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Notice: Trying to get property 'name' of non-object in /home/zdyjxh31i9ra/public_html/redhen.org/redhen/public_html/wp-content/themes/redhen/functions.php on line 191 Spring 2020 Archives - Red Hen Press
Worship the Pig, Gaylord Brewer’s eleventh collection, is by the poet’s own definition, his “Americas book.” The migration begins from his Tennessee home to the Inside Passage of Alaska, then detours sharply south in a return to his beloved Costa Rica, then onward finally to the qualified paradise of Brazil’s Ilhabela. Brewer’s persistent obsessions—translating the call and challenge of the feral world, negotiating some truce with private ghosts—have never been more poignantly and sharply drawn. From chiseled lyrics to more expansive narratives—by turns reserved and raucous, always heartfelt and riveting—these new poems exhilarate. “No schematic for conquest, / no reckless conclusions, // no tenuous argument for connection / beyond the simple truth / of what accrues together.” At mid-career, the author called “the most natural poet in the country” by the Asheville Poetry Review continues to astonish.
“Brewer’s a wonderful writer. I love his language. His eye. His attitude. His love for the world. And his poems do what they are meant to—they tell us to pause, to wake up, to see, to not squander the immensity and beauty and pain of our lives. We have to see it all, feel it all, he’s telling us, exhorting us, this heartbroken guide, this wise, sad, and funny poet.”—Jonathan Ames
“Gaylord Brewer is the most natural poet in the country.”—Asheville Poetry Review
Danielle Vogel’s newest collection creates a latticework for repair—the repairing of past trauma, the calling-into-presence of a dissociated self—but does so while keeping the material of this net of thinking in a fragmented, diaphanous state glowing in the space between the poem and essay. Across three sections of “displacements,” “miniatures,” and “volume,” Vogel initiates readers into the séance of the book; she asks the reader to hold vigil for the most crucial phase of its composition, which can only happen when the reader and she meet at the site of the page, within a “new, interrupted unity.” In The Way a Line Hallucinates its Own Linearity, accord—writing with, reading with—is always a verb, always kinetic, alchemical, and alive. “It only takes one letter on the page,” Vogel writes, “and we are already inside one another’s lungs.” To consent to walk through these spaces is to give up that part of you that wishes to remain anonymous and un-entrained. You will be grateful that you did.
In Danielle Vogel’s heartbreakingly gorgeous The Way a Line Hallucinates Its Own Linearity, she digs underneath the skin of the body, language, and the book to scratch toward a haunting absence. To tend to and hold that absence—to stroke it—requires Vogel’s patient yet urgent series of utterances. A vibrational pull that won’t let us go results: a crackling cry in the ache of night, a sensate break into other sphere, a lit passion, a new blues. Yes to these poems’ redemptive resilience—their fracture and their blur. Yes, yes, yes. I am reminded of why we need poetry.—Dawn Lundy Martin, author of Good Stock Strange Blood
How does language reside in our bodies? In the stunning second volume of her trilogy, Danielle Vogel vivifies the ineffable qualities of language and writing in our bodies. Language has great affective power, even at the scale where “all letters are occupied by touch,” and these three long poems perform a reparative interrogation whose premise might be situated in her lucid observation that “We hold language and language holds us.” Vogel is doing semiotic soulwork here, excavating memory to tell us how we are bound by even the silences between the paragraphs we imprint onto art and the world. After reading this collection, you won’t be able to use language without reckoning how it extends your body into a vast network of connection and sound.—Carmen Gimenez Smith, author of Be Recorder
A baby taken from her mother at birth, an Episcopal priest with a daughter whose face he cannot bear to see, a mother weary of searching for her lost child: Tea by the Sea is their story—that of a family uniting and unraveling. To find the daughter taken from her, Plum Valentine must find the child’s father who walked out of a hospital with the day-old baby girl without explanation. Seventeen years later, weary of her unfruitful search, Plum sees an article in a community newspaper with a photo of the man for whom she has spent half her life searching. He has become an Episcopal priest. Her plan: confront him and walk away with the daughter he took from her. From Brooklyn to the island of Jamaica, Tea by the Sea traces Plum’s circuitous route to finding her daughter and how Plum’s and the priest’s love came apart.
