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Summer/Fall 2021 Catalogue

New Release No Small Comfort

No Small Comfort

by Brian Simoneau

In No Small Comfort we find America’s interiors and exteriors, the homes and landscapes messy, chaotic in a way that any of us might recognize. And yet these scenes are imbued with a kind of peaceful acceptance, as well, even as the ground drops out from beneath our feet in these lines and “fog / becomes an essay / on gravity and fate / whose claims won’t hold up.” Some poems we go to for comfort, others to be shaken awake. In Simoneau’s new book of quiet lyrics, we find the kind that mark the minutes we hold our breath waiting for the other shoe to drop. “Semblance, similitude, synchronicity: / everything comes together until what / happens is nothing special, nothing new.” That’s certainly not true here, where Simoneau does what every good poet knows in their bones—he’s made us see it new.
—Keetje Kuipers

Publication Date: June 2021 Categories: Poetry Price: $16.95
New Release Women and Other Hostages

Women and Other Hostages

by Laura McCullough

If you, like the speaker in Laura McCullough’s poem, “Almost Nothing Something [stars / plates / cells]” have grown “tired & suspicious of poetry” Women & Other Hostages will absolutely revitalize you. These are riveting, wholly moving narratives of a life lived. Out of sorrow McCullough invokes a stunning grace where “What is stripped from you” becomes a gift because “what’s left behind is all your own.” Women of all circumstances inhabit these poems. They shed their skin like snakes, “memory in flesh,” and consider the bones of what holds us together in these divisive times. This beautiful book will knock loose what is lodged in your heart.
—Suzanne Frischkorn

Publication Date: June 2021 Categories: Poetry Price: $16.95
Open Reading Selection New Release All the Comfort Sin Can Provide

All the Comfort Sin Can Provide

by Grant Faulkner

With raw, lyrical ferocity, All the Comfort Sin Can Provide delves into the beguiling salve that sin can promise—tracing those hidden places most of us are afraid to acknowledge. In this collection of brutally unsentimental short stories, Grant Faulkner chronicles dreamers, addicts, and lost souls who have trusted too much in wayward love, the perilous balm of substances, or the unchecked hungers of others, but who are determined to find salvation in their odd definitions of transcendence.

Taking us from hot Arizona highways to cold Iowa hotel rooms, from the freedoms of the backwoods of New Mexico to the damnations of slick New York City law firms, Faulkner creates a shard-sharp mosaic of desire that careens off the page—honest, cutting, and wise.

GRANT FAULKNER READS FROM ALL THE COMFORT SIN CAN PROVIDE FOR THE BLACK LAWRENCE PRESS VIRTUAL READING SERIES
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3ysrR92Px4

Publication Date: July 2021 Categories: Fiction, Open Reading Period Selection, Short Stories Price: $21.95
New Release Savage Flower

Savage Flower

by Anna B Sutton

In Savage Flower, winner of the 2019 St. Lawrence Book Award, Anna B. Sutton explores female oppression and agency in the Bible Belt South. The intertwined landscapes of Tennessee and North Carolina are the backdrop for Sutton's beautiful, warring marriage of religion, family, the body, sex and reproductive rights, and the inevitable cycle of destruction and rebirth. In the tradition of the confessional poem, Sutton looks to her past in search of redemption, while always keeping an eye on the larger meaning. Timely, affecting, and fearless, there are no easy answers in Sutton's imperfect world. As she says in the poem Center Hill, "Even the most beautiful things are full / of our blood."

Publication Date: July 2021 Categories: Poetry, The St. Lawrence Book Award Price: $16.95
New Release Fire & Water: Stories from the Anthropocene

Fire & Water: Stories from the Anthropocene

by Mary Fifield, Kristin Thiel

A Sámi woman studying Alaska fish populations sees our past and future through their present signs of stress and her ancestral knowledge. A teenager faces a permanent drought in Australia and her own sexual desire. An unemployed man in Wisconsin marvels as a motley parade of animals makes his trailer their portal to a world untrammeled by humans. Featuring short fiction from authors around the globe, Fire & Water: Stories from the Anthropocene takes readers on a rare journey through the physical and emotional landscape of the climate crisis—not in the future, but today. By turns frightening, confusing, and even amusing, these stories remind us how complex, and beautiful, it is to be human in these unprecedented times.

Contributors:

Tomas Baiza, J. D. Evans, Mary Fifield, Bishop Garrison, JoeAnn Hart, Anthony S. James, Stefan Kiesbye, Jack Kirne, Carlos Labbé, Shaun Levin, Jessica Meeker, Jennifer Morales, Etan Nechin, Vivian Faith Prescott, Kristin Thiel, Jan Underwood, Tara Williams

Publication Date: August 2021 Categories: Anthologies, Fiction, Short Stories Price: $25.95
New Release Hex & Howl

Hex & Howl

by Simone Muench, Jackie K. White

“You and I were told to swallow / our hexed howling, refuse the reptilian // and the mammalian, unless it’s tame, / you know, cow-eyed, with a roundness eager / for petting.” A powerful evocation of the feminist voice, Hex & Howl both applies and upends textuality and tradition, parsing and refuting prior masculinist treatments of women’s bodies. The poems in this collection forge multi-vocalities, some exhibiting pleasure in the parameters of the sonnet, others designing new poetic architectures through the double and multiple voicings of centos and self-portraits.

“Now we do the refusing; now // we flame in the celluloid dark.” Hex & Howl is collaborative writing at its most innovative, playful, and powerful. Muench and White allow for the creation of a chimeric construction, a third-bodied poem that engages in language-play to explode notions of subjectivity, as the "I" and "you" and "we" shift and shimmer with agency and possibility beyond the page.

From Hex & Howl

Disclosure

but dresses dressed in dresses are dresses—Saeed Jones

The dress says I will frame your beauty
when I bury you. The dress is a chateau
of ghosts demanding don’t go, don’t love
your nakedness. It is the vehicle, the volta

that comes too soon, without steering, only
sash for a wheel. Let it fly loose, grip yourself.
The dress is a liar laced with history's lies.
Your beauty needs no frame; pivot on this

exposé as the body drowns its cargo
of blues beneath a voluminous red dress
that enters the room before you do.
Let it go on ahead, swirl its cliché, evoke

whatever gazes it can. That nakedness
you do love refigures any space you choose.

Publication Date: August 2021 Categories: Chapbooks, Poetry Price: $9.95
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 Pre-Order 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
Pre-Order 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: $7.95
Contest Winner Pre-Order Mother/land

Mother/land

by Ananda Lima

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: $15.95