The University of Iowa Press brings readers a real treat: the lost novel of Walt Whitman, Life and Adventures of Jack Engle. While we’re familiar with Leaves of Grass, Life and Adventures of Jack Engle was serialized in a newspaper under a pseudonym, read with little fanfare, and then disappeared.
It wasn’t until 2016 that it was found by Zachary Turpan, a literary scholar. While following a deep paper trail into the Library of Congress, he stumbled upon the only surviving copy of Witman’s lost novel.
Now, after lying in wait for over 160 years, Life and Adventures of Jack Engle is available for modern readers both digitally and in print at the University of Iowa Press website.
Pleaides Press annually holds the Robert C. Jones Short Prose Book Contest in honor of Robert C. Jones, a former professor of English at the University of Missouri.In February, the 2015 winner, Among Other Things by Robert Long Foreman, will be released. The essay collection reveals the “depth and significance of mundane objects—a puzzle, a skillet, an antique cannon, an avocado sandwich” and the essays “trace the author’s fraught path from adolescence to adulthood, and contemplate the complexities of family and belonging.”
While Robert Long Foreman has seen his work published in magazines since 2006, Among Other Things is his first collection. Find out more information and pre-order copies from the Pleaides Press website.
[Quotes from publisher’s website.]
During the tail end of 2016, Southeast Missouri State University Press released the winner of the 2015 Cowles Poetry Book Prize: Everyone at This Party Has Two Names by Brad Aaron Modlin. Advance praise dubs the collection “Poignant, quirky, troubled” (Larissa Szporluk), “[a]n impressive debut from a poet who is as interesting as he is unpredictable” (J. Allyn Rosser). While this is Modlin’s first collection, his poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in Denver Quarterly, The Florida Review, Indiana Review, and DIAGRAM, among others.
Read more about Everyone at This Party Has Two Names at the SEMO Press website, where you can also find more information about the Book Prize, which has an upcoming annual deadline of April 1st.
Next month, readers can look forward to the publication of two award-winning books: Small Crimes by Andrea Jurjević and When He Sprang From His Bed, Staggered Backward, And Fell Dead, We Clung Together With Faint Hearts, And Mutely Questioned Each Other by Christopher Kang.
Andrea Jurjević won Anhinga Press’s 2015 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry with Small Crimes, which begins during the early 90s, the speaker living their adolescence during the Croatian War, and then moves on to post-war years and life in America. Judge C. G. Hanzlicek says the collection “is often dark but just as often beautiful” with language that “crackles with energy.” Learn more at the publisher’s website.
Christopher Kang’s When He Sprang From His Bed . . . is a daring book that challenges on every read. Made of 880 stories, the collection won the Green Mountains Review Book Prize, selected by Sarah Manguso. From the publisher: “Each story contains a world, tilted on its own axis, strange, remarkable and bursting with heart.” Read more about the book and Kang at SPD.
Southeast Missouri State University Press announces the winner of the third annual Cowles Poetry Book Prize, held in honor of Vern Cowles: James Crews of Shaftsbury, VT with his winning manuscript Telling My Father.
Readers may recognize James Crews’s work which has appeared in Ploughshares, Raleigh Review, Crab Orchard Review and The New Republic, among other journals. No stranger to writing award-winning books, his first poetry collection The Book of What Stays won the 2010 Prairie Schooner Book Prize and received a Foreword Magazine Books of the Year Award. Telling My Father will be published by Southeast Missouri State Press.
Ohio State University Press has announced Mad River Books, their new literary imprint. Mad River Books will publish diverse and creative literary writing that’s both artistic and daring as they push boundaries, explore uncharted areas, and generate new ideas.
One of the first books under this imprint is Don’t Come Back by Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas, who won the 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award. The collection of lyrical and narrative essays, experimental translations, and reinterpreted myths explores home, identity, family history, and belonging while examining what it means to feel familiarity but never really feel at home.
Copies of Don’t Come Back are available for pre-order at the Ohio State University Press website, or readers can sign up to be alerted when the book is published without pre-ordering. While at the website, readers can also check out the other books forthcoming from the Mad River Books imprint.
Back in September, we let you know about Zeina Hashem Beck’s prize-winning chapbook 3arabi Song. Fans of Beck’s chapbook, chosen out of 1,720 entries to the 2016 Rattle Chapbook Prize, may also enjoy the chapbooks of the three runners-up: Kill the Dogs by Heather Bell, exploring an overarching metaphor of women fighting dog; Ligatures by Denise Miller, revealing the honesty and depth that is lost when the media reports on murders of black people by police; and Turn Left Before Morning by April Salzano, about the daily struggles when parenting a child with autism.
Subscribers to Rattle received 3arabi Song with their copy of the literary magazine earlier in the year, and then received one of the three runners-up with the latest issue, good motivation for subscribing to magazines.
Submissions to the 2017 Rattle Chapbook Prize are now open until January 15, so consider submitting while you’re picking up copies of last year’s four chosen chapbooks.
Dylan D. Debelis’s poetry and vignette collection The Garage? Just Torch It. was published earlier this week from Vine Leaves Press. A semi-finalist in the Vine Leaves Annual Vignette Collection Award (submissions currently open until February 28), this collection is, according to the Vine Leaves website, a “rally cry for the healing power of wonder and the disarming catharsis of grief.” Debelis “balances themes of belonging, love, politics, illness, family and forgiveness with stunning imagery and an intense playfulness.” Paperback and e-book copies are available at the publisher’s website.
Published by BkMk earlier in the month was Bonnie Bolling’s The Red Hijab. The poetry collection won the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry, selected by H.L. Hix in 2015, and is written from the perspective of an American poet living in the Middle East. In his foreword to the collection, Hix says it “does not pretend divine perspective, and does not purport to have an answer to the conflicts reported in the news. It does, though, adopt an alternative form of attention and offer an alternative kind of account.” This results in a “more complex portrait than the news presents.” Stop by the publisher’s website to learn more about The Red Hijab.
With November practically over, let’s take a timeout to look back at award-winning small press and university press books published in the past few months.
In September, Rules for Lying by Anne Corbitt was published by the Southeast Missouri State University Press. Winner of the Nilsen Prize for a First Novel, Rules for Lying follows characters through a police investigation that makes them question their memories, allegiances, and actions, all while hiding secrets of their own. Check out the publisher’s website for more information.
Earlier in November, The Ashland Poetry Press released Life As It by Daneen Wardrop. The collection was selected by David St. John as the winner of the 2015 Snyder Memorial Prize Contest. The collection of prose poems (Wardrop’s third collection) features themes of music, family life, spirituality, and more. Check out the publisher’s website for multiple ways to order copies.
Also out this November is The Expense of a View by Polly Buckingham, winner of the Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Short Fiction. The stories explore the psyches of characters, most displaced and disturbed, under extreme duress. Judge Chris Offutt called the collection “a carefully rendered examination of memory, loss, and sadness.” University of North Texas Press’s website has a preview of Buckingham’s collection and ways to order.
Check out these three award-winning books and show your support to small and university presses.
At the beginning of the month, Washington Writers’ Publishing House published the winner of the 2016 Fiction Prize: Strivers and Other Stories by Robert J. Williams.
From the publisher:
Set between the 1920s and the present day, Strivers and Other Stories explores a range of African-American and Southern voices reflecting characters striving towards their versions of the American dream. In 13 stories, we meet teachers and doctors, train porters and factory workers, soldiers and musicians; mothers, fathers, children and spouses; mentors and mentees. With a mix of humor and heart, satire and sentiment, this collection captures their everyday struggles for better lives and their hopes for promising futures.
Learn more at the publisher’s website.