Fiction & Poetry
Eye of the World
by Ronald Moran
"The great poems are poems of retrieval or thanks or both, and Ronald Moran's plain-spoken, affecting lyrics are squarely in this last category. He searches for and finds the people, now gone, who made his life what it is: his parents, the girls he dated, his beloved wife Jane. In doing so, this grateful, gifted poet teaches us how to burrow into and recognize the riches in our own lives."
by Ben Robertson,
with introduction by Beatrice Naff Bailey and Alan Grubb
Travelers' Rest is a family epic, but it is also an American epic, carrying a message that can also be found in Ben Robertson's other, more famous works, Red Hills and Cotton and I Saw England (his first-hand account of the Battle of Britain). Thoughts of the Republic's founding and American values were very much on Robertson's mind as a journalist covering Washington and Europe as he anticipated the coming of the Second World War.
Bayou Coeur and Other Stories
by Larry Gray
"Forget Duck Dynasty and True Detective. Read Bayou Coeur and enter a world as different from the homogeneity of American life as étouffée is different from Campbell's soup. Gray leads us through this unique culture like a skilled cajun accordionist laying down his chords and pursuing a melodic line that evokes nostalgia and mystery and resolves into surprising harmonies."
—Bill Dowie, author of critical biographies of Peter Matthiessen and James Salter in the Twayne U.S. Authors Series
by William L. Ramsey
"The most compelling dilemma one faces in reading William Ramsey's Dilemmas is whether to linger on one poem, wringing all the pleasure possible from a single piece, or to hurry on in an effort to absorb the cumulative effect of the entire volume. Both approaches are appealing. Most rewarding of all is the prospect of repeating them both, over and over and over again. These poems are the products of a comprehensive intelligence compounded by a transformative imagination, delivered in language that soars. I am honored to recommend them."
—Don Johnson, Poet in Residence, East Tennessee State University
Girls Like You
by Margot Douaihy
"Girls Like You is a masterful collection—at turns haunting, hilarious and heartbreaking. Douaihy pulls off a magic trick: by focusing our attention to deeply intimate moments and memories, her gorgeously wrought poems conjure the epic."
—Stephen Karam, 2012 Pulitzer Prize Finalist, author of Sons of the Prophet
"With technical virtuosity, Douaihy deftly moves from crystalline free verse, to densely wrought prose poems, to tight forms like the triolet or villanelle. Her speakers are plaintive, seductive, and strident in turn, bearing witness to a young woman's coming of age on the cusp of the twenty-first century."
—Amy Lemmon, author of Saint Nobody
The Tree in the Mind: Poems
by Ronald Moran
"Ultimately, this book about love and loss becomes a celebration and an expression of gratitude. No more stirring tribute to the power of another in our life, to a relationship, to love, has been written. Nor has there been anything more helpful for any who face the prospect of living with a loved one's dying. Moran has achieved these most poetic of ambitions, catharsis and relevance, transforming his life into art that is transformative for the rest of us."
Her Small Hands Were Not Beautiful: Poems
by Kathryn Kirkpatrick
"Kathryn Kirkpatrick's tour de force, Her Small Hands Were Not Beautiful, proves once and for all that the scholar's detective work can serve the poet's task. With eloquence and intelligence, Kirkpatrick has handcrafted a collage of words and phrases actually spoken by the friends and relations of the magnificent and mysterious Maud Gonne, muse of W. B. Yeats. Anyone fascinated by the Irish past will be glued to the remarkable title poem of this, Kirkpatrick's sixth book, as well as by the lyrical tales that precede it, amusingly titled 'Yeats Plays Golf' and 'Maeve Married.' Whether mythic or human, figures are made palpable in Kirkpatrick's magic, elegant hands."
Epic Peters: Pullman Porter
by Octavus Roy Cohen, with introduction by Alan Grubb and H. Roger Grant
"Cohen’s work is the next-best-thing to having an oral history of a Pullman porter during the hey-day of intercity train travel, at a time when the Pullman Company was one of the largest employers of African-Americans. Epic Peters wonderfully encapsulates virtually everything that was once the life of a Pullman porter."
—Alan Grubb and H. Roger Grant
Shadows Trail Them Home
by Scott Owens and Priscilla Campbell
"Scott Owens and Priscilla Campbell create characters by reading our souls, create scenes by framing the pictures that live in our memories, too raw to remember, too vivid to ever completely ignore, and in these poems, they have a die-hard nonfiction writer turning pages as fast as possible to see what happens next. I didn't know poets could do that. Scott Owens and Pris Campbell can."
—Shari Smith, author of Gunpowder, Cowboy Boots, and Mascara
Soul of the Beast
by Wes Phelan
John Sexton has everything: wealth, the privileges of British society, and a Curse that kills the men of his family. Hoping to escape his fate, John boards a ship to South Africa, but the sense of imminent death follows him. Then a letter from Australia catches up to John. His grandfather has found the key to finding the SOUL OF THE BEAST, an ancient mystery with powers that can break the Curse. His grandfather offers the key to John, but he must come to Australia to receive it. John immediately boards a ship. As he walks down the gangplank in Australia, John becomes the target of an assassin cult. The cult’s purpose is to kill John and take the key and the Soul of the Beast for themselves. Assassins pursue John across continents and mountains, and into the hidden and deadly world of the Soul of the Beast.
by Charles Rafferty
"Though it might not be yet apparent, what the world hungers for—not just the poetry world but all sentient beings—are the rapturous, precise, lyrical revelations in Charles Rafferty's Appetites, a startling collection full of poems that chart desire through an abandoned couch transformed into redeeming ecstasy, that channel the 'popcorned and sawdusty air' of the circus tent where folks gather to turn away from themselves, that show us the subversive art of souvenir-taking in the form of a sliver of Picasso's signature smuggled under a fingernail, and that give us a 'Prelude' for our time. In the vein of Stephen Dobyns and Denis Johnson, but ever original and even more expertly-crafted, Rafferty is a major American poet. If you don't know his work yet, you owe yourself this chapbook."
