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Who We Are
Housed at Wilkes University and partnering with Youngstown State University, Etruscan is a non-profit literary press working to produce and promote books that nurture the dialogue among genres, cultures, and voices.
What We Do
We publish books of poems, novels, short stories, creative non-fiction, criticism, translation, and anthologies. Three of our poetry collections have been National Book Award finalists; one of our titles was chosen as the Poetry Society of America’s First Book Award, and three poems have been chosen for Best American Poetry.
New arrivals at Etruscan
In the Cemetery of the Orange Trees by Jeff Talarigo
It is late 1948 and days before his wife is to give birth for the first time, Ghassan is approached by two talking jackals threatening that, if he doesn’t paint the signs of the newly named villages and towns, his wife will give birth to a goat. Thus begins the exile to Gaza of Ghassan and his goat.
In the mode of Borges, Calvino and Coetzee, In the Cemetery of the Orange Trees presents linked mytho-poetic tales delving beneath the long Palestinian diaspora; the history of Gaza is told as never before: through the eyes of a night guardian of a talking goat; a carrier pigeon that befriends a young boy who sells photos of martyrs; a refugee who eats books and then recites them word for word; a Palestinian father who sneaks animals into Gaza through a labyrinth of tunnels; a talking sheep who is caged in the Gaza Zoo. These mystical voices echo in the mind of an American stranger as he witnesses the beauty and horror of this ancient, suffering land. In the Cemetery of the Orange Trees is a disquieting allegory of the clash between the powerful and the silenced.
Areas of Fog by Will Dowd
Will Dowd takes us on a whimsical journey through one year of New England weather in this engaging collection of essays. As unpredictable as its subject, Areas of Fog combines wit and poetry with humor and erudition. A fun, breezy, and discursive read, it is an intellectual game that exposes the artificiality of genres.
Mr. Either/Or by Aaron Poochigian
Aaron Poochigian’s Mr. Either/Or is an ingenious debut, a verse novel melding American mythology, noir thriller and classical epic in language in which gritty rhythms, foreboding overtones and groovy jams surround you like an atmosphere. Imagine Byron’s Don Juan on a high-stakes romp through a Raymond Chandler novel. Think Hamlet in Manhattan with a license to kill.
All the Difference by Patricia Horvath
All the Difference is a captivating account of the author’s transformation from a visibly disabled young woman to someone who could, abruptly, “pass” for able-bodied. In prose that is searing and humorous Patricia Horvath details her experiences with bracing and spinal fusion, as she considers the literature of physical transformation and how folk and fairy tales shape our attitudes towards the disabled.
Rain Inscription by H. L. Hix
H. L. Hix’s Rain Inscription gives vivid testimony to the paradox that human making is both lasting and fleeting. Each of its three sections (a sonnet-sequence Q&A with contemporary cultural studies, a renewal of the sayings of Herakleitos and Jesus, and a group of dialogues with contemporary artists) extends an already capacious dialogue beyond its prior limits.
Luz Bones by Myrna Stone
In these wild, intense, and fiercely crafted sonnets and other poems, Myrna Stone takes us on a journey through time and the psyche that is both novelistic and deeply lyrical. The range of voices—from Martin Luther’s to Mae West’s—explores both mortality and what might lie just beyond it.
One Turn Around the Sun by: Tim Seibles
One Turn Around The Sun is a panorama of poems that attempt to define the twilight during which a person becomes caretaker of parents and begins to grind against that old saying, “Life is too short.” The book also studies the intricacies of being a self, a particular personality shaped by forces seen and unseen, both knowable and not. At times, the various voices might be considered characters that agree and sustain one perspective. In other cases, contending sensibilities imply an underlying argument. This is especially true of the book within the book, which is entitled “The Hilt.”
Several questions drive this collection, the most central being how can a person stay sane when so often socio-political circumstances mock all efforts to create a livable world. This is a book intended to bolster an ongoing engagement with life at a time when running away is a great temptation.
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.’”
Human Directional by: Diane Raptosh
Following her big hit, American Amnesiac, Raptosh’s Human Directional zigzags across consciousness, searing through old patterns of thought and offering new directions for the mind, heart, and world.
Raptosh points the way to what Montaigne called “unlearning how to be a slave.” With the deadly precision of the fey, Human Directional reveals the heartbreak and absurdity of our world by exploring— and often exploding—its most sacred memes.
