September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond Edited by William Heyen
In September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond, more than 125 fiction writers, poets, and essayists offer a revelation of our collective psyche during a perilous time through searing memoirs, letters, poems, brief fictions, essays, a memorial service, and contributions beyond classification. Over time this anthology will surely remain one of our most crucial, challenging, and important.
Included are Pulitzer Prize winning authors W. S. Merwin, Henry Taylor, and John Updike, National Book Award winners Ai and Lucille Clifton, former Poets Laureate Richard Wilbur and Robert Pinsky, and winners of others of our most distinguished awards who represent the spectrum of backgrounds, approaches, and attitudes that comprise the American literary landscape: Tess Gallagher, Ray Gonzalez, Kimiko Hahn, Joy Harjo, Denis Johnson, Erika Jong, Maxine Hong Kingston, Naomi Shihab Nye, Ishmael Reed, Scott Russell Sanders, Joanna Scott, Ruth Stone, John A. Williams, Terry Tempest Williams, and more than one hundred others. Most of the work in September 11, 2001: American Writers Respond appears here for the first time.
Shadows of Houses by H. L. Hix
“Shadows of Houses, H. L. Hix’s new collection, is both vatic and precise. Patiently looking at and through the quotidian, Hix registers the tiny and immense phenomena of change and variation the seasons and hours bring. The remarkable sequence ‘The God of Window Screens and Honeysuckle’ is a compendium of outer and inner weather—a naturalist’s, neighbor’s, philosopher’s, and poet’s almanac, and a source of wisdom and beauty I shall regularly return to.”—Rachel Hadas
“Hix’s measured, crystalline particles of everyday life melt, moment by moment by moment, into song.”—Charles Bernstein
Shoah Train by William Heyen
Over the decades Heyen has most often thought, studied, and written about the Holocaust. His ground-breaking collection The Swastika Poems (Vanguard Press, 1977) was revised and expanded to Erika (1984). Thirteen more of these poems appear in Falling from Heaven (Time Being Books, 1991). Shoah Train collects more than seventy poems written over the last dozen years, lyrics of “discipline and honesty and courage and restraint,” as Archibald MacLeish described The Swastika Poems. Experiencing the new poems in Shoah Train, readers will find themselves in the voice-presence of one of our most important poets.
2004 Finalist — National Book Award
So Late, So Soon: New and Selected Poems by Carol Moldaw
Aurally rich, structurally varied and inventive, sensually textured, these are poems at once passionate and analytical, descriptive and meditative, lyrical and complex—poems that keep one eye on the moon while leveling their gaze at the self and its immediate world. With an alert nuanced intelligence, a sinuous flexible line, Moldaw’s poems turn swiftly and sharply, surprising us in their range and ease, their visionary core.
While, in the quoted words of the painter Agnes Martin, “the mind knows what the eye has not seen,” Moldaw’s exact and sometimes challenging language bring eye and mind together, with revelatory transparency. A wild fire brings into focus her daughter’s unknown birth mother; a columbary outside the hospital window becomes a columbarium as she comes to terms with a friend’s dying of AIDS; tossing the I Ching coins affords the occasion for a long meditative sequence built on distilled moments; overheard piano music catalyzes a reverie of longing; Walter de Maria’s sculpture Lightning Field inspires a layered, penetrating rumination on art and life’s “multi-angled interrelationships.”
Out of acutely observed, deeply felt particulars, Moldaw constructs poetry of imaginative daring that illuminates and transforms the life within us all, repeatedly achieving, to quote from The New Yorker, “lyric junctures of shivering beauty.”
Surrendering Oz: A Life in Essays by Bonnie Friedman
Surrendering Oz is a memoir in essays that charts the emotional awakening of a bookish Bronx girl. From her early job as a proofreader at The Guinness Book of World Records through a series of dominating and liberating friendships and secret connections, the author takes charge of her life as a Texas professor, writer and wise student of her own soul.
Reader’s Digest says reading Surrendering Oz “is like having a conversation with a bracingly honest but fundamentally kind friend. In 15 pitch-perfect essays, she chronicles her hard-earned rejection of the cultural fairytales of womanhood as she comes fully into possession of her life.” Surrendering Oz was recently longlisted for the 2015 PEN/Diamondstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay.
