DROP JAW by Rikki Santer

By Dianne Borsenik

Drop Jaw is a brilliant concept book of poems about ventriloquists and their dolls/dummies. After visiting the International Ventriloquist Vent Haven Convention in July, 2019, Rikki Santer pursued investigating the art of ventriloquism at the Vent Haven Museum. The Vent Haven Museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky, houses more than 900 dolls used by ventriloquists from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, and is the world’s only museum dedicated to ventriloquism.

With references, sometimes overt and sometimes oh-so-subtle, to Charlie McCarthy, Señor Wences, Darci Lynne Farmer, Lamb Chop, and Jeff Dunham’s Achmed, the poems in this book sing with appreciation for the cultural touchstones of ventriloquism. Santer lays bare the search for identity between ventriloquist and doll, exploring both inner and outer dialogues.

Praise for Drop Jaw:

Rikki Santer is that rarest of poetssomeone more interested in the investigation of other lives than in meticulously documenting her own inner weather. She seems fascinated by the intimate minutiae of “ordinary history,” from her previous book on the decades-long presence of the Kahiki Supper Club in Columbus, Ohio, a dismantled cultural landmark that now lives on in her poems, to this new study, Drop Jaw, where like some kind of surrealistic sociologist, she lets us wander through the inner history of the ventriloquist’s world. As such, through this wild documentary tourpart historical record, but more often a verbal play on where voices come fromshe becomes the poet of mirrored second-hand through the transformation of her language, where who is speaking is as much a mystery as where all those many thrown voices were coming from. Do they arise from lips that appear not to be moving as all, or from the poet herself, imagining the twisted avenues inside these dreams-out-of-timeas she puts it, a kind of “vaudeville language with wings”?

Terry Hermsen, author of The River’s Daughter (Bottom Dog Press, 2008) and A House for Last Year’s Summer (Bottom Dog Press, 2017)

Drop Jaw pursues the kind of space only the traveling voice occupies. These lines dutifully collide as concrete and illusion, a surprising arrangement of precise details and sound. Santer’s poems perform a trick within a trick: where craft is in complete control, each word plucked and places on a tight wire. Here, carefully constructed imagery and diction inhabit oddities and a precarious politiceach rendering, an unknown and in between, like the dead air listening closely.

Dionne Custer Edwards, poet, educator, creator of Pages at the Wexner Center for the Arts

Drop Jaw, printed on creamy ivory paper, contains thirty-two pages with eighteen poems. It also features a full-color art piece within its pages, “Brainyo” by Dana St. Mary. “Brainyo” originally appeared in Rattle‘s Ekphrastic Challenge, October, 2019. Permission was given by both the editor of Rattle, Timothy Green, and the artist, Dana St. Mary, to reproduce the image in Drop Jaw, for which we are grateful.

Many thanks to Jeanette Powers, who graciously consented to my Photo Lab PRO manipulation of their photograph to use for the front cover of Drop Jaw. Is the figure the ventriloquist or the doll? Has the figure been turned into fragmented mirrors? Is the figure throwing something (throwing the voice)? The tattoo on the right arm says it all: Know Thyself.

About the author:

Rikki Santer’s poetry has appeared in numerous publications both nationally and abroad, including Ms. Magazine, Poetry East, Margie: The American Journal of Poetry, Crab Orchard Review, Grimm, Hotel Amerika, and Slipstream. Her work has received many honors, including five Pushcart and three Ohioana Book Award nominations, as well as grants from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She earned a M.A. degree in journalism from Kent State University and a M.F.A. degree in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.
To celebrate the release of Drop Jaw, Rikki has scheduled a book launch that will feature ventriloquist Bob Abdou, a.k.a. Mr. Puppet, at the Streetlight Guild, 1367 E. Main Street, Columbus, Ohio, on March 3, 2020, at 8 p.m. This promises to be an evening to remember!

You can order your very own copy of Drop Jaw here, through PayPal, for only $12 plus $4 shipping/handling! Order your copy today!

(U.S. customers only; out-of-country customers please contact NightBallet Press publisher Dianne Borsenik for information on the cost of postage)

Source:: NightBallet Press

Alex in Movieland (1943-1973) – by Alex Gildzen (CC#111)

By J.B.

Crisis Chronicles Press is honored and ecstatic to celebrate Valentine’s Day with the publication of Alex in Movieland (1943-1973), a major work by one of our favorite writers and artists, Alex Gildzen.

Alex in Movieland is a monumental work defying easy categorization. It is memoir, list, poetry, history and more, all in one, reading like a movie of the author’s life in book form, replete with juicy detail. This new volume is 150 pages, perfect bound, 5.5 x 8.5″. ISBN: 978-1-64092-947-0. Front cover art by the author. Available now for only $12 from Crisis Chronicles Press, 3431 George Avenue, Parma, Ohio 44134 USA.

US or Elsewhere?
U.S. Addresses $12.00 USDOutside the U.S. $16.00 USD

Click here to read a 2009 Otoliths interview with Gildzen wherein he talks about the origins and evolution of Alex in Movieland which he began writing in
1996 and is still writing. Our new Crisis Chronicles volume is the first time the entire first thirty years of it have appeared in print.

Alex Gildzen
lives in Palm Springs where he writes every day. In the past year his poems have appeared in the anthologies “Love Jets” and “The End of the World Project.” He also makes art from collages to conceptual pieces such as “The Century Dimes” and “Box of Little Bags.” In addition he’s become a model with and without clothes for artists and photographers.

