Circus Launch Day : An Update from Rose Metal Press

Dear Friends, Subscribers, and Supporters of Rose Metal Press:


Today is the release day for our spring book, In the Circus of You: An Illustrated Novel-in-Poems, by poet Nicelle Davis and artist Cheryl Gross. We are so happy to have this beautiful book out in the world!

Our FREE SHIPPING offer on orders of In the Circus of You ends today MARCH 25. Order your copy today using coupon code CIRCUSFREESHIP.


Many thanks to all of our subscribers and those of you who preordered. Your copies are making their way to you through the mail. There’s still time to subscribe for 2015.

In the Circus of You will be on sale at our AWP bookfair table (732) and Nicelle will be doing two reading and a book signings at AWP (more details below). If you are one of the first 30 people to buy In the Circus of You at our AWP table, you will receive your very own red foam clown nose! How can you resist?

More about In the Circus of You: In the Circus of You is a deliciously distorted fun house of poetry and art by Nicelle Davis and Cheryl Gross. Both private and epic, this novel-in-poems explores one woman’s struggle while interpreting our world as a sideshow, where not only are we the freaks, but also the on-lookers wondering just how “normal” we are—or ought to be. Davis’ poetry and Gross’ images collaborate over the themes of sanity, monogamy, motherhood, divorce, artistic expression, and self-creation to curate a menagerie of abnormalities that defines what it is to be human. The universe of this book is one in which dead pigeons talk, clowns hide in the chambers of the heart, and the human body turns itself inside out to be born again as a purely sensory creature. This grotesquely gorgeous peep show opens the velvet curtains on the beautiful complications of life.


In the Circus of You is already garnering great reviews and attention, and was even chosen as the March book for The Rumpus’ Monthly Bookclub.

Nicelle has done two amazing events for In the Circus of You in Los Angeles this past month. You can see photos and video from her Poetry Circus in February here on our blog.

Add In the Circus of You to your cart now and don’t forget to use free shipping code CIRCUSFREESHIP at checkout.



We’re looking forward to seeing many of you in Minneapolis next month for the Annual AWP conference, being held this year in Minneapolis April 8-11. We will be at table 732 in the bookfair from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Thursday, April 9 through Saturday, April 11. Please stop by the table and say hello!

We’ll be having a number of book signings at our table and our authors are also involved in panels and offsite readings. Here’s what RMP authors are up to at AWP so you can add these events to your schedule:


Nicelle Davis reading at AROHO’s Night of Glittering, Vocal Expansiveness offsite reading on
Wednesday, April 8, from 7:00-10:00 pmat the Bryant Lake Bowl Theater.


Nicelle Davis reading at the Bayou Magazine Contributors Reading offsite reading on Thursday,
April 9, at 8:00 pm at Mason’s Restaurant Barre at 528 Hennepin Ave. South.


Kelcey Parker signing copies of Liliane’s Balcony at table 732 on Friday, April 10 from 10:30-11:30 am.

Pamela Painter and Sean Lovelace speaking on the panel
“Exploring the Contours of Flash Fiction,” Friday, April 10 from 12:00-1:15 pm.

Gregory Robinson signing copies of All Movies Love the Moon at table 732 on Friday,
April 10 from 1:00-2:00 pm.

William Todd Seabrook signing copies of The Imagination of Lewis Carroll at table 732
on Friday, April 10 from 3:30-4:30 pm.


Nicelle Davis speaking on the panel “Two Can Play That Game: Techniques for
Composing Collaborative Poetry,” Saturday, April 11 from 9:00-10:15 am.

Nicelle Davis signing copies of In the Circus of You at table 732 on Saturday, April 11
from 10:30-11:30 am.

Aaron Teel and Margaret Patton Chapman signing copies of My Very End of the Universe
at table 732 on Saturday, April 11 from 12:00-1:00 pm.

Kelcey Parker speaking on the panel “From Gothic Ghosts to Gogol’s Nose,” Saturday,
April 11 from 1:30-2:45 pm.



We’re thrilled to announce that My Very End of the Universe: Five Novellas-in-Flash and a Study of the Form is a finalist for the ForeWord Reviews IndieFab Book of the Year Awards in the Anthology category. Winners will be announced in June. Congrats to authors Tiff, Meg, Aaron, Margaret, and Chris!



