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Discover news from independent publishers and university presses including new titles, events, and more.

New Book :: Under Sleep’s New Moon

Under Sleep's New Moon by Joseph Hutchison book cover image

Under Sleep’s New Moon: Rescued Poems 1970-1990 by Joseph Hutchison
NYQ Books, September 2021

The road a poet travels is often littered with unrealized fragments, half-realized drafts, and unfinished poems that found their ways into a magazine but never earned their way into a book. If a poet is lucky, a few such left-behinds might be “rescued,” released into their true form thanks to abilities that have ripened over many years of practice. In Under Sleep’s New Moon, Joseph Hutchison (Colorado Poet Laureate, 2014-2019) offers a range of such poems, all rescued from twenty years of writing between 1970-1990. The poems in this new/old collection are by turns personal and public, surreal and naturalistic, musical and plain-spoken. But all explore the liminal regions we live in every day, too often unconscious of what we’re finding there. What this poet found there he has lifted into new configurations, where at last the poems can speak for themselves.

To discover more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

New Book :: Swallowing Stones

Swallowing Stones by Lisa St. John book cover image

Swallowing Stones by Lisa St. John
Kelsay Books, January 2023

Swallowing Stones is Lisa St. John’s debut book of poetry in which she explores the process of finding a space for grief and regaining joy. Free verse and formal poems collaborate with philosophy and art to tell the story of a widow’s discovery in finding her place in the world again. From “Stomping My Foot,” St. John begins, “I want to channel some of this horror into poetry.” And later, “Give me back the world / of Mexican beaches / and the two of us dancing / alone / late at night / before bed.” Poems that beckon, beg, promise, and deliver.

Lisa St. John lives in the Hudson Valley of upstate New York, where she calls the Catskill Mountains home. Her chapbook, Ponderings, was published by Finishing Line Press, and she has published her poetry in many journals and anthologies. Her poems have won several awards such as The Bermuda Triangle Prize and New Millenium Writing. Her essays and memoir excerpts have been published in magazines and nonfiction collections.

Book Review :: Easy Beauty by Chloé Cooper Jones

Easy Beauty by Chloé Cooper Jones book cover image

Guest Post by Kevin Brown

In Easy Beauty: A Memoir, Chloé Cooper Jones shares that she was born with sacral agenesis, a congenital condition that affects her stature and the way she walks. While her memoir focuses on the physical pain she suffers, she is more interested in examining how others see her and how she sees herself. She travels to a variety of locations, often under the guise of doing research—as when she travels to Cambodia to explore why people visit monuments to horrific events—but really to think through her self-image, largely shaped by how others see her as different and lesser-than. Her son’s view of her complicates this search, as she doesn’t want to communicate her emotional discomfort at moving through the world to him (doctors had told her she was unable to get pregnant, so her having a child at all was not a development she expected). Throughout the work, she explores beauty and the myths that have accrued around it, whether that’s through classical art or watching Roger Federer play tennis. While her writing and travels help her develop an idea of beauty that includes her and her view of the world, ultimately her relationships help her find the beauty she already possesses.


Easy Beauty by Chloé Cooper Jones. Avid Reader Press, April 2022.

Reviewer bio: Kevin Brown has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (Wipf and Stock); A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press); and Exit Lines (Plain View Press). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels. Twitter @kevinbrownwrite or kevinbrownwrites.weebly.com/.

New Book :: Field Guide to the Human Condition

Field Guide to the Human Condition by Adrian S. Potter book cover image

Field Guide to the Human Condition by Adrian S. Potter
CW Books, November 2022

In this newest poetry collection, In Field Guide to the Human Condition, Adrian S. Potter explores how one rebuilds oneself after grief, heartbreak, and challenges. He offers poems that focus on the setbacks and struggles that have the capacity to mold a person into a different version of themselves than the one they once knew. The poems are about grappling with histories, both personal and collective. Potter uses hallmarks from modern life – pop music, discrimination, shifting identities, and toxic relationships – to construct a hall of mirrors, in which each viewpoint reflects a different possibility. Sample poems are available to read on the publisher’s website.

To discover more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

New Book :: In the War Zone of the Heart

In the War Zone of the Heart Willie Cuesta Mystery Stories by John Lantigua book cover image

In the War Zone of the Heart: Willie Cuesta Mystery Stories by John Lantigua
Arte Público Press, September 2022

This collection of twelve stories featuring private investigator Willie Cuesta illuminates the histories and issues of the numerous Latin American communities that call Miami home—and how the past continues to haunt them. There’s a family concerned that their mother’s new fiancé isn’t the former Cuban political prisoner and hero he claims to be; a heavily tattooed Salvadoran gang member in hiding from the vicious former colleagues hunting him; a beautiful Haitian woman being stalked by a killer who uses voodoo to stoke her nightmares; and a wealthy American who made his fortune in Guatemala on the backs of its people and is now receiving death threats from his victims.

To discover more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

New Book :: Black Women Writers at Work

Black Women Writers at Work ed Cladia Tate book cover image

Black Women Writers at Work ed Cladia Tate
Haymarket Books, January 2023

Long out of print, Black Women Writers at Work remains a vital contribution to Black literature. Through candid interviews with Maya Angelou, Toni Cade Bambara, Gwendolyn Brooks, Alexis De Veaux, Nikki Giovanni, Kristin Hunter, Gayl Jones, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Sonia Sanchez, Ntozake Shange, Alice Walker, Margret Walker, and Sherley Anne Williams, the book highlights the practices and critical linkages between the work and lived experiences of Black women writers whose work laid the foundation for many who have come after. Responding to questions about why and for whom they write, and how they perceive their responsibility to their work, to others, and to society, the featured playwrights, poets, novelists, and essayists provide a window into the connections between their lives and their art. Finally available for a new generation, this classic work has an urgent message for readers and writers today.

To discover more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

New Book :: Taking the F Train

Taking the F Train by Linda Lerner book cover image

Taking the F Train by Linda Lerner
NYQ Books, October 2021

In Linda Lerner’s Taking the F Train, a New York City poet rides the F Train through the final years of the 20th century into the 21st; both gentrification and technology are rapidly transforming life as she has known it. Her old haunts – cafés, bookstores, diners, are being replaced by luxury co-ops. There are also losses due to illness and aging – those of others as well her own. And it’s not ok, she cries out! At the same time, for every push forward into the future, she’s witnessing an opposite push back into the past by the so-called leader of the free world. Nothing makes sense to her anymore. There’s only what can be salvaged by art…the act of creation.

