alive in the moment with each other. There is synergy in people, place, and art!

Our fundraiser is running with synergy—motion is surrounding and accumulating around this project. It looks like, if feasible, San Francisco will be added to the list of Poetry Circus locations! The Poetry Circus is growing!

To meet our goal, we will need to raise $250 a day. We can defuse the heft of this amount by inviting friends, loved ones, and art lovers to join in. What once was work can become a circus–what once was distance can become space for dancing–when enough people join in any challenge can become a celebration. Contribute and invite others to contribute tohttp://www.gofundme.com/thepoetrycircus . This is the power of synergy.

Please know there are many ways to give. Beyond money, if you would like to donate a talent or give suggestions, The Poetry Circus is interested to hear from you. Please send your ideas to nicellecdavis@gmail.com .

Happy Circus to all,

Nicelle Davis

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I will mail a love letter and three thank you gifts to anyone who can contribute $100 or more to The Poetry Circus Tour.


There is a GOFUNDME up and running for THE POETRY CIRCUS TOUR!

Please contribute, share, and join THE CIRCUS.

The Poetry Circus was inspired by the release of the collection, In the Circus of Youpublished by Rose Metal Press . The Poetry Circus is part workshop, community outreach, performance, ride, dance, and creations. This community focused and driven event blurs the line between performer and audience to allow everyone the chance to run away and join the circus.

By presenting poetry in an alternative venue, the egalitarian characteristics of poetry are amplified. Poetry IS for everyone, regardless of where we come from or how we got there; we all process and understand the world through metaphor.

The Living Poetry Project and AWP

WOW. Really? AWP is less than 5 days away? WHAT?



Every year The Living Poetry Project likes to bring poets who cannot travel to AWP in its suitcase. This year I have 50 bags of cotton candy that need your poems printed on them. I will be giving these away at The Los Angeles Review booth at the AWP book floor.

I’m happy to bring poems of poets who WILL be at AWP. Please consider sending poems and do look for me at the conference! A list of AWP events I’ll be at can be found here: nicelledavis.net

Please send poems right away so I can pack them in time for the flight to Minneapolis.  Send poems to: nicellecdavis @ gmail . com

The Living Poetry Project piñata was a great success. It wasn’t exactly “broken open” but kids where encouraged to “break into” the piñata where they found poems with candy folded into the paper creases. Thank you to all who gave work for The Poetry Circus. Here is the film of The Poetry Circus event:

The piñata was such a hit with the kids that I brought it to the Los Angeles, Red Hen, Grand Park event (see dino piñata). Again children were delighted to find your candy filled poems.



Best to you all and all that you do,


Gwhoooo Poetry Party at the Last Bookstore: April 17 8PM


The Circus is undoubtedly a gooey entity

and yet

“gooh” is a difficult thing to define.

Gwho is what

The Gwho Circus Poetry Party will be held at The Last Bookstore.

453 South Spring Street, Los Angeles CA 90013

The Last Bookstore is AWESOME– I mean, it is jump around, I can’t believe this place is real, AWESOME! It is a circus-tent for books and a perfect location to explore all the beautiful imperfections of being human.

All are invited.; there will be wine and refreshments (of the gooey kind) graciously provided by the Los Angeles Review.

This should be a good gooey time for all who love poetry, or just gooh, or gooh and poetry, or gooey poetry.

How ever you like it, there will be gooh, and there will be poetry, and all of this is free for you!

Gooh is a word that must be defined by who you are–therefore in this version of The Poetry Circus, I give you FIVE acts of goodie goodie GWHO:

Katie Manning: Mom Gwho


Genevieve Kaplan: Bio Gwho

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Jackie Bang: Sexy Gwho


Kim Dower: Human Gwho

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Nicelle Davis: Circus Gwho


Circus Launch Day : An Update from Rose Metal Press

Dear Friends, Subscribers, and Supporters of Rose Metal Press:


Today is the release day for our spring book, In the Circus of You: An Illustrated Novel-in-Poems, by poet Nicelle Davis and artist Cheryl Gross. We are so happy to have this beautiful book out in the world!

Our FREE SHIPPING offer on orders of In the Circus of You ends today MARCH 25. Order your copy today using coupon code CIRCUSFREESHIP.


Many thanks to all of our subscribers and those of you who preordered. Your copies are making their way to you through the mail. There’s still time to subscribe for 2015.