From May 1 to June 1, 2015, we will hold an open reading period for full-length (48+ pages) ART-AND-TEXT WORKS in any genre (see our I Take Back the Sponge Cake, All Movies Love the Moon, and In the Circus of You, for instance) and for full-length PROSE POETRY COLLECTIONS, both linked and unlinked (see our The Louisiana Purchase and But Our Princess Is in Another Castle, for instance). Both single author/artist works and multi-author/artist works will be considered. The best way to get a sense of the kind of hybrid work we publish is to take a look at our catalog. We welcome submissions on all subjects, fictional and nonfictional, and encourage a broad and expansive interpretation of hybridity.

Read the full guidelines here.

When: May 1 to June 1, 2015
What: Full-length works that combine text and artwork and/or full-length prose poetry collections, linked or unlinked
Reading Fee: $15

We are excited to read your work!

A Circus is Born Today

Wow. Things are busy. I’ve been puking up words left and right. I owe you much–mostly a Poetry Circus update along with Poetry Piñata stories.

For now, I’m on the run–running towards more light, more poetry. More is a strange word…a word that can hold the whole world–it is a word that requires a reverence kindred to love. I hope I can learn how to love well at least once in this lifetime.

I feel very fortunate to have a In the Circus of You featured as a top-ten-music-list at the Largehearted Boy; if you know me at all, you know that a mixed tape is sacred text–you don’t mess around with a top ten music list, because it is the text of our most interior self. Please give it a listen.

Please also accept this invitation to Skylight Books:

NICELLE DAVIS presents her newest poetry collection

Event date:
Sunday, March 22, 2015 – 5:00pm
Event address:
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027

That’s right, today In the Circus of You officially will be released from its editorial womb. It will be birthed at Skylight Books. Please come see / hear this book at 5:00 PM. Un- icorns will drop from my electric orange dress– you can take these newly conceived magical creatures home as loving (inflatable) pets.


I will also have bags of cotton candy for the kid-hearts and rainbow mimosas for the big-hearts–all adorned with mini Un- icorn friends. Hope to see you there.



What Is The Poetry Circus?


The Poetry Circus

Want to know more about the Poetry Circus? Step inside my closet and I’ll tell you all about 1. what to wear 2. hair 3. rain 4. light 5. sound


Final Call for the Poetry Piñata: If you have poems to share with children at The Poetry Circus please send them to nicellecdavis @ gmail . com

A Free Poetry Event Saturday, February 28th


Poetry Merry-Go-Round Rides
with readings by:Lauren K. Alleyne, Laurel Ann Bogen, Chiwan Choi,

Brendan Constantine, Nicelle Davis, Kim Dower, Blas Falconer, Kate Gale, Melanie Jeffrey, Douglas Kearney, Ron Koertge,
Justin Wallace Kibbe, Suzanne Lummis, Katie Manning,

Eric Morago, Jacqueline Tchakalian, and Yvonne de la Vega.

Interactive poetry projects, activities, and crafts for the whole family brought to you by the Red Hen Press WITS program
and The Los Angeles Review.

Make your own maracas and Join The Children’s Poetry Parade ed by twirler Peggy Dobreer!

Simultaneous Poetry Writing based on your suggestions from RENT Poet and the Melrose Poetry Bureau!

Live circus acts including performances by Post Mortem Movement Theater!

At the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round
4730 Crystal Springs Drive,
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 665-3051

Speakeasy Sunday (OR CHARM SCHOOL) ;) with Nicelle Davis ;)

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For the Speakeasy this Sunday, I’ll make a woman of you—of anyone.

With snippets of text and images taken from a 1970s finishing-school teacher’s lesson-plan book, I’ve created a handmade chapbook. I hope to, in some small way, recreate a “Charm and Modeling School.”

The lessons of womanhood might help us understand the empowerment of roles (but will haunt us with the final question “Who am I?”)

Anyone who participates will get to keep a chapbook. Anyone who attends will leave in sparkle and with their own certificate of training completion.

Please join us. It is sure to be a haunting big-hair time.

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Speakeasy Sunday with Nicelle Davis

Event Type: Poetry/Fiction/Creative Nonfiction Reading/Performance
Event Date and Time: February 15, 2015 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Hosted by the Los Angeles Poet Society:

Poet Nicelle Davis features at Speakeasy Sunday! Author of In the Circus of You

Speakeasy Sunday is also an Open Mic with musical accompaniment by our House Flutist, Juan Cardenas!

