Donald Illich (2024)

Love Poems on Bar Napkins

Donald Illich’s Love Poems on Bar Napkins, a collection of modern sonnets about the indie music scene, is part of our 2024 in-house chapbook series.

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Please note that the author has kindly donated 100% of the proceeds to us to help promote this series and to publish more books in the series in the future.

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Belly up to a bar, it would be easy for a poet (or a gigging musician!) to turn toward the maudlin, with heavy blues accompaniment. Any other direction at all is a heck of an accomplishment in this 21st century, though, and Donald Illich’s new collection, Love Poems on Bar Napkins, takes us on an emotional ride every which way the compass points. Equal parts Stan Lee, Dali, punk Lothario, Philip Larkin gazing though a high window, and archangel smiling down from a rooftop, these poems define desire, and dependency, and appreciation, and fantasy, and regret in every line. In turns honest, sincere, playful, surreal, and beyond, Illich bares heart in this one, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was touched. You will be, too, no doubt.

Dr. Jack B. Bedell, Ghost Forest, Against the Woods' Dark Trunks, Poet Laureate of Louisiana, 2017 - 2019

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“Since my dreams didn’t want to go to bed…” says Donald Illich. And it’s good news for us, because he wrote those dreams for our unending delight. These verses of loving and longing for women are uninterrupted witticisms in a floating world of good humor. The monologues may be true feelings, but they’re made all the better wrapped in fantasy and lyricism. Each page, fiercely tender, with a single point of view, creates a character of yearning β€” an id shaped by prosody β€” what could be better? You’ll read this book over and again.

Grace Cavalieri, Maryland State Poet Laureate

Review Copies

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About the Author

Donald Illich’s work appears in such journals as the Iowa Review, LIT, Nimrod, Passages North, Rattle, Fourteen Hills, The Louisville Review, Cimmaron Review, Map Literary, Spork, Cream City Review, and Sixth Finch.

Donald has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and received a scholarship from the Nebraska Summer Writers Conference. He won Honorable Mention in the Washington Prize book contest and was a β€œDiscovery” / Boston Review 2008 Poetry Contest semi-finalist. Gold Wake Press named his full-length manuscript a finalist during their 2015 open reading.

His work has been anthologized in A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry and City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry.

Donald published a chapbook, Rocket Children, in 2012, and published another chapbook in 2016, The Art of Dissolving, with Finishing Line Press. His full-length manuscript, Chance Bodies, was published in 2018 by The Word Works.

Love Poems on Bar Napkins is his most recent book, and his second with Red Ogre Review.

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