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ISBN: 978-1-955239-02-8
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Categories Nomadic, Poetry

Bone Moon Palace

Publication Date: July 2021


In June of 2023, Black Lawrence Press welcomed numerous existing and forthcoming Nomadic Press titles to our catalogue. Bone Moon Palace was originally published by Nomadic.

Bone Moon Palace is a contemplation on what it means to remake one’s home while also remaking one’s community in a time of plague and political turmoil. Which is to say it is a hot mess of ritual trying to find the comfort inside the poem of the self crying out for companionship in the heat of the inferno and the cold of the small horse of the night. It is an elegy of mourning for family lost to the politics of fear and gentrification, and a manifesto of reuniting the people who have poetry into the family that will stand and make a difference for the voiceless in a society obsessed with its own destruction.


The poems in Paul Corman-Roberts’ generous second full-length collection, Bone Moon Palace, traverse the emotional landscapes of aging and dying, living during pandemic times, losses and joys. In “Meet the New Abnormal, Same as the Old Abnormal,” he writes, “There is only so much lonely / we can bear / before giving in to the larger ocean / and all the forbidden that follows.” Corman-Roberts explores what it means to be a father, a poet, a lover, a friend, a human being. In “The One” (with Arisa White), he writes, “We arrive out of the tunnel with the bright thirst / for our bodies. Too old to be angry anymore, too / old to let the rage lure us back… “ Sparks of humor and wise observations abound. The title poem, “Bone Moon Palace,” offers a poignant tribute to those who passed during the Ghost Ship Fire in Oakland, California: “on the streets of Oakland / water for lovers lost and found / water for scream in the wild night / water for the sound of buckling beams / give water for messages sent in faith / water for a bone moon gone broke / and then /give silence / the silence of dozens…”

Maw Shein Win, author of Storage Unit for the Spirit House, Invisible Gifts, and Score and Bone

These verses leave no slack. Gritty, rude, and raw to the bone, they express the political-human angst and turmoil of our combustible city and times, bursting forth, like an angry spigot, its elegy of love, sex and pain, contradictions and visions.

Genny Lim, SF Jazz Poet emeritus, author of Paper Angels, KRA!, Island

This is a remarkable book of poetry. Paul Corman-Roberts writes with a passionate pen full of images that strike the imagination with both heartfelt rage in their expression and a sense that they could not be composed in any other way. He, that is, doesn’t simply write, he receives in the best kabbalistic sense of the word. Bravo!

Jack Hirschman, 4th San Francisco Poet Laureate, author of over 50 volumes of poetry and essays

What a treasure this collection is. Paul Corman-Roberts is a master of metaphor. This poetry is a walk through reality and right now reality is hard. But I didn’t once feel bereft, though I cried twice—I felt confirmed and thus accompanied by something powerful.
Judy Grahn, author of Edward the Dyke and Other Poems and The Work of a Common Woman

Paul Corman-Roberts’ words create a lush, lyrical roadmap to navigate a world where one can feel lost in a sideways sanity. With heart, hope, and humor as his magnetic north, Corman-Roberts leads us along roads teeming with ghosts, shape-shifters, poisonous CEOs, and investment bankers. Rather than imposing upon us a “one-way ticket to the abyss,” replete with Eden-less days where memes are the new media and democracy is pummeled by “thugocracy,” Corman-Roberts offers us a proverbial light at the end of our journey—that poetry can offer sanctuary, and that even amidst a crumbling empire, we “still need to be held / need to be cuddled / even in the squalor of our own dust.
Rich Ferguson, L.A. spoken-word performer, Beat Poet Laureate of California (2020–2022)

Bone Moon Palace, like the ghost ship that its title poem commemorates, offers escape “not from everyone else but from everywhere else, a hiding place to be alone in sometimes.” In these poems, you’ll find community and solitude, candor and empathy, history and etymology. You’ll find our oligarchy decoded; our mammalian nature disrobed. You’ll find cold full moonlit nights and Darth Vader unsheathing his box cutters and so many beautifully-turned phrases: words tilled like soil to harvest a fresh poetic perspective. Enter the palace and behold, then, Corman-Roberts veering nimbly between jester and sage—dispensing “truth like smoke / disguised as tomfoolery.”
Soma Mei-Sheng Frazier, 2017 San Francisco Library Laureate, author of Salve and Collateral Damage: A Triptych

Paul Corman-Roberts’ imagination is a responsible spirit leading people to their sharpened teeth. His imagination is my friend. Riffs to live by wreathe poem after poem. Stowaway poems in this time of epochal shifts in the direction and velocity of social freight. You can find Corman-Roberts underneath cracking thousands of wishbones with all phantoms and phenomena that hegemony would have you ignore. Here is a tally for lovers of poems to enjoy.
Tongo Eisen-Martin, 8th San Francisco Poet Laureate, author of Heaven Is All Goodbyes and somebody is dead already

About the Author

© Alexandra Naughton

Paul Corman-Roberts

Paul Corman-Roberts is the author Bone Moon Palace from Black Lawrence Press (2021) a CLMP Firecracker nominated full length poetry collection. He is also author of the graphic chapbook The Sincere (with illustrator Ray Swaney) from Libran Apocalypse Books (2022.) He is a founder and current organizer of the Beast Crawl Lit Festival  in Oakland CA. He currently teaches workshops for the San Francisco Creative Writing Institute. He sometimes fills in as a drummer for the U.S. Ghostal Service, The Jennifer Blowdryer Band and the Poznansky Sisters, but mostly he is just exhausted.

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