Black Balloons

Anthony Seidman


ISBN  978-1-959556-77-0     62 pages     $17.00

I’ve followed Anthony Seidman’s career for years, and Black Balloons, as the title suggests, works from the darkest of his palettes. “Blood fleck on napkin. Wasp floating in a goblet of pinot grigio…sniff the gangrenous. The amputated foot.”  It’s not for mere effect. These anti-paeans take one back to Neruda’s “Walking Around” and its moist guts of the earth, in a sustained, low-frequency cry for sanity in the face of political putrefaction. The poet hurts, his “scab is a lake where bull shark flits toward chum.”  In punchy, clipped poetic prose, he parses out our commonweal psychic pain, each poem a blind alley in which he must retrace his steps to get to the next imagistic manifesto. As always, Seidman is a master of lacerating catalogues, each noun the flick-lash of a whip, regicide the endgame. One can only admire this ferocity in its refusal to offer epiphanies. I had long since given up on the prose poem’s efficacy or relevance, but this poet has redeemed the form, imbuing each page with singular, polyvalent prose utterly clear in tone and intention.  “I hear a geography in my breathing, jungle beneath each fingernail, vacant lot tart with dust and sunlight, reek of ink and syntax, so foundational, like milk or gladioli.”

      Johnny Payne, author of Ostraca


Blurbs don’t exist; they’re the products of some carbon meat cleaver’s imagination. Therefore I can’t speak of Anthony Seidman’s Black Balloons. It’s not my place. A league of original jerboas would vanquish any passive attempt at embracing this verbal octagon. But, boy, this art is within me, within my superior moments of mental tendrilousness. These indecent treasures that pursue themselves are called “Olvera Street’s lucid vanadium.” No. It’s like this: I happened to pass the murdered sun within a tornado one day, as lost as a fanatical lottery ticket. The air dreamed of reaching a candelabra of zeroes. Then Seidman dug into the soil from which you were born, and a siren began to imitate the brittle moth’s lachrymosity. To fear the cargo within these pages, is to eke out a suspicious stun gun from the holy casserole of the Madonna. Zootropic humor drives us insane, and we wait for the inflated petunia. It’s time.

     Carlos Lara, author of Like Bismuth When I Enter,

                        winner of the 2018 Nightboat Poetry Prize


Anthony Seidman is a poet and translator, born and raised in Los Angeles, and who has spent significant stretches of his life living in Ciudad Juarez and Mexicali, Mexico. He currently resides in the San Fernando Valley with his wife, author Nylsa Martinez, and his two children. His most recent books include That Beast in the Mirror (Black Herald Press: London-Chartres), a bilingual gathering of his poetry with translations rendered into French by poet Blandine Longre, and Cosmic Weather (Spuyten Duyvil, New York). Cardboard House Press published his translation of Contra Natura by Rodolfo Hinostroza in 2022, and additional poems, translations, reviews, and articles have appeared in such journals as Latin American Literature Today, Ambit, New American Writing, Los Angeles Review of Books, Poetry International, Rattle, as well as in literary magazines from Chile, Argentina, and Mexico.