I am of the firm belief that all writers should read a lot. The problem with this is, most of us still schlep to “real jobs” and grab our writing time when we can—that hour after the kids go to bed, or early Sunday mornings, in the basement, when everyone else is still asleep. How are we expected to have time to read, for pity’s sake?
New South’s Short Prose and Long Poems edition solves this time issue for us. This meaty collection is chock full of little reads that you can slip in between the morning commute and catching the elevator, between loads of laundry, or on the bus—five or ten minutes of literary bliss for the unbelievably reasonable price of five smackers.
In this beautifully assembled collection, the stories are poetry and the poetry tells stories. These selections mesh together so well that the reader is unaware of sliding between two literary forms, short prose and long poem. The work is gripping, often graphic, always heartfelt. These obviously carefully-chosen pieces are connected by blood and bone.
There were many moments of heart and gut-wrenching emotion reading the stark truth of Adam Tavel’s “Our Currency of Air” which describes the emotions of a new father watching his catastrophically pre-mature son in the neo-natal ward, the shame of prejudice in Sarah Fawn Montgomery’s “My Brother the Cholo,” and the haunting “Hunger Moon” by Judy Jordan. “True also,” Jordan writes,
what I’ve heard:
on the seventeenth day
of no food
you leave ground,
float a foot
above gravel and grass
a foot above
the mere, mortal world.
Everyday experience connects the reader to the writer in “The Manatee Exhibit” by Paula Carter, “She Tries to Explain What Happened” by Susan Morehouse, Stacie Evans’s “The Invisible Son,” and “Novocain” by Helen Hooper. Folded between the beautifully pastel-rendered cover art urging “Eat me” and “Drink me,” these stories beg the reader “See me” in all my simplicity and complication.
Short prose, long poems: brilliant! The opportunity for exposure to a wealth of talented, gritty writers in a pocket-sized tome. Kudos to New South’s editors for this amazing collection. With luminous moments too numerous to mention, this edition is a must have for readers and writers alike.