To discover more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

Book Review :: Reward System by Jem Calder

Reward System by Jem Calder book cover image

Guest Post by Kevin Brown

Jem Calder’s collection of interlocking short stories in Reward System follows a group of British Millennials, focusing on Julia and Nick, as they try to navigate relationships, technology, and jobs during the approaching pandemic. Calder renders his characters with sympathy and compassion, even when they make poor decisions, given the challenges they face. Julia and Nick (and their friends) live with roommates or their parents, move from one job to the next—sometimes by choice, sometimes not—and try to find ways to truly connect with those around them. Society exacerbates all of these problems, whether the structural oppression women (especially) push against or the technology that more often separates than connects (though not always). This focus on technology works especially well in the stories “Distraction from Sadness Is Not the Same Thing as Happiness” and “The Foreseeable.” In “Distraction” a female user of a dating app connects with and meets a male user (Calder uses no names), exploring the new dating landscape, for good and ill. “The Foreseeable” ends the collection, as Julia and Nick are both sheltering with their parents during the pandemic—one more enjoyably than the other—while talking via FaceTime. The connection keeps breaking in and out, a metaphor for all of the relationships in this collection.


Reward System by Jem Calder. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, July 2022.

Reviewer bio: Kevin Brown has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (Wipf and Stock); A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press); and Exit Lines (Plain View Press). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels. Twitter @kevinbrownwrite or kevinbrownwrites.weebly.com/.

New Book :: Until All You See Is Sky

Until All You See Is Sky by George Choundas book cover image

Until All You See Is Sky by George Choundas
EastOver Press, February 2023

This collection of essays by George Choundas is a report from the front lines of a first-generation American life: growing up as the outsider, parenting without a clue, and persevering in plague times. Choundas’s award-winning writing has appeared in over 75 publications. His story collection, The Making Sense of Things (FC2), won the Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize. He is a former FBI agent who worked public corruption in the Bureau’s New York Office. His mother, born in Cuba, was a flyer at Macy’s Manhattan flagship until she saved enough to travel Europe for a year. His father, born in Greece, was a tanker captain who, aboard a passenger ship transporting him to his next command, met an engaging American tourist with a Cuban accent.

To discover more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

New Book :: Tending Iowa’s Land

Tending Iowa's Land: Pathways to a Sustainable Future ed Cornelia F. Mutel book cover image

Tending Iowa’s Land: Pathways to a Sustainable Future ed Cornelia F. Mutel
University of Iowa Press, December 2022

In the last 200 years, Iowa’s prairies and other wildlands have been transformed into vast agricultural fields. This massive conversion has provided us with food, fiber, and fuel in abundance. But it has also robbed Iowa’s land of its native resilience and created the environmental problems that today challenge our everyday lives: polluted waters, increasing floods, loss and degradation of rich prairie topsoil, compromised natural systems, and now climate change. In a straightforward, friendly style, Iowa’s premier scientists and experts consider what has happened to our land and outline viable solutions that benefit agriculture as well as the state’s human and wild residents. Mutel is author of The Emerald Horizon: The History of Nature in Iowa (Iowa, 2008) and A Sugar Creek Chronicle: Observing Climate Change from a Midwestern Woodland (Iowa, 2016). She is the former senior science writer at IIHR–Hydroscience & Engineering at the University of Iowa College of Engineering and lives in Iowa City, Iowa.

To discover more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

Book Review :: The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman

The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman book cover image

Guest Post by Kevin Brown

I was expecting Chuck Klosterman’s The Nineties: A Book to bring back vivid memories from the decade I spent in college and graduate school; what I wasn’t expecting was how Klosterman would present the decade’s events, culture, and people differently than I remembered them. Klosterman covers what most readers would expect: the elections—ranging from Ross Perot’s role in 1992 to the Supreme Court’s role in 2000—the rise of the internet; the music that changed the decade, whether Nirvana or Tupac; the stereotypes and reality of Generation X; the video store’s impact on movie making; the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet empire; major news events, such as the Anita Hill accusations, the Columbine shooting, and the O.J. Simpson trial. Where Klosterman shines, though, is in repositioning what he discusses, asking questions about why nineteen percent of the country voted for Ross Perot (full disclosure: I was one of those, and, yes, I regretted it within a year), how the nineties were more about the potential of the Internet than the Internet itself, and how George H.W. Bush lost the 1992 election after having the highest approval rating in history the year before. Rather than a walk through nostalgia, Klosterman helps redefine how we should view the nineties.


The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman. Penguin Books, January 2023.

Reviewer bio: Kevin Brown has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (Wipf and Stock); A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press); and Exit Lines (Plain View Press). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels. Twitter @kevinbrownwrite or kevinbrownwrites.weebly.com/.

New Book :: Complete Poems 1965-2020

Complete Poems 1965-2020 by Michael Butterworth book cover image

Complete Poems 1965-2020 by Michael Butterworth
Space Cowboy Books, February 2023

Across Michael Butterworth’s work, elements are reiterated but endlessly transfigured – hitchhiking girlfriends, elm trees, the moon, astronauts, the space race, collage artists, misophonia, marriage, divorce, beached whales, clifftops, the sea, the seasons, mental block, ale houses, the chemical laboratory, ambition, madness, pain, death and impermanence, silver birch trees, suicide, Zazen, riots, train seating indicators, camping, the Welfare State, crows and seagulls, the racist English and Canada geese… are some of his subjects. The subjects of destruction – war, the consumer society, ‘progress’, humanity’s inhumanity, the doings of men (and the necessity of a new woman), galactic war, drug wars, hunting – are never far away, hopefully countered by the tone of optimism found in his later poems inspired by Buddhist philosophy. The effect is at once familiar and yet profound, in language that has the confessional qualities and simplicity of early influences such as Sylvia Plath and the Beats, and the later influence of Zen poets such as Ryōkan. Occasionally the writing is startlingly radical – a reminder of the poet’s beginnings in the New Wave. A collection such as this one from Space Cowboy Books is overdue, and Complete Poems: 1965-2020 brings to more deserving attention a less-heard voice in modern poetry.

New Book :: When Your Sky Runs Into Mine

When Your Sky Runs Into Mine by Rooja Mohassessy book cover image

When Your Sky Runs Into Mine by Rooja Mohassessy
Elixir Press, February 2023

When Your Sky Runs Into Mine by Rooja Mohassessy is the winner of the 22nd Annual Elixir Press Poetry Award. Shara McCallum had this to say about it: “Rooja Mohassessy’s debut collection belies any notion of a first book. It is a work of expansive vision and formal achievement, sounding an assured and unforgettable voice in poetry. Ekphrasis is at the core of Mohassessy’s poetics, resplendent in her responses to works of visual art and in the richly textured images she creates with intricate diction and syntax.” Mohassessy is an Iranian-born poet. She is a 2022 MacDowell Fellow and a student of the Pacific University MFA program in Oregon. Having published broadly in numerous literary magazines, this is her debut collection.

