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Clean and corporate
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Fall in love with cheope
Bestiality of the Involved by Spring Ulmer
What does it mean to want to become a mother as children around the world die of treatable diseases, are killed by bomb or bullet, are held in cages? In Bestiality of the Involved, Spring Ulmer lives this question out loud, refusing any easy answer.
Scar by Bruce Bond
Bruce Bond’s trilogy of sonnet sequences explores trauma and self-alienation and the power of imaginative life to heal—to reawaken with the past; to better understand its influence, both conscious and unconscious; to gain some measure of clarity, empathy, and freedom as we read the world around us.
The Last Orgasm by Nin Andrews
In her first collection, The Book of Orgasms, Nin Andrews introduced the orgasm as an ethereal presence, a character, a muse who begins a dialogue with her human counterparts. In The Last Orgasm, the author imagines a conclusion to the dialogue.
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.
Dear Z: The Zygote Epistles by Diane Raptosh
Dear Z collects verse-letters to a newly fertilized zygote— not quite a person, nor even an embryo, but rather, the great human maybe. Th e speaker delivers to the “Z” a taste of what this might mean in poems whose topical range traipses from AutoFill to Idaho, New Zealand rivers to the zombie apocalypse.
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
50 Miles by Sheryl St. Germain
50 Miles is a memoir in linked essays that addresses addiction and alcoholism. The book traces the life of the author’s son, Gray, a talented but troubled young man, and his death from a drug overdose at thirty, as well as the author’s own recovery from substance abuse.
Clay and Star: Selected Poems of Liliana Ursu translated by: Mihaela Moscaliuc
In Clay and Star, Romanian poet Liliana Maria Ursu captures with breathtaking precision the convergence of the sacred with the mundane. Whether anchored in Sibiu, Visby, Skala, or San Francisco, her poems both honor and transcend place and time as they search obsessively for essence, truths, self-knowledge, and the divine within.
Demonstrategy: Poetry, For and Against by: H.L. Hix
Against the busy background of the “information age” and the “anthropocene,” where’s poetry? It might seem invisible, irrelevant, but Demonstrategy proves it as salient as ever, and more urgent. In paired essays about poetry in the world and the world in poetry, Demonstrategy finds poetry’s pulse steady and strong.
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
Ill Angels by Dante Di Stefano
Ill Angels explores the breakdowns and joys, the rhythms and reveries, the cul-de-sacs and jubilees, of early midlife. In poems that are at once formally assured and daringly inventive, Dante Di Stefano invokes the lives of artists, musicians, and writers he admires as his poems ruminate on love, death, music, language, and notions of national belonging.
Museum of Stones by Lynn Lurie
Museum of Stones is a magnificent and bracing trek through motherhood. In a series of wellplaced stones of urgent prose poetry, Museum of Stones reveals the fates in store for this newborn boy: wrists “no wider than a straw” and sternum sporting a tiny tower of gauze, hospital monitors aglow in their wide range of numbers and, later, “neatly folded sheets of paper crammed with lists of [the boy’s] numerical codes.” The book illumines the mutable states of the mother: the means by which she must carve herself, with “no distortions or duplications,” from what precious daily clay is left.
—Diane Raptosh, National Book Award Semi-Finalist, American Amnesiac
Sixteen by: Auguste Corteau
What if music could bring about a revolution? What power might reside in such a musical work, and to what madness would its listeners be driven? A haunting tale of love, loss and obsession, Sixteen can also be read as a fascinating literary thriller revolving around the mystery of music.
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
Silk Road by: Daneen Wardrop
Silk Road is a collection of poems written in the persona of Donata Badoer, the wife of Marco Polo, who observes a newly connected world while attending to her everyday activities. In unbidden moments, she turns to perceive the economics and erotics of contact between the people of Europe and China, recognizing both tensions and camaraderie in their links across the globe.
Romer by Robert Eastwood
Using the schema of Dante’s Purgatorio, Romer is a poem of thirty-three Cantos in three-line stanzas, illuminating the experience of a modern man at every stage of
his life. Just as the Purgatorio explores the psyche in terms of its earthly existence, Romer follows the journey of one man who needs to know who he is, where he is, and what he is trying to do. This need is universal, so in that sense, Romer is every man.
