Topographies by Stephen Benz
A wild ride on the madcap streets of Guatemala City. A twilight walk through old Havana with a Cuban mailman. A canoe trip in search of a lost grave in the Everglades. A late-night visit to a border-town casino. These are some of the experiences Stephen Benz describes in this witty, insightful, and evocative collection of personal essays and literary journalism.
Benz takes readers to locales both familiar and remote, introducing unusual characters and recounting little-known historical anecdotes. Along the way, he contemplates the meaning of road signs, describes the hardships of daily life in the former Soviet Union, reflects on the lives and deaths of forgotten people, and listens to a bolero during a Havana blackout.
2019 Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year Finalist
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
Triptych: The Three-Legged World, In Time, and Orpheus & Echo by Peter Grandbois, James McCorkle and Robert Miltner
A triptych typically depicts a scene, a single picture, in three panels. A trio is one song or one movement played by three musicians. But if this rich new book, Triptych, represents something singular, it is to show a small part of the singular diversity and range of contemporary American poetry. From Peter Grandbois’ intimate, disarming lyricism, to James McCorkle’s chewy, sustained meditations on time and the nature of decay, to Robert Miltner’s classical dramas where the Orphic myth can take us from creekside to the underworld of Vegas, each of this book’s books is as distinct as each poet’s style and manner—splayed or compressed, in lines or in prose, in wonder, in amusement, or in alarm. Over them all hovers the bedeviling circumstance of Time—enabler, nemesis, and charm. It imperils the lovers, fractures the landscapes, and confounds the sense of every self.
—David Baker, Swift: New and Selected Poems
Variations in the Key of K by Alex Stein
A book of provocative ideas, about art and artists, Variations In The Key of K is an artfully constructed collection of stories. Franz Kafka, Pablo Picasso, and William Blake are among the many artist lives reconceived here. A book of cautionary histories, on one hand. An irreverent celebration of the graces of the creative life, on the other.
Venison by Thorpe Moeckel
Food doesn’t get any more local, cosmic, primitive, tasty, or disturbing than in this book-length, lyrical-meditative poem. At stake are no less than the origins and mysteries of flesh and touch.
“Thorpe Moeckel’s Venison is civilized and wild, like a life lived well, a barbaric yawp of pain and joy and true wonder at the brilliant ordinariness of a life lived close to the earth and close to the bone. Moeckel’s fine poetic is whetted on the visceral and cannily transcendental. Read it.”—Christopher Camuto
“This wonderfully layered poem shows us ‘how to come to know the woods such that you dream them through the eyes of the deer. This is the praise song of the hunter and the world he hunts.”—Michael Chitwood
Wattle & daub by: Brian Coughlan
The world of Wattle & daub is inhabited by mysterious and peculiar creatures. A woman who fears the living thing in her apartment walls. An office-based streaker with an axe to grind. Automatons that finally recognize their creator. A terminally ill man resorting to hypnotism to quit smoking. The couple who conceive an alarm clock. A dying brain unspooling receding memories of a funfair…
With ear-dizzying force, the stories in this debut collection meld and stretch into truly new directions. Every page is mined with humor, sympathy, and blistering language that mark Brian Coughlan as a unique fabricator of short tales.
2018 Finalist – Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year Award
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
White Vespa by Kevin Oderman
An American expatriate hopes to quell his grief for a long lost son in the stillness of his photographs of the Dodecanese Islands. But soon friendship and then love for a woman wounded in her own family-born grief propel him toward life again, where stillness is set into motion and identity might be recovered, against odds, in a foreign place.
“. . . Oderman has a knack for keeping things moving and bringing the vibrant colors of the island to life.”—Publishers Weekly
“In language as clear and beautiful as the Aegean Sea itself, Oderman seamlessly weaves the tales of three Americans, each fleeing to a remote Greek island to escape the past that haunts them. White Vespa takes the reader on a journey of the senses: the smells and tastes of the Greek isles; the thrumming heat; the languid stroll of life; the sometimes painful stabs of memory when all you want to do is forget.”—Jeff Talarigo, author of The Pearl Diver
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.
Wild and Whirling Words: A Poetic Conversation Moderated by H. L. Hix
What would poets say about each other’s poems if they were really honest? The answer is in Wild and Whirling Words. Thirty-three of America’s best and most important poets, diverse in gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, geography, political disposition, and aesthetic commitments, took the challenge. Each volunteered one of her or his own poems, which the moderator then circulated anonymously among the other poets, who responded anonymously. The results tell a story about how poets read poems and how they write poems, about what poetry is, and about the state of contemporary poetry in America.
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.
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