“Tea By the Sea is a powder keg of a novel, where secrets and lies explode into truth and consequences, all told with spellbinding, shattering power. Hemans doesn’t just fulfill the promise of her debut— she soars past it.”—Marlon James, Man Booker Prize Winning author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf
“The forbidden love story of Plum and Lenworth comes alive in this heart-rending novel, Tea by the Sea. Hemans has a stunning ability to give words to that elusive feeling of emptiness, and the longing for redemption is palpable. In Hemans’s deft hands, regrets are explored with precision and compassion so that the reader finds herself unable to turn against even characters who have committed the most wretched betrayals. Tea by the Sea is like the story told in a grandmother’s kitchen with the odors of fried dumplings and saltfish wafting into mouths that are set agape at the heady twists and turns delivered in an urgent and beautiful prose.” —Lauren Francis-Sharma, author of ’Til the Well Runs Dry
“Tea by the Sea is an insightful and illuminating prism of a novel, deftly examining familial identity and personal transformation. Hemans turns the kaleidoscope, catching light at different angles, to show us how one person’s act of honor and responsibility can also be an act of unspeakable betrayal.” —Carolyn Parkhurst, author of The Dogs of Babel and Harmony
Thank you to the following blogs for featuring Donna Heman’s Tea by the Sea!
In Mostly Water, essays form a linked memoir that explores the American outback from eastern Oregon horse trails to the arctic and subarctic river towns of Alaska. In these landscapes, Native people and later-comers are entwined in histories as loopy as northern rivers. Odden invites the reader to a vivid patchwork of characters and seldom-seen places, with a soundtrack from fiddle dances and a menu “half potlatch and half potluck.” In Mostly Water, readers will hear dance music ring through little towns and watch as friends conspire to stoke the fires and fading memories of an old pioneer. The danger of giving birth takes a crooked path through a mystical elk hunt on its way to the miracle of holding a child. Casual meetings with passengers on an Inside Passage ferry open to intimacy with a Tlingit grandmother and the dignified depths of an ocean-going hobo. Bush town storefronts forsake their rivers to welcome the airplane. The falling of the Twin Towers on 9/11 silences the sky over a remote Alaskan village. Short takes on a vivid personal cuisine divide the longer essays of Mostly Water. In these interludes, dead grandmothers mix it up over turkey gravy, and ripe berries are sweet and dangerous after Chernobyl’s radioactive winds blow around the top of the Earth. Taken altogether, this book offers readers a deeply refreshing drink from streams rural and north.
“Mary Odden’s essays are a wonder. I don’t know what I enjoy most about them, whether it is the clear-eyed re-creation of people and places, the rich music of her language, or—and maybe this is where I take the deepest pleasure as I read—those astounding paragraphs where Mary turns to her readers and offers all the gathered insights and ideas her essays have to share. At such moments, I am dazzled by a person of genius who can lead me out into fresh and surprising turns of thought.”—Frank Soos, author of Unpleasantries: Considerations of Difficult Questions
“Mary Odden’s authentic, profound, and original Mostly Water will thaw parts of you you didn’t even know had frozen. Love, work, animals, food, music: were we to disappear, humanity could be remade of the ingredients here set forth by this remarkable writer. Suffused with wonder, steeped in memory, and written in an exquisitely musical prose, the essays in this book serve to harmonize head with heart in a way that can only be called wisdom.”—Richard Hoffman, author of Half the House and Love & Fury
What will it take to save Ty? This is the question that haunts Claire and Shep Durant in the wake of their four-year-old’s disappearance. Until this moment, Port Blair’s British surgeon and his young wife, a promising anthropologist, have led a charmed life in the colonial backwaters of India’s Andaman Islands—thanks in part to Naila, a local girl who shares their mysteriously mute son’s silent language. But with the war closing in and mandatory evacuation underway, the Durants don’t realize until too late that Naila and Ty have vanished. While Claire sails for Calcutta, Shep stays to search for the children. Days later, the Japanese invade the Andamans, cutting off all communication. Fueled by guilt and anguish, Claire uses her unique knowledge of the islands’ tribes to make herself indispensable to an all-male reconnaissance team headed back behind enemy lines. Her secret plan: rescue Shep and Ty. Through the brutal odyssey that follows, she’ll discover truths about sacrifice that both shatter and transcend her understanding of devotion.