Rough Ground by: Alix Anne Shaw
With a lyricism that is both delicate and painful, Rough Ground explores the devastating consequences of trauma on our ability to speak about the world. Based upon Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logi-co-Philosophicus, Rough Ground distills philosophical speculation to poetic text, enacting an utterance almost beyond speech. While the philosopher concludes “that which we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence,” the poems writ on “rough ground” enact a portentous silence, mapping a path between word and world.
Aard-vark to Axolotl: Pictures From my Grandfather’s Dictionary by: Karen Donovan
Karen Donovan’s Aard-vark to Axolotl, an eclectic series of tiny stories and prose poems, is based on a set of illustrations from the pages of her grandfather’s 1925 Webster’s New International Dictionary. The author collected pictures of plants and animals, diagrams and devices, and dozens of other charmingly quirky objects and created a new narrative context for each one. Sometimes sneaky mysterious, sometimes downright weird, these small poetic stories work on the reader like alternative definitions for items drawn from a cabinet of curiosities.
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.
2018 Finalist – Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year Award
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.
2017 — Mass Book Award
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.
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
Arcadia Road: A Trilogy by Thorpe Moeckel
Arcadia Road is three long poems – narrative, lyrical, meditative – each as audacious as down-to-earth, each as strange as intimate. Moeckel’s trilogy is as rich, lush, and organic as the soil of his Virgina Blue Ridge homestead. In a mode both contemporary and as old as Hesiod, Moeckel sustains a cosmic and earthbound incursion into essential techniques and textures of life. These poems are organic and intimate, revolving around the time, work, grace and struggle of bringing food from field to table.
You. by Joseph P. Wood
YOU. In verse that is both wild and taut with controlled fire, YOU. careens through a psychic underworld of passion and imprecation where husband and wife, father and daughter, addict and rehab, self and god, join and divide. Joseph Wood’s book-length screed haunts like a Rilkean summons: YOU. must change your life.
Cannot Stay by Kevin Oderman
This is a book of journeys, but it is not a guidebook.
In twelve essays, Cannot Stay delves into why we leave our front porch in the first place. It speaks to the experience of travel, to what it means to shake loose of your identity and stuff all you need in a worn daypack. Cannot Stay bears witness to how travel reawakens us to the world by revealing the strange in the familiar and the familiar in the strange.
Available: July 2015
6X9, 238 pp.
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
Poems and Their Making: A Conversation Moderated by Philip Brady
Poems and Their Making is a collection of original poems and essays by a diverse cast of inter-connected contemporary American poets, delving into the origin and development of poetic thought, line, and structure. Each poem is followed by an essay by the poet illustrative of some particular issue in craft and theory raised during the poem’s making. While exploring the mysterious process of making poems, Poems and Their Making offers a ground’s eye view of the variety of current poetic practices, and nurtures a dialogue between poetry and critical prose.
I’m Here to Learn to Dream in Your Language by H. L. Hix
In five spellbinding lyric sequences that record a lover’s dreams and a dreamer’s loves, I’m Here to Learn to Dream in Your Language extends H. L. Hix’s ongoing poetic inquiry into spiritual and sexual ecstasy, that condition in which one becomes most oneself precisely by being transported out of oneself.
“In Hix’s beautiful poems, language and thought become physical as well as abstract realities, where one dream can split off into a thousand dreamers…”
— Paisley Rekdal, author of Animal Eye
“To read I’m Here to Learn to Dream in Your Language is to realize that we have among us a visionary devoted to revelation.”
— Dan Beachy-Quick, author of Circle’s Apprentice
American Anger: An Evidentiary by H.L. Hix
More than an expressive book of poems, American Anger is an evidentiary reflection of civility and self-correction. Just as a documentary assembles documents, American Anger assembles evidences: found poems, testimonies, narratives, statistics, translations of short topical excerpts from classical literature, all of which bring American anger to light. Born from the poet’s own philosophical research, these poems present current sociocultural circumstances and employ arguments of dissonance between the statements and actions of the United States government, creating an engaging social and cultural movement focused on how anger is part of everyday American life. American Anger stimulates discussion important to any concerned citizen.