Source:: Crisis Chronicles Press

Happy Valentine’s Day/Anti-Valentine’s Day from Thirteen Myna Birds! The NEW February flock has arrived!

By Juliet Blood Pudding

“she is a boastful follower, possessed by the god she’s with – the bright red & warm layer of meat – Red nosed clown stickers – she just fell right through – i heard piercing cries – their faces appear as shadows in windows – we understood no one would care whether you jumped or i was pushed…”
Happy Valentine’s Day/Anti-Valentine’s Day from Thirteen Myna Birds! The NEW February flock has now arrived and is filled with poetry and art by Eileen Murphy, MISH, Jonie McIntire, Sandra Feen, John Sweet, Daniel G. Snethen, and John Compton.
HERE – Infinity of Touch by Sandra Feen

Source:: Blood Pudding Press

HELLO My name is DOLL

By Juliet Blood Pudding

More creepy little bunches of the newest Blood Pudding Press poetry chapbook, PEDIOPHOBIA by Daniel G. Snethen (including cover art by Josh Birrittieri), have been prepared to circulate their way into the world.

You can acquire a copy for yourself here –

Source:: Blood Pudding Press

Could your creative work be a part of a future Thirteen Myna Birds flock?

By Juliet Blood Pudding

As of right now, the forthcoming February flock of Thirteen Myna Birds has one remaining spot in the flock for a uniquely wonderful poem or piece of art. Could it be yours?

You can join forces with the creative offerings of other poetry/art by Sandra Feen, Eileen Murphy/MISH, John Sweet, Daniel G. Snethen, and John Compton, all of whose work will be appearing within that February flock.

Of course as of right now, the current January flock of Myna Birds (the first of 2020) is still available for your perusal, featuring creative offerings from some of the poets/artists named above and also John Grey, Ashley Cox, Aaron Pride, and Wayne F Burke.

Read the current offerings and consider submitting to Thirteen Myna Birds if you think your creative offerings might be a good fit among the other oddities. The guidelines appear near the middle right of the flock.

Source:: Blood Pudding Press

The DUSIE Kollektiv 9 is now available online (including the Blood Pudding Press poetry chapbook, DARK PURPLE INTERSECTIONS…)!

By Juliet Blood Pudding

The DUSIE kollektiv 9 : for Marthe Reed

curated by elisabeth workman & susana gardner

Now available to read online HERE –

Source:: Blood Pudding Press

Happy (Disturbingly Dark) 2020 from Thirteen Myna Birds! Dive into this new flock (the first of 2020) and try not to drown!

By Juliet Blood Pudding

The first Thirteen Myna Birds Flock of 2020 has arrived and it is sad, dark, unsettling, spooky, and filled with dolls!

Sad broken hooked dolls filled with black holes and death!

Offering poetry and art by Daniel Snethen, Sandra Feen, John Grey, MISH, John Sweet, Ashley Cox, Eileen Murphy, Aaron Pride, and Wayne F Burke.

“through enameled bobbing horses against the centripetal force – You’re awakened in early light by blood dripping from the ceiling – Something’s Up – the sound of baby bones breaking – in broken-down beds – I am a terminal node branched away from the circuit of perfection – my eyes crash through their sockets and I flail at the darkness – sometimes it hurts to be alone – Nurse, can you up the pain meds?”

Read me please – lost boy by Ashley Cox and MISH

Source:: Blood Pudding Press

NEW in Burning House Press – The New World Doll Dresser by Juliet Cook and j/j hastain

By Juliet Blood Pudding

“…Hollyhock dolls with prisms in their eyes
and corpses hiding under their dresses
until the dresses rot away.
After all, every doll dies,
but first they sacrifice a human.”

within the poem “The New World Doll Dresser” by Juliet Cook and j/j hastain, up at Burning House Press’s Vision issue

Source:: Blood Pudding Press

NEW in the January 2020 issue of Ghost City Review! – OTHERWORLDLY FORCE FIELD by Juliet Cook and j/j hastain

By Juliet Blood Pudding

“A herd of deer across the street stare at me, as if
trying to determine if I’m friend or foe
but I don’t know the answer. What if I’m rabid?
All I know is I want my hair to be the color of a fawn,
but it just keeps turning white.”
from the poem “OTHERWORLDLY FORCE FIELD” by j/j hastain and Juliet Cook
delighted to have this poem appearing in the NEW January Issue of GHOST CITY REVIEW and excited to read the rest of the issue 🖤💙🖤

Source:: Blood Pudding Press

NEW in Pink Plastic House (a tiny journal) – Keychains as Treats by Juliet Cook!

By Juliet Blood Pudding

“”I imagined them eating human feet
that tried to escape from the pen
in which they were planted.””
in Juliet Cook’s poem “Keychains as Treats” which appears in Pink Plastic House a tiny journal today! (Yesterday it was on Instagram; today it’s in the tiny journal).
Here’s what poet/editor Kristin Garth says about it and you can read more and decide for yourself, HERE – https://kristingarth.com/
“Today in the Pink Plastic House (a tiny journal) we will visit the kitchen. Bring your appetite for a bit of grotesque glitter witch magic because Juliet Cook is cooking and she is serving “Keychains as Treats,” and they are intense.” 🖤

Source:: Blood Pudding Press