A Heaven Wrought of Iron: Poems From the Odyssey by D. M. Spitzer
A Heaven Wrought of Iron: Poems from the Odyssey offers a fresh approach to — and a collaboration with — the Odyssey by weaving together translated fragments from the Greek text with a sequence of poems drawn from an imaginative engagement with the Odyssey.
D. M. Spitzer’s collection unfolds within the framework of the ancient epic: 24 books and a well-known and complex narrative architecture. The poems contained in A Heaven Wrought of Iron inhabit a range of voices drawn from both the world of Homer’s Odyssey and from that of the poet-as-reader.
The Dog Looks Happy Upside Down by Meg Pokrass
The Dog Looks Happy Upside Down is a collection of flash fiction that conveys entire worlds that are haunting, sad, funny, touching, and strange in the most enlivening, beautiful ways. This collection of tiny, intimate truffles is as powerful as soul-chocolate infused with caffeine. Each story contains bite-sized glimpses into the lives of everyday people, leaving readers with the long and lasting effects of a full-length novel. Each chapter dives into relevant life events that require further contemplation. These 50 stories reveal the dark truth and reality of the world.
Direct, brave, funny, achingly personal, darkly humorous and sad, these stories linger and pull, begging to be reread many times. Pokrass is a trickster, a shape-shifter, a writer who chronicles the maladies of the modern world, and makes us laugh.
Named a finalist for the 2017 Saboteur Awards
Who’s Afraid of Helen of Troy: An Essay on Love By: David Lazar
In Who’s Afraid of Helen of Troy, David Lazar extends the language of prose poetry, mixing the classical and the high modern, the song and dance man, and the Odyssean. Nothing, he finds, is as far apart as we think, except for chaos and order, innocence and experience. Who’s Afraid of Helen of Troy is a sequence of prose poems about the ravages of love, how we desire it, and whether we care to recover.
The voice in these prose poems is semi-autobiographical, and performative; masked yet emotionally raw. It draws on features of modernist poetry, uses an arch, cadenced sentence as its primary unit, but draws on the Iliad, Odyssey, and other classical myths as part of its internal cosmos. The book is an essay, of sorts, and a chorus of one, splintered. It takes the prose poem to a new pitch of expressive and intellectual discourse.
The speaker dreams himself in and out of movies and cities: Troy, Paris, London. On the verge of dissolution, he understands that memory is almost never a consolation, that it draws blood as a price for its music. When we are ashen, irony is the instrument that we keep checking for in our pockets. Lazar’s voice is a sacred last resort: something’s gotta give.
Body of a Dancer by Renee E. D’Aoust
In a memoir Lance Olsen calls “fascinating, horrifying, unfalteringly honest,” award-winning writer Renee E. D’Aoust draws from her experiences as a modern dancer in New York City during the nineties. Trained at the prestigious Martha Graham Center, D’Aoust intertwines accounts of her own and other dancers’ lives with essays on modern dance history. Her luminous prose spotlights this passionate, often brutal world. Scarred, strained, and tough, bearing witness to the discipline demanded by the art form, Body of a Dancer provides a powerful, acidly comic record of what it is to love, and eventually leave, a life centered on dance.
“Body of a Dancer fills a void in the dance literature that has existed for far too long. . . As D’Aoust reveals in her wonderful memoir, the ‘Body of a Dancer’ is also shaped by an entire life led both inside and outside the studio.”
“Fascinating, horrifying, unfalteringly honest, Renée E. D’Aoust’s Body of a Dancer is a remarkably clear-eyed descent into New York’s surreal world of modern dance peopled by the obsessed, dispossessed, sexy, suicidal, brutal, broke, and absurd, where piercing self-doubt and ambition give way to luminous instants of transcendence, and where the body is a site of pain and beauty and discipline and joy, a home you can never fully inhabit and never fully leave.”
—Lance Olsen, author of Head in Flames
2011 Finalist – Foreword Review Book of the Year Award
Toucans in the Arctic by Scott Coffel
Toucans in the Arctic is an inspired truant from any number of poetical schools. In this lyric case study of tumult and tranquility, the poet, tour pamphlet in hand, wanders through the national park of the psyche, noting surfeits of beauty and ruin as he scrambles across the eerie landscapes of identity and marriage.