Within the work, a fully developed author biography is present in its own right, affording the reader a chance to learn more about the poet through philosophy and lyricism. The interior of the book has a unique design, which is expertly typeset to create essentially a manuscript within a manuscript. A ribbon of text runs in boustrophedon, an ancient Greek writing form, like a watermark behind the poetry.
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
Quick Kills by Lynn Lurie
Quick Kills chronicles the desperate longing to belong as well as the effects of neglect, familial absence, and the nature of secrets. The young female narrator is seduced by an older man who convinces her that she is the perfect subject for his photographs. Meanwhile, the narrator’s sister embarks on an equally precarious journey. Never clearly delineating the border between art and pornography, the narrator’s escalating disquiet is evidence that lines have been crossed.
“Quick Kills is a chronicle of bewilderment sprung from the terrible want to be wanted, the paralyzing flux of allegiances that keeps us pinned where we ought not be. Girls go missing as readily as shoes in this darkly suggestive novel; nobody’s paying much attention but the predators, who are everywhere and swift. The reader is left to navigate by images, flashes in the dark—a drawer stuffed with frogs, a spatter of blood, a child in an empty swimming pool. Lurie insists that we look, keep looking, make beauty from the ruin, and live.”
—Noy Holland, author of Swim for the Little One First
The Greatest Jewish-American Lover in Hungarian History by Michael Blumenthal
Blumenthal draws both a humorous and heartrending portrait of expatriate life in Europe and Central Europe, as well as the hazards and confusions that confront a European sensibility living in contemporary America. In venues as diverse as Israel, Hungary, Paris, Cambridge and, even, Texas, the stories testify to the work of an American in an increasingly connected and globalized world.
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 Subtle Bodies by James McCorkle
The Subtle Bodies tenses between the lush descriptions of the landscapes and the violences both within those landscapes and imposed upon them. These are poems that seek to make contact with the world as it ebbs into a digitized silence. Whether drawing upon the meditative works of Joan Mitchell or finding in the gestural paintings of Cy Twomby models for his own sprawling and contracting lines, or listening to the Sung Dynasty poet Lu Yu comment on war and aging, these poems construct speculations, meditations, dialogues, monostitches, autobiographical narratives, or lyric excursions that resist the encroachments and erosions of our times. These are elemental poems, “no language but hunger . . . no choice but the traverse of light to dark.”
As Much As, If Not More Than by H.L. Hix
In As Much As, If Not More Than, H.L. Hix first harries poetry with thrusts and parries and, next, with a self-interview composed of questions quoted from other texts. Hix then tests with a stunning sequence of tributes from the poet to poets—in glosas—one of poetry’s possibilities.
As Much As, If Not More Than logs one explorer’s journey into the incompletely mapped region between prose and poetry, the territory—as H.L. Hix himself identifies it—“between speaking and singing, elenchus and jive.”
An Archaeology of Yearning by Bruce Mills
An Archaeology of Yearning explores a father’s effort to understand a family landscape altered by autism. Ultimately, however, the book is not about autism; it is about the central role of storytelling in sustaining human connections and the power of shared desires in embracing difference.
Scything Grace by Sean Thomas Dougherty
Through the smoke lit pool halls, back roads, rehab centers, truckstops and diners of the still industrial lands, Sean Thomas Dougherty offers us the stories he has lived and collected of men and women barely working, just getting by, but every morning still going on, even if unsure.
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
Help Wanted: Female by Sara Pritchard
The world in Sara Pritchard’s book is a known world and yet a strange place, with a cast of homeless characters who wander in and out of the stories of the collection, all set in the same university town. The linked stories take place during the time when gender discrimination in the American workplace was blatant, and when classified ads were labeled “male” or “female” accordingly.
“Sara Pritchard sees everything . . . and looks at it with such tenderness, clarity, and good humor that all of it begins to glow.” —Rebecca Barry, author of Later, at the Bar: A Novel in Stories.