To discover more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

New Book :: Into the Good World Again

Into the Good World Again by Max Garland book cover image

Into the Good World Again by Max Garland
Holy Cow! Press, March 2023

The poems in this collection are of remembering, not only the anguish and isolation of the global pandemic, during which most were written, but also remembering as a creative or restorative force. Max Garland’s poems walk on a wire of remnant faith that even in the news-glutted age of social media, there’s a role for poetry, “…news that Stays news,” as one poet put it nearly a century ago. There’s an evocative range: from the surrealistic conjurings of a child’s mind at bedtime, to the fragmented memory of an aging widow, struggling to recall the details of her life, or if not the details, at least the emotional truth of that life, realizing that for her, “Memory is more like poetry than poetry.” A first-generation college student, Garland left a ten-year career as a mail carrier to pursue his love of poetry. He earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa in 1989 and has been teaching since 1990; currently, he is Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Garland was Wisconsin Poet Laureate 2013-2014.

To discover more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

Book Review :: Undoing the Liberal World Order by Leon Fink

Undoing the Liberal World Order: Progressive Ideals and Political Realities Since WWII by Leon Fink book cover image

Guest Post by Marc Matorell

The central contention in Leon Fink’s Undoing the Liberal World Order: Progressive Ideals and Political Realities Since WWII is that US foreign policy in the decades following the Second World War had an important component of liberal idealism. Fink presents readers with examples of these progressive ideals in practice. Thus, we learn how, after the end of the war, the US promoted democratic decision-making structures for German workers in the industrial sector to thwart Communism in the areas occupied by the Allies.

In Central America, US liberals found an ally in Costa Rica’s President José Figueres Ferrer, who pursued significant social democratic reforms while remaining anti-Communist. Meanwhile, the liberal US ambassador in New Delhi, Chester B. Bowles, coordinated US aid for India’s agricultural development with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, a leader of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Fink is more convincing in arguing that the role of progressive ideals in US foreign policy declined during the last decades than he is in proving that these kinds of ideals were important in the first place. The examples presented in the text are largely in line with the book’s thesis, but readers may legitimately ask themselves whether these cases are representative of a significant trend or the result of very specific conjectures.


Undoing the Liberal World Order: Progressive Ideals and Political Realities Since World War II by Leon Fink. Columbia University Press, January 2022.

Reviewer Bio: Marc Martorell Junyent graduated in International Relations and currently studies holds a joint Master in Comparative Middle East Politics and Society at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen and the American University in Cairo. His main interests are the politics and history of the Middle East (particularly Iran, Turkey and Yemen). He has studied and worked in Ankara, Istanbul and Tunis. He tweets at @MarcMartorell3.

New Book :: Minotaur Snow

Minotaur Snow by Ryan Quinn Flanagan book cover image

Minotaur Snow by Ryan Quinn Flanagan
NYQ Books, January 2022

Ryan Quinn Flanagan’s Minotaur Snow is an urban menagerie of very human poems. Difficult situations, individual foibles, that unescapable rush of the modern city; the sights and sounds and smells and touch, all told with great humor and at times, compassion. Flanagan peoples the landscape in such a way that his experiences become your experiences, his revelations and perspectives a busy populous of comings and goings all captured in a language that is both highly accessible and littered with odd notions or turns of phrase. Minotaur Snow above all else is a book that captures what is timeless to our shared experience, but with a fierce individuality that washes over everything like a heavy falling snow.

To discover more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

January 2023 eLitPak :: Now Open for Entries: The 17th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards

17th annual National Indie Excellence® Awards flyer for the NewPages eLitPak
click image to open PDF

Deadline: March 31, 2023
The 17th annual National Indie Excellence® Awards (NIEA) are open to all English language printed books available for sale, including small presses, mid-sized independent publishers, university presses, and self-published authors. NIEA is proud to be a champion of self-publishing and independent presses. Monetary awards, sponsorships, and entry rules are described in detail on our website.

Want to get our eLitPak opportunities delivered straight to your inbox? Subscribe today! View the full January 2023 eLitPak here.

New Book :: No Way in the Skin Without This Bloody Embrace

No Way in the Skin Without This Bloody Embrace by Jean D’Amérique book cover image

No Way in the Skin Without This Bloody Embrace by Jean D’Amérique
Ugly Duckling Presse, September 2022

In Jean D’Amérique’s book-length poem, translated from the French by Conor Bracken, each page is as brief as a hurricane’s eye, glimpsing the eerie territory his speaker traverses like an apocalyptic flâneur. His “body / a devastation inventory,” his stroll a “walk / to curse the sidewalks,” he peers into the ruins—left by the winds of colonialism, capitalism, war, and natural disaster—and sees a “crop of eyes” peering back. What others dismiss as broken, for D’Amérique, is a mirror in shards, “drinking up all the world’s rot / then spilling it all out in diamantine rays.” The first of his books to appear in English, this work reclaims the visceral potency of poetry—it is food, it is “collars of blood,” it is a garment sewn with “a thread of sobs.”

To discover more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

Book Review :: Running While Black by Alison Mariella Désir

Running While Black by Alison Mariella Désir book cover image

Guest Post by Kevin Brown

Alison Mariella Désir’s Running While Black: Finding Freedom in a Sport That Wasn’t Built for Us is a book runners should read; it’s also a book everybody should read. Désir details how running helps her manage her depression and how she has used running to develop a career and passion that has guided her life. The book not only shows what running while Black is like, it shows what being a Black woman in America is like. While the book is a critique of the whiteness of running in America, Désir uses the lens of running to talk about racism, sexism, and their intersection. The Notes pages illustrate the depth and breadth of her research, as she pulls from newspaper articles; scholarly works on issues such as redlining, Jim Crow, racism in medicine, and contemporary legal issues; social media and podcasts; and well-known writers on race, such as Ta-Nehisi Coates and Ijeoma Oluo. This breadth of research, coupled with Désir’s experiences, makes this book a must for every reader. I expected to see running differently after reading Désir’s book, but I didn’t expect to see so many other aspects of twenty-first-century life and racism in new ways. Any book that can have that effect is worth reading, whether one has ever or will ever run.


Running While Black by Alison Mariella Désir. Portfolio, October 2022.

Reviewer bio: Kevin Brown has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (Wipf and Stock); A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press); and Exit Lines (Plain View Press). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels. Twitter @kevinbrownwrite or kevinbrownwrites.weebly.com/.

New Book :: Advocatus Diaboli

Advocatus Diaboli: A Novel by William Baer book cover image

Advocatus Diaboli: A Novel by William Baer
Many Words Press, June 2023

Many Words Press—an imprint of Able Muse Press—has released Advocatus Diaboli of The Catholic Themes, initiating a new series by the author of the popular Jack Colt mystery series. Advocatus Diaboli is the story of a murder mystery caught up in a canonization cause. International in scope, it unravels through Washington, DC, Rome, the Vatican, Ireland, and elsewhere. It interrogates the making and makeup of a modern-day saint, juxtaposed to forces for good or ill working to upend or uphold the cause, in the backdrop of the day-to-day failings or goodness of its cast of characters and hagiographies of related saints of the past. Baer’s Catholic experience is extensive in time and scope: he is the founding director of the St. Robert Southwell Summer Workshops and the author of Psalter: A Sequence of Catholic Sonnets.

