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A Guide of the Perplexed

Description J.R. Solonche’s new poetry collection, A Guide of the Perplexed, is his 20th to date and his third from Serving House Books. If you are perplexed when it comes to poetry, as many of us are, then here is your ideal guide to the richness of poetry as only Solonche can serve it up: wit, word-play, insight, artistry akin to magic, the transformation of philosophical treatises into Zen koans, all of which are, in the words of Kirkus Reviews, “sympathetic but never sentimental.” About the Author J.R. Solonche is the author of nineteen books of poetry and coauthor of another. He lives in the Hudson Valley. Praise J.R. Solonche can pack so much humor and linguistic playfulness into such tight bundles, it feels like 1,000 clowns issuing from a VW Bug. He can also fit a lot of darkness and mortality into them, which feels more like 1,000 clowns dressed like Marilyn Mason issuing from a VW Bug. Solonche can be crass the way only the truthful can be, mischievous as a child with his hands in the honey jar, or even aphoristic and proverbial like a modern day Martial. Though you never know which Solonche you’re going to encounter on the next page, he’s a great bunch of guys to get to know. — Stephen Cramer is the winner of the Louise Bogan Award and the National Poetry Series The history of book blurbs is littered with high falutin’ praise, whacky and wild metaphors, written to impress not to inform. All I need to say about J.R. Solonche’s poems is that they are good, really, really good. So much so that they have a high “I-wish-I’d-written-that” factor. That’s a compliment I hand out to very few poets writing today. You want wit? You want humor? You want erudition? You want them all mixed into poems? Try Solonche. You won’t be disappointed. Envious perhaps, but not disappointed. — John Murphy is editor of The Lake Contemporary Poetry Webzine In a style that favors brevity and pith, J.R. Solonche brings a richness of experience, observation, and wit into his poems. Here is the world! they exclaim. And here and here and here! Watched over by ancient lyric gods – Time, Death, and Desire— we find the quotidian here transformed. Read more…

Robert Day: The Collected Short Stories

Description The stories in this collection represent about six decades of writing. Over time some of them have grown the “claws and wings” of novels as Vladimir Nabokov put it. But they were stories first. At the University of Kansas I took a course titled “Narration and Description.” Not that I knew what those terms meant but I was curious to find out. It was taught by “Staff.”What I found out was that I could not contain myself with those two categories and in an early submission I branched out into scenes. My teacher (a Miss Staff) did not reprimand me for this, but pointed that “scenes” typically had two “unities”: one of time and one of place. I had no idea what she meant. But since I had not been scolded, in my next submission, I not only had a scene but I introduced two characters who talked. Meanwhile the other students were dutifully writing narration and description: We walked from our dorm to Strong Hall where our class met and along the way we saw the cars on Jayhawk boulevard. About the Author Robert Day’s novel The Last Cattle Drive was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. His short fiction has won a number of awards and citations, including two Seaton Prizes, a Pen Faulkner/NEA prize, and Best American Short Story and Pushcart citations. His fiction has been published by Tri-Quarterly, Black Warrior Review, Kansas Quarterly, North Dakota Quarterly, Summerset Review, and New Letters, among other belles-lettres magazines. He is the author of two novellas, In My Stead and The Four Wheel Drive Quartet, as well as three collections of short fiction: Speaking French in Kansas, Where I Am Now, and The Billion Dollar Dream. His nonfiction has been published in the Washington Post Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, Forbes FYI, Modern Maturity, World Literature Today, American Scholar, and Numero Cinq. As a member of the Prairie Writers Circle, his essays have been reprinted in numerous newspapers and journals nationwide and on such Internet sites as Counterpunch and Arts and Letters Daily. Recent book publications include We Should Have Come by Water (poems), The Committee to Save the World (literary nonfiction), and Chance Encounters of a Literary Kind (memoir). Other publications include the novel Let Us Imagine Lost Love and Robert Day for President: An Embellished Campaign Autobiography. Read more…

