A Preview of ‘The Habiliments’ by Joe Milazzo in “Don’t Do It”

Have a look at this preview of the brilliant work forthcoming from Apostrophe Books by Joe Milazzo in the London quarterly magazine “Don’t Do It”:

7 poems from ‘The Habiliments’

&NOW 2015 — Blast Radius: Reading & Discussion with 5 Apostrophe Authors

Join us at &NOW 2015:

California Institute of the Arts

Valencia, CA

March 25-28, 2015

Apostrophe Reading & Discussion: Thursday, March 26 • 2:30pm – 3:45pm

Although Apostrophe Books has defined itself as a publisher of “innovative poetry,” our authors have transgressed even this label by making all generic categories of writing somewhat suspect. From Tony Trigilio’s conceptual deformation of Don DeLillo’s White Noise to Joe Milazzo’s bizarre and haunting palimpsests to Gina Abelkop’s sinister and surreal mock romances, Apostrophe writers don’t simply perform “interventions on movements, canons, timelines, and other gatekeepers of the status quo,” they eschew whatever’s on the other side of those gates all together.

The mantra at Apostrophe is not simply innovation, but pataphysical innovation. This means the philosophy of the absurd, the ecology of hypothetical experience, the science of imaginary solutions. Our authors challenge categories and genre distinctions most often associated with literature and poetry via discourse that intersects philosophy, cultural studies, theory, and, especially, pataphysics. By investigating language and consciousness through conceptual operations, parody & pastiche, Oulipo-like methods, surrealist conceits, and cross-genre experiments, these writers expand potential definitions of literature. The intersection of poetic discourse with pataphysics involves an “anti-metaphysical” trajectory that delights in the uncertain and indeterminate nature of human experience; a kind of postmodern negative capability. Our writers subvert the idea of a “well-crafted” poem by disclosing its own operations and undermining presumptions about what constitutes a poem.

After a short introduction from the editors (Mark Tursi and Richard Greenfield), five APOSTROPHE authors (Tony Trigilio, Joe Milazzo, Catherine Meng, Gina Abelkop and Johannes Göransson) will read their work. A panel discussion with the writers and editors concerning the characteristics of our aesthetic followed by questions from the audience.

2014 Reading Period Now Closed

Thanks everyone for submitting to the 2014 reading period. If you had any technical difficulties or have any queries about the process, please feel free to contact us at editor@apostrophebooks.org. We expect it will take between three and six months to read through the submissions and make our decision.

2014 Open Reading Period

Apostrophe Books is pleased to announce our upcoming open reading period. We will be accepting poetry manuscripts from September 1, 2014 to December 1, 2014.

While we define ourselves as a press that publishes innovative poetry, our prior titles represent a broad spectrum of approaches to contemporary poetry. To get a sense of the kind of work we are interested in as editors, just read our books by Catherine Meng, Johannes Göransson, Paul Foster Johnson, Jessica Baran, Gina Abelkop, Tony Trigilio, and soon, Joe Milazzo. We invite those who are unfamiliar with our press to purchase copies of our titles before submitting to us.

We are also very open to considering translations!

We view Apostrophe Books as a series, so our book covers are designed to reflect a community of authors with shared values. We are distributed by SPD Books.

It can take anywhere from three to nine months for us to respond to submissions. For more information about our press, visit our website apostrophebooks.org. If you are interested in submitting, please follow the guidelines below:

Word doc files or rtf files are preferred. If you must send a PDF to maintain formatting, please contact editor@apostrophebooks.org for special instructions. Length is not really a consideration, but keep in mind that the typical full-length poetry manuscript is between 50-100 pages. We can accept manuscripts of any length, however.

Please include name, address, phone number, and email address on the title page or the cover letter.

Please feel free to provide a cover letter that describes the book. Sometimes, this helps us to think about the book in a way that may not have been coming across to us otherwise.

You may wish to include in that letter a list of previous publications or links to blogs or online projects, but it is not required.

When submitting your manuscript, we request a reading fee of $15.00. This fee, in total transparency, provides some of the funds used to pay for costs of print runs. We pay out for the press out of our pocket and have never made a profit. Neither of the editors personally profits from this fee. A portion of this fee is collected by Submittable.