“In this long-awaited first collection, Toucans in the Arctic, Scott Coffel writes, ‘When I see a woman at the Cottage Bakery/immersed in Ulysses or The Brothers Karamzov/my desires align themselves in neat rows/for the march into liberated Paris…’ Of wide reference and deep thought, of language taut and somehow new, these are 21st Century poems of joy, rage, erudition, wry humor, monumental tenderness. You will remember the day you discovered this book.”—Suzanne Cleary
2010 —Poetry Society The Norma Farber First Book Award
Chromatic by H. L. Hix
Chromatic bears as its epigraph the philosopher Baruch Spinoza’s assertion that “Desire is the very nature or essence of every single individual.” The three sequences of poems in Chromatic test that claim. Each borrows its title: “Remarks on Color” from Ludwig Wittgenstein, “Eighteen Maniacs” from Duke Ellington, and “The Well-Tempered Clavier” from J. S. Bach. Exploiting those predecessors, the poems in Chromatic explore the full range of effects caused by human desire, from ecstasy to despair.
“Among the new writers who interest me most at the moment. . . . Hix is cerebral, ingeniously inventive, and often scary. He is an experimental poet whose experiments usually succeed—a rare event in contemporary letters.”—Dana Gioia, Turnrow
2006 Finalist — National Book Award in Poetry
Fast Animal by Tim Seibles
The newest collection from one of America’s foremost African-American poets threads the journey from youthful innocence to the whittled-hard awareness of adulthood. Along the way it immerses the reader in palpable moments —the importance of remembering, the complexity of race, and the meaning of true wakefulness
“Crisply comic, disarmingly frank, and aurally bold …”
2014 — Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize
2013 — PEN Oakland Literary Award Winner
2012 — National Book Award Finalist
Nahoonkara by Peter Grandbois
Set simultaneously in the farm country of Wisconsin and a small mining town in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado during the nineteenth century, the new novel by Peter Grandbois follows the lives of three brothers as each strives to re-create himself despite the forces that work to determine his identity. Though told from the point-of-view of many characters, the novel revolves around Killian, the oldest of the three, as he attempts to recapture a childhood as ephemeral as a dream. While Killian’s brother Henry strives to make the town prosperous and his brother Eli prays to maintain the town’s spiritual center, it becomes clear as the novel progresses that the center will not hold. Violence, lust, and greed tear at the fabric of the town until the only possibility for healing arrives in the form of a snowfall that lasts for three months, burying the town. It is here events take a surreal turn as individual identity collapses.
Nahoonkara, an Ute Indian word that means, “land of the rising blue,” offers a place outside our preconceived notions of reality and identity, a place where we are free to re-imagine ourselves.
“The amazing and masterful thing [in Nahoonkara] is the way that Grandbois ties this very personal, family story to the larger narrative of American expansion; it’s not overt, but we see clearly how individual pain leads to national empire.”—Kel Munger, Colorado Springs Independent Newspaper
Winner of the Gold Medal for Best Literary Fiction of the Year (ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards)
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
American Amnesiac by Diane Raptosh
Following the manic journey of a man stripped of memory, American Amnesiac confronts the complexities of being American in an age of corruption, corporations, and global conflict.
“Straddling confession and prophesy, history and myth, intimacy and anonymity, American Amnesiac offers a riveting meditation on a distinctly American condition. We are lost and at home in its world, a world in which past and present collide and identities fold and collapse. Following the hypnotic voice of the amnesiac speaker, the stranded reader stumbles along in a landscape marked by its own odd, jarring, incoherent signposts — shreds of a past as recognizable as it is impenetrable (the relentless refrain is, after all, “My name is John Doe”) and scraps of a world reduced to a collection of headlines, names, titles, symbols, letters — familiar and cryptic at once. With her consummate craft, Diane Raptosh has given us a collection of stunning, timely, and unforgettable poems.” —Edvige Giunta, author of Writing with an Accent: Contemporary Italian American Women Authors
The self is a thousand localities
like a small nation—assembly required: borders and roads,armies, farms, small and large pieces of parchment. I stand by
all the territories I have ever been, even as I can’t
remember them. I am a locum—ear to the emperor penguin, a banner ad
blinking to the hoi polloi. Since I’ve become John Doe, I swear
I can feel most objects with sixty digits
instead of five. This makes me think
of Lisette. Makes me miss her left collar bone. Her hips’ wingtips.
A train moans from a far hummock.
