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Published May 11, 2017

irradiated cities mariko nagaiLes Figues Press held their NOS Book Contest every year from 2011-2015, awarding $1,000 and publication to a writer of a poetry or prose manuscript, which includes lyric essays, hybrids, translations, and more.

The 2015 contest was judged by author and performance artist lê thi diem thúy, who chose Irradiated Cities by Mariko Nagai. She says of her selection:

This book, a sifting and circling, a calm and masterful layering of voices and vantage points, a slowly emerging portrait of four different Japanese cities and their inhabitants, resists any effort at arrivals or conclusions. By doing so, it shows us that while we may have an accumulation of facts for what happened on a particular day in a particular place, perhaps even the names and words and pictures of the people to whom catastrophe struck, and would not let go, it is within the dark sedimentation and the feather-light drift of history that we might glean what yet remains, and gives off light, to summon and trouble us still.
Nagai explores the aftermath of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima. With lyrical fragments and black-and-white photographs, Nagai guides us through loss, silence, echo, devestation, and memory, creating a haunting piece of work.

Read through advance praise of the collection and order a copy for yourself at the Les Figues Press website.

Published May 10, 2017

from klail city to korea with love rolando hinojosaAt the end of April, Arte Publico Press released a two-volume collection from Rolando Hinojosa. From Klail City to Korea with Love contains Rites and Witnesses and Korean Love Songs from the Klail City Death Trip Series.

In Rites and Witnesses, the author “captures the complex relationships and unsettling power struggles in both civilian and military life.”

Korean Love Songs has long been out of print, first published in 1978. In this section, Hinojosa presents his only poetry book, capturing the horror of war through Klail City native Corporal Rafe Buenrostro’s recollections.

Rolando Hinojosa is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Casa de las Américas prize in 1976, the most prestigious prize in Latin America. Now readers can bring home two of his books in one collection, continuing the examination of life along the border.

Learn more about From Klail City to Korea with Love at the publisher’s website.

Published May 01, 2017

pen america best debut short stories 2017The PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers recognizes 12 emerging fiction writers for their debut story published online or in a literary magazine during the calendar year. The twelve winners each receive $2000 and are to be compilated in the inaugural anthology published by Catapult in August 2017.

This year’s winners were chosen by judges Kelly Link, Marie-Helene Bertino, and Nina McConigley, and together “they act as a compass for contemporary literature; they tell us where we’re going.” Each piece is introduced by the editor who originally published the story, providing editorial insight to aspiring writers and curious readers.

The 2017 winning writers include: Angela Ajayi, Amber Caron, Emily Chammah, Jim Cole, Crystal Hana Kim, Samuel Clare Knights, Katherine Magyarody, Grace Oluseyi, Laura Chow Reeve, Amy Sauber, Ruth Serven, and Ben Shattuck.

Learn more about the prize, the judges, the honorees, and the journals at the PEN America website, and pre-order your copy from the Catapult website.

Published April 27, 2017

no dictionary of a living tongue duriel harrisNightboat Books publishes the winners of the annual Nightboat Poetry Prize, the 2015 winner to be released next month: No Dictionary of a Living Tongue by Duriel E. Harris. Judge Kazim Ali says of the poetry collection:

No Dictionary of a Living Tongue is formidable in its explorations of art, citizenship, and life as a body amid the social, political, and electronic networks that define us, hold us together, bind us. [ . . . ] An elegant use of sound couples with a keen and roving intelligence and a fierce commitment to social justice to create a unique and powerful collection of poems.

Paging through the poetry collection, I was struck by the variety in forms, visually arresting before even reading the content. I was especially drawn to the fold-out poem “Danger, Live Feed” on pages 69-70, which warrants tearing out and framing (if the idea of tearing apart a book doesn’t make you cringe, that is).

Check out the Nighboat Books website for more insight into Harris’s No Dictionary of a Living Tongue, where you will also find a PDF preview and a link to order from SPD.

Published April 26, 2017

inside my pencil peter markus blogRecently chosen as a NewPages Editor’s Pick, Inside My Pencil by Peter Markus (Dzanc Books, March 2017) recounts poetry lessons taught to children in Detroit public schools. Markus, an award-winning writer and a writer-in-residence with the InsideOut Literary Arts Project of Detroit, sees the magic children hold inside their pencils and shares it with readers in this nonfiction book.

We start with Markus on his first day in the schools and then continue on to read his lessons on similes, metaphor, on the verb to be, the power of imagination. In prose that is poetic in itself, he brings us into the classroom and feeds us lines his students came up with in response. The creativity and imagination of the kids is a joy to read. In one chapter they define what beauty is, and in another, they turn love into metaphors, each line a beautiful display of the magic inside their pencils.

