Upcoming book party for GLTTL STP


Join us for a book party for GLTTL STP, a collection of poems by Doritt Carroll! The party will be held Friday, September 27th at 7pm located at The Black Squirrel 2427 18th St., N.W., Washington, DC. Check out our Facebook for more on the event. Hope to see you there!

An Interview with BhB Author Doritt Carroll

If you ask her, Doritt Carroll will tell you that she is (unfortunately) a lawyer and (fortunately) the mother of two daughters.  She received her undergraduate and law degrees from Georgetown University. Her collection In Caves was published in 2010 byBrickhouse Books.  Her poems have also appeared in a long list of publications, including Coal City Review, Poet Lore,Nimrod, Slipstream, Rattle, The Baltimore Review, and the Journal of Formal Poetry. Her poem “motherlove” appeared in the Fuck Poems anthology by Lavender Ink.  Her book Glttl Stp will be published in September 2013. Ilse Munro write of this latest volume that “Carroll’s control and precision reveal aspects of the human condition that would leave a lesser poet running from the room, screaming.” Lorraine Whittlesey describes Carroll’s voice as “uniquely honest,” a voice that employs “Picasso’s and Miles Davis’s understanding of the importance of the space between objects.”

HUERGO: What moves you to write?

CARROLL: I don’t know if I’m exactly answering your question, but when I write, I’m having a conversation.  I want someone to see something I’ve seen, in the way that I’ve seen it.  Often, I’m writing to someone who wouldn’t actually listen if I called them up to describe it.  And, to be fully frank, I’m often imagining that if I write something good enough, people will be proud of me, people who could never be proud of me in real life.

HUERGO: How would you describe your drafting and revision process?

CARROLL: I think I’m different from other poets.  I’m not a good reviser.  If I get myself in a position in which extensive revisions are necessary, I may never finish the poem.  It’s almost as if, by writing it down, I’ve painted myself into a corner.  So when I get an idea, I try NOT to write it down or even say it out loud.  Instead, I arrange it and change it completely in my mind.  I only start writing when I’m pretty sure it’s in the right form, and only minor alterations, such as line breaks or avoiding the repetition of a word, will be needed.

HUERGO: What is the most important theme in your work?  Why?

Dorritt Carroll In CavesCARROLL: I think I have trouble writing a poem that isn’t about isolation.  It’s the theme of my existence.  I was a late in life child of troubled parents.  If I think about myself as a child, I’m always alone with a book or a doll.  Even in the middle of a crowd, I will often stop to notice how the essential parts of ourselves never meet, never interact.  I think true human contact and understanding between two people is almost a myth.

HUERGO: Was there a teacher or mentor who influenced your writing?

CARROLL: Gerry Connolly was my first real teacher. She taught me that, when I’ve painted myself into a corner, it’s often helpful to read others who have written on the same topic, or in the same way, to see how they solved the problem. In more recent years, I can’t say enough about Clarinda Harriss.  She has been editor, mentor, publisher, and indefatigable reader of emailed drafts.

HUERGO: What advice do you have for writers?                                                      

CARROLL: “Throw grenades at your clichés! Your goal in writing should be to make us see an ordinary subject in a completely new way. Make your reader say, “Well, I’m never going to look at that in the same way again.”

HUERGO: What are you working on next?

CARROLL: Unlike others, who write a book and then find a title, I find a title, and it tells me what book to write.  The book I just finished is called GLTTL STP (glottal stop), a term that refers to choking off sound briefly when singing.  The minute I thought of that title, I knew I would write a book about things withheld, things not said.  The next title, and I have just started working on this, is Sorry You Are Not an Instant Winner.  We’ll see where that title takes me.

Interview conducted by Elizabeth Huergo.

Click here for more information on Doritt Carroll

Doritt Carroll reviews Mark Lamoureux’s 29 Cheeseburgers + 39 Years from Pressed Wafer Press

If you’re looking to hire someone to craft an unforgettable phrase, one that will play itself to the tune on your car radio or float like an asterisk across the report you’re trying to read, hire Mark Lamoureux.

It might be more accurate to say that the phrase will append itself like a footnote, since footnotes play an important role in Lamoureux’s new book, 29 Cheeseburgers + 39 Years, but more of that later.  For the moment, let’s sink our teeth into the deft phrasing and wry sense of humor that pervade the opening section of the book.

Here, Lamoureux takes the 29 cheeseburgers, as well as many other objects from pop culture, and uses them as a common language for the poet’s and the reader’s growing awareness.  As Lamoureux holds up one familiar and overlooked item after another, the insights come like jolts from a game show buzzer.  Thus, the very young poet, looking up at glow-in-the-dark stars in his bedroom sees, “plastic/constellations that glow/on the wall of my room for a short time after eating/dim light.”  The child’s first moment of skepticism comes a moment later when he reflects, “They call these meals Happy.”

Later, describing a gypsy moth infestation, the author observes, “the neighbor’s kid kills/them with rocks, green/slicks of guts make/maps on the blacktop.”