Have a Heart

Description Have a Heart will be released on November 17, 2020 It is the month of May, the year, 1998, the place, Lincoln Center. Ali and his mother attend the premiere of the ballet Swan Lake at the Metropolitan Opera House, where Anna, the Russian ballerina, is making her American Ballet Theatre debut as Odette/Odile. While dancing in the ballet, suddenly and unexpectedly, Anna, the Swan Queen, collapses, and the story begins. The next day, Dr. Ali is called to consult on Anna. He finds her in heart failure due to weakness of her heart muscle. Anna undergoes a barrage of tests and is crushed that her dancing days are over. During Anna’s hospital stay, and subsequently, Anna and Ali, take a liking to each other and when her heart condition improves, they became lovers. Several months later, Ali meets Nancy, an investment analyst who works at the World Trade Center. He remains torn for his concern for Anna’s health and his blossoming relationship with Nancy. In Have A Heart, Gomes explores the intertwined romantic and professional lives of three individuals, a torpid romance between a patient, Anna, and her doctor, Ali, the clash of cultures, the political upheavals of our times, the tribulations of waiting for a heart transplant, and the search for inner truth. About the Author António Gomes, also known as J. Anthony Gomes, is a Professor of Medicine at The Mount Sinai Medical Center, NYC. He has published extensively in Medicine including two textbooks of Cardiology, Signal Averaged Electrocardiography: Basic Concepts Methods and Application (Kluwer Academic Press, London/Amsterdam, 1993) and Heart Rhythm Disorders: History, Mechanisms and Management Perspectives (Springer-Nature, 2020). He has also published articles in the humanities in anthologies, books, newspapers, and magazines; two books of poetry entitled Visions from Grymes Hill (Turn of River Press, Stanford, Connecticut, USA, 1994) and Mirrored Reflections (GOA 1556 and Fundacão Oriente, 2013); and a novel, The Sting of Peppercorns (GOA, 1556 & Broadway Books, 2010); 2nd edition, Amaryllis, New Delhi, India, 2017) and Nas Garras Do Destino, published in Portugal and Brazil in May 2019 by Chiado Editora, Brake Media, Lisbon, Portugal. Praise Have a Heart by Antonio Gomes is a dazzling story of Anna, an elegant ballerina who succumbs to a heart ailment, and of Ali, the young doctor who is smitten while treating her. Read more…

Loving Modigliani: The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne

Description LOVING MODIGLIANI will be released on December 15, 2020 Amedeo Modigliani, embittered and unrecognized genius, dies of meningitis on a cold January day in Montparnasse in 1920. Jeanne Hébuterne, his young wife and muse, follows 48 hours later, falling backwards through a window. Now a ghost, Jeanne drifts about the studio she shared with Modigliani—for she was not only his favorite model, but also an artist whose works were later shut away from public view after her demise. Enraged, she watches as her belongings are removed from the studio and her identity as an artist seemingly effaced for posterity, carried off in a suitcase by her brother. She then sets off to rejoin Modigliani in the underworld. Thus begins Loving Modigliani, retelling the story of Jeanne Hébuterne’s fate as a woman and an artist through three timelines and three precious objects stolen from the studio: a notebook, a bangle, and a self-portrait of Jeanne depicted together with Modi and their daughter. Decades later, an art history student will discover Jeanne’s diary and rescue her artwork from oblivion, after a search leading from Paris to Nice, Rome, and Venice, where Jeanne’s own quest will find its joyful reward. Video trailer for Loving Modigliani About the Author Linda Lappin is the prize-winning author of four novels: The Etruscan (Wynkin deWorde, 2004), Katherine’s Wish (Wordcraft, 2008), Signatures in Stone: A Bomarzo Mystery (Pleasureboat Studio, 2013), and Loving Modigliani: The Afterlife of Jeanne Hébuterne (Serving House Books, 2020). Signatures in Stone was the overall winner of the Daphne DuMaurier prize for best mystery novel of 2013. She is also the author of The Soul of Place: Ideas and Exercises for Conjuring the Genius Loci (Travelers Tales, 2015), which won a Nautilus Award in the category of creativity in 2015. A former Fulbright scholar to Italy, she has lived mainly in Rome for over thirty years. Her websiteis www.lindalappin.net. Read more…