“The most memorable and original novel I’ve read in ages. Aimee Liu… evokes every side in a multi-cultural conversation with sympathy and rare understanding.”—Pico Iyer
“Reminiscent of the tone and atmosphere of Somerset Maugham and George Orwell’s Asia-set novels, Glorious Boy is a Second World War story of adventure and loss, uniquely set in the Andaman Islands, one of India’s farthest flung territories”—Asian Review of Books
“An absolutely gorgeous historical novel about ambition, culture clash, love, atonement, and one silent boy, set against the backdrop of a tribe in the Andamans struggling with British rule. So blisteringly alive, you feel the swampy heat and the bugs; so emotionally true, it grips at every page. Just magnificent and not to be missed.”—Caroline LeavittNew York Times Bestselling author of Pictures of You and Cruel Beautiful World
Rift Zone, Taylor’s anticipated third book, traces literal and metaphoric fault lines— rifts between past and present, childhood and adulthood, what is and what was. Circling Taylor’s hometown— an ordinary California suburb lying along the Hayward fault— these poems unearth strata that include a Spanish land grant, a bloody land grab, gun violence, valley girls, strip malls, redwood trees, and the painful history of Japanese internment.
Taylor’s ambitious and masterful poems read her home state’s historic violence against our world’s current unsteadinesses—mass eviction, housing crises, deportation, inequality. They also ponder what it means to try to bring up children along these rifts. What emerges is a powerful core sample of America at the brink—American elegy equally tuned to maternal and to geologic time. At once sorrowful and furious, tender and fierce, Rift Zone is startingly observant, relentlessly curious—a fearsome tremor of a book.
PRAISE FOR RIFT ZONE
“The poet for our moment.”—IlyaKaminsky, author of Deaf Republic
“In Rift Zone, Tess Taylor’s brilliant third collection, we encounter a magisterial range of subjects, from the geologic to the civic to the intimately personal. This book is a confident poetic engagement with the vital issues of our time, including the disastrous consequences of human activity on our climate, and its effect on the public and private spheres. Rooted in the shifting California landscape, this elegiac yet hopeful book is a necessary addition to the corpus of work dedicated to grieving the world as we know it.” —Ada Limón, Bright Dead Things
In five poetic sequences, Jason Schneiderman’s Hold Me Tight considers life in a new age of anxiety as technology and violence inform new forms of selfhood and apocalypse seems always around the corner. Starting with a long poem about his own struggle to find peace, the collection is searingly grounded in the personal, anchored to Schneiderman’s own life. The collection moves to a sequence of parables about wolves, which obliquely consider intractable political conflicts and the emotional fallout of relationships that are structured around predators and prey. The next sequences focus on technology and art, looking at how technologies extend the possibilities of the human body, which alters what it means to be human. A long set of poems about Chris Burden explore the artist’s movement from the personal, self-inflicted violence of his early work to the larger questions of political violence that inform his later work. In the final sequence, Schneiderman imagines a series of “last things”—in which finality gives meaning to the people and things in question. In the end, Schneiderman’s project invokes a kind of old fashioned humanism, which embraces the ruptures of our contemporary ways of living and thinking.
“Jason Schneiderman’s Hold Me Tight is a tour de force of risk and vulnerability. The images that populate this book—from wolves to submarines—show how every story we’ve ever been told (every fairy tale heard, every movie watched) becomes an internalized part of our reality. And that reality is made all the more real when we can talk about it. These poems read like a wrought conversation the speaker only wishes he could have: “I needed/that story once; I’m telling it to you now,/because I know I may need it again.” And the discursive mode here always leads us to a place of surprise, a place where Schneiderman can declare, “This is the one thing/I have never told anyone. I still believe in the circle./I may be the last, but I believe.” What a tenderly beautiful book!”—Jericho Brown, author of The Tradition
“Jason Schneiderman’s poems are rife with a dark and gorgeous intelligence. If I compare them to a razor in an apple, please understand that I mean both the razor and the apple.”—Michael Cunningham, author of The Hours, winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Two sisters. One badly injured cop. A family torn between loyalty and politics.