“Survival stories from the liminal edge of Americana, delivered in Pritchard’s wry, observant voice.” —Lenore Hart, author of Becky and The Raven’s Bride
“Sara Pritchard can make you laugh in the same sentence that just made you cry.” —Beverly Donofrio, author of Riding in Cars with Boys and Astonished
Choir of the Wells by Bruce Bond
Described by Kevin Prufer as “a wonderful, deeply moving collection of poems,” Bruce Bond’s latest work, Choir of the Wells, is a tetralogy of new books that cohere as a single exploration of the mind-body problem grounded in daily heartbreak, wonder, novelty, and compulsion.
“Bruce Bond brings to this tetralogy the intellect of a philosopher and the ear of a musician. . . . This is one of the few collections of poetry I have ever read cover to cover, and to do so was one of the most transcendent reading experiences of my life. Each poem is both crafted and strange, but the ordering is symphonic. To follow one poem after another is to be swept up into the poet’s visionary expanse. . . . Bruce Bond is one of the best poets writing now, and Choir of Wells is unquestionably his best book yet.” —Laura Kasischke
“These philosophically charged meditations undertake with serious purpose and capacious wonder Horace’s adage that art should both delight and instruct. A reader can open to any poem in this ample score and find cause for thanksgiving, song, and praise.”—Lisa Russ Spaar
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
No Hurry by Michael Blumenthal
No Hurry is a book of poems for the aging in body but youthful in spirit, for those interested in continuing to ask most meaningful questions as they head “downhill”: What does it mean to be alive? What shall we make of this journey from birth to death? How can we find meaning and joy amid our mortality and suffering?
“The finest collection of poetry I’ve read in a very long time.”—Ron Hansen
“What a terrific book this is! . . . [Blumenthal] thinks out loud for all of us, affirms and denies with wit, charm, and best of all, with what feels like hard-won accuracy.”—Stephen Dunn
“Michael Blumenthal’s poetry never sits heavy on the reader yet is substantial, civilized, and capable of articulating the human condition, including its pains and losses, without melodrama, high sentence, or self-pity. No Hurry is a gorgeous book: the world of flesh, mind, and heart spoken through air and silk.”—George Szirtes
“Blumenthal goes straight to the heart in these poems. Gorgeously wrought, surprising, true, wise, elegiac, they leave me with a sense of having listened to Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus. Who could ask for more?”—Lynn Freed
The Football Corporations by William Heyen
The Football Corporations explores romantic conceptions of contemporary sports, powering its way into a post-catastrophe setting of dirty bombs in stadiums, tortured athletes, corporate domination, and cynicism on a global level.
“In 60-plus poems, Heyen tackles the violence in sports, robotic athletes and coaches, steroids, teams controlling every message and the scourge of corporate takeover. He wonders where the romance went, when cheering for Willie, Mickey and Duke as a kid growing up on Long Island seemed so pure. Grab a beer, a seat in the stands, and prepare to cry.”—Roth, Sports columnist for the Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester)
The Shyster’s Daughter by Paula Priamos
The mysterious death of a high-profile defense lawyer propels his daughter into an investigation of the shady deals and characters that led to his disbarment. This searing, detective noir memoir paints a vivid portrait of a Greek American family caught up in the scandal-obsessed, drug-addicted culture of California in the closing decades of the twentieth century.
“In her gripping, big-hearted, and sometimes harrowing memoir, Paula Priamos searches for meaning in the life—and mysterious death—of her beloved, larger-than-life father. Along the way, Priamos proves herself to be not only a keen observer of the ways we love and bear loss, but also a first rate storyteller. The Shyster’s Daughter will be with me for a long time.” —Will Allison, author of the New York Times Bestseller Long Drive Home and What You Have Left
Zarathustra Must Die by Dorian Alexander
Zarathustra Must Die is Dorian Alexander’s first work of fiction and traverses several genres as it follows the odyssey of a graduate student grappling with Nietzsche’s concept of “eternal recurrence.” Part fictional memoir, part novel, part philosophical exposition, the work explores the nature of time and its relationship to our existence.
However, Zarathustra Must Die finds a home not only in the high art of philosophy, but also in the low art of sex and drugs. Never taking the journey too seriously, Alexander’s humor ranges from high-brow wit to pure burlesque. Zarathustra Must Die is a thought-provoking fiction experience that defies easy classification.