To discover more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

New Publisher :: Red Rook Press

Red Rook Press publishing logo image

Red Rook Press is a new student-run publishing house hailing from the University of Alabama College of Arts & Sciences Program in Creative Writing. Funded by the undergraduate creative writing club and the English Department, the staff is made up of all volunteer undergrads with guidance from English Department Faculty. At this time, they are open to submissions of any form and genre from undergraduate or graduate students across any university or college, though they may expand in the future to accept manuscripts from a broader scope of writers. Red Rook’s 2022 submission window closed in December with publications expected in April. They plan to open back up in March for a fall 2023 publication date, with hopes to maintain this spring/fall publication cycle going forward. Welcome Red Rook Press!

To discover more small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

New Book :: Smoke & Mirrors

Smoke and Mirrors by Donna Dallas book cover image

Smoke & Mirrors by Donna Dallas
NYQ Books, August 2022

Smoke and Mirrors by Donna Dallas spills torment, agony, small miracles and a blind lust for life no matter what the cost. When we look closely and peel back the facade of perfect skirts, soft skin and angelic smiles, we see. We see the ugly, the truth, and everything in between. I am Smoke and Mirrors every day. I am pretty blouse and sweet face pining over which shade of red lipstick is the right one for me…while the real me dies inside. Maybe that defines all of us to some extent. Perhaps we fear to be uncovered or peeled back and have our faults laid out in proud display. Every mishap, every event, every peeling and uncovering has evolved into the Smoke and Mirrors I have laid out on these pages. I’m a successful lie, I do it well. I’m itching to be opened up.

To discover more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

New Book :: The Encantadas

The Encantadas by Herman Melville book cover image

The Encantadas by Herman Melville
Wild Lot Press, April 2022

In this lavishly descriptive pioneering work of ecofiction, written just after the publication of Moby Dick, Herman Melville records the dawn of the anthropocene as it unfolds amid the teeming, treacherous islands of the Galápagos—or, as they were also known, the Enchanted Islands—the Encantadas. Now with an all-new introduction by Elizabeth Hennessy, author of On the Backs of Tortoises: Darwin, the Galápagos, and the Fate of an Evolutionary Eden, plus ten new full-color illustrations from artist Eric Tonzola, enclosed within a clothbound hardcover case, Wild Lot Press brings this long-overlooked novella to modern readers.

New Book :: Untangling the Knots

Untangling the Knots by Buffy Aakaash book cover image

Untangling the Knots by Buffy Aakaash
Kelsay Books, December 2022

Untangling the Knots by Buffy Aakaash opens doorways, solutions to approaching the everyday world with a renewed sense of awareness. Each poem is like a meditation on simple tasks we all experience. Metaphorical instructions on “How to Pet a Cat” or “How to Start a Fire” give way to deeper considerations like “How to Start Over” or “How to Stay Alive.” This collection of twenty tightly tailored poems will appeal to anyone who walks through life questioning the importance of the mundane, knowing there is always something deeper to those things people do that can seem feckless and unimportant. Aakaash grew up around hills and lakes in New Jersey west of New York City. He has lived as a queer man in both big cities and small remote towns throughout the US since then — backwoods Tennessee, Seattle, New York, San Francisco, high desert New Mexico, not in that order, but finally New England.

To discover more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

New Book :: Homesick for Nowhere

Homesick for Nowhere essays by Richard LeBlond book cover image

Homesick for Nowhere by Richard LeBlond
EastOver Press, January 2023

Homesick for Nowhere is retired field biologist Richard LeBlond’s first collection of essays and was selected as a winner of the 2022 EastOver Prize for Nonfiction. LeBlond has faced down a bear in Newfoundland, chased an insufficiently amorous spadefoot toad through the soaking undergrowth, shilled for an auction house run by men he called Laurel and Hardy, choked down home-preserved seal-ribs in Labrador, encountered the Dark Tickle Streaker on his midnight run, and witnessed a rare performance by the leading rake and scrape band of Andros Island in the Bahamas. In short, LeBlond has had quite a life, and he’s written about it here with wit and compassion for the foibles and blessings of his fellow humans. He’s also thought quite a bit about what it means to grow older and how the writing life has helped him as he ages into his eighth decade. 

To discover more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

New Book :: Tempered

Tempered fiction by Kate Kort book cover image

Tempered by Kate Kort
Brick Mantel Books, May 2023

In Tempered by Kate Kort, ten years after losing both his beloved mentor and his abusive father, Murray Henderson is still yearning for direction. He’s treading water in Cleveland, failing in his career and relationships. Anger, guilt, and distrust continually derail his chances at happiness. When an opportunity calls him to New York City, Murray finally sees a path out of his relentless grief. But as he navigates a hopeful new life, he soon falls back into old patterns of self-loathing and violence. A promising relationship starts to show cracks, and the friendships Murray has always counted on begin to fray. With his life shattering around him, Murray realizes he must confront his most devastating secret and the intertwined fear and anger that have haunted him for over a decade. Tempered, the sequel to Glass, explores the deadly pull of anger and how we are shaped by—and shape—the ones we love.

To discover more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

Book Review :: Fixed Star by Suzanne Frischkorn

Fixed Star poems by Suzanne Frischkorn book cover image

Guest Post by Jennifer Martelli

Suzanne Frischkorn’s collection of poems, Fixed Star, braids loss and language. In her prose poem, “Nascent,” Frischkorn writes, “The yoked constellations—Capitalist and Communist—rang bright on her skin. Fidel, is it cold in Cuba?” As both the daughter whose “father’s from Cuba” and as the grandmother who will “twine a history with a silver thread,” the speaker cleaves to poetry. Frischkorn’s use of the sonnet crown throughout the book reminds us of her mastery of the craft. The sonnet becomes the braid, twining throughout the book. In “Letra,” Frischkorn writes,

            In Cuba, right now, someone conducts
     a symphony of furtive braiding for a tourist.
     She’ll leave before the last braid is half-done.

The repetition of the sonnet balances the “dissonance” in the first poem, “Cuban Polymita,” which opens with the haunting statement,

     Birth cleaved me in half—
     the sea I grew legs in
     now a dissonance
     a fixed star—

The section closes with the image of cleaving, in “XII,”

                 but all she said
     aloud was, “This is where I’m from.”
     Birth cleaved me in half—

In Fixed Star, Suzanne Frischkorn assures us that, despite displacement and despair, it is the language of poetry that will “coax the palomas to follow you home.”


