4 questions for Jane Rosenberg LaForge

Jane Rosenberg LaForge, author of the new chapbook, In Remembrance of the Life, responds to a few questions from our summer intern Katelyn Tarasiewicz, an English major at Millersville University of Pennsylvania.


What got you started/interested in writing? Did you start out in fiction or poetry?

“I started out in prose; in journalism, specifically, although I wrote a lot of bad poetry as a junior and senior high school student. I was always interested in writing, probably because my parents were readers and they revered writers. They were also news junkies, which got me interested in journalism. I worked as a journalist for about 12 years and then I went to graduate school and got an MFA in fiction. After I had my daughter I had no time to write prose and everything became poetry. Now I write more poetry although I don’t necessarily consider myself a poet.”

Do you have any writers/poets that have influenced you, in your past or present writings? Any that specifically influenced you for In Remembrance of the Life?

“I’d say that many writers have influenced me, but no one writer influenced this particular chapbook. Kate Braverman was the first writer who ever took me seriously, so she’s had a huge influence on me. John Edgar Wideman was my thesis advisor in graduate school and he writes fiction, although he’s read some of my poetry and said it reads like a novel. Jay Neugeboren also helped me out a lot in graduate school but I can’t say he influenced me on this project. There are a lot of poets that I love, such as Natasha Trethewey and Gillian Conoley; as well as the women who wrote blurbs for me, Leslie McGrath and Chella Courington; but they really weren’t an influence here. I did very deliberately use a Sylvia Plath poem in one instance here, because I was fooling around with the ideas that Plath used, so I could set off my obsession in a different way. But I think what influenced me the most was a funeral notice for a friend that began, “In remembrance of the life.” That really did it for me.”

You have written another book before, An Unsuitable Princess: A True Fantasy/A Fantastical Memoir. How does writing poetry differ from writing a fictional story?

“For me, writing poetry is like putting out a little news bulletin; grabbing a little bit of time and hardening it so I can remember what it felt like even though it’s rather ephemeral or fleeting. So it’s much more like journalism than actual prose writing is. That said, I pay a lot more attention to sound and rhythm in poetry than I do with prose. With prose, I’m looking for an entirely different effect, kind of a more long-term and global impact; and I have a lot of other goals, such as nailing down a certain characteristic in a character, or making some kind of pedantic point; or dramatizing something that needs to happen in order for the rest of the story or argument to go forward.”

This new chapbook focuses on remembering people that you have lost. Was it hard to write about that since it is such a sad topic?

“I think most of my work is about remembering people or places that I have lost so it was no harder to write the chapbook than it was anything else. What was difficult was maintaining the intensity of feeling I had been dealing with for about five years to the point that I could call on it in any time and put it into words. There was one death in particular that seemed so senseless to me and I think that it galvanized a lot of the ideas I was carrying around in my head, and that’s what led to the chapbook. I wanted in the beginning to make the chapbook all about that one person, but I realized I couldn’t sustain it without running the idea into the ground, so I thought about some other folks who have recently disappeared.”

In Remembrance of the Life is now available in print. Pick up a copy at lulu.com, amazon.com, or Barnes and Noble.


New chapbook: In Remembrance of the Life



West Chester, PA, July 8, 2016 –  Spruce Alley Press today announced the release of In Remembrance of the Life,  a chapbook by Jane Rosenberg LaForge.

product_thumbnailThe book consists of 25 elegiac and unflinching poems that harvest a transformative beauty from the fields of memory and loss.

“Poetry at its best engages with the realities of life. Some of the biggies are death, loss, and memory. Jane’s poetry meets these subjects head-on, with refreshing honesty and insight,” said James Esch, publisher at Spruce Alley Press.

Jane Rosenberg LaForge is a poet and writer living in New York City. Her poetry, fiction, critical and personal essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Poetry Quarterly, Wilderness House Literary Review, Ottawa Arts Review, Boston Literary Magazine, THRUSH, Ne’er-Do-Well Literary Magazine, and The Western Journal of Black Studies. Her memoir-fantasy, An Unsuitable Princess, is available from Jaded Ibis Press. Her full-length collection of poetry, With Apologies to Mick Jagger, Other Gods, and All Women was published in fall 2012 by The Aldrich Press. She is also the author of the chapbooks After Voices, published by Burning River of Cleveland in 2009, and Half-Life, from Big Table Publishing of Boston in 2010. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.  Follow her on twitter at @JaneRLaForge. Website: http://jane-rosenberg-laforge.com/

Some reviews of In Remembrance of the Life:

“Rosenberg LaForge points toward the beauty of inevitability; death is less an end than a step toward ‘the infinite, and you can/ no longer resist the distance.’ Reading these poems is often akin to ‘diving into a rainbow of saffron and petrol,’ where the choices one makes may not be choices at all.”
—Leslie McGrath, poet and author of Out from the Pleiades: a Novella (Jaded Ibis Press, 2014)

“Reading In Remembrance of the Life is like reading Virginia Woolf if she were writing poetry—one image triggers another appearing to emerge from the unconscious…a book that the reader will return to again and again.”
—Chella Courington, author of The Somewhat Sad Tale of the Pitcher and the Crow and Love Letter to Biology 250.


In Remembrance of the Life by Jane Rosenberg LaForge

44 pages, Paperback

25 poems

ISBN 9781365002564

Available for purchase at lulu.com:


Also distributed through Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and independent bookstores worldwide.

NOTE: Review copies are available (electronic PDF or print). The author is available for interview requests.