Piano Music

Description Piano Music, the new poetry collection from JR Solonche, presents him at his best. The wit, the insights, the playfulness, the craft, the profundity, and yes, at times the silliness, are all here on full display to the delight of the reader, whether that reader be new to the Solonche universe or one returning for more. About the Author J.R. Solonche is the author of nin Praise J.R.Solonche’s many books of poetry, one nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, reveal a wry and vivid wit, a sharp but sympathetic eye, and a respect for the homely but significant detail, all wedded to an acute social and cultural consciousness. In his imaginative progress through city streets and country roads, the commonplace becomes the extraordinary… In lines full of mischief or romance, gaiety or grief, he is the poet of the everyday, spent on earth or in an imaginary heaven. Judith Farr, author of What Lies Beyond: Poems and The Passion of Emily Dickinson. Solonche is productive and prolific, but that doesn’t water down his poetry… He can compress a philosophical treatise into three lines… His epigrammatic tidy poems are philosophic gems. Solonche sees humor and encapsulates it; he frames a thought in perfect verse… He’s playful and profound — the more he writes, the more he seems to know. Beneath the Solonche simplicity are significant social comments, and his goodwill reinforces the best in us.” — Grace Cavalieri, Washington Independent Review of Books “Solonche, an accomplished poet, employs various forms in this compilation, including haiku, prose poem, and free verse. The poems often imaginatively enter into the natural or material world via anthropomorphic similes… Many works have an aphoristic quality that recall Zen koans, and they can be playfully amusing or even silly… A strong set of sympathetic but never sentimental observations.” — Kirkus Reviews “The spirit of Horace, the melancholy of time slithering away and turning all to dust, tempered with art, wit, and good grace…” — Ricardo Nirenberg, editor of Offcourse: A Literary Journal “In a style that favors brevity and pith, J.R. Solonche brings a richness of experience, observation, and wit into his poems. Here is the world! they exclaim. And here, and here, and here! Watched over by ancient lyric gods – Time, Death, and Desire — we find the quotidian here transformed.” — Christopher Nelson, editor of Green Linden Press “J.R. Read more…

The Mussolini Diaries

Description [The book is available for pre-order at Barnes & Noble (Buy Now button) in advance its September 7, 2020 release date.] Moving at surprising angles between the personal and the public world, Gary Fincke’s poems lead to discoveries that are both exhilarating and unsettling. In long sequences and precisely observed shorter poems, he explores terrorism, mass hysteria, climate change, political calamity, and the necessity of sustaining belief. He references science and history as well as myth. He grounds his poems in experience. Gary Fincke’s poems speak to the reader with an urgency driven by the elusiveness of truth. About the Author Gary Fincke’s latest collection of poems, The Infinity Room, won the Wheelbarrow Books Prize for Established Poets (Michigan State, 2019). Winner of Poetry Magazine’s Bess Hokin Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, and Ohio State’s Wheeler Prize, he has published fourteen collections of poetry. His fiction and nonfiction collections have won the Flannery O’Connor Prize for Short Fiction and the Robert C. Jones Prize for Short Prose. He recently retired after founding and then directing the Writers Institute at Susquehanna University for decades. Praise Gary Fincke’s The Mussolini Diaries is a masterful collection of poems, particularly relevant for these difficult times, but like all great poetry, timeless in its own way. Fincke drills home what so many of us feel about the current state of our country with sharp insights grounded in complex imagery and spiced with wit and anger, empathy and loss. You too may find yourself nodding as you read, thinking, “yes, yes, this is how it is.” Jim Daniels With an unflinching gaze, Gary Fincke’s The Mussolini Diaries grapples with our collective failure at good stewardship—of our planet, ourselves, and each other “…as if ruin were a handsome prince.” In poems with themes as disparate as trepanning, climate change, suicide bombers, pandemics, clever forgeries, or the theft of one hundred brains from a hospital lab, our iniquities are laid bare and we are refused easy answers or hollow consolation. But Fincke adamantly eschews condemnation. In work by turns solemn and humorous, he manages to master a seemingly impossible paradox: despite the knowledge that “the world ripens without us…and we are sorely unmissed,” though “we carry the memory of comfort like a congenital hump,” there is still a chance at ultimate redemption where our “futures will have beauty and flight. Read more…