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
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
Lines of Inquiry by H. L. Hix
Lines of Inquiry offers verse essays, interviews, letters, and other exploration into matters as minute as a freckle in the ear of a stranger on the Shanghai subway and as vast as the equal standing of all humans before the truth. Hix’s lines of inquiry yield surprising answers to pressing questions.
First Fire, Then Birds
H. L. Hix’s poetry collections have not been merely collections. Each fulfills a vision that creates a whole greater than the sum of its parts: each poem contributes to a sequence, each sequence talks to another. For readers already acquainted with Hix’s ambitions, then, the subtitle “Obsessionals” (instead of “Selected Poems”) will need no explanation: from collections that don’t just collect, what sense would it make for a selection just to select?
Hix’s poems were already at work rewriting and recontextualizing the language of others, language from sources as various as fragments of Pythagoras, apocryphal gospels, and speeches of George W. Bush. In First Fire, Then Birds, Hix keeps at the task, recontextualizing his own poems, creating a revision (seeing anew) and recomposition (putting together afresh) of an already distinctive body of work.
“[H. L. Hix is] one of our most daring poets, his oeuvre a rebuke to timidity, apathy, and retreat in any of its manifestations.”—Anis Shivani, The Huffington Post
Named by The Huffington Post as one of “The 17 Most Important Poetry Books of 2010.”
Confessions of Doc Williams and Other Poems by William Heyen
Joyce Carol Oates once called William Heyen a “remarkable poet,” noting that he “writes with the wild, radiant audacity of the visionary.” W.S. Merwin praised “the urgency and authenticity” and the “plain directness” of Heyen’s voice. The same voice rings true again in this collection, Heyen’s eighteenth volume of poetry.
Crow Man Tom Bailey
These eleven quintessentially American stories fully demonstrate our unstinting capacity for love and loss. As The Atlantic Monthly’s C. Michael Curtis describes it, “Tom Bailey’s characters live in a world of deceptive simplicity. They move from job to job and in and out of prison, struggle to…understand loving attachment, make crucial misjudgments, defend…what they believe are manly virtues, and absorb deep…disappointments. They hunt, shoot, drink, and fight, while cultivating an appetite for moral ambiguity that elevates these…stories and wins our respect for their author.”
“An impressive gathering—richly imagined and sensitively crafted stories of loss, mystery, hurt, and unexpected redemption.”—Joyce Carol Oates
The Disappearance of Seth by Kazim Ali
The Disappearance of Seth tells the interlocking stories of five New Yorkers, stumbling through their lives in the aftermath of the events of September 11 and connected by the paths of two figures—Seth, an alienated young man struggling to come to terms with his own penchant for violence, and Layla, an Iraqi artist who fled the violence of the first Gulf War and made a new home for herself in New York City. Written by an American Muslim, The Disappearance of Seth features characters both Muslim and non-Muslim, American and non-American, in an arresting portrait of life in America at the beginning of the millennium.
“In this lyrical novel, Kazim Ali holds a vast register of human experience in his embrace: fragmentation and connection, braveness and secrecy, the present and the past that lies in ashes. Although recent history is the backdrop, the book’s heart lies in the human landscape of his characters, their sorrows and their navigation of each other.”—Courtney Brkic
“By turns poetic, elliptical and strikingly cinematic, this exquisitely written novel illuminates the strange tightrope we are all walking in the radically altered landscape of post-9/11… This is a novel of both deep intimacy and worldly sweep, heartfelt, wise, and studded with a sharp, wicked wit. Kazim Ali is a remarkable writer.”—Dan Chaon
Free Concert: New and Selected Poems by Milton Kessler
A poet of international acclaim, Milton Kessler published five books of poetry during his lifetime. Kessler received numerous awards and distinctions, including a Robert Frost Fellowship, an Edward MacDowell Foundation Fellowship, and a National Endowment Program Grant. Several years ago, one of his poems, “Thanks Forever,” was chosen to appear in London subway cars to be seen by as many as two million riders a day as part of the “Poems on the Underground” project.
Milton Kessler died in April 2000, leaving behind a manuscript of new work. Free Concert: New and Selected Poems celebrates the life and work of a gifted poet of original voice, collecting work from each of his books together with his new poems.
