Congratulations to NER author Stanley Plumly on his new book Against Sunset: Poems. As much an homage to the rich tradition of the Romantics as it is a meditation on memory itself, the poems live at the edges of disappearances.
Plumly is the author of many volumes of poetry, including Old Heart, the winner of 2007’s Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A finalist for the National Book Award, he is also the author of The Immortal Evening and Posthumous Keats. Stanley Plumly lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Plumly’s essay Does Ripe Fruit Never Fall? appeared in NER 37.1, and his poetry appeared most recently in NER 37.3.
Against Sunset: Poems will be available from W.W. Norton & Company on November 8th.
Compelling, appealing, cinematic . . . Rekdal refreshes the meaning and the image of being displaced in this world. —The Boston Globe
Paisley Rekdal celebrates the release of her newest book of poems, Imaginary Vessels, a Publishers Weekly “Most Anticipated Book” of Fall 2016. Through formally inventive lyrics and sonnet sequences, Rekdal’s bold new collection investigates how public identities and monuments become sites for our emotional re-enactments of history.
Rekdal is the author of an extensive body of work: a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee; a hybrid-genre photo-text memoir that combines poetry, fiction, nonfiction and photography entitled Intimate; and four books of poetry: A Crash of Rhinos, Six Girls Without Pants, The Invention of the Kaleidoscope, and Animal Eye. Her poems and essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, and NER 34.3-4 with her poem When It Is Over It Will Be Over.
Imaginary Vessels is available from Copper Canyon Press and other booksellers.
For anyone who loves the work of James Salter or William Trevor, Eugene Mirabelli is another writer to treasure, and Renato After Alba is one of the best books I’ve read in ages—a beautiful, profound and exhilarating novel about what sustains us in the face of inevitable loss. —Elizabeth Hand, author of Hard Light and Generation Loss
Ten years after the conclusion of Renato Stillamare’s defiant confessions in Renato, the Painter, Alba, Renato’s beloved wife of fifty years, dies without warning, and the blow leaves him in pieces. When Renato resumes his narrative, this larger-than-life artist has been reduced to a gray existence of messy confusion—broken belief, crazy hope, desperate philosophy. A man of fragments but still an artist, he assembles a collage of scenes of life with and without Alba, recollections of his eccentric Sicilian-American family, encounters with well-meaning friends, daily attempts at resuming his former life, and metaphysical railings against any deity capable of destroying what it has created.
Eugene Mirabelli is the author of eight previous novels, as well as numerous articles, reviews, short stories, and interviews. He has received a Rockefeller Foundation Award, was co-founder and co-director of the Alternative Literary Programs in the Schools, and is a professor emeritus of the State University of New York at Albany. An excerpt of his novel Renato After Alba appears in NER 37.1. It is available from McPherson & Co. and independent booksellers.
Contradictions in the Design is a firehouse of a book—heaven-bent and relieved toward elemental mysteries that it resists and celebrates. Telegraphing the factories of Detroit, our familiar and strange American homes, the vast Blue Ridge, Olzmann guides us toward a hard-earned gratefulness that can exist when in the presence of impossible questions. —Sarah Gambito
Olzmann‘s first book of poems, Mezzanines, received the 2011 Kundiman Prize (Alice James Books). He is a Visiting Professor of Creative Writing in the undergraduate writing program at Warren Wilson College. He has appeared in NER 35.3 and 30.4. Contradictions in the Design, Olzmann’s second collection of poetry, can be purchased from Alice James Books and other booksellers.
Wayward Heroes brims with foreign names, Icelandic glyphs, and esoteric references that might otherwise distance readers from the story, but Roughton doesn’t allow any of it to get in the way: The beauty of Laxness’ gray, severe novel is rendered into the breed of elegant English that one might find in translations of The Iliad or Beowulf. It’s this excellent translation that allows Wayward Heroes to find relevance with contemporary readers and ring true — politically and socially — as it did in 1955 and medieval Iceland. —Taylor Kang, author of The Culture Trip
From the publisher: Published in 1952, Halldór Laxness’s Wayward Heroes can safely be said to be quite unlike any other work of modern literature. It is based on medieval Icelandic sagas—primarily the Saga of the Fosterbrothers and Snorri Sturluson’s treatment of the Norwegian saint-king Olaf Haraldsson— and is written in the style and language of those sagas. This reworking of Iceland’s ancient tales, set against a backdrop of the medieval Norse world, complete with Viking raids, battles enshrined in skaldic lays, saints’ cults, clashes between secular and spiritual authorities, journeys to faraway lands and abodes of trolls, legitimate claimants and pretenders to thrones, was written during the post-WWII buildup to the Cold War, and Laxness uses it as a vehicle for a critique of global militarism and belligerent national posturing that was as rampant then as now.
Philip Roughton was born in the US and lives in Iceland. His translation of Halldór Laxness’s Iceland’s Bell received the American-Scandinavian Foundation Translation Prize in 2001 and second prize in the 2000 BCLA John Dryden Translation Competition. Excerpts from his translation of Wayward Heroes won the American-Scandinavian Foundation Translation Prize in 2015 while his translation of Jón Kalman Stefánsson’s The Heart of Man won the Oxford-Weidenfeld Prize for book-length literary translations in 2016. He was recently awarded an NEA Translation Grant for 2017. An excerpt of his translation of Laxness’s The Great Weaver from Kashmir appeared in NER 29.3.
Wayward Heroes is available from Archipelago Books and independent booksellers.
At a moment in American culture punctuated to a heartbreaking degree by acts of hatred, violence and disregard, I can think of nothing we need to ponder and to sing of more than our shared grief and our capacity not just for empathy but genuine love. . . . Joshua Bennett’s astounding, dolorous, rejoicing voice is indispensable. – Tracy K. Smith
Selected by Eugene Gloria as a winner of the 2015 National Poetry Series, The Sobbing School is NER author Joshua Bennett‘s “mesmerizing debut collection of poetry.” Deemed by Gloria as “an essential book for our times,” Bennett’s collection presents songs for the living and the dead that destabilize and de-familiarize representations of black history and contemporary black experience. What animates these poems is a desire to assert life, and interiority, where there is said to be none. Figures as widely divergent as Bobby Brown, Martin Heidegger, and the 19th-century performance artist Henry Box Brown, as well as Bennett’s own family and childhood best friends, appear and are placed in conversation in order to show that there is always a world beyond what we are socialized to see value in, always alternative ways of thinking about relation that explode easy binaries.
Bennett’s titular poem “The Sobbing School” was published in NER 36.2, with other works published or forthcoming in Anti-, Blackbird, Callaloo, Obsidian, Smartish Pace, and elsewhere. He is a doctoral candidate in the English Department at Princeton University and has received fellowships from the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, the Center for the Study of Social Difference at Columbia University, and the Ford Foundation. He is winner of the 2014 Lucille Clifton and the 2015 Erskine J. Poetry Prizes. Bennett is also the founding editor of Kinfolks: a journal of black expression.
The Sobbing School is available now from Penguin Random House and independent booksellers.