Rosa and Esther Cohen march through downtown Detroit in August 1968, protesting the war in Vietnam in harmony with their family’s tradition of activism. The march is peaceful, but when a bloodied teenager describes a battle with mounted police a few blocks away, the young women hurry to offer assistance. Trying to stop the violence, the sisters instead intensify it. An officer is seriously injured; they are arrested and charged with conspiracy and attempted murder. For Rosa, their arrest offers another way to protest an unacceptable war. Esther wants to avoid prison to stay home with her infant daughter Molly. She agrees to accept a plea bargain offer and testify against Rosa at trial. The consequences of these actions lead one sister underground and into prison, the other to leave town to bury her past in a new town, a new life. Molly grows up unaware of her family history until she meets Rosa’s daughter, her cousin Emma, at summer camp. Told from multiple points of view and through the sisters’ never-mailed letters, Rosa and Esther’s story is bracketed by the Vietnam and Iraq wars. It explores the thorny intersection of sibling loyalty and political beliefs.
“Her Sister’s Tattoo is an honest and riveting portrait of anti-war activists and the price individuals and families pay for their actions, no matter how just. It is also a portrait of how lies and secrets can eat away again at both individuals and everyone in their families, particularly the children. Meeropol evokes both the fear and exhilaration of protest.”—Marge Piercy, author of Woman on the Edge of Time
“Her Sister’s Tattoo is a story not just of two sisters, but of our country, where politics have so often torn apart families, loved ones, and communities. This tenderly told novel brings humanity to all sides of struggle, lifting us with its grace, compassion and hope for the future. I highly recommend.”—Rene Denfeld, author of The Child Finder
The Skin of Meaning is award-winning poet Keith Flynn’s sixth and most wide-ranging collection, seeking to find the tangible analogs and visceral meanings hidden behind the daily bombardment of digital information and hoping to restore the mystery in our involvement with language. From the etymologies of pop culture, history, astronomy, and rock and roll, these poems fan out into a bold multiplicity of voices and techniques. Flynn’s work illustrates the meaning that is also created through tense collisions and is populated with figures in resistance to the status quo, a gathering as varied as Caravaggio, Nina Simone, Gaudi, Villon, Wonder Woman, and Manolete. The final section examines America’s fascination with violence and death, revealing that “a human being in love with mystery is never finished.” This collection constantly challenges our assumptions about the world we think we see and is teeming with evidence of another invisible world bristling like an underground river beneath our feet.
PRAISEFOR THE SKIN OF MEANING
“For some time we’ve been waiting for a poet to appear who could adequately confront the vast and deliriously complex matter of the USA—its people, its art, its material and popular culture, its misdeeds and its election mistakes. Also, one who could respond to the artistic legacy of Europe. Keith Flynn is that poet. His range is wider than any poet’s I’m aware of, a range matched by his varied diction and his fluent mastery of syntax. The apparent ease he brings to this thorny project is one of the work’s most impressive aspects. I urge readers to greet this book with the praise it deserves.”—Alfred Corn, author of Unions
“Keith Flynn is a brilliant, bodacious poet at the top of his sonic, linguistic game in this new volume of poetry, The Skin of Meaning, with poems that dance off the page in arpeggios of flight, gripping the reader’s imagination and taking American poetry in a new, exhilarating direction.”—Quincy Troupe, author of the recent books, Ghost Voices, Seduction and the memoir, Miles and Me
“I opened Keith Flynn’s The Skin of Meaning at random and read “The Justice System,” a surrealist poem that spun my head around so much, I immediately put the book down until I could carve out enough time to give the entire collection the focus it deserves. Keith is a master craftsman. The Skin of Meaning is a master work.” —Lee Stockdale
Body of Render explores the internal and external impacts on our humanity when political, national, and societal decisions strip away our basic human rights. What does it mean to be an underrepresented individual in a country where the most powerful seat in the land unashamedly perpetuates racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and classist behaviors? The voices document a journey before and after the last presidential election. These poems cry out for reconsideration of our broken systems to find common and safe ground rooted in equitable treatment of each other as human beings. How do we exude love when being a person of color or underrepresented person in this country means the dominate white-male-able-bodied-heterosexual narrative continues to threaten our voices? This collection carves at the physical, the political, the intimate, and the structural with poems that simultaneously create and encourage voice to seek a path toward collective mending.
