Only 1 left in stock (can be backordered)

ISBN: 978-1-73278-665-3
Request a Review/Exam Copy

Complete only if requesting a physical review/exam copy. While we can only send physical copies to addresses within the US, reviewers and educators outside the US are welcome to request an e-galley (PDF). (See check boxes below.)

Check as many boxes as apply.

While filling out this form is not a guarantee you will receive a review/exam copy, we are happy to consider your request. E-galleys are typically available about 1-2 months prior to a book’s publication date, and physical review/exam copies are available shortly before publication.

Animal Children

Publication Date: January 2020


In June of 2023, Black Lawrence Press welcomed numerous existing and forthcoming Nomadic Press titles to our catalogue. Animal Children was originally published by Nomadic. Classroom guide and introduction written by author inside. The brief narratives in Animal Children by Hugh Behm-Steinberg work like a deceptively simple pinhole camera, a way of gazing at the deepest secrets of the heart through a lens of surrealism, humor, and pathos that renders clear that which is too intense, too personal, or too profound to be directly gazed upon. From the inner workings of 4-H clubs raising prize-winning nuns to the trials and tribulations of dating (and breaking up with) Death and Nature, to the insistence of cattle demanding to learn Kung Fu and people falling asleep during poetry readings, you will leave this book cleansed of your illusions, dazzled by hypnotic story-telling, and filled with a sense of wonder that lasts and lasts.


Animal Children is a book of tender, surreal masculinity, full of nurturing alchemists, cities moaning because they wish to be wild, and the very best kissers. Reminiscent of Russell Edson, Charlie Simic, and Kenji Miyazawa, Behm-Steinberg understands the gentle twist that can make a piece come alive, like a balloon animist who squeak squeak squeaks something seemingly simple into sudden delight. “I talk to you about love, I do it every day. I’d do it even if nothing green grew inside me. I’d do it even if nobody paid me for anything,” Behm-Steinberg writes. Animal Children teems with rare, quiet, radical hope: read it and feel heartened.
Katie Farris

Like Ovid, Hugh Behm-Steinberg is preoccupied with transformation and resolution, the many complications of life negotiated with gentleness and humor in his prose poem collection,AnimalChildren.For any problem that presents itself, there is an imaginative way out in these contemporary fables. Even failing results in new possibilities and constructs: an unfaithful mouth-eel leads to a new understanding; a couple’s ride in a laundry dryer becomes an occasion for truth and confession. All of these moments have a sweetness to them, a transformative energy leading to new inventions and insights: currency based on sleep and wakefulness; an antidote to death;metamorphosis into a (toothless) bird while in the dentist’s chair. Often the new identity or circumstance leads to solidarity with one or many others.It is a poetry of connection with many resolutions partaking in love and ingenuity. Read this poignant collection to restore your faith in language and its makers.
Maxine Chernoff

The world is always in wonder in Animal Children, Hugh Behm-Steinberg’s garden of surreal delights, a fecund plot of deadpan fantasies with a tender heart in love. Everything is possible here according to the permissive rules of language and uniquely conceived idioms. What Behm-Steinberg recognizes so essentially is how choice makes a paradise of hell, how a world where anything goes can be an anarchy, too, of comity, as we only have to wish
Michael Mejia, Editor-in-Chief of Western Humanities Review Co-Founding Editor of Ninebark Press

At the reading, everyone falls asleep,” begins the first brief story in Hugh Behm-Steinberg’sAnimal Children. We readers become that audience, somnambulating our way through generously domestic dreamscapes in which God creates the universe to keep boredom-prone Death busy, and in which there’s a store where you can shop for your third eye, and in which there is an ongoing internal eel problem to sort out for ourselves. Alchemist to zombie cure, these flash pieces will lovingly muck up anyone’s sluggish relationship to the everyday.
Paula Cisewski

A striking menagerie of the whimsical and surreal that will writhe around your sense of reality. From cows learning Kung Fu to eels who won’t leave your body, the brief (and often wild) encounters in Animal Children had me both laughing and scratching at my skin. An achievement of miniatures in the vein of Etgar Keret from one of our funniest and most inventive writers.
Sequoia Nagamatsu, author of Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone.

About the Author

Hugh Behm-Steinberg

Recipient of a Wallace Stegner and NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, Hugh Behm-Steinberg is the author of two collections of poetry, Shy Green Fields (No Tell Books) and The Opposite of Work (JackLeg Press; 2nd edition by Doubleback Books) as well as three Dusie Kollektiv chapbooks: Sorcery, Good Morning! and The Sound of Music.  His short story "Taylor Swift" won the Barthelme Prize for short fiction, and his story "Goodwill" was picked as one of the Wigleaf Top Fifty Very Short Fictions. His fiction can be found in such places as Western Humanities Review, X-Ray, Heavy Feather Review, The Pinch and The Offing. He teaches writing and literature at California College of the Arts, where for ten years he edited the journal Eleven Eleven. Animal Children, his third book originally published by Nomadic Press in 2020, is a collection of prose poems and microfiction.

Visit Author Page