Fixed Star by Suzanne Frischkorn. JackLeg Press, September 2022.

Reviewer bio: Jennifer Martelli is the author of The Queen of Queens and My Tarantella, named a “Must Read” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. Her work has appeared in Poetry and elsewhere. Jennifer Martelli has received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She is co-poetry editor for Mom Egg Review.

New Book :: Flesh-plastique

Flesh-plastique poetry by Dennis Hinrichsen book cover image

Flesh-plastique by Dennis Hinrichsen
Green Linden Press, March 2023

Flesh-plastique, Dennis Hinrichsen’s tenth full-length collection of poetry, explores an array of debris fields, where we experience the repercussions of a life fueled by dirty, secular Eucharists. Moving at hyper speed through worlds—a compromising job in the nuclear industry, the purloined grave of the Apache chief Geronimo (not far from Atomic Annie, a cannon that could shoot a nuclear projectile)—Hinrichsen articulates each scene with a swift directness and capacious emotional range. In collages and atmospheric lyrics with stunning formal collisions, we hear anger and humor directed at the mess we have made of things, from the unsolved problems of nuclear waste and toxic forever-chemicals to the decay of the American family. But we also hear joy for the sheer pleasure of music and old technologies; we hear compassion for friends stricken with dementia; and ultimately, we hear notes of hopefulness for a world which swirls wildly and dangerously around us.

To find more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

New Book :: Exquisite by September

Exquisite by September poetry by Shayla Hawkins book cover image

Exquisite by September by Shayla Hawkins
EastOver Press, January 2023

In Exquisite by September, Shayla Hawkins chronicles the zeitgeist of the early 21st century United States and her place in it as an American Black woman, navigating and maintaining her sanity in a nation fraught with racism, pestilence, misogyny, and political upheaval. By turns humorous, melancholy, and sensual, this collection is a poetic museum through which Hawkins, as curator and guide, shares glimpses into different facets or “galleries” of her being. A poet from Detroit, Michigan, Hawkins is the author of Carambola. She is a winner of The Caribbean Writer Canute A. Brodhurst Prize for Short Fiction and The John Edgar Wideman Microstory Contest. Her collection of poems Exquisite by September was a 2020 runner up for the Cave Canem/Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize.

To discover more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

New Book :: Trace

Trace: Poems by Brenda Cárdenas book cover image

Trace: Poems by Brenda Cárdenas
Red Hen Press, April 2023

Through image-rich poems regarding migration, transcultural identity, loss, connection, dream, and aging—some translingual, some ekphrastic responses to ephemeral and surreal works of art—Brenda Cárdenas’ Trace explores conditions of displacement, liminality, and mutability. These poems transgress illusory borders between lands, languages, humans and the rest of the natural world, waking and dreaming, and the living and the dead as they unearth traces of experience that shape and haunt us, traces we leave behind for others to encounter. Although elegy resurfaces throughout this collection as does a poetics of social consciousness, Cárdenas also embraces moments of levity, story, and an effervescent internal music that balance her steps through fraught yet bewitching terrain.

To find more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

Books Received January 2023

NewPages receives many wonderful titles each month to share with our readers. You can read more about some of these titles by clicking on “New Books” under the NewPages Blog or Books tab on the menu. If you are a publisher or author looking to be listed here or featured on our blog and social media, please contact us!

Poetry

Apocrifa, Amber Flame, Red Hen Press
Becoming Couldn’t Sing for Anyone, Theresa Senato Edwards, Small Harbor Publishing
Chaos, Crossing, Olivia Elias, World Poetry
The Day Gives Us So Many Ways to Eat, Lindsay Wilson, WordTech Editions
Exquisite by September, Shayla Hawkins, EastOver Press
A Fire in the Hills, Afaa Weaver, Red Hen Press
Her Birth and Later Years, Irene Klepfisz, Wesleyan University Press
In the Cosmic Future, Jocelyn Heath, Kelsay Books
In the Current Where Drowning is Beautiful, Abigail Chabitnoy, Wesleyan University Press
Instead, It Is Dark, Cynthia Hogue, Red Hen Press
Irena Klepfisz: Her Birth and Early Years, Wesleyan University Press
Kisses at the Espresso Bar, Anita Nahal, Kelsay Books
Let’s Go For a Ride, William Livezey, Down East Books
A Light to Do Shellwork By, Georgiana Valoyce-Sanchez, Scarlet Tanager Books
Missing Addresses, Beth Bentley, Pleasure Boat Studios
My Dear Comrades, Sunu P. Chandy, Regal House Publishing
Night, Ennio Moltedo, World Poetry

Continue reading “Books Received January 2023”

New Book :: Missing Addresses

Missing Addresses poetry by Beth Bentley book cover image

Missing Addresses by Beth Bentley
Pleasure Boat Studios, March 2023

This long-awaited collection is the final manuscript assembled by poet Beth Bentley, who passed away in 2021 after a lifetime devoted to poetry. Her wide-ranging poems reflect on her deep love of art and philosophy, crystalline remembrances of family, and on the lives of cultural figures from history. They explore her Jewish heritage, her fierce feminism, and her perception of herself from an early age as an “outsider.” Missing Addresses evokes our losses, via age and happenstance, lending insight into the touchstones of our existence: our friends and families, our memories, our identities.

To discover more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

New Book :: Before Lawrence v. Texas

Before Lawrence v. Texas: The Making of a Queer Social Movement by Wesley G. Phelps book cover image

Before Lawrence v. Texas: The Making of a Queer Social Movement by Wesley G. Phelps
University of Texas Press, February 2023

In 2003 the US Supreme Court overturned anti-sodomy laws across the country, ruling in Lawrence v. Texas that the Constitution protects private consensual sex between adults. To some, the decision seemed to come like lightning from above, altering the landscape of America’s sexual politics all at once. In actuality, many years of work and organizing led up to the legal case, and the landmark ruling might never have happened were it not for the passionate struggle of Texans who rejected their state’s discriminatory laws. Before Lawrence v. Texas tells the story of the long, troubled, and ultimately hopeful road to constitutional change. Wesley G. Phelps describes the achievements, setbacks, and unlikely alliances along the way. Over the course of decades, and at great risk to themselves, gay and lesbian Texans and their supporters launched political campaigns and legal challenges, laying the groundwork for Lawrence. Phelps shares the personal experiences of the people and couples who contributed to the legal strategy that ultimately overturned the state’s discriminatory law.

To find more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

New Book :: A Fire in the Hills

A Fire in the Hills by Afaa Weaver book cover image

A Fire in the Hills by Afaa Weaver
Red Hen Press, April 2023

In A Fire in the Hills, Afaa Weaver focuses on one of the central threads in his body of work. His ongoing project of an articulation of self in relation to the external landscape of the community and the world and the writing of spirit through those revelations of sublimation of self gives way here to a material focus. The racial references are explicit as are the complexities of life lived as a Black man born in America in the mid-twentieth century. These are poems emanating from an attempt to follow Daoist philosophy for most of his life. Knowledge of other is in relation to knowledge of self, and self is an illusory continuum, a perspective wherein the poet embodies the transcendent arc of Malcolm X’s life as credo.