All creative genres are welcome – 7 minutes.!speakeasy-sunday/c8wb

Catcher in the Rye 10550 Riverside Drive. Toluca Lake, CA 91602

Pre-Order In the Circus of You

 Dear Friends, Word Lovers, and all who understand the long poetry road,

In the Circus of You is ready of pre-order. Please consider standing by this book as it begins entry into the world. We all need someone by our side at the terrifying beginning and this is such and odd little book–it will require a steady and thoughtful hand when the cord is finally cut this March.

My Very End of the Universe

Please click here —> PREORDER NOW <— Please click here


Bridgewater International Poetry Festival


I’m getting ready to attend the Bridgewater International Poetry Festival. My suitcase is full of clown noses and feathers. I might have to dress in only clown noses and feathers. It is always exciting to preview new work–In the Circus of You won’t be released until March, but I will set a few of its poems free at Bridgewater.

I am really looking forward to being with other poets and their work–in many ways this is the best part of the writing life. Below are details about the sound poem project. Please feel free to contact me at nicelle c davis @ gmail . com if you have any questions.

 Bridgewater International

Poetry Festival

Saturday, Jan. 17 4:30 p.m. (B)

Nicelle Davis Invites You

to Become a Poem

To become a poem, you must locate and record an everyday sound such as the echoing voices in a school cafeteria or the kitchen where you cook your morning pancakes—the sound of your mother’s laugh or your father snore—the sound of sickness or joy—the sound of the street, your shower, the coffee pot, your sneakers.

This sound should both delight and disgust you. (For example, I love a good time yet often feel overwhelmed by all the voices in a crowded room—the sound of a party both delights and disgusts.)

Please record your found-sound using your phone, iPad, handheld recorder—basically, any portable recording device that can easily be brought to and played at the poetry reading. At the reading we will systematically blend our recordings into a symphony of noise. This collection of noises will be recorded and later set to music to create a more traditional Sound poem.

Sound poetry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sound poetry is an artistic form bridging literary and musical composition, in which the phonetic aspects of human speech are foregrounded instead of more      conventional semantic and syntactic values; “verse without words”. By definition, sound poetry is intended   primarily for performance.

Noise poetry

From Nikipedia, poetpedia

Noise poetry is those everyday noises—those dropped plates and roller-skates—those feet on the stairwell or the conversation at the table next to you. They are the sounds that promise music and threaten to drown you in waves of sound.

The Poetry Circus Needs a Poetry Piñata: A New Year for the Living Poetry Project


This is a Free Event hosted by

IN THE CIRCUS OF YOU: An Illustrated Novel-in-Poem by poet Nicelle Davis and artist Cheryl Gross

Poetry Merry-Go-Round, Circus Acts, Kid Crafts, and Magic Shows

Poetry Merry-Go-Round Rides with Readings by:

Lauren K. Alleyne, Laurel Ann Bogen, Chiwan Choi, Brendan Constantine, Michael Datcher, Nicelle Davis, Kim Dower, Blas Falconer, Kate Gale, Mira Gonzalez, Melanie Jeffrey, Douglas Kearney, Justin Wallace Kibbe, Suzanne Lummis, Katie Manning, Eric Morago, and Jacqueline Tchakalian.

Interactive Poetry Projects,

activities, and crafts for the whole family brought to you by the Red Hen Press WITS program and The Los Angeles Review.

Live Circus Acts

including performances by Post Mortem Movement Theater!


At the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round

4730 Crystal Springs Drive,

Los Angeles, CA 90027

(323) 665-3051


Please Runaway to the Circus with Us!


If you can’t runaway; let your poems come with us!

Please send your poems to The Living Poetry Project

to go into this kid-sized Poetry Piñata

that will be broken open at The Poetry Circus!

Please submit your poems by Feb 15th to:

nicellecdavis @ gmail . com



Welcome to the circus.

In the Circus Of You

Book trailer for IN THE CIRCUS OF YOU: An Illustrated Novel-in-Poems by poet Nicelle Davis and artist Cheryl Gross. The book will be released in March 2015: preordering begins in February 2015.

