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Katy Haas

Of Fathers and Fire

March 21, 2019
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When Richie Thorpe and his ragtag religious band of ex-thieves arrive in the High Plains town of Suborney, Colorado, Tommy Sandor is captivated. As Tommy is increasingly drawn to the group, his mother, Connie, grows frantic. She has been hiding the truth from her son, telling him that his father was a saxophonist from New York who is lying low in Suborney to hide from Tommy’s actual father—Richie Thorpe. Connie knows Richie has come for his son, and the desperation to protect her lie, her son, and their life begets a venom with an elemental power that threatens the whole town.

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Not into the Blossoms and Not into the Air is a collection of poems wealthy with the speaker’s intimacy with nature and with the philosophical and spiritual insights that emerge from a deep practice of close observation. In a manner that is wonderfully relaxed and conversational, Jacobson’s poems enter into the most venerable and perennial of our human questions.

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From the opening lines, it’s clear The Girl at the center of these poems is damaged—which is another way to say she’s a survivor. If the Girl Never Learns moves from the personal to the mythic to the apocalyptic, because The Girl would do anything to save her soul. So, she resists, takes action to overturn society’s suffocating ideal of Good Girldom. The poems’ sense of breathlessness reflects The Girl’s absolute need to control her own destiny, to outrun her past, while at the same time chasing a future she alone has envisioned and embodied. Because The Girl is, above all else, a badass.

Here Is Where I Walk

March 21, 2019
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It is in the Presidio of San Francisco, California, that Leslie Carol Roberts walks. Here is where Leslie’s memories of other places, people, and travels emerge. The twelve episodes, each connected to a month of the year and interwoven with field notebooks, explore everything from Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone in the fields where he spoke with the birds to the work of Western botanist Alice Eastwood. Here Is Where I Walk provides a vivid answer to how we can find our place, not only in nature but within ourselves and the world we walk.

Bulletproof

March 21, 2019
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The poems in Bulletproof look at the joy and dread of being alive in this world. Even pleasurable situations hold traces of danger and threat, while destructive or disturbing events contain the possibilities of redemption and beauty. Murrey has succeeded in using the direct and evocative powers of poetry to conjure up these contradictions—not so much to resolve them, but to dwell on and in them, to experience through language the wonder of being human.

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What happens when metaphysics and social critique meet? Poetry that has to find a new form to express the tension it embodies. John Sibley Williams’ newspaper-like columns in As One Fire Consumes Another do just that. Here, transcendent vision and trenchant social insight meet, wrestle, and end up revitalizing one another.

And after All

March 21, 2019
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Rhina P. Espaillat’s And after All meditates on the passage of time. The perspective sweeps from the panorama of foreign landmarks to the close view of a lover’s feet in failing health, held and cared for. And after All displays the wit, wisdom, subtle voice, and supple mastery of forms that have established Espaillat as a contemporary master. This long-awaited collection from Espaillat is a treat not to be missed.

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"In his new short story collection, Amazing Things Are Happening Here, Jacob Appel renders our post 9/11 world through a variety of personalities, each narrating their unique and startling stories. Meet the shy high school student with a crush on a girl dying of leukemia, the mother whale who beaches to save her offspring, the search for the VA hospital's lunatic who goes missing and never returns, and more. [ . . . ] These stories lift us far above the realm of entertainment, and instead enrich and enliven the psyche's oceanic heights and depths."—Marilyn Krysl

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Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, Ed. Lucille Lang Day & Ruth Nolan, Scarlet Tanager Books

Making Mirrors: Writing/Righting by and for Refugees, Ed. Jehan Bseiso & Becky Thompson, Olive Branch Press

Written by

Aviaries, Zuzana Brabcova, Twisted Spoon Press

Children of God, David H. Lynn, Braddock Avenue Books

Clover Blue, Eldonna Edwards, Kensington Publishing Corp.

The Color Inside a Melon, John Domoni, Dzanc Books

Country Place, Ann Petry, Northwestern University Press

Empty Words, Mario Levrero, Coffee House Press

Fishing the Jumps, Lamar Herrin, University Press of Kentucky

From the Shadows, Juan Jose Millas, Bellevue Literary Press

Half-Burnt, Peter Grandbois, Spuyten Duyvil Publishing

Horsebuggy, Joshua Kornreich, Sagging Meniscus

The Maze of Transparencies, Karen An-hwei Lee, Ellipsis Press

No Common War, Luke Salisbury, Black Heron Press

One Another, Monique Schwitter, Persea Books

The Rapture Index: A Suburban Bestiary, Molly Reid, BOA Editions Ltd.

The Remainder, Alia Trabucco Zeran, Coffee House Press

The Scottish Book of the Dead, Gavin Broom, Island City Publishing

The Shaman of Turtle Valley, Clifford Garstang, Braddock Avenue Books

Someday Everything Will All Make Sense, Carol LaHines, Adelaide Books

Something Like the End, Ashley Morrow Hermsmeier, Black Lawrence Press

Stella Maris: and other Key West Stories, Michael Carroll, Turtle Point Press

This Side of Water, Maureen Pilkington, Regal House Publishing

Vintage 1954, Antoine Laurain, Gallic Books

You Could Stop It Here, Stacy Austin Egan, [PANK] Books

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