If you can’t pay this reading fee, contact editor@apostrophebooks.org with a note letting us know. We will offer an alternative method for submitting your manuscript. If you are able to pay this fee, you can submit your manuscript here:


Forthcoming New Title: ‘The Habiliments’ by Joe Milazzo

Joe Milazzo Reading at the Davis Foundry Gallery in Dallas, TX


The editors at Apostrophe Books are delighted to announce a forthcoming new title: THE HABILIMENTS by Joe Milazzo. The manuscript was selected after a close reading of a truly superb pool of submissions in our 2013 reading period. We hope all of our readers will agree with us that Milazzo’s Habiliments is an extraordinary work. Book abstract and author bio below . . . .
Early in his poetry debut, The Habiliments, Joe Milazzo asks, “What if you are among the dis- / illusionments? What if yours is / the rescue that everyone is always / saying they’re getting the hell /out of?” This strange ironic transference turns illusion into a kind of metonymy of self-identity and conflates escape with hell. In Milazzo’s linguistic landscape “backyards explode with palaces,” “the bones of rationale begin to knob and peep,” “bone dreams merely of a snowmen’s chorus” and “your westward affections run senile like a river.” Quotidian reality wears a new syntactical and semantic garb as each poem seems to unravel language and a circadian rotation of “dreams”— ambiguously of sleep, of aspiration, of nonsense, of the fantastic, or of the banal. If Milazzo’s poems are a kind of ‘dream song,’ they are constructed in radically different ways than John Berryman’s (though there are certainly formal echoes of that poet’s phantasmagoric layers). In Milazzo’s dream songs, Berryman’s angst and sorrow collide with John Ashbery’s metaphysics of erosion, Rosmarie Waldrop’s semantic drifting, and John Yau’s surreal atmospherics. An odd paradox underlies all of these poems in that the ‘habiliments’ themselves simultaneously refer to dressing and stripping bare. An alternative and archaic meaning of the word ‘habiliments’ suggests a verb that means “to reduce a tree by stripping off the branches.” In these poems, that meaning is revealed in metonymy and synecdoche whereby ‘habiliment’ becomes both reduction by stripping and construction by dressing. Obsessive palimpsests return to scenes to harrowingly dress and strip bare—alter and erase. The accouterments, costumes, objects, and trappings in which we construct identity are woven into a tapestry of memory, dream, forgetting, and, ultimately, grief. Meditating on the hour-to-hour dwelling within this grief, the poet inhabits space, reading the objects and the activities once pursued by the living. From breakfast eggs eaten in a kitchen to a glass of water on a bedroom end table to a mown lawn, Milazzo takes these familiar domestic habits and presents them within ghostly galleries of “cartoony partitions” where shadows wait “at each crossing/, for the me/ that might be ahead/, that me chasing the assurance/ of one last fading ray.” Milazzo uses allusion, antimeria, neologisms, conversions, and logical disruptions, as well as a deep attention to the elusive uncertainties of language to explore how words simultaneously succeed and fail to express emotion, describe reality, or make sense of our relationship with others.
Joe Milazzo is the author of the novel Crepuscule W/ Nellie (Jaded Ibis). His writings have appeared in The Collagist, Drunken Boat, H_NGM_N and Black Clock (among others), and are forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Tarpaulin Sky, and Whiskey Island. Joe co-edits the online interdisciplinary arts journal [out of nothing] and is also the proprietor of Imipolex Press. Joe lives and works in Dallas, TX, and his virtual location ishttp://www.slowstudies.net/jmilazzo/.

Jacket2 Interview: Tyler Mills & Tony Trigilio on ‘White Noise’


“Flarf is one of the closest conceptual aesthetic contexts for the book, and I totally understand that readers come to this as a Flarf-like book. I learned about Flarf during the early stages of this project, in 2004, and I immediately felt a sense of kindred spirit between this project and what the Flarf writers were doing.

But White Noise, I think, is guided by an aesthetic that’s different from Flarf. In White Noise, I’m trying to do more than ironically replicate the condition of language-saturation created by Internet discourse . . . ” Read the entire of the interview HERE.

Apostrophe Books @ AWP Seattle 2014


Ghost Proposal, Lettered Streets Press and Apostrophe Books are teaming up to bring you an excellent Friday evening reading at AWP. The reading is at the Black Coffee Coop 501 E Pine St, Seattle, Washington 98122 on Friday 2/28 @ 6:30pm. Featured readers:

Tony Trigilio
Joshua Young
Alexis Pope
Thomas Patrick Levy
Brian Oliu
Daniel Scott Parker
Gina Abelkop
Jessica Baran

Black Coffe Coop 2

And, once again, Apostrophe Books will be part of the AWP Book Fair. Our booth will be located with New Mexico State University: BB4 & BB5. Come by and say hello and peruse all our titles! Stay tuned for information about book signings and other author events.