More information at

ITC Front Cover_hires

I am not a barker. There is no kiosk here to see. No ticket vendor. No brightly lit sign, painted hand or enormous arrow that points to this place.

We are not attending the carnival or the midway but we are all gathered under the big top. We are the attractions. We view ourselves with equal parts delight and horror.

Out in the Midway, as the ride begins, it slowly lurches forward with us tightly belted in to our seats. It is a journey that promises much; fear, anticipation, and joy all wrapped together. We are pulled past windows where we are shown carefully created dioramas depicting Oddities that somehow both match and outstrip our own imaginations and orchestrations.

These tickets were bought a long time ago. Life is a freak show and all of us are participants. We jump from audience to performer as quickly as we wish to be separate from one or to belong to the other. We slide in and out of shadows, like   shape-shifters of compromise. We contort ourselves in service of the pragmatic, the mundane, or the bigger whole. We desperately wish we were seen as the magician, sorcerer or conjurer of our own illusions.

We are in awe of giants, coveting their power and perspective. We fear them for the same reasons.

I don’t have a tattoo. I appreciate the art. Even more, I understand the need to make a mark or public display of being an outsider. The act of covering my skin with an image has just never seemed to fit with the desire to peel back and expose the truth of living in that skin.

The broken knuckle from a forgotten fight that blooms from a finger is an awkward ornament. The scar that sits just above the knee from a reckless moment on a bike is a crescent moon drawn into the skin. Our scars, creases and configurations are the art that history makes of our bodies and illustrates our humanness.

As with any good sideshow, if we are lucky to look long enough, we end up seeing each other. We are a lucky audience to find ourselves in what is revealed in others.

As we catch our reflection in the peripheral mirror of vision, we recognize ourselves in the performer’s knowing gaze. We are what we are delighted by, when we are invited under the flap of the sideshow tent. We are freaks.

Cheryl Gross is an illustrator. Nicelle Davis is a poet. They met through the publication, Broadsided, which puts visual artists and poets together to collaborate and create literary-posters that are distributed across the world.

This process of collaboration almost always results in a revelation for each, because poets can’t anticipate what an artist will see in their words and the artist is always surprised by the power of words to suggest the image.

The power in this particular partnership illuminated and infused both the words and the images. The words are twined with the illustrations as though the poet and artist are sharing the same soul. As with conjoined twins the two share “In the Circus of You” as an expression of a unique bond that creates an additional intimacy, as though sharing arms, legs or a torso.

The collaboration you hold in your hand is joined by all of us who hope to recognize each other in our search for what makes us beautifully human, joyous in the expression of our differences and willing to celebrate the intrinsic connections between us.

Welcome to the circus.

Sneak Peek: In the Circus of You

We’re excited to give you a preview of the cover of the Rose Metal Press spring release, IN THE CIRCUS OF YOU: An Illustrated Novel-in-Poems by poet Nicelle Davis and artist Cheryl Gross. The cover features artwork by Cheryl Gross and was designed by Heather Butterfield. The book launches in March. Subscribe now to be among the first to receive a copy! Preordering will begin in February.
ITC Front Cover_hires

Evie Shockley says of In the Circus of You:

“Nicelle Davis’ newest book mythologizes pain, makes grief, anger, disgust, and fear bearable by transforming them into finely wrought poems. These poems are filled with sharp edges, dissections, illusions, and images of flight, both in their language and in the ways they occupy the page. They are perfectly matched by the drawings of Cheryl Gross, who translates Davis’ poetry into an equally grotesque, equally eloquent visual language. In the Circus of You is a visceral spectacle of controlled excess; it dismantles the three rings we use to contain our most domestic horrors and shows us the way through vulnerability to release.”

Douglas Kearney says of In the Circus of You:

“Accompanied by Cheryl Gross’s illustrations of stretched flesh and biomechanical anatomies, In the Circus of You writhes in a fever dream of divorce, depression, and an undercurrent of poverty. Nicelle Davis directs a cast of disfigured pigs, desiccated pigeons, and circus freaks in poems whose forms are often cinched with wasp-waisted girdles or filed into jagged angles. Never simple oddities, these afflicted characters and music amount to a harrowing account of loss and how one has to fracture herself in private to appear unbroken in public. Don’t miss Davis’ acts of lurching grace and terrible beauty.”