River Town Girl: A Memoir

Description RIVER TOWN GIRL has been selected as one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Indie Books of 2020! Only 100 books make the list, and Kirkus reviews thousands of books through their Indie program every year. The memoir received a Kirkus Starred Review. River Town Girl: A Memoir is about growing up in a small, working-class town on the Hudson River in the 1950s, ‘60s, and early ‘70s. One mile away across the river is New York City, but it might just as well be a thousand miles away. The town, Edgewater, has 4,000 people. Cut off by the river, which runs along it on the east, and the Palisades cliffs, which run along it on the west, it is rich in eccentric characters, and its life is shaped by the rhythms of the Hudson. The town is fertile ground for the delights and the powers of story telling. Today that version of the town is gone, buried under New Jersey’s high-rise Gold Coast. This story is about how a child of the 1950s becomes an adolescent of the 1960s and gradually but finally finds the strength to finish growing up. A bookish only child, the power of words to make sense of the world is life saving for her. In her books as a child and in her mother’s stories and her father’s journals, she comes to know a self both damaged and resilient. Later stories told in psychotherapy make sense of the overwhelming anxiety that threatens her. Then the stories she writes as a newspaper reporter lead her into city rooms that become her second home and into assignments that usher her into a larger world. The author treats memory as more episodic and fluctuating than traditional narratives do. Written in prose, poetry, lists, fragments, and dialogue and in both facts and imaginings, this patchwork creates a complex, coming-of-age story about a girl, a family, a town, a river, and a time now gone. It does so in carefully crafted language that seeks to delight readers. What many people know about the lower Hudson Valley may begin and end with the Clearwater sloop, but the full breadth of these lives lived along the river goes well beyond. About the Author Lynn Litterine has been a journalist and a writing teacher. Read more…

Run

Description Billy Horn is on the run with serious mob money in a satchel. He has crossed a threshold, inhabiting an alternate existence, a heavy dream filled with menace and deception. Meanwhile, driven by Schopenhauer’s will to live, he’s caught up in his sexual fantasies and his continual need to protect that satchel, which he sees as his ticket to somewhere good. About the Author Jack Smith has published four novels: Miss Manners for War Criminals (2017), Being (2016), Icon (2014), and Hog to Hog, which won the 2007 George Garrett Fiction Prize and was published by Texas Review Press in 2008. He has published stories in a number of literary magazines, including Southern Review, North American Review, Texas Review, In Posse Review, Word Riot, and Night Train. His reviews have appeared widely in such publications as Ploughshares, Georgia Review, American Book Review, Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, Pleiades, The Missouri Review, and Environment magazine. He has published numerous articles in Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market and is a regular contributor to The Writer magazine. He has published two books on creative writing: Write and Revise for Publication: A 6-Month Plan for Crafting an Exceptional Novel and Other Works of Fiction (Writer’s Digest Books, 2013) and Inventing the World: The Fiction Writer’s Guide to Craft and Process (Serving House Books, 2018). Besides his writing, Smith was fiction editor of The Green Hills Literary Lantern, an online literary magazine published by Truman State University, for 25 years. He presently teaches for Writers.com. Praise Run is vintage Jack Smith. Billy Horn, a young loan collector in New York City, witnesses a mob shootout and grabs a satchel of cash tossed in his direction—the curse of materialism—which sends him running across America from mobsters who want their money back. He tries to live off the grid and dreams of his girlfriend and of freedom to study and write, but is haunted by protean types; a beefy cop, unbearably beautiful women and their menacing boyfriends, predatory matrons, and assassins dressed in black. Such figures are always there, no matter where. Smith is a master of present tense narration, inventive complications, and witty, disconcerting dialogue; and Billy’s experiences prove at once surreal and hilarious, much as Alice’s in Wonderland or K’s in The Trial. Read more…

