the sun a blazing zero

my new book, the sun a blazing zero, is pre-launching now and the publisher at Lavender Ink/Diálogos is offering it at a pre-launch discount sale through the end of March for $14! You can order it here!

the sun a blazing zero tracks the vibrations of a receding world that hasn’t yet entirely vanished. Its language-map moves towards intensifying a lyric field to articulate experiences that lack vocabulary, and to ride with/not rebut the noise of information-overload in contemporary psyches. A feminist assemblage, the sun a blazing zero weaves the personal and sociopolitical through shifting shutter speeds.

“Welcoming the / crackling from one snap of think,” Shira Dentz’s latest collection, the sun a blazing zero, leaps synaptically (and syntactically) from sensation to affect, from self to cosmos, and from heartbreak to wonder. Under a literary constellation composed of William Blake, Henry David Thoreau, Vito Acconci, and Susan Howe, this poet invites us to join her in “building a house open to the elements.” The views from this exposed literary shelter are simply breathtaking. You can watch “mountains / like flame, / only slower.” Those unaccustomed to the cold at such altitudes are invited to wrap themselves in “mourning, the heaviest fabric.” Dentz shows us how to dwell in worlds far from home.”

—Srikanth Chicu Reddy

If Emily Dickinson wants to “Tell all the truth but tell it slant,” Shira Dentz wants “the lines to open. to be jagged, smeared, and tilted.”  That wish, expressed late in Dentz’s new book, does not substitute forthe deed, but describesthe deed performed by the poetry that precedes it. the sun a blazing zerois full of jagged, smeared, and tilted lines, of poems “open to the elements.”

H. L. Hix

In these poems, we find “a glint like an eye’s: yolk yellow, crayon thick,” a sonic “hue do” where senses intertwine and words lead one into the next breathlessly opening and opening again. Dentz’s poems leave spaces agape, even in their sonic onrush, to allow for “a question mark, which is by its space to be slept wafting.” Her porous poetics blankets the small and uncertain self in rich language that makes us more comfortable with loss, death, cold, and the unknown—those “blazing zeroes” where uncertainty becomes palpable. 

—Amaranth Borsuk

These fine-grained, loose-limbed poems stay lightly with the contact zone where senses meet day. The zone precipitates scenes and memories, hi-def images, half-words. Notation coalesces into sensate palmate structures, affective fractals, till moments wheel like murmurations. Blazing Zero is gestural, avid, and moving, multi-ways.

—Catherine Wagner

“Encompassing our past and present in a flirtatious and exuberant display of lyric immediacy, Dentz stretches our textural engagement with memory and history – feminism, the Holocaust, gardens and animals with texts that read like improvisatory jazz fugues. A pleasure to read and to look at.”

—Erica Baum

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Poetry Magazine, March issue

Check out the March 2019 issue of Poetry Magazine here, and my poems “Mango hats stood out from the rest” and “At the End of the Day

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Intensive Prose Poem Workshop this Weekend

This weekend, March 9–10, I’m teaching an intensive workshop on the prose poem at The Word Barn, 66 Newfields Road, in Exeter, NH. More info and registration here.

Space is limited, and registration is open until Friday, March 8–there are just three spots left!

In this two-day workshop, we’ll explore the elusive form of the prose poem through reading, discussion, writing experiments, and workshop. We’ll read and discuss prose poems by poets including Francis Ponge, Rosmarie Waldrop, Claudia Rankine, and Charles Simic, and unconventional writing prompts will follow each of our discussions. As prelude to each day’s class, we will do warm-up sensory/language experiments to flex your bodily sense-perceptions, language, and imagination, and we will conclude on the second day with an extended workhop that will give everyone the chance to refine at least one prose poem they drafted through this workshop.

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new poem in Entropy

The Birds

“A distinction not dissimilar from geometries of flight in darkness”

by Shira Dentz February 6, 2019

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Andrew Seguin reviews how do i net thee in Colorado Review

“Shira Dentz’s third full-length book, how do i net thee, begs the response its title invokes: “let me count the ways.” The ways of this collection are numerous, from the modified dictionary entry for “net” that announces the book’s scope with a long, curving black line that swoops in upon its text—a thread of the object being defined—to short lyrics to prose poems to typographical experiments. Who, or what, can be captured in such open forms is this book’s question, and it asks it in the aftermath of personal and familial loss.” Continue reading this review in Colorado Review here

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New reviews of how do i net thee

Rachel Abramowitz reviews how do i net thee in the new issue of Seneca Review

and Travis Sharp reviews how do i net thee at Entropy:

“… with globalized capitalism’s pernicious linking-together of everyone, everything, and everywhere, we could say that the grid is the current ordering of the world, how we are ordered into neat and tidy conceptual apartments (for everyone and everything has their place). At the same time, the grid is a metaphor for the most living need: the desire for filiation or connection, the threading-together of many into a messy and always-incomplete whole. It is within this complex and double-edged sense of the grid, or the net, that Shira Dentz’s how do i net thee works, as she threads together the messy and necessarily imperfect familial ties that serve as a throughline throughout the book, while at the same time composing poems that are deeply skeptical of the nets she casts—or is caught up within…

…Jill Magi’s frontispiece to the book provides a sense of this flailing grid, the squares contorted into curious shapes, and with loose trails of thread that betray the illusion of closedness or completion that a grid gives off. ” Read Travis Sharp’s full review at Entropy here

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Martin Corless-Smith considers how do i net thee in DIAGRAM


Henri Cole, Orphic Paris, NYRB, 2018; Shira Dentz, how do i net thee, Salmon Poetry, 2018; Galen Strawson, Things that bother me., NYRB, 2018

Reviewed by Martin Corless-Smith

“Unlike Cole on his melancholic literary tour, Dentz is not carving a memorial stone, she is more concerned with showing how strange it is that this language-thing might be played to show the on-going spectacle of being. One looks back, one looks forward.”

You can read the Corless-Smith’s  full meditative essay here

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The Best of the Best 2018: Heavy Feather Review Editors


Poet/Clark Coolidge

how do i net thee/Shira Dentz

The Boneyard, The Birth Manual: Investigations into the Heartland/Julia Madsen

Nicoque of the Early-Spring/Francis Ponge

Moon/Jennifer S. Cheng

Dear Angel of Death/Simone White

Of All Places In This Place Of All Places/Joe Milazzo

Lo Tercario, The Tertiary/Raquel Salas Rivera

The Scales/Adam Stutz

The Desert/Brandon Shimoda

Recombinant/Ching-In Chen

Dark Hour/Nadia de Vries

How to Tell If You Are Human/Jessy Randall

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Midwinter Day 40th Anniversary Reading with Bernadette Mayer

Saturday, Dec. 22, 2019, 12:30–6:30PM, Hudson River Coffee House, Albany, NY

St Rocco's Reading Series's photo.

Please join us for a complete reading through the great long poem Midwinter Day by Bernadette Mayer with the author. Also reading will be & other persons mentioned in the book; local poets & distant poets, traveling from far & wide to pay tribute to a legendary author and book.

Bernadette Mayer with
Lee Ann Brown
Katy Bohinc
Shira Dentz
Marcella Durand
Cole Heinowitz
Erica Kaufman
Amy King
Michael Ruby
Adam Tedesco
Tony Torn
Sam Truitt
Sara Jane Stoner
Kina Viola-Cain
Marty Viola-Cain
& others . . .

Thanks to all the readers. #BernadetteMayer #poetrySolstice #MidwinterDay

Posted by Kenning JP García on Saturday, December 22, 2018

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Thanks to Michael Schiavo for including my new poems, “Prism,” “Rain Loaves,” “the invention of heaven,” “imagine a day without pain,” and “wax moon” in the final series of THE EQUALIZER with poems by exciting poets Samuel Ace, Jeff Alessandrelli, Zachary Anderson, Rae Armantrout, Steve Barbaro, Alan Bernheimer, Elizabeth Bevilacqua, Cathleen Bonner, Ana Božičević, Julian Talamantez Brolaski, Simon Brown, Megan Burns, Jenna Cardinale, Ching-In Chen, Lauren Rose Clark, Shane Clements, Clark Coolidge, Jack Davis, Jordan Davis, Shira Dentz, Christopher DeWeese, Cody Donovan, Trezlen Drake, Carolina Ebeid, Zack Finch, Jessica Fisher, Graham Foust, Benjamin Friedlander, Schuyler Greenway, Phillip Griffith, Luke Hankins, Nathan Hauke, Maximilian Heinegg, Destiny Hemphill, Walidah Imarisha, Mason Just, Robin Kirby, Michael Lally, Ricardo Alberto Maldonado, Carlos Gomez Marquez, Maya Marshall, Charlie Martin, Farid Matuk, Charlee Meiners, Lynn Melnick, Catherine Meng, Sharon Mesmer, Philip Metres, Robert Mittenthal, Gina Myers, Sanjana Nair, Urayoán Noel, Alice Notley, Dylan Nutter, Jena Osman, John Pluecker, Alex Quinn, Raquel Salas Rivera, Anthony Robinson, Judith Roitman, Jan Sanderson, Adam Strauss, Jacob Sunderlin, Eileen R. Tabios, Adam Tedesco, TC Tolbert, Gabriella Torres, Sarah Trudgeon, Jennifer Tseng, Vickie Vértiz, Emylisa Warrick, Afaa Michael Weaver, Stephen Scott Whitaker, Geoffrey Young, Timothy Yu

Download it here!

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