Which reminds me that everyone I’ll have to live without
I must help to find a place within. Which is an act
of granite will. A strain. A ditty.
An exercise in utmost beautility.
From American Amnesiac (Etruscan Press 2013) by Diane Raptosh
2013 – National Book Award Longlist, Poetry
2014 Finalist – Housatonic Book Award for Poetry
What We Ask of Flesh by Remica L. Bingham
Blending biblical characters into a deeply personal history, What We Ask of Flesh tells of women through time, their spirits borne through broken flesh, through wombs and memories. The body becomes an instrument as words explore the mystical connection between what was and is.
“A tour de force and a story where nothing—no regret or rationalization can stanch the reality of what can happen to us, made of flesh. This is a surging book …”—Grace Cavalieri, The Washington Independent Review of Books
“What We Ask of Flesh, like the flesh itself, is full of honey and fire. It’s impossible not to feel called by these poems, summoned by their rich sound and vatic voice.”—Amy Gerstler
2014 Finalist – Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry
American Fugue by Alexis Stamatis
American Fugue (Amerikaniki Fouga) is Stamatis’s first book published in America and available to U.S. readers. The book, which was translated by Etruscan author Diane Thiel and by Constantine Hadjilambrinos, follows a Greek protagonist who visits America, travels across the country, and has a strange and compelling adventure. American Fugue examines the basic themes that are persistent in all of Stamatis’s works of fiction: an all-consuming past, the flight to escape one’s personal demons, and, most importantly, the search for personal identity that is ultimately revealed only through what is unknown to the self. The treatment of these themes is also characteristic of the author’s other novels—travel narrative on the surface, mystery or thriller with an existential dimension at another level, but ultimately a quest for self-discovery and personal redemption.
“One of the most gifted writers of his generation.” —Francoise Noiville, journalist at Le Monde
“Alexis Stamatis always starts his books smoothly, seductively so, but one chapter in you find yourself rushing the pages, intrigued, amazed, surprised. . . ”—Nicholas Papandreou, author of A Crowded Heart
2007 Winner – NEA 1st International Translation Award
Crave: Sojourn of a Hungry Soul by: Laurie Jean Cannady
Crave is a coming-of-age memoir that chronicles a young girl’s journey through abuse and impoverishment. The effusive narration descends into the depths of personal and sexual degradation, perpetual hunger for food, safety and survival. While moving through gritty exposés of poverty, abuse, and starvation, Crave renders a continuing search for sustenance that simply will not die.
Laurie Jean Cannady is most recognizable through her voice. Lyrical and august, yet strangely intimate, her lucid memory for the texture of daily existence weaves the reader into the fabric of the story. We discover that the most slender threads bind the strongest.
It is no surprise this memoir is a narrative about a victim who becomes a survivor. Cannady is assertive, motivational, and unafraid to reach her target audience: women, African-Americans, high-school students, college students, survivors of physical and sexual abuse, veterans, people raised by single parents, and folks who are living in or have lived through impoverishment.
2015 Finalist – Foreword Review Book of the Year Award
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
The Other Sky by Bruce Bond and Aron Wiesenfeld
In dialogue between poetry and visual art, The Other Sky probes the depths of the psyche: childhood roots, reveries, tensions. We find visual art and poems that respond, not as mere descriptions, but as speculative and emotional explorations, incantations, forces of resistance even, driven by strengths unique to poems. This book is unique by virtue of the power, virtuosity, and refinement of its images and the ways the poems work closely with them to create a symbiosis that is larger than either medium alone. Both artist and poet have a large following, so this book represents the coming together of two communities, the worlds of poetry and visual art, to expand the range of what is possible in each.
2016 Finalist — Texas Institute of Letters Helen Smith Memorial Award for Best Book of Poetry
Bearing Imagination – Outreach
Enjoy our latest video "Bearing Imagination - Outreach" which describes Etruscan's mission and continued literary efforts, funded by grants and donations, including the Ohio Arts Council.
Laurie Jean Cannady – A Reading from Crave: Sojourn of a Hungry Soul
Visit “At Length” to Read About Their Latest Feature
"At Length", an online journal, has just released a chapter from To Banquet with the Ethiopians: A Memoir of Life Before the Alphabet (forthcoming from Broadstone).
Etruscan Co-Founder Receives Governor’s Award
Out of Our Minds with H. L. Hix
WVIA Interview With Tim Seibles
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WVIA Interview with Phil Brady
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