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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…

French Kisses

Twelve stories depicting Americans in France, a broad array of characters and situations- -a boozy basketball player colliding with bigotry; a vet at Omaha Beach confronting a memory; a boy sent abroad while his parents divorce; a jealous sister coveting one last heirloom; a killer seeking peace at Lake Geneva; a pharmacist shielding his suspect wife; an American woman who’s never lived in America; sons bullied by fathers; a relentless dreamer about to go illegal. All seek the enchantment, refuge or even forgiveness France might offer. But they can’t quite discard the baggage they carry. Read more…

The Narrow Gate: Art, Writing & Values

The Narrow Gate presents 19 short essays that explore ways in which literary writing and visual art affirm and clarify values, in our personal lives and in art, itself, with topics ranging from “resilience” to “madness” to “art + work.” These essays often take a personal perspective, written by the editor of New Letters, a leading journal of writing and art; they originally served as introductions to and expansions on writing and art featured in the magazine. Citing the work of contemporaries, such as Daniel Woodrell and Marilyn Kallet, and past writers, such as Cervantes and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the author asserts that writing and art uplift and sustain us in our relationships and spiritual endeavors. Included is a selection of art and poetry referred to in the essays. Read more…

Ravenous: New and Selected Poems

Ravenous: New & Selected Poems by Rick Mulkey provides new and returning readers an opportunity to consider recent and previously published work in a collection containing wide stylistic variety with deep unifying themes and concerns. From an 18th Century Persian village to the porches and homestead’s of the Appalachian South, these poems counterpoint the sorrowful with the joyful, exploring how “even in the soul’s grim mines, one tuned string/perfectly plucked could make us believe all would be right. Read more…

Letters to My Younger Self: An Anthology of Writings by Incarcerated Men at S.C.I. Graterford and a Writing Workbook

In this anthology incarcerated me in the Prison Literacy Project at S.C.I. Graterford contribute pieces about regretful decisions made or painful experiences in their youth, fearlessly exposing their vulnerability. The men chose many methods for sharing their messages; some wrote letters to their young selves or family members, telling of their struggles growing up in difficult circumstances. They reached out from behind the prison walls to caution young offenders while they still have time to change their lives, but they speak to us all. They remind us all about choices, consequences, and caring for others. Read more…

Icon

When Mr. Finger builds his first Finger a half mile high flipping off the fabulously wealthy, Peter Boatz, a professor of Icons, finally has a fertile subject for his Icons of Power book. But this gigantic, obscene monument to the rich, with enormous grassroots support, soon takes on multiple meanings for Boatz: the abstract versus the concrete, the ideal versus the real, and involvement in the world versus withdrawal. Read more…

Too Cool

Sixteen-year-old Elbert Earl Evans (known as Triple E) bursts out of Goodpasture Correctional Facility and speeds toward freedom in a stolen Oldsmobile. As he outraces the police, his car stalls in the Colorado badlands in the middle of a snowstorm and he is stranded with his girl, Jeanne. Once he sets out on foot to find help in a landscape of bone-chilling desolation, his mind becomes a blizzard of memories and images, from the soft, sweet voice of his grandmother to his father’s cruel betrayal to the stark words of a writer named Kafka. The past becomes inseparable from the present as he fights to stay alive–and relives the twisting, tragi-comic odyssey that has brought him to this desperate point. Read more…