“Language is action in these poems, which are utterances of pleading, fighting, and mending in an America we can hardly stand to look at straight on. Body of Render is a book of saying what must be said: “say Capitol Hill be voice of all your people, be just; in haunt, you must be voice, must.” The risks Felicia Zamora takes with form, syntax, and breath pay off in poem after poem—and make Body of Render one of the most dynamic, most transformative collections I’ve read in years.”—Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones
“In 1917, NAACP organizer James Weldon Johnson wrote “To America,” a poem in which he asked, “How would you have us, as we are?//…Rising or falling?” And with the (unjust, Russian influenced) election of 2016, 100 years later we (migrants, people of color, women, queer and trans and nonbinary folx, folx with disabilities, abuse survivors, and all who believe equity is true freedom) are still forced to fight for better answers than the ones America is giving. How grateful I am to hear Felicia Zamora’s heart and voice rising, reminding us that “alone is not us.” Here is a book that is part elegy, part ecstasy, part clapback, and all vision. How she zooms in to the microscopic wonder of cells only to zoom out to remind us what we are capable of. “oh/unanswerable molecule of you; oh inorganic beast; oh/ organic beast; burn down, day day, then rise.” Thank you, Felicia, for lifting us (and yourself!) up with these prayer-poems. May this book usher in freedom: simple and mighty.”—TC Tolbert, author of Gephyromania
After Rubén unfolds as a decades-long journey in poems and prose, braiding the personal, the political & the historical, interspersing along the way English-language versions & riffs of a Spanish-language master: Rubén Darío. Whether it’s biting portraits of public figures, or nuanced sketches of his father, Francisco Aragón has assembled his most expansive collection to date, evoking his native San Francisco, but also imagining ancestral spaces in Nicaragua. Readers will encounter pieces that splice lines from literary forebearers, a moving elegy to a sibling, a surprising epistle from the grave. In short: a book that is both trajectory & mosaic, complicating the conversation surrounding poetry in the Americas—above all as it relates to Latinx and queer poetics.
“After Rubén es una maravilla. Its elegant, lapidary poems are whispered, intoned, delivered like manifestos, or sung in halting measures that transmute the ephemera of memory and witness into the flashes and trails of glimpsed truths. Francisco Aragón, an American poet of uncommon ambition, has created a bejeweled puzzle box of a book, a fragmented Mariposa memoir of a childhood in between worlds, set within an homage to the poets whose inspirations helped him find his voice, all of which is interwoven in a celebration, an elegy—an interrogation—of the legacy of his greatest literary “mentor,” the great Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío. In this heady poetic idiom, bridging his home in San Francisco and scenes in Nicaragua with other places from his life in the States, Aragón’s poetry hearkens again to the possibility of a poetics of las Americas, unbounded, unabashedly literary across cultures, languages, history, and journalism, unafraid to anatomize itself, and to regard and report the ever-shifting totalities of our Latinidad.”—John Phillip Santos author of Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation and The Farthest Home Is in an Empire of Fire
Marvel at Francisco’s new collection and translations of Darío—there are soft, almost sepia-blurry portraits of unnamed figures, episodes, eras, and families. The Bay Area appears and dissolves as we journey with Aragón—we amble shoulder to shoulder and listen to intimate, almost impossible short phrases and we stop on occasion and notice the silence, the separations, “aflutter in the light.” The collaborations with the late Andrés Montoya and Carmen Calatayud, and verses inspired by Machado, Darío, Apollinaire, and Cendrars are stellar. This is a book made of books, cultures, and languages, a search made of searches—“I tried to invent new flowers, new tongues,” it says—and indeed Francisco has accomplished this task. Rare for its intimate, deep voices and expansive, chromatic treks.—Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States (2015–2017)
