Wednesday, September 9, 2009

John Amen's AT THE THRESHOLD OF ALCHEMY Due Out October 1

Poems such as these, and there are plenty in this book — John Amen’s third — keep resounding in the mind the way great poetry does...

RICARDO NIRENBERG, Offcourse Literary Journal

John Amen's third book
to be released from Presa Press

~ October 1 ~

At the Threshold of Alchemy is a brutally realistic book of poetry. By immersing himself in the particular details of his most meaningful moments, John Amen transforms hurt into poems that are both imagistic & lyrically expressive. With metaphoric daring and offbeat grace, he guides us through haunting and sometimes violent memories of roving through America’s southland. Includes the major 260 line poem-sequence “Portraits of Mary,” hailed by poet Jared Smith as “perhaps the most complex, intricate, and thoroughly honest love poem in all of contemporary poetry.” Holding a compass below the stars, his surreal imagery unfolds like origami. A thoroughly human book of memorable poems of great intensity by one of our best younger poets.

John Amen flexes verbal muscles in lively poems filled with metaphoric daring and offbeat grace. He guides us through a haunting and sometimes violent
world as he draws mythological and Biblical references, entwined with wild memories of roving through America’s southland.

There is a memorable and intense beauty in these poems, and their excitement deserves an attentive audience.


THOMAS LUX writes of John Amen's debut collection: "Christening the Dancer is an intense, vivid, and stunning first book. "

John Amen is the author of three collections of poetry: Christening the Dancer (Uccelli Press 2003), More of Me Disappears (Cross-Cultural Communications 2005), and At the Threshold of Alchemy (Presa 2009), and has released two folk/folk rock CDs, All I’ll Never Need and Ridiculous Empire (Cool Midget 2004, 2008). His poetry has appeared in various journals and anthologies, including, most recently, Rattle, The New York Quarterly, The International Poetry Review, Gargoyle, and Blood to Remember. He is also an artist, working primarily with acrylics on canvas. Amen travels widely giving readings, doing musical performances, and conducting workshops. He founded and continues to edit the award-winning literary bimonthly, The Pedestal Magazine (

JIMMY SANTIAGO BACA describes Amen's second collection, More of Me Disappears, as "chock full of electric lines that sting the senses."

~Selected Events~

10/05/2009. Reading in Sacramento, CA 7:30PM Sacramento Poetry Center. 1719 25th St; Sacramento, CA 95816. 916.979.9706. Co-feature with Scott Weiss. For additional info, contact Tim Kohl:

10/06/2009. Reading in Redondo Beach, CA 8PM Redondo Poets Series. Coffee Cartel; 1820 South Catalina Ave (cross street: Elena Ave); Redondo Beach, CA. 310.316.6554. For additional info, contact Larry Colker:

10/07/2009. Reading in Fallbrook, CA 5:45PM Fallbrook's Writers Series. Café des Artistes; 103 S. Main St; Fallbrook, CA For additional info, contact KB Gressitt:

10/09/2009. Workshop and reading in Modesto, CA Workshop, 6-7PM; Reading, 7:30-8PM, followed by open mic. Horizon Room; Homewood Village Mobile Home Park; 2000 Mable Ave; Modesto, CA. 209.522.1412 To reserve for the workshop and/or get additional info, contact Cleo Griffith by phone: 209.543.1776 or by email: The cost for the workshop is $20 and includes a copy of John's new collection, At the Threshold of Alchemy.

10/11/2009. Reading in San Francisco, CA 4PM Valona Poetry Series. Valona Deli; 1323 Pomona St; Crockett, CA. 510.787.2022. For additional info, contact Connie Post:

10/14/2009. Reading in Woodbridge, NJ Reading at 8PM, preceded by short and informal workshop at 7PM. Poets Wednesday Series. Barron Arts Center. 582 Rahway Ave; Woodbridge, NJ. 07095 For additional info, contact Deborah LaVeglie:

10/16/2009. Reading in New York, NY 6PM Son of a Pony Poetry Series. Cornelia Street Cafe. 29 Cornelia St; New York, NY. 212.989.9319. For additional info, contact Kathi Georges:

10/18/2009. Reading in New York, NY 5PM NY Phoenix Series. Bengal Curry. 65 West Broadway; New York, NY. For additional info, contact George Spencer:

11/07/2009: Reading in Charlottesville, VA 11AM The Virginia Writers Club (Annual Conference); held at the OMNI Hotel in Charlottesville; 235 West Main St; Charlottesville, VA 22902. 434.971-5500. For additional info, contact Sarah Collins Honenberger:


For more information and to order you copy visit Presa Press online at

or the author's website at

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