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Steve Kowit: This Unspeakably Marvelous Life

In Steve Kowit: This Unspeakably Marvelous Life, four editors and numerous poets and essayists pool their understanding of and admiration for a brilliant poet/ essayist/ teacher/ animal-rights advocate/ political activist and self-proclaimed “all-around no good troublemaker” who died April 2, 2015. The contributors to this collection have created an anthology that is also something of a biography, encomium, accolade, homage, and love-song for a master who deeply touched their lives and, in many cases, changed their art—always for the better, they say again and again in their acknowledgments. Dear Reader, you hold a luminous book in your hands. It is full of wisdom and humor. A touch of sadness here and there. Some poems and/or essays may make you wistful; others may make you laugh out loud; and certainly many will make you examine your own judgments and beliefs. Turn the page and welcome to the world of Steve Kowit. Edited by Duff Brenna, Walter Cummins, Clare MacQueen, and R. A. Read more…

The Winter Dance Party Murders

With his customary pyrotechnics, Herriges gives us a “what if” tale written in a swift, agile manner that has become his signature style over the course of seven luminous novels. So you thought Buddy Holly died in a plane crash in 1959, right? Rudolph Kearns, aka Rudy Keen, begs to differ. Keen, a striving rock and roll song writer and musician, narrates an alternate history concerning some of the greatest singers of the 50?s and 60?s. He has the inside scoop on numerous Rock giants: Del Shannon, Sam Cooke, Richie Valens, the Big Bopper and a wealth of other famous singers. Keen manages to write his own hit song, but nothing turns out the way he dreamed it would. Between the lines, Herriges seems to be reminding us to be careful what we wish for and be careful not to take any agents or record producers (or film producers either) at face value. Read more…

Surviving the Twenty-First Century

Parenting, Corporate Thievery, Aging, Technology, Ideals – one might easily feel overwhelmed. Read more…

Ghost Dance: A Play of Voices

As Chloride, a dying New Mexican mining town, whirls toward a rendezvous with truth, its people find themselves precariously balanced between a lost past of blood-deep spirituality and an unknowable, terrifying future, between the world of drama and the drama of the world. A filmmaker trying to turn his disillusionment into truth; a once celebrated film star who disappears; a look-alike who takes her place; a trickster who enjoys the chaos he creates around him are all part of the play. In this eerie, beautifully crafted novel, Gladys Swan presents an impressionistic palimpsest of myth and modem life. The present is revealed as only a play of light and shadow over a ghost dance that—tenu¬ously—ensures the world’s continued exis¬tence. Part history, part myth, part meditation on truth and illusion, the novel reveals a kaleidoscope of plots and subplots, each refracted through the perceptions—the voices—of a cast of characters as intriguing as the Southwest itself. Read more…

The Eight Corners of the World

Told entirely from the point of view of Yosinori Yamaguchi, a Japanese honors student who excels in his study of English during the nineteen thirties and who is totally devoted to American film, the novel rollicks through Japanese-American history with an ironically detached account of one man’s struggle to adhere to the philosophy of yoin ma do, which the narrator quickly translates into his pidgin Japanese-hipster English to mean. ..Go with do flow,”‘ meaning, as the story unfolds, to take life’s ironies as they come. Read more…

Hyacinths from the Wreckage

Madeleine Beckman’s Hyacinths from the Wreckage, her third book of poetry, is a glittering collection that embraces body and place, and the constantly changing geography of an emotional landscape. The language of these poems wrenches, arouses recognition and empathy, and, finally, sings a persuasive song with the promise of renewal. This is a book of sensual revelation, a journey through intersecting emotions of desire, strife, sorrow, and laughter. Beckman’s poems are fierce, vividly alive, and filled with passionate energy. She writes about love and loss in an original and startling way. Read more…

Beginnings: How 14 Poets Got Their Start

Each of the fourteen interviews in this collection tells the story of a poet’s career, starting with origins that in many cases overcame unlikely beginnings and went on to fortunate educations with inspiring teachers who often became friends and colleagues, and in at least one case a spouse. Then onto publication, books, awards, and, for the majority, their own teaching careers to share their gifts with others in emulation of their own mentors. Each interview is followed by samples of the poet’s work. Readers will have an opportunity to appreciate and admire the fourteen poets as people and as artists. Read more…

A Dark Gamble

A Dark Gamble, a Western epic inspired by the great epic of Gilgamesh, is set in New Mexico during the era when gold and silver were being discovered and prospectors, miners and ranchers were pouring into the territory, the local Apaches consequently being hunted down and displaced. The novel is an attempt to explore an aspect of the American past, with its roots in an untamed land and the uneasy transition to the modern world. The action takes place in the town of Destiny, which shoots up when gold is discovered in the region. The story is told by a narrator who has heard tales of Gil Weston and Jack Cameron since his youth, men who still engage his imagination of those around him. Out of his own fascination and curiosity, he feels compelled to take up their story himself as part of his own quest for an understanding of the past and a meaning for his own life. Read more…

In a Vertigo of Silence

Can the truth really set one free? In Miriam Polli’s debut novel, In a Vertigo of Silence, Emily, the young protagonist, discovers a family secret and thinks, I know now that secrets run in the blood and bones of those who came before. This intensely moving, multi-generational novel follows the lives of women, both strong and frail—shrouded, at times warped, by the confines of a long-held secret. Polli has drawn characters with empathy and poignancy as Emily strives to change the destiny of her family. Read more…

Like a Soprano

After the death of James Gandolfini in the summer of 2013, David Starkey decided to pay poetic homage to The Sopranos TV series and its star. Like a Soprano features one poem for each episode, with the poem sharing the episode’s title. Like the series itself, the poems are by turns violent and sexual, comic and absurd. Never before has an entire television program received such close attention from a serious poet: this is a landmark in the crossover between poetic and popular culture. Read more…