Etruscan Authors Share Summer Reads
by Michael Hardin
When I think of summer reading, I think of massive literary volumes that require three uninterrupted months to consume—Ulysses, Miss Macintosh My Darling, Gravity’s Rainbow just to mention the reading of three summers—so there is
a reason people don’t ask my advice for a good summer read. Thus, I
asked some of our Etruscan authors for their summer reads, either books
they have read in summers past, or books on their current reading list.
The responses were as varied as the writers themselves, and hopefully
their suggestions will inspire you to go to your local independent
bookstore and order a selection or two. It would be interesting to pair
the writer’s suggestion with their own work, to look for similarities in
thought or theme or for some insight into their creative process.
One of our newest authors, J. Michael Lennon, whose essay collection Mailer’s Last Days: New and Selected Literary Remembrances of a Life in Literature will be published this fall by Etruscan, recommended another book of nonfiction by John T. (“Ike”) Williams titled The Shores of Bohemia: A Cape Cod Story, 1910-1960 (Farrar, Straus Giroux, 2022).
“It’s a colorful history of the artists and writers who lived in
Provincetown, Truro, and Wellfleet, at the end of the Massachusetts
peninsula, the oldest art colony in the U.S. Eugene O’Neill invented
American realistic drama there, and some of the others who lived there
include John Reed, Neith Boyce, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edmund Wilson,
Mary McCarthy, and later, Allen Ginsberg, Annie Dillard, Tennessee
Williams, and Norman Mailer. Plus the painters Robert Motherwell, Helen
Frankenthaler, Hans Hoffman, and Jackson Pollack. Mailer called
Provincetown ‘the freest town in the U.S.’ and the bohemians who lived
there in the summer also invented Greenwich Village as an enclave for
the free-spirited and talented. Ike, who is my friend and literary
agent, grew up in Truro and knew many of the people he writes about.
Lively, fast-paced and delicious memoir/history.”
Remica Bingham-Risher, the author of the poetry collection What We Ask of Flesh (Etruscan, 2013), is “looking forward to getting to sit with Tim Seibles’ Voodoo Libretto: New and Selected Poems [Etruscan,
2022] on the sunny side of my back porch or out catching the breeze by
the ocean. Many summers ago, finding his book Hurdy-Gurdy in
a thrift store changed the trajectory of my living and I can’t wait to
sit with some of those poems again, twenty-five years later. Thanks to
Seibles and many other teachers and mentors, this August, my
memoir Soul Culture: Black Poets, Books and Questions That Grew Me Up will
make its way into the world. In it, I tell the rest of the story of
that summer with Tim’s work in hand as well as many others that led me
to this gift of the writing life.”
The author of Variations in the Key of K (Etruscan, 2020), a
collection of stories about writers and artists, Alex Stein gravitated
again toward the life of a famous painter: “I am reading Renoir: My Father
(1962), a biography of the painter Pierre Auguste Renoir written by his
son Jean. The book begins, as perhaps all books should begin, with the
sentence, ‘In April, 1915, a Bavarian sharpshooter did me the favor of
putting a bullet through my leg.’ Recovering in Paris, Jean and his
father—now aged and with hands so distorted (fingers so splayed) by
rheumatism that those who do not (cannot?) understand that the painter's
visionary skills reside in his spirit and not in his flesh, are
astonished—begin the series of conversations that will result in this
intimate portrait. So much love and admiration by the son, who is
himself a world-renowned filmmaker—and so many jubilant anecdotes.
Including portraits of Renoir's friends—Monet and Cezanne
The poet Dante Di Stefano, author of the poetry collections Ill Angels (Etruscan, 2019) and Lullaby with Incendiary Device (in the Tribus collection, Generations [Etruscan,
2022]), recommended two books by Etruscan’s founding editors: “I’d
recommend two books I read last summer, both of which are underwritten
by the same ethos as the many books they’ve published in the past twenty
years: Bob Mooney’s novel, Father of the Man (Pantheon, 2002), and Phil Brady’s selected poetry and prose, The Elsewhere: Poems and Poetics (Broadstone
Books, 2021). Both books are propulsive in their readability, Odyssean
in their wandering lyricism, and thoroughly Etruscan in their brave
The author of the memoir, All the Difference (Etruscan, 2017), Patricia Horvath offered two suggestions. “I just finished reading Aug 9—Fog
(MCD, 2019) by Kathryn Scanlan. A hybrid little book crafted from the
found five-year diary of an 86-year-old woman, it juxtaposes the
quotidian (making peach butter, pulling weeds) with the dire—a cancer
diagnosis, the death of her son-in-law, someone’s new chemo wig—in a way
that embodies life. I found it riveting.