“A lyricist capable of lovely and musical effects.”—Elizabeth Bishop
“Kessler’s sharp phrases catch the motion, textures, and strange, beautiful voices of a physical world we live in but never fully know.”—Camille Paglia
The Fugitive Self: New and Selected Poems by John Wheatcroft
The Fugitive Self: New and Selected Poems by John Wheatcroft is a tribute to a distinguished career spanning fifty years in American letters. At once meditative, whimsical, and hard-hitting, it illuminates the spiritual cost of American expansion.
“. . . With ‘more shapes than water’ and ‘more selves than the Trinity,’ these poems explore the music of love and the weight of grief, while always being mindful of ‘history in the making—brutal, bloody, bootless.’ Here is a lifetime of poetry, a treasure house of what art can aspire to. With consummate skill, Wheatcroft probes the world for what won’t be sentimentalized, falsified, and is willing to embrace nothing, if that’s the final truth—but ‘nothing’ has never been so alive, moving, passionate, and compelling.”—Betsy Sholl
The Gambler’s Nephew by Jack Matthews
In his latest novel, Matthews returns to the 1850s, the time of his novel, Sassafras (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1983). In The Gambler’s Nephew, the reader will enter a world of slavery, abolitionist passion, murder, hypocrisy, grave-robbery, chicanery, holiness, memory, guilt and plain old-fashioned cussedness.
It’s a politically incorrect world of unrepentant capital punishment, when there were plenty of scoundrels just asking to be hanged by the neck until dead, thus coming as close as they could ever get to being civilized. In contrast, however, the reader will come upon the beauty and grandeur of the old steamboats plying the Ohio River, along with people troubled by such grand irrelevancies as love and tenderness. In short, The Gambler’s Nephew brings us a world as richly confused as our own—familiar yet different . . . and as alive as living can get.
God Bless: A Political/Poetic Discourse by H. L. Hix
In poems at once playful and grave, H. L. Hix pits excerpts from the speeches of George W. Bush against arguments from Osama bin Laden in a poetic dialogue embracing politics, literature, language, and culture. Reframing Beltway sound-bites and Islamic fundamentalist rhetoric, God Bless delves into the minds of two men whose intransigence has had global consequences.
To break the stalemate, this original sequence of poems plucks the antagonists from their bunkers in Oval Office and Afghani cave and presents them, for the first time, face to face. Hix then opens the conversation to a diverse panel of experts, including the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations, CNN’s terrorism analyst, distinguished professors of Arabic and Islamic studies, and other prominent writers and authorities, who shed light on the issues raised by the poems.
“[H. L. Hix is] one of the most distinctive writers of our time.”—David Mason, The Hudson Review
Incident Light by H. L. Hix
H. L. Hix’s Incident Light explores a life that became “instantly mythical” after a startling revelation. The artist Petra Soesemann learned at age forty-nine that the dad who had raised her from birth was not her biological father. Her dad had died some years before; her father was still alive. Her dad, like her mother, was a blue-eyed German blond; her father was Turkish, with dark eyes and dark hair like Petra’s own.
Incident Light is a biography: not an ordered account of the facts of a life, but an invitation into the dad’s devotion, the mother’s passion, the father’s honor, and especially into the daughter’s own embracing of her experience, newly understood. Incident Light testifies to the many lives that converge on one life to lend it beauty and mystery.
“Hix’s eighth collection is a fine addition to this protean poet’s fast-growing (and critically lauded) body of work. Like C.D. Wright, Hix works both with highly wrought descriptive passages and with verse that sounds like regular speech cutting swiftly between them.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Any new book by this inventive poet is cause for excitement.”—The Kansas City Star
Legible Heavens by H. L. Hix
“Hix has written the most important poetic sequences published by an American poet during the last several decades. He is the most interesting American poet writing today, the least predictable and the most challenging.”—David Caplan, Pleiades
Legible Heavens explores what the most intimate forms of experience reveal about our most cosmic concerns, and vice versa. Its four sequences act like compass points to orient a human landscape. On one axis, “Star Chart for the Rainy Season” laments love lost, appealing to the biblical assertion that “love is stronger than death, and passion more cruel,” in contrast to “Material Implication,” which celebrates love found, in sonnets of desire insistently “glowing against the dusk.” On the other axis, “All the One-Eyed Boys in Town” treats love as perdition, the speaker imagining his life as “a match scratched down your wingbones,” in contrast to “Synopsis,” which treats love as salvation, reinscribing the biblical gospels (canonical and apocryphal alike) to “solicit a miracle I must not expect.”