It is an arbitrary thing to choose favorites, but a hit list would have to include: “cheese crisped & curled, upturned/edges pointing at grease,” “chugalug of a helicopter descends,” “waffle irons snapping at air like clockwork mussels,” and last, the phrase “Your father’s not coming back” stuck off to the right of a seemingly unrelated poem, like the margin note of someone trying to study while distracted by events.

Pop culture intrudes in a different way in the “39 Years” section of the book.  Here, a poem marks each year of the poet’s life, with multiple footnotes in many of the poems used to remind readers of sounds or catch phrases associated with various cartoon and commercial references.  For example, when the poem includes the line “Fear the Man-Bat,” the footnote assists us with the sound “Shreek! Booga Booga! Skreek!”  When a later poem references Megabug Gladiator, the footnote explains, “In the year 2003, Earth was invaded by a vehicle from a galaxy thousands of lightyears away.  This vehicle has the appearance of a giant spider.  People called it Megaspider. ™”

In this way, the footnotes become like a soundtrack playing behind the poems or the sound of the television left on during a family fight.

This technique makes vivid sense in most instances, but occasionally seems burdensome when the footnotes are long and the reader must make an effort to return to the meaning of the poem.

On most occasions, however, the footnotes provide sharp and helpful “gotcha” insights.  Anyone who has ever taken a college exam will feel a shock of recognition to see the phrase “omit needless words” appended to a description of “magma for melting/the chickenscratch off the /diamond leaves of/those blue, blue books” like a professor’s acidly displeased correction.

Those of us already past the 40th year will find much to relate to in the lines of the final 39th poem that reminds us, “what cannot be/reimagined/only decays,/winded/from the stairs” as we wait, in front of our aging portrait “for the fake brick to/grumble open.”




Doritt Carroll reading

Doritt Carroll, author of In Caves, one of BrickHouse Books’ recent publications, will read from her work at The Writers’ Center on March 10 at 2 p.m.

Carroll is a D.C. attorney and poet, and her poems have appeared in journals such as Coal City ReviewPoet LoreNimrodSlipstreamRattlePlainsongsPoetry Depth QuarterlyMaryland Poetry ReviewExplorationsNegative CapabilityPoet’s CanvasIlluminationsThe Baltimore Review, and Journal of Formal Poetry.

We’ve included the title poem from her next collection, Glottal Stop, here:

glottal stop

everything good
is in the things
that we don’t say

if we were sculptures
in a gallery
it would be the elegant
space between them
carved by their marble arms

the moment after the scritch
when the match
flickers but doesn’t yet
burst into flame

the tightening in the air
as the black hand
clicks to the minute
the minute
when the recess bell
is going to ring

if there were two birds
singing in two trees
it would be
the moment
when they both paused
not to take in air
but because it was
the right place
in both of their songs
to pause
glottal stop


Reading location:

4508 Walsh St.
Bethesda, MD 2015

BrickHouse Books’ 40th Birthday Party, hosted by Lorraine and Markell Whittlesey

All photos taken by Eva Quintos Tennant.

Excerpt from IN CAVES

The following poem is from local poet Doritt Carroll’s recently published collection In Caves.


a bridgejumper’s last thoughts

are of zachaeus

skinny little sinner

who scrambled up a tree

to try to see over the heads

of men he thought more blessed

it’s probably because

in the end there’s only one prayer

common to all men

swaying from great heights

ask me to come down


ask me to come down

April 11th Cruellest Month Poetry Reading

BrickHouse Books will be hosting this reading Monday night from 6:30 – 8:30 at the Towson Library. Two of our authors will be reading at this event:

  • Doritt Carroll, Maryland poet and attorney, had her poetry collection, “In Caves” published by BHB in 2010.
  • Bill Rivera, poet, scientist, and scholar, will have his collection of poetry, “Buried in the Mind’s Backyard,” will be published this year.

Anyone is welcome to come and sign up to read their work as well. Please come and enjoy some nice refreshments and lovely poetry.

Cruellest Month Poetry and Performance Festival

The festival is being held on Monday nights from 6:30 – 8:30 at the Towson Library, 320 York Rd.

April 4 — Hosted by poet Barbara DeCesare, the theme of this even will be “interactions that always seem to go awry.” The event will include interactive plays and readings from Hiram Larew, Michael Gushue and Plato Hieronimous.

April 11 — Hosted by BrickHouse Books, this reading will present Doritt Carroll and Bill Rivera.

April 18 — Hosted by William P. Tandy, editor and publisher of “Smile, Hon, You’re in Baltimore!” this evening’s event will feature Mobtown-infused poetry with works from E. Doyle-Gillespie, S.J. Ferrandi, Gavin Heck, Ian Hochberg, Sarah Jane Miller and Fernando Quijano III, among others.

April 25 — Hosted by The Maryland Writers’ Association and Laura Shovan , this event is celebrating the launch of Little Patuxent Reviews, “Life in Me Like Grass on Fire: Love Poems.” Over a dozen contributing poets will be reading their works.

For more information see this article or contact Chris Casamassamia at furniture.press.books@gmail.com or 410-718-6574, or go to crumopoperfest.blogspot.com.