Our Literary Travels

Description Our literary travels have taken us to Miami, Prague, the West of Ireland, Bruges/Brugge, Copenhagen, Broughton Castle, Bath, Haut-Koenigsbourg, Stockholm, Danish Prisons, Buonconvento, Paris, London, South Africa, Iceland, the Virgin Islands, and the Isle of Mull. Once there, we walked in the footsteps of Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, Fyodor Dostoevsky, James Boswell and Samuel Johnson, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, Knut Hamsun, Halldór Laxness, Giovanni Boccaccio, William Burroughs, Georges Rodenbach, Heinrich Böll, Hyam Plutzik, Franz Kafka, and many others. These twenty essays reveal our discoveries. About the Authors Walter Cummins has published seven short story collections-Witness, Where We Live, Local Music, The End of the Circle, The Lost Ones, Habitat: stories of bent realism, Telling Stories: Old and New. He also has two collections of essays and reviews-Knowing Writers and Death Cancer Madness and Meaning. More than one hundred of his stories, as well as memoirs, essays, and reviews, have appeared in magazines such as New Letters, Kansas Quarterly, Virginia Quarterly Review, Under the Sun, Arts & Letters, Confrontation, Bellevue Literary Review, Connecticut Review, in book collections, and on the Web. With Thomas E. Kennedy, he is founding co-publisher of Serving House Books, an outlet for novels, mnd eamoirs, and story, poetry, and essay collections. For more than twenty years, he was editor of The Literary Review. He teaches in the graduate creative writing programs at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Thomas E. Kennedy’s many books include novels, story and essay collections, literary criticism, anthologies, and translations. The four novels of the Copenhagen Quartet were published by Bloomsbury in the U.S. and the U.K. (In the Company of Angels, 2010; Falling Sideways, 2011; Kerrigan in Copenhagen, A Love Story, 2013; and Beneath the Neon Egg, 2014). His two collections from New American Press are Last Night My Bed a Boat of Whiskey Going Down (2010) and Riding the Dog: A Look Back at America (2008). His stories, essays, travel pieces, interviews, poems, and translations appear regularly in American and European periodicals. His writing has won an O. Henry Award, a Pushcart Prize, a National Magazine Award, a Charles Angoff Award, and other prizes. With Walter Cummins, he is founding co-publisher of Serving House Books. Read more…

A Screenwriter’s Notebook: Reflections, Analyses, and Chalk Talks on the Craft and Business of Writing for the Movies

Description Of all the creative elements that go into making a movie, probably none is more misunderstood by those outside the industry than the role of the screenwriter. A writer but not an author, indispensable yet utterly disposable, the screenwriter exists in an unwieldy blend of creative and write-to-order mercenary functions. A Screenwriter’s Notebook is one insider’s explanation of the ways screenwriters and screenplays actually work (and don’t work) in moviemaking. About the Author Bill Mesce, Jr. is a screenwriter as well as an award-winning author and playwright. He is currently an adjunct instructor at several colleges and universities in New Jersey where he lives with his family. Among his many books are several respected works about film and television, including Overkill: The Rise and Fall of Thriller Cinema, Inside the Rise of HBO: A Personal History of the Company that Transformed Television, The Rules of Screenwriting and Why You Should Break Them, and most recently, The Wild Bunch:The American Classic that Changed Westerns Forever. Read more…