Lies Will Take You Somewhere by Sheila Schwartz
“In this strong debut novel, Schwartz takes a hard look at the dark secrets hiding within a marriage. Depressed over the death of her mother six months before, Jane Rosen, a stay-at-home mom of three girls and longtime wife to busy, self-absorbed rabbi Saul, finally flies down to her mother’s long-empty Florida house to put her affairs in order. There, Jane finds evidence of a mother she never knew, while Saul contends with the girls—in particular unhappy, fragile 16-year-old Malkah—and a dying congregant’s bombshell confession, that he had an affair with Jane 10 years before. Shocked and wounded, Saul tells Jane not to come home, leaving her to pursue her mother’s secret life. Soon, Jane’s caught up with a gardener who traps her in a spider web of drugs, sex and secrets. At home, Malkah’s descent into depression and Saul’s compounding fury push the family toward tragedy. Though readers may feel the couple is let too easily off the hook, Schwartz pursues both threads of the story unflinchingly to the end.”—Publishers Weekly
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)
Parallel Lives by Michael Lind
Michael Lind’s poems rather stand apart from most of what’s published these days, one reason being that his range of experience goes beyond the purely academic or literary into the realm of domestic and foreign policy. His reading, furthermore, puts him in a congenial relationship with Latin and Greek literature, witness his brilliant use of alcaic meters in the poem “Maragheh and Alamut.” Everywhere in this singularly distilled book you will find instances of special astuteness with respect to content, form, and imagery.”
Peal by Bruce Bond
In Bruce Bond’s seventh book, we see a sustained exploration of mortality and its embodiment in the consolations of beauty, most notably in music.
“The poems in Bruce Bond’s collection Peal probe music’s deepest sources. These beautifully crafted lyrics lead us down into intricate and sonorous paths where we meet out own uncertain songs, at once ghostly, elegiac, and ecstatic. This is a work of exquisite complexity by one of our best poets writing today.”—Molly Bendall
“The speculative drive of these poems pushes the reader to the very limits of reflection.”—Daniel Tiffany
A Poetics of Hiroshima by William Heyen
In A Poetics of Hiroshima, William Heyen has broken through to face full square what has been working its way to surface through several of his highly-praised earlier books including Erika: Poems of the Holocaust and Shoah Train (Etruscan, 2003): the interfusions, in art and in our desire for art, of beauty and atrocity. Heyen’s lines claw their ways into an aesthetics of formful but obscene sound that may now be our century’s only viable, or possible, home.
“A remarkable poet in whom the ‘visionary’ and the unblinkingly ‘historical’ are dramatically meshed. He writes with the wild, radiant audacity of the visionary; yet his eye and ear are sharp, unsparing.”—Joyce Carol Oates
“William Heyen’s music and meditations continue to amaze. I’ve now read and absorbed all the poems of A Poetics of Hiroshima. I am not ready to write anything about them, except to express my awe.”—Cynthia Ozick
Saint Joe’s Passion by J.D. Schraffenberger
Saint Joe’s Passion seeks to reconcile the lyric with the narrative. In the tradition of Catullus’s love poems and Berryman’s The Dream Songs, the poems of Saint Joe’s Passion recount the lonely lecherous life of Joseph Johnstone–cancer patient, classical music DJ, former voice-talent. The poems swing back and forth from Joe’s hospital bed to moments of his past: a past of religion, little league baseball, music, and marital friction. The collection paints the portrait of a man who was never quite able to open himself up to genuine love and intimacy.
“J. D. Schraffenberger’s first collection is an often dazzling projection of masks over and under other masks, voices parodying other voices, or interrupting them, or guiding them into unanticipated channels, as though these poems were randomly selected in a still-evolving script. It isn’t easy to say exactly what it all adds up to, but the adventurous reader should find the journey never less than engaging.”—Charles Martin
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.”
