Category Archives: Recent

Joanna Scott in the 2017 Ocean State Review

Joanna Scott is the author of twelve books, including the novels Arrogance, The Manikin, and Follow Me, and two collections of short fiction, Various Antidotes and Everybody Loves Somebody. Her new novel, Careers for Women, has just been published. She has received a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, and her books have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN-Faulkner, and the L.A. Book Award.

“The Palimpsest” is part of a series Scott is currently working on involving stories about real and invented books that have been lost, destroyed, forgotten, or remain unwritten.

excerpt from “The Palimpsest”

In a daguerreotype I have of my great-great grandfather Hercule, he is a boy, dressed in knickerbockers and a matching jacket fastened at the neck, trimmed with braids and buttons. A banded cap, seemingly too small for him, is perched on his head like a saucer. His lips are pressed tightly together, his cheeks puffed and dented with the Fourniers’ signature dimples. You don’t need to know the family stories about him to see that the boy in the daguerreotype has a mischievous glint in his eye. Clearly, he was a rascal who loved practical jokes. My hunch is that my great-great grandfather had been told that he mustn’t smile while the daguerreotypist was capturing his image, and his form of protest was to fill his cheeks with air and slowly emit a farting sound—that’s what we’d hear, I bet, if the daguerreotype came with audio.

        According to family lore, it was decided by his parents that Hercule would be trained in the apothecary profession. In preparation, he was sent to work for Monsieur Lambertine, a renowned chemist and inventor of a solution used to clean paints from zinc blocks. Tinctura Lambertina was popular with lithographers who were churning out colored advertisements and playing cards at the time. The patent made Lambertine a small fortune, and his laboratory functioned like a factory. Lambertine employed six apprentices, who prepared great vats of his signature potion for sale. Two boys were in charge of pounding minerals into dust, and another boy mixed the ingredients with alcohol. Three boys sweated over the boiling vats, stirring them continuously. Somehow my great-great grandfather secured himself the easiest job: pouring the finished product into half-pint jars.

        A small additional duty for Hercule was to carry a daily sample of the tincture to Lambertine to his laboratory on the upper floor, for the chemist to check for consistency. Lambertine was in search of new concoctions that would earn him additional patents and so was usually too busy with his beakers and vials to notice when Hercule set the jar on the table. But one day in September of 1847, he happened to look up when Hercule came in. In fact, Hercule would later report that Lambertine seemed to be waiting for him; he was standing on the opposite side of the table, his eyes fixed on the door, and when Hercule entered, the red-faced old chemist, sprouting a few wiry white tufts from his otherwise bald head, sneered and licked his lips as if he were about to spring on his apprentice and gobble him up. My great-great grandfather Hercule was justly unnerved and so couldn’t be blamed when the jar in his trembling hand tipped and the tincture spilled across a letter that happened to be laid out on the table.

In the 2016 Ocean State Review: Fred Marchant, Rachel M. Harper, and Beth Ayer

photo by Stefi Rubin
photo by Stefi Rubin


Fred Marchant’s fifth book of poetry, Said Not Said, is forthcoming in May 2017 from Graywolf Press. The poems in this book hover at the horizon of language, that place where what is said can only point beyond to that which is crucial yet one barely has any words for.

Continue reading In the 2016 Ocean State Review: Fred Marchant, Rachel M. Harper, and Beth Ayer

Paul Petrie (1928-2012) poet and University of Rhode Island professor, featured in the 2016 Ocean State Review

Paul Petrie
Paul Petrie


Paul Petrie (1928-2012) was born in Detroit, Michigan in an area which, at that time, was on the outskirts of the city. After receiving a BA (1950) and MA (1951) from Wayne University, he spent two years in the Army during the Korean War, the latter part in Alaska supposedly working in intelligence.

Continue reading Paul Petrie (1928-2012) poet and University of Rhode Island professor, featured in the 2016 Ocean State Review

In the 2015 Ocean State Review: Rusty Morrison, Dan Chelotti, Lisa Fay Coutley, and Casey Thayer

Rusty Morrison
Rusty Morrison


Rusty Morrison’s Beyond the Chainlink (Ahsahta) was a finalist for the NCIBA and also for the NCBA Awards in Poetry. After Urgency (Tupelo) won The Dorset Prize. the true keeps calm biding its story (Ahsahta) won the Sawtooth Prize, the Academy of American Poet’s James Laughlin Award, the Northern California Book Award, & the DiCastagnola Award from Poetry Society of America. Whethering (The Center for Literary Publishing), won the Colorado Prize for Poetry. Book of the Given was published by Noemi Press. She has received the Bogin, Hemley, Winner, and DiCastagnola Awards from PSA. Her poems &/or essays recently have appeared in Boston Review, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Lana Turner, Pen Poetry Series, Prelude, VOLT, and elsewhere. Her poems have been anthologized in the Norton Postmodern American Poetry 2nd Edition, The Arcadia Project: Postmodern Pastoral, Beauty is a Verb, The Sonnets: Translating and Rewriting Shakespeare and elsewhere. She has been co-publisher of Omnidawn ( since 2001.