2015 Finalist – The Community of Literary Magazines and Presses Firecracker Award
2015 Finalist – Longlist PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay
Synergos: Selected Poems by Roberto Manzano
The poems in Synergos smack of Whitman and Martí, two of Roberto Manzano’s most important influences; they outsoar anything pedestrian, even in celebrating the here and now and the close-to-hand. Translated by Steven Reese, the collection covers Manzano’s poetry from his earliest to his most recent work, which won the 2005 Nicolás Guillén Prize, one of Cuba’s highest awards. The text includes a substantial amount of interview material that clarifies Manzano’s poetics and places it within the traditions of recent Cuban poetry. Manzano’s writing offers a window into contemporary Cuban life in its attention to the local landscape and environment, an attention that won Manzano the 2007 Samuel Feijóo Prize for Poetry and the Environment. But its greatest achievement lies in making, from the local and everyday, a poetry that is unmistakably universal.
“Manzano’s poems go beyond the traditionally circumscribed lyric, beyond the often humble and household range of so many contemporary poems. Translating those poems, and talking with Manzano about his work, was to experience that energy and ambition at close range, too close indeed to avoid being affected by it permanently Manzano offers one of the great gifts of translation—to be changed oneself in the process of that other, impossible change: moving a poem out of one language into another.”—Steven Reese, translator of Synergos
The Arsonist’s Song Has Nothing to Do With Fire by Allison Titus
The Arsonist’s Song Has Nothing to Do with Fire, a highly compressed prose poem of a novel, explores the loneliness of three misfits as they attempt to reconnect to the modern world: Vivian, the wallflower who’s obsessed with death; Ronny, the arsonist, who’s resisting the urge to burn the whole town down, and The Doctor, who struggles to glorify his legacy with a brilliant and reckless vision: human flight.
The Burning House by Paul Lisicky
When Isidore Mirsky’s sister-in-law Joan loses her apartment, she moves in. Mirsky’s world is already in flux—his job lost, his bayside town under siege by developers—and now he must struggle with his bewildering attraction to Joan, who evokes for him all the qualities that once drew him to his wife. How can a warm, unpredictable man remain true to himself and to the woman he loves? Desire, and the renewal it brings, might just be the thing that causes damage. Outrageous, tender, and alive with the sound of Isidore’s voice, The Burning House captures a man at his most vulnerable moment, on the brink of something new.
“A vigorous, interior-driven narrative… Lisicky is a beautiful and powerful writer; his prose has a palpable energy that demands close attention….”—Publishers Weekly
“An extraordinary fiction in that it sustains a believable poetic voice throughout… Lisicky’s longer prose piece…often feels like a long, beautiful narrative poem about what it is to be flawed and human in a world that often seems, at best, indifferent.”—The Boston Globe
“Paul Lisicky’s The Burning House smolders with muscular, beautiful language, and shines with love for two sisters as each blossoms darkly into her own future. Lisicky’s odd man out finds his way deeply inside the reader’s desires and hopes. The answer to the question, ‘what do (good) men want?’ may well be answered in this elliptical, pitch-perfect gem of a novel.” — Jayne Anne Phillips
The Candle: Poems of Our 20th Century Holocaust by: William Heyen
For this book collection, the author has selected about 150 poems from eight previous books, and concludes with a new collection of 46 poems. In the face of such obscenity that stains our 20th century, how is it possible that we might stay sane, might honor the innocent victims of unspeakable horror, might remember, and might even dare to attempt to compose poetry despite Theodor
Adorno’s injunction that after Auschwitz only a barbarian would write it.
The author comments about this collection: “I suppose that The Candle is the record of my attempt to come to grips with Elie Wiesel’s reminder: ‘If you have not grasped it until now, it is time you did: Auschwitz signifies death — total, absolute death — of man and of mankind, of reason and of the heart, of language and of the senses. Auschwitz is the death of time, the end of creation; its mystery is doomed to stay whole, inviolate.’”
The author comments about this collection: “I suppose that The Candle is the record of my attempt to come to grips with Elie Wiesel's reminder: 'If you have not grasped it until now, it is time you did: Aschwitz signifies death — total, absolute death — of man and of mankind, of reason and of the heart, of language and of the senses. Auschwitz is the death of time, the end of creation; its mystery is doomed to stay whole, inviolate.'”
The Casanova Chronicles by Myrna Stone
In this book of voices, speakers resurrected from the deeper past and the dead chafe against the circumstances of love, sex, loss, and longing. The Casanova Chronicles & Other Poems includes forty sonnets, each written in a relaxed meter. Each sonnet is a persona poem, told from the point-of-view of a real-life character. In The Ballard Sonnets those characters include Alba Ballard, her husband, her son, and two of her pet parrots, all of them dealing with the effects of her death.
“In this wild, sexy, exuberantly off-the-wall collection, parrots, puppets, and the great Casanova take turns force-feeding Viagra to the stuffy old sonnet. But it’s Myrna Stone’s Rabelaisian gift for language that really steals the show. My head’s still spinning.”—George Bilgere
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