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
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
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
Coronology by Claire Bateman
Through a variety of questions both overt and embedded, the poetry and prose poems in this collection explore the inexplicable too-muchness/not-enoughness of imaginative experience: Is this the neighborhood we signed up for? What in our universe can be trusted, what holds things together and apart, and what was time contemplating as it sprang into existence?
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.
The Widening by Carol Moldaw
The Widening is a poetic novel, presenting from the inside a portrait of a young woman’s volatile mix of passivity and wildness. Preoccupied with issues of female sexuality and alienation, and by turns picaresque, dark, and edgily erotic, it takes an unnamed girl in the mid-1970s from high school in California through travels in Spain and into college. The Widening is Moldaw’s first novel.
“In an age when literature often hinges on authorial self-construction, Moldaw’s work is a fascinating act of exploration. The world she discovers is dazzling and scary, haunted and generous, ‘flagrant with expectancy.’”—Dennis Nurkse
The White Horse: A Colombian Journey by Diane Thiel
From the white horse appearing like an apparition, to the massive skeleton of a whale on the coast, Diane Thiel’s The White Horse: A Colombian Journey takes us on a magically real journey into the Pacific Coast rain forest of Colombia. Equal parts travel narrative, ecological essay, history, and memoir, this book allows us to experience a reality stranger than fiction. Thiel’s writing beckons us deeper into the heart of the forest, reawakens our consciousness about the natural world, and evokes the spirit of adventure.
“What a beautiful book. I knew it was going to be poetic, but I was knocked over twice by its compelling narrative drive and quiet sense of humor.”—Sherman Alexie
Drift Ice by Jennifer Atkinson
The poems in Drift Ice view the natural world through a lens of ecological and spiritual concerns. They focus especially on Prince William Sound in Alaska fifteen years after the Exxon-Valdez oil spill, Long Island Sound at the estuarial mouth of the Connecticut River, and Sri Lanka before (and, in one poem, after) the tsunami. The poems address the myth of a once-pristine wilderness and the indifferent, ever-changing nature of “nature” and our human place in it, as they also investigate the flexibility and lambency of lyric form.
“In her new and marvelous book, Drift Ice, Jennifer Atkinson evokes the natural world with preternatural clarity…This is a beautiful book, mature, exciting, innovative, and unforgettable.”—Alan Shapiro
Cinder by Bruce Bond
“In this, his most intricately composed book, his most important yet, Bruce Bond has achieved a sonorous grandeur.”—Bin Ramke
“With the luminous precision of music, Bruce Bond has crafted, in Cinder, a generous and urgent collection of poems, a work that celebrates the human condition and terrifies us with it in equal measure. The result is a book of poems weighted with dark vision, set loose. Bruce Bond is one of our generation’s best poets, and this is his best book.”—Laura Kasischke
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
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
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
As Easy As Lying: Essays on Poetry by H. L. Hix
Accessible, erudite, and ebullient, these essays delve into the workings of the poetic mind and offer incisive assessments of contemporary American poets and poetics. Hix not only maps the landscape, he reshapes it: taking on nabobs like John Ashbery (“Every age adores a few poets in whose work posterity maintains no interest”) and presenting such disparate figures as Charles Bernstein and Dana Goia in new light, discovering the missing link between the Neo-Formal and the Post-Modern. As Easy As Lying is the best book on Modern American poetry since
Robert Hass’s Twentieth Century Pleasures.
“Hix turns out keen metrics at once playful and soulful, suggesting that there may still be room for a philosophical modernist come lately.”—Harvard Review
Art Into Life: The Craft of Literary Biography by Frederick R. Karl
Art Into Life is a collection of essays by the late Frederick R. Karl that showcases his experience and advice for writing literary biographies. Karl is best known for his biographies of Franz Kafka, George Eliot, William Faulkner, and Joseph Conrad. Part memoir, part detective story, part literary exegesis, part psychological exploration, this comprehensive collection of essays remains free of critical or theoretical jargon. Whether he’s writing about Conrad’s suicide attempt, Faulkner’s drinking bouts, Kafka’s maternal bond, or George Eliot’s love life, Karl never wavers from his focus on individual experience shaping modern art.
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