mary biddinger

Three new poems at SMOKING GLUE GUN. Thanks for taking a look!

smoking glue gun

marybiddinger1marybiddinger2marybiddinger3MARY BIDDINGER is the author of five full-length collections of poetry, most recently Small Enterprise (Black Lawrence Press, 2015) and The Czar (with Jay Robinson, Black Lawrence Press, 2016). Her work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Five Points, Green Mountains Review, jubilat, The Laurel Review, and Pleiades, among others. She is the recipient of a 2015 National Endowment for the Arts creative writing fellowship in poetry, and is currently working on a book-length volume of prose poems. Find her work online in Blackbird, Ampersand Review, Toad, & Thrush.

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Mary Biddinger and Matthew Cheney in Conversation

New interview!

As It Ought to Be


*Mary Biddinger and Matthew Cheney have both published books with Black Lawrence Press, in Mary’s case five books of poetry and in Matthew’s a collection of short stories. Both are also ensconced in academia: Mary is a professor of English at the University of Akron, where she also edits the Akron Series in Poetry, and Matthew is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of New Hampshire, where he studies modernist prose and its legacies.***

MATTHEW CHENEY: First, maybe we can start with the most important question: Do you have any pets? Dogs? Cats?

MARY BIDDINGER: Matt, this is my favorite kind of question. When at home I’m surrounded by pets: four cats, and one dog. Sure, they can be pesky (try sequencing a poetry manuscript on a hardwood floor with an overzealous tabby who wants to give her input on section breaks), but they are…

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The Blurbs Are In. All Networks Project the Czar as the Czar.

The Czar Has Blurbs!

Jay Robinson

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The book blurbs have manifested themselves, and it is good.Such fantastic words from fantastic and admirable poets and people:

As a child, my mother taught me to zigzag Z to avoid getting eaten by an alligator. Mary Biddinger and Jay Robinson employ this technique here: in the clever curve of C around the subject, in the sharp switchback tack of Z for zealous. They commit to wordplay revolution, erasing origins, replacing narrative with wit, sound, and imagery so surprising it feels, by poem’s end, perfectly natural: the thing that waited, haunting, in the swamp. I don’t know how else to explain The Czar, whose unexpected becomes so expectant with meaning. This is a brilliant collection/collaboration.

–Carol Guess, author of Doll Studies: Forensics


This exquisite, feature-length project is the comic jam. But it’s no joke. You can thank Mary Biddinger and Jay Robinson later. For now, arm yourself…

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The Czar is now on Spotify. Give it a listen!

Jay Robinson

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The Czar is now on Spotify. Czarname: theczarofczars.

Hence, the Czar can now make playlists for his playthings and otherwise create the soundtrack to the Czar.

In other updates, consideration of cover art has begun. The book has an ISBN. And the manuscript will be delivered on 12/1/15.

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Pre-Order Small Enterprise through Black Lawrence Press

Special pre-order price when ordering directly through BLP.

“Swift heels in oily puddles. A toaster wrapped in a bundle of t-shirts. A toddler clutched to the chest. So much stale beer, so much burnt coffee. Biddinger serves you a slice of pie and a double. Tells Tom Waits to eat his heart out. Gives Johnny Rotten the finger. Poems that salvage a grandmother’s ring, bleed standing up, nurse, and run. Remember pinhole lakeside constellations, what it felt like to travel by train in a buttoned coat. To be a girl, then woman, weary scavenger, city mouse, wanton, the record of your petty crimes, the small business that keeps the clockwork sky in place.”  –Danielle Pafunda

Mary Biddinger at NEA Writers’ Corner

The 2015 National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellow profiles are now available. Much gratitude to the NEA for its invaluable support of writers and artists.

I realize that receiving an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship is not going to have the same kind of momentous impact on the morale and local economy of my Rust Belt town, but nonetheless I feel that it is a victory for all of us here in Northeast Ohio. I write poems about ordinary folks in the Midwest, using everyday artifacts from their lives, and this award demonstrates that someone is listening. –Mary Biddinger 

Coming soon: Small Enterprise

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Mary Biddinger’s fourth full-length collection of poems, Small Enterprise, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in late August 2015, and now available for pre-ordering.

Small Enterprise at Black Lawrence Press.

Small Enterprise at SPD.

Title poem from the collection, at Gulf Coast. 


“In Mary Biddinger’s Small Enterprise we find a brilliant wackiness that slips into surreality that slips into memory that slips into dream—and then back again. We find a pile of memos from the most interesting Risk Management department on earth. And we find a bewilderingly smart narrator who looks at the world like this: “When I met the machine that eventually/would replace me, all I thought was/ how it filled the room with sun pools/and erroneous static.” Biddinger’s enterprise, in all its departments and gears and springs, is indeed small—it shrinks until it implodes, comes out the other side as the absolute-vast: ‘One team lost its ball, played soccer with a globe.'” —Sarah Vap

“These poems, the best I’ve seen yet in a career that already outshines most living poets (and plenty of dead ones), offer still more evidence that Mary Biddinger is one of the best, most entertaining poets out there. But these aren’t just exercises in clever line breaks and punchy imagery. With her trademark blend of wit, surprise, and poignancy, Biddinger scrutinizes the many spheres of human existence, further pushing the stylistic envelope whilst maintaining her fidelity to art that matters, to language that roundhouses the psyche into something dizzyingly close to enlightenment.” —Michael Meyerhofer