“Also loved Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
(Penguin, 2019). It’s elegiac—for youth, for innocence, for lost
places—and also a searing examination of violence, homophobia, racism, a
coming-of-age story that through its particularity strikes a universal
“Both of these books are by authors who, like me, work in more than one
genre, and it was interesting to consider how the seemingly incidental
details that are the hallmark of fiction play out in Scanlan’s book and
how Vuong employs the lyric, often soaring language that characterizes
These books should get you through the summer beautifully, and if you
find yourself in need of more books to read, remember that Etruscan
Press has a wonderful catalog of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that’s
just a click away.
from Los Angeles, Michael Hardin lives in rural Pennsylvania with his
wife, two children, and two Pekingeses. He is a recent
graduate of the MFA program at Wilkes University. Hardin is the author
of a chapbook, Born Again (Moonstone Press 2019), and has had poems published in Seneca Review, Connecticut Review, North American Review, Quarterly West, Gargoyle, and Tampa Review, among others.
New Release from Etruscan
We are pleased to welcome Etruscan’s third Tribus, Generations: Lullaby with Incendiary Device, The Nazi Patrol and How It Is That We, featuring poetry written by Dante Di Stefano, William Heyen, and H. L. Hix.
Di Stefano’s Lullaby with Incendiary Device inspired this tribute to three generations. Lullaby is
deeply immersed in a soon-to-be-realized future, in which Di Stefano’s
daughter faces an array of 21st century challenges. For the last
half-century, Heyen’s poetry has explored world history, from nature to
the Holocaust. In The Nazi Patrol, Heyen presents another entry into his Holocaust opus. In How It Is That We,
Hix explores the psychology of rage underneath recent political
turmoil, yet it also turns inward, creating new forms to join the world
and the inner life.
Dante Di Stefano is the author of Ill Angels (Etruscan Press, 2019) and Love Is a Stone Endlessly in Flight (Brighthorse Books, 2016). He holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from Binghamton University and is the poetry editor for the DIALOGIST.
He teaches high school English in Endicott, New York and lives in
upstate New York with his wife, Christina, their daughter, Luciana,
their son, Dante Jr., and their dog, Sunny.
William Heyen is the author of several Etruscan titles including the National Book Award Finalist, Shoah Train (2003), The Candle: Poems of Our 20th Century Holocausts (2016), and The Football Corporations
(2012). He is Professor of English/Poet in Residence Emeritus at the
College at Brockport. He holds a Ph.D. from Ohio University.
H. L. Hix has published fourteen other titles with Etruscan Press including Rain Inscription (2017), and Demonstrategy: Poetry, For and Against (2019). A previous Etruscan title, Chromatic
(2006), was a National Book Award Finalist. He teaches in the
Philosophy Department and Creative Writing Program at a university in
“one of those square states.”
New Etruscan Press Outreach Coordinator
We are delighted to announce that Cynthia Kolanowski has joined Etruscan
as Outreach Coordinator. Cynthia brings talent, energy, and experience
in nonprofit leadership to the position. She will be responsible for
development of Etruscan outreach initiatives, including community
events, author promotion, and educational outreach for expanding the
vision, mission, and values of the independent press, located on the
Wilkes University campus.
Cynthia will take over as Outreach Coordinator for Dr. Andrew Wilczak.
We’re grateful for the great work Dr. Wilczak did expanding Etruscan’s
Outreach Program in Northeast Pennsylvania, and we’re delighted that he
will be staying on as Etruscan-Wilkes University Liaison Officer.
Since 2007, the Etruscan Outreach Program has nurtured community
engagement in reading and literature by sharing the experience of
writing with community members, promoting a love of literature across
multiple demographics, and increasing cultural and literary awareness.
Cynthia will explore ways in which literature and the arts can sustain
communities and create spaces for readers and writers to come together.
“I look forward to developing programs and events that will connect
Etruscan authors with community members, and to celebrating and
promoting Etruscan’s mission to nurture a dialogue among genres,
cultures, and voices,” says the Scranton resident.
Cynthia grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania, earning a BA from Carnegie
Mellon University and an MFA from the University of Michigan. An
educator for over twenty years, she has taught writing and literature at
the secondary and post-secondary levels, and was twice named Teacher of
the Year. As Director of Student Success at Regis University in Denver,
Colorado, Kolanowski connected students with nonprofits, organized
service-learning projects, and directed and taught courses that helped
students to succeed in college—work that earned her the Faculty Advisor
of the Year award in 2016. She returned to Pennsylvania in 2020.
Please join us in welcoming Cynthia to Etruscan Press!
About Etruscan Press:
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
For the latest Etruscan events, please visit our website.