Inside my Pencil is available from the Dzanc Books website where readers can learn more.

Published April 05, 2017
hyong li 100 love notesIn 2015, on the anniversary of his wife's death as a result ovarian cancer, Hyong Yi wrote 100 love notes and, along with his two children, handed them out to random passers by on the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina. The three-line poems were written as conversational love notes between Hyong and his wife, reading "Beloved, follow me to the top of the mountain. Hold my hand; I’m afraid of falling. Don’t let me go.” and “I don’t need a test to tell me who to love. I believe in you and me. I do until death do us part.”

Friends encouraged Hyong to create a website to commemorate his commitment to his wife, and now The #100 Love Notes Project: A Love Story book has been published by Lorimer Press. This beautifully crafted collection features the work of 17 artists commissioned by Hyong Li to illustrate his 100 three-line poems.
Published April 04, 2017
poetry projectThis historical tome edited by Anselm Berrigan has just been released from Wave Publishing: "The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church was founded in 1966 for the overlapping circles of poets in the Lower East Side of New York.These interviews from The Poetry Project Newsletter form a kind of conversation over time between some of the late 20th century's most influential poets and artists, who have come together in this legendary venue over the past 50 years." Poets/artists interviewed include: Akilah Oliver, Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Barbara Henning, Bruce Andrews, Charles North, David Henderson, Eileen Myles, erica kaufman, Harryette Mullen, Judith Goldman, Larry Fagin, Magdalena Zurawski, Peter Bushyeager, Red Grooms, Sheila Alson, Tina Darragh, Victor Hernández Cruz, Will Alexander, and many more. The book can be ordered directly from the publisher for the discounted price of $17/shipping included.
Published March 21, 2017

louder than hearts zeina hashem beck blogBauhan Publishing LLC hosts the May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize each year, awarding their sixth annual prize to Zeina Hashem Beck for her collection Louder than Hearts. The collection was chosen by Betsy Sholl, former poet laureate of Maine, who says Louder than Hearts “has it all—compelling language and a sense of moral gravitas, personal urgency and the ability to address a larger world with passion and artfulness.”  She continues, calling the collection “timely in the way it provides a lens through which to see life in the Middle East, and hear the musical mix of English and Arabic.”

The collection will be released in April, but in the meantime, readers can read more about Zeina Hashem Beck, or they can try their hand at the May Sarton NH Poetry Prize themselves: submissions are open until the end of June.

Published March 20, 2017

csu contests blog postEach year, the Cleveland State University Press holds the Open Book Poetry Competition, the Essay Collection Competition, and the First Book Poetry Competition (all three open until March 31, 2017). The three 2016 winners are set to be published at the beginning of April 2017.

In One Form to Find Another by Jane Lewty was chosen as the 2016 Open Book Poetry Competition winner, selected by Emily Kendal Frey, Siwar Masannat, and Jon Woodward. Advance praise refers to the collection as “an heroically unsettling and compelling textual reenactment of feminine embodiments’ lament, contemplation, and recalibration of disturbed histories . . . ”

daughterrarium by Sheila McMullin, selected by Daniel Borzutzky, won the 2016 First Book Poetry Competition. Borzutzky says of his selection, “I admire daughterrarium for pushing too far, for making me cringe with its representations of what one human can do to another, of what a body can do to itself.”

James Allen Hall’s I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well won the 2016 Essay Collection Competition, chosen by Chris Kraus. From Kraus: "In these essays, Hall lives alongside, and empathically lives through, his family’s meth addiction, and mental illnesses . . . and considers his own penchants for less than happy, equal sex with an agility, depth, and lightness that is blissfully inconclusive."

Check out the individual links to learn more about each prize-winning collection, and pre-order copies of all three.

Published March 16, 2017

hells gate laurent gaude blogIn mid-April, Gallic Books will be publishing Hell’s Gate by Laurent Gaudé. Gaudé’s The Scortas’ Sun is the winner of the Prix Gouncourt, the French literary award given to an author of the best imaginative work of prose each year. Hell’s Gate is a thrilling story following a father as he chases redemption for his murdered son. It explores “the effects of bereavement and grief on a family, and the relationship between the living and dead.”

Check out the Gallic Books website for more information about Hell’s Gate. Read advance praise, check out a downloadable PDF extract, and give yourself a chance to read work by one of France’s most highly respected playwrights and novelists. 

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