Continue reading In the 2015 Ocean State Review: Rusty Morrison, Dan Chelotti, Lisa Fay Coutley, and Casey Thayer

In the 2015 Ocean State Review: Michael Palmer, Jo-Ann Reid, Ajani Burell, and Darley Stewart

Michael Palmer
Michael Palmer


Michael Palmer has lived in San Francisco since 1969. His most recent collections are Active Boundaries (Selected Essays and Talks) (New Directions, 2008), Madman With Broom (selected poems, with Chinese translations by Yunte Huang, Oxford University Press, 2011) and Thread (New Directions 2011). His latest collaboration with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, Times Bones, had its San Francisco premiere in April 2014. He has taught at various universities in the United States, Europe and Asia and published translations from a variety of languages, in particular French, Russian and Brazilian Portuguese. A new poetry collection, The Laughter of the Sphinx, will appear from New Directions in the winter of 2015.

Continue reading In the 2015 Ocean State Review: Michael Palmer, Jo-Ann Reid, Ajani Burell, and Darley Stewart

Jerry Williams, poet and memoirist, etc., in the upcoming 2015 Ocean State Review

Definitive photo

Biographically Speaking

Jerry Williams’ entire family, on both sides, originated from Harlan, Kentucky, a coal town in the southeastern part of the Bluegrass State, a place of great importance to labor historians and country singers. His ancestry consists mostly of alcoholics and pill addicts, xenophobes, agoraphobes, preachers, toothless Felliniesque pinheads, veterans of foreign wars with unidentifiable diseases, attempted murderers, moonshiners and bootleggers, racists, golfers, magicians, disability royalty, suicides, freemasons, one cop killer, and a legion of mourners. Before he arrived on the scene, his mother and father and his two sisters moved north to Dayton, Ohio, birthplace of African-American poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Guided by Voices, and sibling aviators Orville and Wilbur Wright. Over the years, he has been an infant; a child; an adolescent; an adult; a gym rat; an undergraduate at Vermont College, where he received a B.A. in English; singer in a band named after a Sam Shepard play; landscaper; typist; bartender; delivery driver (auto parts); cashier; telephone solicitor; dishwasher; librarian’s assistant; Los Angeleno; San Franciscan; Princetonian; Tucsonan (he did an M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Arizona); as well as a reluctant Stillwaterian, where he earned a Ph.D. in Creative Writing at Oklahoma State University.

Continue reading Jerry Williams, poet and memoirist, etc., in the upcoming 2015 Ocean State Review

An audio conversation between literary nonfictionist Mary Cappello and poet Peter Covino

Literary nonfictionist Mary Cappello and poet Peter Covino interview each other on the matter of “beauty” in their work and the work they love to read; on anti-beauty, un-beauty, disruptive beauty, and uncontained beauty in poetry and the essay. On trauma and poetic practice; on writing violence and literary nonfiction; on letting the wild in; on queer Italian/Americana; on the contrapuntal and distillate forms; on lyrical space, confluent energies, writing light. And plaid. The conversation was recorded at the University of Rhode Island December 2012, by Justin H. Brierley for The Beauty Salon, a radio program that explores everyday aesthetics in and around Rhode Island.




Bobby Elliott, “Dissenting,” from the 2014 Ocean State Review


I want you on my desk again.
I want you on the roof
in Salvador. So I want you
on the stairs and in the shower, too.
In my bed, in the small of yours.
Against a bright wall and close
to a hallway. A puddle can’t keep
from being shallow,
but a young man can,
is that right? A young man can sit out
on the curb becoming
a river of decency in the rain.

Continue reading Bobby Elliott, “Dissenting,” from the 2014 Ocean State Review

Thank you, Rachel May

Hello, my name is Charles Kell and I am the new senior editor of The Ocean State Review. Everyone here at OSR would like to thank Rachel for her outstanding dedication and effort in bringing the journal to its current state of success. For three years Rachel has been involved in gathering an array of disparate, important voices into The Ocean State Review. I hope to build upon what she has already accomplished. I thank Rachel for her help and wish her luck in the future and congratulations with her successful book, Quilting with a Modern Slant: People, Patterns, and Techniques Inspiring the Modern Quilt Community.

In Celebration of OSR 2014, A Conversation: Robin Becker & Amy Hoffman

In celebration of the release of our fourth annual issue, we’re delighted to publish online this conversation between two OSR contributors, Amy Hoffman and Robin Becker. Hoffman’s work was published in last year’s issue, when her memoir, Lies About My Family, was released, and Becker’s poems appear in this year’s publication; her collection Tiger Heron was published in early 2014 to great reviews.

We’re honored to include this conversation here, and offer thanks to Robin Becker and Amy Hoffman for generously sharing this with all of us.

Continue reading In Celebration of OSR 2014, A Conversation: Robin Becker & Amy Hoffman