To find more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

New Book :: The Naked Room

The Naked Room poetry by Willa Schneberg book cover image

The Naked Room by Willa Schneberg
Broadstone Books, January 2023

Poetry is a form of writing ideally suited to the expression of emotion and the most profound and subtle workings of the mind. But what if that mind is shattered, and those emotions in disarray? Such is the subject explored in Willa Schneberg’s new poetry collection The Naked Room, which draws on her experiences as a therapist to take readers on a journey through the disturbing history of psychotherapy and the treatment of mental illness, and into the current state of the art and state of the world. What keeps this from being a grim undertaking is the sheer beauty and precision of her language, as in this passage from “Tiny Monuments” describing the urns that hold the cremated remains of patients at the Oregon State Hospital (depicted on the cover of the book in a photograph by the poet): “These tiny monuments to the scorned and unknown, / wear patinas of pink, burnt sienna, ocher, aqua, / and if you look closely you will find / moon craters, archipelagos, frozen waterfalls, / Big Dippers and dunes with lone tracks.” The goal of healing that drives her therapeutic practice informs these poems as well, ending in the necessity of love, her closing image that of a long-time couple spooning in bed, “as if we would always / fit that way.” These poems, too, fit that way, a comforting reassurance.

To find more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

New Book :: TimeLock

TimeLock novel by Howard Berk and Peter Berk book cover image

TimeLock by Howard Berk and Peter Berk
IngramElliott Publishing, September 2022

Reading TimeLock by Howard Berk and Peter Burk is a great way to celebrate National Science Fiction Day (January 2). In the crime-ridden near future where a bold new technology transforms the justice system and challenges America’s moral compass, the President authorizes a hugely controversial program: TimeLock, a cellular acceleration process whereby select prisoners are instantly aged the total number of years of their sentence. In other words – three strikes and you’re old . . . very old. Only one problem—what happens if someone is innocent? When everyman Morgan Eberly is arrested for a murder he didn’t commit, he’s subjected to this experimental new technology. Now 43 and on the run, Morgan teams up with Janine Price, the FBI agent who arrested him, as they embark on a dangerous quest to find out the terrifying truth behind the TimeLock program.

Special thanks to Peter Berk for this title which he co-wrote with his late father, Howard. “My dad – Howard Berk – wrote numerous shows, films and novels, with credits including Columbo, The Rockford Files and Mission: Impossible. A few years before his passing, we wrote a screenplay which I later novelized along with several sequels also based on related scripts. TimeLock is the first of five planned novels in the series.”

New Book :: Stories No One Hopes Are About Them

Stories No One Hopes Are about Them
Short Fiction by A. J. Bermudez published by University of Iowa Press book cover image

Stories No One Hopes Are About Them
Short Fiction by A. J. Bermudez
University of Iowa Press, November 2022

At once playfully dark and slyly hopeful, Stories No One Hopes Are About Them explores convergences of power, privilege, and place. Characters who are ni de aquí, ni de allá—neither from here nor there—straddle competing worlds, disrupt paradigms, and transition from objects of other people’s stories to active subjects and protagonists of their own. Narratives of humanity and environment entwine with nuanced themes of colonization, queerness, and evolution at the forefront. Big things happen in this collection. But it’s also a collection of small intimacies: misremembered names, chipped teeth, and private rituals; unexpected alliances and barely touched knees beneath uniform skirts; minutiae of the natural world; incidents that quietly, achingly, and delightfully transgress the familiar. Winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award.

Book Review :: The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka

The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka book cover image

Guest Post by Kevin Brown

Julie Otsuka uses shifting points of view to make her books both universal and specific. In her novel, The Swimmers, she begins with the first person plural point of view to give voice to the titular swimmers, exploring the diversity of their reactions when the pool develops a crack, a metaphor for the loss to come in the second half of the novel. Otsuka sets up the idea of memory, collective and individual, she will explore through Alice, one of the swimmers. The reader learns little about Alice in the second half, though Otsuka shifts to the second person point of view to put the reader in the position of Alice’s daughter (who sounds quite similar to Otsuka, from the few hints the reader receives, including her mother’s interment in camps during World War II, one of the memories her mother holds onto throughout much of her deterioration). The reader sees Alice from a distance as one of the swimmers and up close as a mother who is becoming a different person than the daughter remembers. The reader empathizes with the mother and daughter, but knows, as the doctors make clear, there is nothing to do, but to endure the inevitable loss and rebuild a life after that loss.


The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka. Knopf, February 2022.

Reviewer bio: Kevin Brown has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (Wipf and Stock); A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press); and Exit Lines (Plain View Press). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels. Twitter @kevinbrownwrite or kevinbrownwrites.weebly.com/.

New Book :: Semantics of the World

Semantics of the World: Selected Poems by Rómulo Bustos Aguirre book cover image

Semantics of the World: Selected Poems by Rómulo Bustos Aguirre
Edited and translated by Nohora Arrieta Fernández and Mark A. Sanders
University of New Mexico Press, December 2022

A poet of both the body and spirit, the work of Rómulo Bustos Aguirre often explores the nature of existence at the turn of the twenty-first century–humankind’s relationship to itself and the universe, the meaning or purpose, if any, of human existence, and the daunting task of discerning that meaning. Critics have described his poetry as highly refined lyricism, metaphysical, existential, and at times erotic. Semantics of the World introduces the English-speaking world to the exciting work of Rómulo Bustos Aguirre, one of Colombia’s most celebrated living writers.

To find more great books from small, independent, and university presses, visit the NewPages Guide to Publishers as well as the New Books category on our blog. Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter to stay up to date!

Book Review :: Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver book cover image

Guest Post by Kevin Brown

In her latest novel, Demon Copperhead, Barbara Kingsolver updates Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield (thus the name of the titular character), moving the story to turn-of-the-millenium Appalachia. This approach tempts those readers who are familiar with Dickens’s novel to play a matching game with characters and events, but Kingsolver’s novel goes much further than a literary exercise that tests readers’ nineteenth-century novel knowledge. Her interest in updating Dickens’ novel is to explore the poverty rampant in Appalachia (as it was in Dickens’s London), a problem made significantly worse because of the opiod crisis. While Dickens’s David struggles through his own forms of exploitation, Kingsolver’s Demon, his friends, and his family are all victims in various ways to the addiction that pharmaceutical companies created in places and people who lacked the means to fight back. As with cases from real life, Demon comes by his addictions innocently, but then struggles with them for hundreds of pages, despite those around him who are trying to help. While Kingsolver shows a community decimated by drugs, she creates characters—as does Dickens—the reader cares about. She puts a face to the headlines many of us have the luxury of skimming over and reminds readers there are too many people whose lives seem destined for destruction, through no fault of their own.