In the Circus of You will be on sale at our AWP bookfair table (732) and Nicelle will be doing two reading and a book signings at AWP (more details below). If you are one of the first 30 people to buy In the Circus of You at our AWP table, you will receive your very own red foam clown nose! How can you resist?

More about In the Circus of You: In the Circus of You is a deliciously distorted fun house of poetry and art by Nicelle Davis and Cheryl Gross. Both private and epic, this novel-in-poems explores one woman’s struggle while interpreting our world as a sideshow, where not only are we the freaks, but also the on-lookers wondering just how “normal” we are—or ought to be. Davis’ poetry and Gross’ images collaborate over the themes of sanity, monogamy, motherhood, divorce, artistic expression, and self-creation to curate a menagerie of abnormalities that defines what it is to be human. The universe of this book is one in which dead pigeons talk, clowns hide in the chambers of the heart, and the human body turns itself inside out to be born again as a purely sensory creature. This grotesquely gorgeous peep show opens the velvet curtains on the beautiful complications of life.


In the Circus of You is already garnering great reviews and attention, and was even chosen as the March book for The Rumpus’ Monthly Bookclub.

Nicelle has done two amazing events for In the Circus of You in Los Angeles this past month. You can see photos and video from her Poetry Circus in February here on our blog.

Add In the Circus of You to your cart now and don’t forget to use free shipping code CIRCUSFREESHIP at checkout.



We’re looking forward to seeing many of you in Minneapolis next month for the Annual AWP conference, being held this year in Minneapolis April 8-11. We will be at table 732 in the bookfair from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Thursday, April 9 through Saturday, April 11. Please stop by the table and say hello!

We’ll be having a number of book signings at our table and our authors are also involved in panels and offsite readings. Here’s what RMP authors are up to at AWP so you can add these events to your schedule:


Nicelle Davis reading at AROHO’s Night of Glittering, Vocal Expansiveness offsite reading on
Wednesday, April 8, from 7:00-10:00 pmat the Bryant Lake Bowl Theater.


Nicelle Davis reading at the Bayou Magazine Contributors Reading offsite reading on Thursday,
April 9, at 8:00 pm at Mason’s Restaurant Barre at 528 Hennepin Ave. South.


Kelcey Parker signing copies of Liliane’s Balcony at table 732 on Friday, April 10 from 10:30-11:30 am.

Pamela Painter and Sean Lovelace speaking on the panel
“Exploring the Contours of Flash Fiction,” Friday, April 10 from 12:00-1:15 pm.

Gregory Robinson signing copies of All Movies Love the Moon at table 732 on Friday,
April 10 from 1:00-2:00 pm.

William Todd Seabrook signing copies of The Imagination of Lewis Carroll at table 732
on Friday, April 10 from 3:30-4:30 pm.


Nicelle Davis speaking on the panel “Two Can Play That Game: Techniques for
Composing Collaborative Poetry,” Saturday, April 11 from 9:00-10:15 am.

Nicelle Davis signing copies of In the Circus of You at table 732 on Saturday, April 11
from 10:30-11:30 am.

Aaron Teel and Margaret Patton Chapman signing copies of My Very End of the Universe
at table 732 on Saturday, April 11 from 12:00-1:00 pm.

Kelcey Parker speaking on the panel “From Gothic Ghosts to Gogol’s Nose,” Saturday,
April 11 from 1:30-2:45 pm.



We’re thrilled to announce that My Very End of the Universe: Five Novellas-in-Flash and a Study of the Form is a finalist for the ForeWord Reviews IndieFab Book of the Year Awards in the Anthology category. Winners will be announced in June. Congrats to authors Tiff, Meg, Aaron, Margaret, and Chris!



From May 1 to June 1, 2015, we will hold an open reading period for full-length (48+ pages) ART-AND-TEXT WORKS in any genre (see our I Take Back the Sponge Cake, All Movies Love the Moon, and In the Circus of You, for instance) and for full-length PROSE POETRY COLLECTIONS, both linked and unlinked (see our The Louisiana Purchase and But Our Princess Is in Another Castle, for instance). Both single author/artist works and multi-author/artist works will be considered. The best way to get a sense of the kind of hybrid work we publish is to take a look at our catalog. We welcome submissions on all subjects, fictional and nonfictional, and encourage a broad and expansive interpretation of hybridity.

Read the full guidelines here.