Spruce Alley was founded in 2013 by James Esch in West Chester, Pennsylvania. The press is a micropublisher of independent literature, audio, and artwork in print-on-demand and digital formats. Contact James Esch (sprucealley@gmail.com) or go to www.sprucealley.com.




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NEW CHAPBOOK BY PATRICIA CLARK: Wreath for the Red Admiral


West Chester, PA, June 24, 2016 – Spruce Alley Press, today announced the release of Wreath for the Red Admiral, a 40 page chapbook by the esteemed American poet, Patricia Clark. Most of the poems in Clark’s chapbook take their inspiration from close observations of the natural world.

The poems engage intimately with nature—trees, birds, nests, water, changing seasons, mammals, caterpillars—leading to a renewed human connection with our environment.


Patricia Clark is Poet-in-Residence and Professor in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University. She is the author of four books of poetry: Sunday Rising, She Walks Into the Sea, My Father on a Bicycle, and North of Wondering. Her poetry has appeared in magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly, Slate, Poetry, Mississippi Review, The Gettysburg Review, New England Review, Pennsylvania Review, North American Review, Seattle Review, and Iowa Woman. She has also co-edited an anthology of contemporary women writers called Worlds in Our Words.

Publisher James Esch says it was a thrill to work with a poet of Clark’s stature. “Patricia has built an amazing reputation in the poetry community, and this gathering of poems will only enhance her standing among lovers of the written word. Her attentiveness to the little things in nature offers readers a haven from the distractions and anxieties of modern life. Like any great poet, Clark teaches us to see with fresh eyes.”

Some reviews of Wreath for the Red Admiral:

“Art and Nature, Truth and Beauty have always held their rendezvous in lyric poetry. In Wreath for the Red Admiral, they go public––into the readers’ hold––with their perfect marriages of form and content, movement and rooted greenery. This stirring collection offers respite from the strife-filled atmosphere we live in. And it firms Patricia Clark’s status––she is one of the best poets that America presents today.”
Marilyn Kallet, author of 17 books, including The Love That Moves Me, poetry from Black Widow Press.

“In the best moments in this remarkable collection, the creatures of the world call the poet back into herself, into reflection, into a new understanding, richer and more nuanced. Finally, she disappears in the motion that surrounds her. This is a wise chapbook of observations earned and studies made along an evocative journey.”
–Keith Taylor, poet, author of If the World Becomes So Bright, (Wayne State University Press, 2009), co-editor of Ghost Stories from Michigan (a Michigan Notable Book of the Year, 2012).

“Patricia Clark’s poetry ripples with detail, Nature brought not just to the page but to the eye and nose. I fly with her herons and owls, accept the promise of an evening where bears may be near. She brings us a world still fresh as spring and deep in mystery.”

–Kenneth Pobo, winner of the Blue Light Book Prize in 2014 for Bend of Quiet (2015) and author of When the Light Turns Green (Spruce Alley Press, 2014).

Wreath for the Red Admiral is available for sale as a print-on-demand book at lulu.com, and will be distributed worldwide through Ingram, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and independent booksellers.


Wreath for the Red Admiral by Patricia Clark
40 pages, Paperback
21 poems
ISBN 9781365120640


NOTE: Review copies are available (electronic PDF or print). The author is available for interview requests.


Spruce Alley Press: sprucealley@gmail.com



Artist/Poet Stacy Esch featured in Ibbetson Street

You’ve seen Stacy Esch’s fabulous calendar for sale here at Spruce Alley, and she most recently contributed her digital paintings to the chapbook When the Light Turns Green by Kenneth Pobo. What you may not realize is what an accomplished writer she is. Stacy’s poem “Surfer Girl” appears in the latest issue of Ibbetson Street, Issue 35 to be exact. Kudos to Stacy on the publication!

Poetry Meets Art: When the Light Turns Green – new chapbook by Kenneth Pobo

It’s official. When the Light Turns Green,  a 32 poem chapbook by Kenneth Pobo, accompanied by 12 full color illustrations by Stacy Esch, is now available for sale at lulu.com.

Molly Gaudry, author of We Take Me Apart and Desire: A Haunting, says “Within these meditations on death, loss, and pain, readers can find great comfort–gentle reminders that life also offers joy and beauty if only we seek and cultivate it. So read this book. Read this book. Read this book. I promise you this: You will not forget Ken Pobo’s ending poem. But wait for it. Read and savor each preceding poem slowly. And when you arrive at the close, be forewarned: You will bow your head, perhaps even touch your hand to your heart, and you will be reminded why you–why all of us–must daily strive to love more, and better.”

When the Light Turns Green is the 19th chapbook in Pobo’s distinguished career. Pobo has also published five collections of poems and teaches Creative Writing and English at Widener University in southeast Pennsylvania.  Stacy Esch has published writing and artwork in wordriverTurk’s Head ReviewOddball Magazine, and Ibbetson Street. She is a professor of English at West Chester University.

Charles Rammelkamp, author of Mixed Signals (Finishing Line Press) says the book “captures in a few deft strokes, the sweet sadness of human interactions. These poems stay with you after you drive away.”

When the Light Turns Green is available for sale as a print-on-demand book at lulu.com, and will soon be distributed through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and independent booksellers.  An e-book version is also available at Apple’s iTunes bookstore, and additional e-book versions are in production, slated for release in Summer 2014.

When the Light Turns Green by Kenneth Pobo and Stacy Esch

64 pages, Paperback, full color

ISBN 9781312224261

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Spruce Alley was founded in 2013 and operates out of West Chester, Pennsylvania. The press publishes independent literature, audio, and artwork in print-on-demand and digital formats. When the Light Turns Green is its debut book title. For more information, contact sprucealley[@]gmail.com.