Demon Copperhead by Barabara Kingsolver. Harper Collins Publishers, October 2022.

Reviewer bio: Kevin Brown has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (Wipf and Stock); A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press); and Exit Lines (Plain View Press). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels. Twitter @kevinbrownwrite or kevinbrownwrites.weebly.com/.

New Book :: The Wandering Radiance

The Wandering Radiance: Selected Poems of Hilde Domin Translated by Mark S. Burrows book cover image

The Wandering Radiance: Selected Poems of Hilde Domin
Translated by Mark S. Burrows
Green Linden Press, April 2023

Hilde Domin is one of the most highly regarded German poets of the 20th century. A poet of the Jewish faith, she fled political developments in Germany in 1932 and spent more than twenty years in exile, first in Italy then the Dominican Republic, which became her self-chosen namesake. Her work was deeply influenced by her time in exile and the loss of homeland. After returning to Germany, she was known as the “poet of return” and received numerous honors for her literary work, including the Carl Zuckmayer Medal, the Nelly Sachs Prize, and the Grand Federal Cross of Merit. Presented bilingually, many of these poems appear here for the first time in English. Read a sample from Under a Warm Green Linden, Issue 13.

New Book :: What You Wish For

What You Wish For poetry by Ruth Bardon book cover image

What You Wish For by Ruth Bardon
Finishing Line Press, March 2023

In What You Wish For, Ruth Bardon uses a feminist lens to take a fresh look at wishes, witches, magic spells, princesses, sleeping beauties, and 21st century queen bees. Her poems are sympathetic both to hopeful, yearning heroines and to equally hopeful, yearning villains and minor characters. At the same time, they are darkly pessimistic about the possibility of happy endings. With subtlety and humor, these quiet poems radically deconstruct familiar stories. Ruth Bardon grew up in Highland Park, New Jersey, and lived in a number of midwestern cities before firmly settling in Durham, North Carolina. She received an MFA degree from the Iowa Writers Workshop in 1982 and a PhD in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1995. Her poems have appeared in journals, and her first chapbook, Demon Barber, was published by Main Street Rag in 2020.

Book Review :: Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch by Rivka Galchen

Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch by Rivka Galchen book cover image

Guest Post by Kevin Brown

In Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch, Rivka Galchen uses the story of Johannes Kepler’s mother, whom her neighbors accused of being a witch, to explore how easily people will bow to societal pressures. Katharina is a woman like many in the early 1600s: unable to read or write, but knowledgeable of the natural world. She is also a widow in possession of property. That combination makes her an ideal target for her accusers. Galchen also creates a seemingly innocent bystander—Katharina’s neighbor Simon, who serves as her guardian in the absence of her children—to take down her testimony. The reader watches the world through Simon’s eyes, as well as Katharina’s account of her experiences, and the reader also watches Simon react to the pressures the townspeople put on him. Through Simon, Galchen raises the question of who is willing to stand beside the accused even to their own detriment, as well as exploring what it feels like to be the accused. In her recreation of a time that seems so different from our own, Galchen reminds readers we will all have such moments—both of bearing witness and of standing up for ourselves—turning a time-bound tale into one that is terribly relevant.


Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch by Rivka Galchen. Macmillan, June 2021.

Reviewer bio: Kevin Brown has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (Wipf and Stock); A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press); and Exit Lines (Plain View Press). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels. Twitter @kevinbrownwrite or kevinbrownwrites.weebly.com/.

New Book :: Black Fire This Time, Volume 1

Black Fire This Time Volume 1 Anthology edited by Kim McMillon and Kofi Antwi book cover image

Black Fire This Time, Volume 1, edited by Kim McMillon and Kofi Antwi
Aquarius Press/Willow Books, September 2022

Black Fire This Time, Volume 1 is an anthology celebrating the roots and legacy of the Black Arts Movement begins with a foreword by Ishmael Reed and introduction by Margot Crawford and features the works of over 100 poets and writers, including (in no particular order) Nikki Giovanni, James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, Amina Baraka, Eugene B. Redmond, Lucille Clifton, Haki R. Madhubuti, Wanda Coleman, E. Ethelbert Miller, Jerry Ward, Tom Dent, Michael Simanga, Quincy Troupe, Margaret Porter Troupe, Dudley Randall, Askia Toure, QR Hand, Jr., Denise Nicholas, Sonia Sanchez and many more. Michigan writer Denise Nicholas’s chapter is based on her true story as a voting rights volunteer from Michigan in 1964, inspired Michigan’s Office of the Governor to issue a Proclamation for an annual Freedom Summer Remembrance Day. Aquarius Press owner Heather Buchanan is a graduate of Wayne State University and UM-Dearborn, respectively. She was a director of the Idlewild Writers Conference and Midwest Poets & Writers Conference. Her press publishes many of the nation’s top poets and writers of color and national laureates, Including Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy (Louisiana), devorah major and Tongo Eisen-Martin (San Francisco) and Lupe Mendez (Texas). If not for yourself, consider purchasing a copy for your local public or school library.

New Book :: instead, it is dark

instead, it is dark by Cynthia Hogue book cover image

instead, it is dark by Cynthia Hogue
Red Hen Press, April 2023

Following her husband’s massive heart attack, Cynthia Hogue began writing poems based on dreams and memories that he, born during WWII in occupied France, had as a child growing up in a time of vast postwar food shortages. Hogue embarked on a quest to discover if there were more such memories in her extended family in France. When asked, family members told her never-before-shared tales of parents who were POWs, collaborators, Resistance fighters, and one most vulnerable—of a hidden child. Hogue spent years researching the lives of civilians during war, work crystallized in her tenth collection of poetry, instead, it is dark. The personal is alchemized as Hogue weaves history and present day in poems that explore how there, here, an individual voice in the stark language of lyric poetry, speaks a complex truth and casts a laser light on violence, resilience, survival, and—the heart of this collection—love.

Book Review :: Under My Bed by Jody Keisner

Under My Bed and Other Essays by Jody Keisner book cover image

Guest Post by Olga Montenegro

Jody Keisner’s Under My Bed and Other Essays explores the ritualistic aspect of fear, the summoning of anxiety’s ghosts, and what it means to be a woman living under the promise of male violence. Although Keisner speaks truth to power on what it is like to live with anxiety, it is the exploration of fear and her grandmother that ties the themes of womanhood, illness, and survival. Keisner’s three-section arrangement (Origins, Under the Skin, and Risings) plays an intricate role in how the work is both read and experienced. The reader could interpret the three sections as a balanced academic and creative essay of the Genesis of anxiety, the kinesthetic journey of a disabled body, and the resurrection of Self, which are all ideas Keisner studies deeply about herself.

