May 2019


With Walt Whitman coverIn honor of Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday on May 31, Circling Rivers is offering signed copies of the paperback With Walt Whitman, Himself, by Jean Huets, for $30 (regular price is $34.99), with free shipping to US addresses. Get it here. Of the book, Bryan Monte of New Amsterdam Quarterly says, “With Walt Whitman, Himself is a beautiful, multi-media documentary of Whitman’s life and times.… Having read over a dozen books about Whitman and his written works, this is the first book I’ve seen which adequately describes Whitman’s immediate family and his ancestors, their influence on his life, and his parents’ and siblings’ response to his writing.” Full review here

New American Review’s Open Space will post daily annotations of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” beginning on May 31. Circling Rivers writer Nina Murray will contribute along with artists and thinkers Harold Bloom, Rosanne Cash, Billy Collins, Michael Cunningham, Ed Folsom, Erica Jong, Maxine Hong Kingston, Marjorie Perloff, Kenneth Price, Jody Williams, and many others.

For news on events celebrating Walt Whitman’s 200th, visit Whitman at 200, a Penn Libraries project, or Walt Whitman Initiative. If you’re a twitter-er, track #Whitmanat200


Alcestis coverNina read “Ghosts of Spies,” from Alcestis in the Underworld, at a “cruddy crypt” in historic Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia. (Credit/blame for camera work goes to Jean.) See it here

Chuck Ralston wrote a beautiful and in-depth review on LibraryThing: “Alcestis in the Underworld is in a tradition of poetry that informs and teaches as well as delights. William Carlos Williams’ “Paterson,” Charles Olson’s “Maximus,” Guy Davenport’s “Flowers and Leaves” come to mind. This reader looks forward to more poems from Nina Murray.” Full review here

Nina Murray described on her blog Hound Art the process of designing the cover for Alcestis in the Underworld. “The idea for this treatment–I kid you not–came to me while I was falling asleep. I love old maps as both historical and artistic artifacts, and I thought of using a map as a background image.”  Read it here.

Nina will be Poet-in-residence for the Summer Literary Seminar 2019 in Tbilisi, Georgia. More about it here


Loplop coverSome recent poems by Ken are in The Loch Raven Review and Collective Unrest. “Talking with Dad about Phones” is perhaps particularly poignant for those of us with aged parents.

Visit Circling Rivers to download / view a free PDF sample of Kenneth’s Loplop in a Red City — just a sample, a small part of the wonders the entire book offers. What does the sample have that the book doesn’t? Reproductions of several artworks that inspired Loplop, and the poet’s thoughts on how he transformed into poetry his heartfelt relationship with these artworks.


If you’re a map aficionado, you’ll find much browsing pleasure (and hi-resolution downloads) at the fabulous David Rumsey Historical Map Collection. The Rumsey Collection furnished several historic maps in With Walt Whitman, Himself, including Brooklyn, Long Island, and the United States maps found in the section on the US–Mexican War. The map of Moscow on the cover of Alcestis in the Underworld also came via the fabulous David Rumsey map collection. Check it out here.

The map of Moscow on the cover of Alcestis in the Underworld is by Richard Saul Wurman, architect, writer, and co-founder of TED Conferences. The map was made as part of a project that “enables comparison of 50 cities in different parts of the world at the same scale, 1:14,400. The image model of each city is reduced to essential elements….” More can be found at Urban Observatory.

Reprising their standing-room-only reading at Richmond bookstore Chop Suey, Nina Murray and Irene Mathieu, with Jessica Mehta, read and spoke at the Ralph J. Bunche Library at Department of State in Washington, DC. The evening was moderated by Anya Creightney, programs manager at the Library of Congress Poetry & Literature Center. The conversation ranged from the experience of race, to inventing a new poetic form, to the condition of being constantly read and interpreted while serving as a diplomat overseas.