“Consider all of this / an excursus on origins,” advises Francisco Aragón as he invites the reader into the queer Latinx literary lineage in After Rubén. Comprised of equal parts familial and scholarly figures and conflicts, the depiction of Rubén Darío’s poetic legacy in this collection reveals his lasting impact on Aragón, whose verse illuminates a range of complex and passionate lives. Aragón’s translations (the originals are reproduced in an appendix) and ekphrastic re-visions of ten of Darío’s poems are daring and, indeed, “blasphemous.”—Carmen Giménez Smith, author of Cruel Futures and Be Recorder
Part imagined intimate diary of the poet Rubén Darío, part lyrical exploration of the rich inner life of poet Aragón, this pulsating book is an ode to the between-world of those who live a life dedicated to observation of words. Sonically charged lines that delve into solitude, travel, separation, grief, and the complex life of the outsider allow these poems to speak both to the individual Latinx experience and the universal desire to belong, to be heard.—Ada Limón, author of The Carrying and Bright Dead Things
In her intimately compelling debut collection Moon Jar, Didi Jackson explores the life-altering and heart-rending loss of a husband to suicide. In an effort to understand this unforeseen and inexplicable act, she maps with immense candor the emotional difficulty of continuing her responsibility as a mother while attempting to regain a sense of normalcy. While grief never fully subsides, Jackson allows herself over time to rediscover love as she contends with the brutal and haunting grip of human trauma. These affirmative poems, precise and grace-begetting, exhibit an admirable self-devotion to healing and recovery that is metamorphic and cathartic. Turning to biblical narratives as well as seminal works of art by the likes of Hildegard of Bingen, Pablo Picasso, Sappho, Mark Rothko, Kazimir Malevich, Hieronymus Bosch, and Frédéric Chopin, she orchestrates a tableau of conversations around human suffering, the natural world, and impermanence. And like the Korean porcelain moon jar, these poems mark and celebrate the imperfection of existence. At once raw and vulnerable, Moon Jar shows lyric poetry to be a fundamental and permanent force for survival.
“In Moon Jar, Didi Jackson gives poignant testimony to the sorrow, rage, and piercing clarity of grief. And she bears radiant witness to the moment when bereavement gives way to new joy. These poems are breathtaking and frank, and they constitute a bridge into the regions of the inner life where words too often fail to reach.”—Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars, a Pulitzer winner
“Moon Jar is one of the loveliest and most honest books about grief and the long road back to hope and love that I’ve read in a very long time. These poems tell Didi Jackson’s story of losing her husband to suicide and the enormous grief of that loss. But they also show us how we survive such a loss, and that love and life can be ours again. I read this book once, and then again, and again. Jackson’s words comfort us, and remind us what it means to be vulnerable and human.”—Ann Hood
Subduction is a lyric retelling of the troubled history of encounter in the Americas.
Fleeing the shattered remains of her marriage and treachery by her sister, a Latina anthropologist named Claudia takes refuge in Neah Bay, a Native whaling village on the jagged Pacific coast. Claudia yearns to lose herself to the songs of the tribe and the secrets of a spirited hoarder named Maggie. Instead, she stumbles into Maggie’s prodigal son Peter, who, spurred by his mother’s failing memory, has returned seeking answers to his father’s murder. Claudia helps Peter’s family convey a legacy delayed for decades by that death, but her presence, echoing centuries of fraught contact with indigenous peoples, brings lasting change and real damage. Through the ardent collision of Peter and Claudia, Subduction portrays not only their strange allegiance after grievous losses but also their shared hope of finding solace and community on the Makah Indian Reservation. An intimate tale of stunning betrayals, Subduction bears witness to the power of stories to disrupt—and to heal.
