Fall 2021 Catalogue

Contest Winner New Release The Stone Sister

The Stone Sister

by Caroline Patterson

Winner of the 2020 Big Moose Prize

Spanning the mid to late 20th century and set in the Elkhorn Valley of southwestern Montana, The Stone Sister is told from three points of view — a father’s, a nurse’s, and a sister’s. Together they tell the unforgettable story of a child’s birth, disappearance, and finally discovery in a home for “backward children.” Robert Carter, a newly married man just back from World War II, struggles with his and his wife’s decision to entrust the care of their disabled child to an institution and “move on” with family life. Louise Gustafson, a Midwestern nurse who starts over with a new life in the West, finds herself caring for a child everyone else has abandoned. And Elizabeth Carter, a young journalist, uncovers the family secret of her lost sister as she struggles with starting a family of her own.

The Stone Sister explores the power of family secrets and society’s evolving definitions of “normal”–as it pertains to family, medicine, and social structure. The novel sheds light on the beginnings of the disability justice movement as it follows one family’s journey to reckon with a painful past. Incredibly, the novel is based on Caroline Patterson’s personal story. As an adult, she discovered she had an older sister with Down syndrome who had been written out of her family history. In fact, that sister’s name was also Caroline Patterson.

Book Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYQeQNSXpvQ

 

Credit: Craig Lancaster

Publication Date: September 2021 Categories: Contest Winners, Fiction, Novels, The Big Moose Prize Price: $25.95
Contest Winner New Release Black Under

Black Under

by Ashanti Anderson

Winner of the Spring 2020 Black River Chapbook Competition

The poem from which Black Under derives its title opens with a resounding declaration: "I am black and black underneath." These words are an anthem that reverberates throughout Ashanti Anderson’s debut short collection. We feel them as we navigate her poems’ linguistic risks and shifts and trumpets, as we straddle scales that tip us toward trauma’s still-bloody knife in one turn then into cutting wit and shrewd humor in the next. We hear them amplified through Anderson’s dynamic voice, which sings of anguish and atrocities and also of discovery and beauty.

Black Under layers outward perception with internal truth to offer an almost-telescopic examination of the redundancies—and incongruences—of marginalization and hypervisibility. Anderson torques the contradictions of oppression, giving her speakers the breathing room to discover their own agency. In these pages, declarations are reclamations, and joy is not an aspiration but a birthright.

From Black Under

Acrostic for My Last Breaths

If I’m ever out of oxygen

Cut the comms. Switch the radio, play
A song by Whitney or Aretha, something
No sense can pause my throat from parting for.
’Gon throw my sorrows into this vast, black void
That don’t even have space to hold tune, or blues,

But I don’t sing to be heard. I do it to keep on.
Ring diaphragm and rattle lung like sickness, each
Eighth-note a reason to stay living. Can’t take
A rest, might hear the sensor’s whining,
That worried, heaving falsetto of siren.
How I hate the sound of dying. Rather riff
Even if everything in me stops screaming.

Publication Date: September 2021 Categories: Chapbooks, Contest Winners, Poetry, The Black River Chapbook Competition Price: $4.95$9.95
New Release Breaking Points

Breaking Points

by Chelsea Stickle

In thirteen slick, innovative, and gut-wrenching flashes, the young women and girls in Breaking Points, the debut chapbook from Chelsea Stickle, hit the walls around them—walls constructed by family, friends, significant others, and insidious cultural perils. “Stranger danger doesn’t disappear when you start wearing a push-up bra,” notes one of Stickle’s pre-teen narrators when confronted by a leering threat that will forever sever her path from that of her best friend. In “How to Make Stock with Thanksgiving Leftovers,” a queer young woman takes us through a wry recipe for boiling turkey stock and raging against small-minded relatives and the traumas they inflict.

Written in the style of a classic glossy magazine personality quiz, “How Mature Are You?: A Quiz” provides whip-smart A, B, C responses to situations such as: “When that bitch in your book club calls you a space cadet” then furnishes the reader with irreverent, pull-no-punches results. This is a collection as darkly humorous as it is heartbreaking and disquieting. Within Stickle’s thirteen walled worlds, some will break, some adapt, and others soar. Pushed to the breaking point, none escape unscathed.

FROM "COMING OF AGE"

It’s weird seeing her cut off at the waist in a glass box. A mannequin in an upright coffin disguised as an arcade game is always going to be strange, even if there is a crystal ball by her hand. It costs one dollar to hear my fortune. I never play.

We’re not even supposed to be in here—Christina and I, not alone anyway. My older sister Elise is supposed to be watching us, but all she wants to do is sunbathe on a beach towel until she smells like peanut butter. She tells us we can do whatever we want as long as we stay together. We lick cotton candy off our fingers or rig a dollar on some line to fish for rednecks on the pier. When we overheat we hide out in the arcade.

The arcade is one of the few places where there are only other kids, usually all boys, sometimes high schoolers. We’re not old enough to be noticed by boys yet. Elise saunters in and every eye is on her. Christina and I walk in and nobody cares, which is great. I’d be happy avoiding all that for the rest of my life.

Publication Date: October 2021 Categories: Chapbooks, Fiction, Fiction Chapbooks Price: $9.95
Contest Winner New Release Mother/land

Mother/land

by Ananda Lima

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2021 CHIRBy AWARDS

Mother/land, winner of the 2020 Hudson Prize, is focused on the intersection of motherhood and immigration and its effects on a speaker’s relationship to place, others and self. It investigates the mutual and compounding complications of these two shifts in identity while examining legacy, history, ancestry, land, home, and language. The collection is heavily focused on the latter, including formal experimentation with hybridity and polyvocality, combining English and Portuguese, interrogating translation and transforming traditional repeating poetic forms. These poems from the perspective of an immigrant mother of an American child create a complex picture of the beauty, danger and parental love the speaker finds and the legacy she brings to her reluctant new motherland.

Publication Date: October 2021 Categories: Contest Winners, Poetry, The Hudson Prize Price: $17.95
Open Reading Selection New Release Animal Disorders

Animal Disorders

by Deborah Thompson

Animal disorders—those erratic, contradictory, irrational relationships that humans have with their nonhuman compatriots—abound in contemporary U.S. culture. In a series of personal essays, Deborah Thompson relates her own complicity in some of these disordered approaches to nonhuman animals, including such practices as pet-keeping, animal hoarding, animal sacrifice (both religious and scientific), magical thinking, and grieving. The sometimes funny, sometimes poignant essays in this collection deliver dispatches from one representative sufferer of animal disorders.

Publication Date: September 2021 Categories: Non Fiction, Open Reading Period Selection Price: $19.95
Open Reading Selection New Release New Life

New Life

by JoAnna Novak

A subversive glimpse into the dark wildness of preparing for motherhood. New Life is a meditation on the changing/changeling body, wrought in lyric decadence. Novak leads a seductive tour through plashy islands, Great Lakes hideouts, cursed apartments, and castaway nightmares, sighting the baroque and the barren, and celebrating the romance of isolation amidst an interior of plenty.

Publication Date: October 2021 Categories: Open Reading Period Selection, Poetry Price: $16.95