In “Origins,” the opening essay, Keisner explores her fear as her partner asks, “Why does your mind go down such dark corridors?” This is the premise of the collection of essays in which Keisner, while realizing her own body has an autoimmune disorder, is also realizing that the world is constantly telling women that there is always a threat. Learning how to coexist with this notion, Keisner offers an exploration of female-bodied anxiety through beautifully curated pieces with profound research that both enriches and empowers the reader. Always paying respect to queer and disabled bodies, Keisner unites her voice as part of a symphony of those trying to survive in an increasingly antagonistic world.

To offer a counter point to the deeply embedded fear, Keisner devotes beautiful moments and lyrical prose to speak of her beautifully messy and human grandmother, Grace. Always studying the power behind language, Keisner speaks of her paternal grandmother with admiration and fondness, “My grandmother protected my joy-filled childhood, but to do so, she had to keep a part of herself from me: her pain and suffering.” It is through Grace, ironically, that the readers find a form of respite and the goal that, regardless of how much this world tells us we’re not welcomed, there are ways to not be afraid.


Under My Bed and Other Essays by Jody Keisner. University of Nebraska Press, September 2022.

Reviewer bio: Olga Montenegro is a grad student at Bridgewater State University. She splits her time between Mexico City and Massachusetts. You can find her @ActuallyOlga on Twitter.

New Book :: Chaos, Crossing

Chaos, Crossing by Olivia Elias book cover image

Chaos, Crossing by Olivia Elias
Translated by Kareem-James Abu-Zeid
World Poetry Books, November 2022

In her English-language debut, with a foreword by Najwan Darwish, acclaimed French-language poet of the Palestinian diaspora Olivia Elias probes deeply into the upheavals of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Chaos, Crossing—translated by award-winning translator Kareem James Abu-Zeid—is a powerful chronicle of uprootedness, of times marked by inequality, injustice, and disconnection. These poems—presented here in a bilingual edition—seek the calm at the center of the storm, the still point amidst the chaos. Poet of the Palestinian diaspora, born in Haifa in 1944, Olivia Elias writes in French. She lived until she was 16 years old in Lebanon where her family took refuge in 1948, then in Montréal-Canada, before moving to France. Characterized by terse, laconic language and strong rhythms, her poetry shows a deep sensitivity to the Palestinian cause, the plight of refugees and human suffering in general. Her work, translated into English, Arabic, Spanish, Italian and Japanese, has been published in numerous journals and in anthologies.

New Book :: Night

Night by Ennio Moltedo book cover image

Night by Ennio Moltedo
Translated by Marguerite Feitlowitz
World Poetry Books, November 2022

Written during the Pinochet dictatorship but not published until democracy’s return, Ennio Moltedo’s Night is a masterpiece of controlled rage, mourning, resistance, and astonishing humor, and the first of his books to appear in English translation. Moltedo, whom Raúl Zurita called “one of the finest, greatest, most curious and honorable poets of Chile,” is at once lyrical and political, a dramatist, a historian, and a critic. Ennio Moltedo (1931-2012) spent his life in the small Chilean coastal cities of Valparaíso and Viñ a del Mar. Born to Genoese immigrants, he is a poet of the New World Mediterranean: inspired, chastened, and challenged by the ancients, and in conversation with his contemporaries, including Huidobro, Girondo, Neruda, and de Rokha. A revered “poet’s poet,” he published eight individual collections of poetry, as well as an anthology of Romanian poetry co-translated with Neruda, and a chronicle of Neruda’s life (Neruda: poeta del cerro Florida). Longtime director of the University of Valparaíso Press, Moltedo also wrote criticism, journalism, and text for books of visual art and cartoons.

Book Review :: Breaking Points by Chelsea Stickle

Breaking Points by Chelsea Stickle book cover image

Guest Post by Matthew Rodriguez

As fearless as she is creative, Chelsea Stickle reaches deep into her bag of tricks to “wow” her readers with every story in her debut chapbook, Breaking Points. Many of these stories captivate the reader in such a way that it feels criminal that they’re only flash fiction pieces, but it’s beautiful enough to accept them as the art forms they are. The courage to experiment with various styles of writing, including a multiple-choice quiz and a flow chart, reveal Stickle’s hidden genius by telling deep stories in unorthodox ways, one that might even spark the beginning of a writing revolution! A standout piece, “How Mature Are You: A Quiz,” exemplifies the glories of pushing conventional boundaries within flash fiction formatting through its whimsical and ironically hard-nosed approach to storytelling with a choose-your-own-adventure type of beat. These kinds of structures, while puzzling at first glance, expand a reader’s view of how effectively a writer can tell a story without falling into familiar patterns. It would not be surprising to see a wide range of unique, personalized styles born from Stickle’s innovation. Ultimately, this collection is more than just an ensemble of witty tales but a mosaic of brilliant artistry.


Breaking Points by Chelsea Stickle. Black Lawrence Press, April 2021.

Reviewer bio: Matthew Rodriguez is a graduate student at Bridgewater State University pursuing his English MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) and currently works as a freshman English teacher at B.M.C. Durfee High School.

Book Review :: The Lonely Stories edited by Natalie Eve Garrett

The Lonely Stories edited by Natalie Eve Garrett book cover image

Guest Post by Sam Tarr

The Lonely Stories: 22 Celebrated Writers on the Joys & Struggles of Being Alone is a collection of distinguished and diverse writers gathered in a volume of unifying isolation narratives, a wonderful contradiction illustrating the affliction or privilege of solitude. Editor Natalie Eve Garrett aimed “to summon cathartic personal essays illuminating the experience of being alone” to challenge the shame and the taboo aspect of discussing one’s loneliness. Collected and crafted before and during the worst of pandemic lockdowns, the stories act upon the hard-learned lessons of the times, showing our isolation was not some passing phase.

Writing can be a punishingly lonely craft, so it’s the writers themselves that tie this collection together best. Each entry is a mosaic showing the complex solidarity of feeling alone. It’s in the “utter brownness” of Claire Dederer’s West Texas landscape and in the silenced pain of Yiyun Li, who “disowned [her] native tongue.” We feel the despair of it in Imani Perry’s hospital room, described as “a funhouse of refracted and repeated loneliness,” and the “different texture” of loneliness in the pre-internet era of Lev Grossman’s “Maine Man.”

Each contribution is a flare sent out of the darkness. In their glare, we see the individual reflections of loneliness. In their glow, we bask in the rebuttal.


The Lonely Stories edited by Natalie Eve Garret. Catapult, April 2022.

Reviewer bio: Sam Tarr is a graduate student at Bridgewater State University and writer living in Weymouth, MA. His work has appeared in 86 Logic and The Bridge