AWARDS AND DISTINCTIONS
*Finalist for two International Latino Book Awards *Selected as a Staff Pick by The Paris Review *Shortlisted for the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award *Finalist for the Foreword Indies Book of the Year Award (Multicultural) *SILVER MEDAL winner in the Independent Publisher Book Awards in Multicultural Fiction
“The brilliance of Subduction only suggests the wonders to come. It is a good day for us when Kristen Millares Young puts pen to paper. Highly recommended.” —Luis Alberto Urrea, winner of the American Book Award and author of The House of Broken Angels
“In this commanding novel, Kristen Millares Young captures the brutality of an anthropological gaze upon a Makah community. Her complex, exquisitely shaped characters embody the calamity of intrusion and the beauty of resilience.”—Elissa Washuta (Cowlitz), author of My Body is a Book of Rules (Red Hen Press) and Starvation Mode
“Young beautifully and vividly renders the Pacific Northwest, particularly the unique world of Neah Bay. Subduction is at once a thought-provoking meditation on the geography and geology of the natural world and a generous exploration of the natural shifts and movements that shape her characters.”—Jonathan EvisonNew York Times bestselling author, Lawn Boy, This is Your Life Harriet Chance!, West of Here, All About Lulu, and The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving
“With dreamlike, salt-water-laced prose that feels born of the Salish Sea, Kristen Millares Young’s Subduction lyrically examines relationships strained and forged by place and belonging. Intelligently addressing womanhood, community, lust, and loss, this is a novel as deep as it is intoxicating, as intricate as it is powerful. Like Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, Subduction is a novel to be celebrated for both its poetry and wisdom.”—Sharma Shields, author of The Cassandra (Henry Holt 2019)
“Kristen Millares Young’s Subduction is the powerful debut novel from a writer that comes to us fully formed. This book is as unforgettable as it is timely, a story that keeps us riveted from beginning to end, written with abundant grace and lyric intensity. Beautiful, smart, and urgent. Read this book now.”—Robert Lopez, author of Good People, Kamby Bolongo Mean River, Part of the World, All Back Full, Asunder
“Kristen Millares Young’s Subduction is a taut, atmospheric tale that gave me what I hope for in a novel: characters that I can care about, in a place that seems real, with stakes that really matter. This is an enormously impressive debut. I’ll eagerly await more from this writer.”—Steve Yarbrough, PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist, winner of a Richard Wright Award and a California Book Award, author of The Unmade World, The Realm of Last Chances, The End of California, Prisoners of War.
“Subduction will give you a sense of life lived in the most remote corner of the lower 48, the Makah reservation in Washington State. The ever-changing Pacific Ocean, the emerald forests, the geoduck clams, and the scruffy sea-scoured dwellings are merely the foundation of Kristen Millares Young’s suspenseful, atmospheric first novel. The characters leap off the page and into your heart. I wanted to swallow the story whole, and I was happy to know it would take time to savor it. An auspicious debut!”—Patricia Henley, National Book Award Finalist, author of Hummingbird House, In the River Sweet, and Other Heartbreaks
“‘Love is a kind of home,’ Kristen Millares Young writes in Subduction. But in the world of this beautifully written novel, home is also a place of secrets, murder, and loss. A tale of taking and giving, resistance and surrender, Subduction raises troubling, provocative questions about our struggle to belong.”—Samuel Ligon, author of Miller Cane, Among the Dead and Dreaming, Safe in Heaven Dead
“Set in the Pacific Northwest, Subduction is a lyrical forest of storytelling rooted in indigenous voices and invaded by those who would steal the tongues and hearts of the ones they love while bartering and betraying the idea of belonging to a land, a birthright, and a family. When you read Kristen Millares Young’s words, you understand how it is we can steal, can betray, can love.”—Shawn Wong, author of Homebase and American Knees
“Subduction introduces a welcome new voice in Kristen Millares Young, here telling a taut, fraught story of two people who meet and engage in circumstances that surprise. Both have lived but are seeking to live yet more fully, even as they’re beset by their pasts. Whether the way to such realization is with the other is a core part of this vividly written story. Set on Makah Nation land, part of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, Subduction is a searching exploration of historic legacies in the present day. The result: a book of reckoning, full-heartedly told.”—Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Company
Boy Oh Boy is a collection of queer fabulist stories and flash fictions told via second person, asking readers to share Doss’s explorations of joy and longing. Your boyfriend is many boyfriends, possibly all the boyfriends you’ve ever had or will have. But you must ask yourself whether you have them or they have you. Your boyfriend plays jokes on you—plays jokes on the world. He is forever unattainable, and still you love your boyfriend, even when it hurts you. Doss explores how relationships can be all-consuming, how we transform ourselves to fit within their contour. Eventually, you might change so much that you don’t even fit inside your own body. This book is so much about space—the physical, emotional, and mental spheres that everyone inhabits. Doss uses humor to deal with the isolation that each of us experiences—not because we’re alone, but because we’ve become detached from ourselves, our needs, and our desires. Boy Oh Boy is our chance to understand Zachary Doss, as well as our strangest selves.