When: May 1 to June 1, 2015
What: Full-length works that combine text and artwork and/or full-length prose poetry collections, linked or unlinked
Reading Fee: $15

We are excited to read your work!

A Circus is Born Today

Wow. Things are busy. I’ve been puking up words left and right. I owe you much–mostly a Poetry Circus update along with Poetry Piñata stories.

For now, I’m on the run–running towards more light, more poetry. More is a strange word…a word that can hold the whole world–it is a word that requires a reverence kindred to love. I hope I can learn how to love well at least once in this lifetime.

I feel very fortunate to have a In the Circus of You featured as a top-ten-music-list at the Largehearted Boy; if you know me at all, you know that a mixed tape is sacred text–you don’t mess around with a top ten music list, because it is the text of our most interior self. Please give it a listen.

Please also accept this invitation to Skylight Books:

NICELLE DAVIS presents her newest poetry collection

Event date:
Sunday, March 22, 2015 – 5:00pm
Event address:
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027

That’s right, today In the Circus of You officially will be released from its editorial womb. It will be birthed at Skylight Books. Please come see / hear this book at 5:00 PM. Un- icorns will drop from my electric orange dress– you can take these newly conceived magical creatures home as loving (inflatable) pets.


I will also have bags of cotton candy for the kid-hearts and rainbow mimosas for the big-hearts–all adorned with mini Un- icorn friends. Hope to see you there.



What Is The Poetry Circus?


The Poetry Circus

Want to know more about the Poetry Circus? Step inside my closet and I’ll tell you all about 1. what to wear 2. hair 3. rain 4. light 5. sound


Final Call for the Poetry Piñata: If you have poems to share with children at The Poetry Circus please send them to nicellecdavis @ gmail . com

A Free Poetry Event Saturday, February 28th


Poetry Merry-Go-Round Rides
with readings by:Lauren K. Alleyne, Laurel Ann Bogen, Chiwan Choi,

Brendan Constantine, Nicelle Davis, Kim Dower, Blas Falconer, Kate Gale, Melanie Jeffrey, Douglas Kearney, Ron Koertge,
Justin Wallace Kibbe, Suzanne Lummis, Katie Manning,

Eric Morago, Jacqueline Tchakalian, and Yvonne de la Vega.

Interactive poetry projects, activities, and crafts for the whole family brought to you by the Red Hen Press WITS program
and The Los Angeles Review.

Make your own maracas and Join The Children’s Poetry Parade ed by twirler Peggy Dobreer!

Simultaneous Poetry Writing based on your suggestions from RENT Poet and the Melrose Poetry Bureau!

Live circus acts including performances by Post Mortem Movement Theater!

At the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round
4730 Crystal Springs Drive,
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 665-3051

Speakeasy Sunday (OR CHARM SCHOOL) ;) with Nicelle Davis ;)

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For the Speakeasy this Sunday, I’ll make a woman of you—of anyone.

With snippets of text and images taken from a 1970s finishing-school teacher’s lesson-plan book, I’ve created a handmade chapbook. I hope to, in some small way, recreate a “Charm and Modeling School.”

The lessons of womanhood might help us understand the empowerment of roles (but will haunt us with the final question “Who am I?”)

Anyone who participates will get to keep a chapbook. Anyone who attends will leave in sparkle and with their own certificate of training completion.

Please join us. It is sure to be a haunting big-hair time.

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Speakeasy Sunday with Nicelle Davis

Event Type: Poetry/Fiction/Creative Nonfiction Reading/Performance
Event Date and Time: February 15, 2015 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Hosted by the Los Angeles Poet Society:

Poet Nicelle Davis features at Speakeasy Sunday! Author of In the Circus of You http://nicelledavis.com/

Speakeasy Sunday is also an Open Mic with musical accompaniment by our House Flutist, Juan Cardenas!

All creative genres are welcome – 7 minutes. http://www.losangelespoetsociety.org/#!speakeasy-sunday/c8wb

Catcher in the Rye 10550 Riverside Drive. Toluca Lake, CA 91602

Pre-Order In the Circus of You

 Dear Friends, Word Lovers, and all who understand the long poetry road,

In the Circus of You is ready of pre-order. Please consider standing by this book as it begins entry into the world. We all need someone by our side at the terrifying beginning and this is such and odd little book–it will require a steady and thoughtful hand when the cord is finally cut this March.

My Very End of the Universe

Please click here —> PREORDER NOW <— Please click here