Women against Tyranny: Poems of Resistance during the Holocaust
by Davi Walders
Women Against Tyranny: Poems of Resistance during the Holocaust tells the forgotten stories of women, from a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds, who resisted throughout Europe during World War II.
Among these women of resistance are Dr. Rita Levi Montalcini, a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Medicine; Dr. Roza Papo, the first female general in Tito's army; Emilie Schindler, Oskar Schindler's wife, who saved hundreds of people but was unacknowledged in Schindler's List; and Magda Trocme, "mother" and leader of Chambon sur-Lignon, the French village which hid thousands of Jews and other refugees. These incredible women are just a few of the heroines populating the pages of Walders' remarkable collection.
The Jane Poems
by Ronald Moran
In an early poem in his latest collection, The Jane Poems, Ronald Moran recounts how, as a lovestruck young man hoping to catch his chosen girl's eye, he once spent an afternoon "mowing the same / patch of lawn over and over"—shirtless, just in case she should happen by. This awkward "offering of my unrehearsed / goods in early summer" was the prelude to a successful marriage that endured for half a century.
Moran's wife, Jane, passed away in 2009, and The Jane Poems captures, in a poetry that is sometimes wry, sometimes deeply poignant, their difficult final years together and Moran's struggle to cope with her death. He addresses illness, memory, death, and mourning in ways both frank and moving.
by Ronald Moran
"Bodiless, like wisps of smoke on windless days / they rose," begins one poem in Ronald Moran’s latest collection, Waiting. "Not the holy spirit or the granules of the past, / but strands of memory freed up of their own will." With his trademark blend of poignancy and humor, and what a fellow poet has called the "quiet fireworks" of his language, Moran has drawn together many floating strands—not just memories, but also dreams, emotions, events, reactions, musings, images—and woven them into poetry.
I Dream My Brother Plays Baseball
by Lisa L. Siedlarz
"Siedlarz’s debut collection of poems about her brother's life as a soldier in Afghanistan shimmers like the heat over desert sand where civilians and soldiers alike are caught and often destroyed by powers that cannot be controlled. Set in a terrain 'where nothing continues to bloom,' poems from the brother's voice give a graphic picture of the gritty day-to-day life of both American and Afghani soldiers fighting an unending war. However, the poems reveal that in this unforgiving land where even 'poppies smack their red faces in the breeze,' the human spirit refuses to let laughter and celebration get swallowed."
—Vivian Shipley, author of When There Is No Shore, winner Connecticut Book Award for Poetry
by Karon Luddy
Karon Luddy is an exciting talent, the product of a vivid, conflicted experience of Upstate South Carolina by a quick, rebellious temperament. In this respect, these free-verse poems are highly original as a body yet not without precedent in American literature. For example, there is Stephen Crane's rebellion against the Methodist religion of his mother in The Black Riders and Other Lines, a savagely compressed Whitman or extenuated Dickinson. The pleasure of Luddy's "Family Reunion" derives from combining "Mama's closing statement to God," "big-hearted heathen" Aunt Margaret's "chocolate silk pie," and "my father's dented flask." In another poem, delirium tremens is pronounced a symptom of the father's attempted escape from hospital "Naked as Adam." But when discharged, his eyes shine "like black marbles he'd won from the Devil."
The Blurring of Time
by Ronald Moran
"Ronald Moran has a remarkable sense of belovedness and belongingness. The quiet intensity of these poems pierced me like an old-fashioned red rose….What haunted me most, and served as my guide, as I traveled through this stormcloud of a book, was the tick of a ghostly watch"
—Karon Luddy, author of Spelldown and Wolf Heart
Saying These Things
by Ronald Moran
"Ron Moran's poetry immediately leaps from the page to the feet and ankles of the reader's experience. You're on the sidewalk with his characters, you're a flash dancer in his every scenario. He stole one of your monologues right out of your own phone conversation—how does he do that? Across the board, and no matter the particular style of the Moran day, his poems are the view across the street, the dinner beside you at the restaurant, and they are, if you were a poet, too, the outrageously creative language experience you wish you'd have in you."
—Jennifer Bosveld, Pudding House Publications
"Lefty" and Other Stories
by John Doble
"We graduated from high school, both of us in the bottom half of our class, and barely got into college together, the state university, the only place two working class kids with lousy grades even considered. We got in because of our test scores and because any state resident who remotely qualified was admitted. We commuted of course, no money for a dorm. And our grades were lousy. At the end of freshman year, we almost flunked out together: Doc did, and I would have, except I cheated on our science final and got a D instead of an F. He could have cheated too but didn't. And so, because of his honesty, because he played it ramrod straight, Doc was bounced out of college and into the army."
—from "Two Letters from the Doctor," in "Lefty" and Other Stories