“Playful, wistful, lustful, and liminal, Zachary Doss’s Boy Oh Boy proves much larger than the sum of its parts. Doss explores the queerness of love, and how that love permeates—even in its absence—all parts of our lives. The boys (and boyfriends) of the collection may be mechanically replaceable, or miniature and multiple, or complicated in a dozen other ways, but they come to full life in Doss’s stories. The shortest of these stories have a kind of effervescent charm that only increases the deeper you get into the collection. It’s boys all the way down.”—Kelly Link, the 2018 judge for the Grace Paley Prize for Short Fiction
“These stories brim with invention and play, but they are serious underneath, the work of a serious writer and thinker and reader and feeler. They are savvy and world-wise while also full of vulnerability and beauty. I will treasure this book.”—Aimee Bender, author of The Color Master
“There’s a sly and unprepossessing humor to these stories, the feeling of someone waiting for you to notice the joke, though there’s never just one. It’s right there in the title—Boy Oh Boy—and it is something you might say as you read these stories of the way we are all abandoned to this world, to make of it what we can. Zach Doss is a writer to celebrate. He didn’t live long enough to give us more than this, but here is a book that sings like a troubadour under the balcony at midnight, songs of love and trouble, again and again, seemingly effortless and full of charm. Pick it up.”—Alexander Chee, author of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel
Don’t Go Crazy Without Me tells the tragicomic coming of age story of a girl who grew up under the seductive sway of her outrageously eccentric father. He taught her how to have fun; he also taught her to fear food poisoning, other children’s infectious diseases, and the contaminating propensities of the world at large. Alienated from her emotionally distant mother, the girl bonded closely with her father and his worldview. When he plunged from neurotic to full-blown psychotic, she nearly followed him. Sanity is not always a choice, but for the sixteen-year-old, decisions had to be made and lines drawn between reality and what her mother called her “overactive imagination.” She would have to give up beliefs carried by the infectious agent of her father’s love.
Saving herself would require an unconventional reading of Moby Dick, sexual pleasure in the body that had confounded her, and entry into the larger world of political activism as a volunteer in Robert F. Kennedy’s Presidential campaign. After attending his last stop at the Ambassador Hotel the night of his assassination, she would come to a new reckoning with loss and with engagement beyond the confines of her family. Ultimately, she would find a way to turn her grief into love.
“Deborah A. Lott’s Don’t Go Crazy Without Me is funny, horrifying, and heartbreaking—and often surprisingly, all three at once. It’s an astonishingly vivid book, and to read it is to be caught up, just as the writer was, in an impossible, crazy, misfit family. Through grace and nerve and will, Deborah learns that you can’t “screw nature,” or “stop time,” as her father tried to do, “but you could turn your grief into love.” This writer’s love for her deeply screwed-up family is unforgettable. As the best memoirs do, Don’t Go Crazy Without Me makes this writer’s story belong to all of us.”—Mark Doty, National Book Award Winner, author of the memoirs Firebird, Dog Years, Heaven’s Coast, and multiple volumes of poetry
“Don’t Go Crazy Without Me is an extraordinary book. Deborah A. Lott writes about everything—parents, children, bodies, illness, sex, writing—with a voice that is utterly clear and beautiful and funny and original. This is a book written with honesty that will both break your heart and enlarge it.”—Karen E. Bender, National Book Award Finalist, and author of A Town of Empty Rooms, Refund, and Like Normal People