New Books from NER Authors

Poetry, Translation and a “Stunning Debut”

mad farmer coverNER author Wendell Berry has reissued his collection of poetry, The Mad Farmer Poems, with Counterpoint Press.

“. . . Mindful of time and earth, of joy and love, Berry calls us to the hard work of a hope and peace and gratitude so incarnate that they rest ‘on the ground underfoot.'”—Christian Century

Wendell Berry is an essayist, novelist, and poet, and has been awarded the T. S. Eliot Award, the Aiken Taylor Award for poetry, and the John Hay Award of the Orion Society. His poetry is featured in early issues of NER, and his essay “Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer” was published in NER 10.1.


roget's illusion cover“surprising delicacy and . . . language rich with insight”

Acclaimed poet Linda Bierds has published Roget’s Illusion, with Marian Wood Books/Putnam.

“Bierds’s poems, with their constantly surprising delicacy and their language rich with insight and a sensuous music, radiate real power and authority and animal presence.”—W.S. Merwin (Poet Laureate, 2010-12)

Linda Bierds is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including the MacArthur Foundation fellowship, the PEN West Poetry Prize, and two National Endowment for the Arts grants. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker,  Atlantic,  Kenyon Review and many others. Five of her poems were published in NER 24.4 and 31.1.


Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 10.13.13 AM“disquieting, beautiful, upsetting, and exacting”

NER author Rebecca Cook has published a new book of poems, I Will Not Give Over, with Aldrich Press.

“The greatest quality of the prose poems in I Will Not Give Over is the one quality a writer can’t beg, borrow, or steal: they are genuine. They are disquieting, beautiful, upsetting, and exacting. Here, ‘Love shows up first dressed in fear.’ These are poems playing for keeps.”—Sue William Silverman, author of Hieroglyphics in Neon

Rebecca Cook is a 2009 Bread Loaf Scholar and her essay “Flame” was a notable essay in the 2013 Best American Essays. She is the author of The Terrible Baby, and her poems have been featured in numerous journals, including Antioch Review and Massachusetts Review. Her story “You Girls Have the Loveliest Legs” was published in NER 29.2.


9781936747559“A stunning debut”

Joanne Dominique Dwyer‘s first collection of poetry, Belle Laide, has been published by Sarabande Books.

From Dana Levin, author of Sky Burial: “Harems, mechanical bulls, Christina the Astonishing: Dwyer’s first book, Belle Laide, is a tour de force of verse; you never know where the next turn will take you. A vivid amalgamation of dream, association, and researched material, the poems sacrifice no depth of feeling in their wild meditations on the phenomenal world; or what it means to be a person—and a woman—in our contemporary moment. A stunning debut.”

Dwyer is a recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award and a Bread Loaf Scholar award. Her poetry has been featured in NER several times, most recently in NER 34.1.


beans“Richly textured and wonderfully evocative … Undeniably original”

NER translator Bill Johnston has published a new book by Wiesław Myśliwski, translated from the Polish, with Archipelago Books. Johnston’s translation of Witold Gombrawicz’s story “The Rat” appeared in NER 25.1-2.

“Like a more agrarian Beckett, a less gothic Faulkner, a slightly warmer Laxness . . . Richly textured and wonderfully evocative . . . Undeniably original.” Publishers Weekly

“Sweeping . . . irreverent . . With winning candor . . . Pietruszka chronicles the modernization of rural Poland and celebrates the persistence of desire.” —The New Yorker

Bill Johnston’s previous translation of Wiesław Myśliwski’s book, Stone Upon Stone, won the PEN Translation Prize, 2012, the Best Translated Book Award 2012: Fiction, and the AATSEEL Translatino Award, 2012. He has translated numerous books and stories from the Polish.

Books can be ordered from Powell’s Books or your independent bookseller.  



New Books from Vermont Authors: If Only You People Could Follow Directions

hendry bookVermont writer Jessica Hendry Nelson’s debut book, a memoir of linked essays from Counterpoint Press, will be published in January 2014. Nelson is the cofounder of the Renegade Writers’ Collective in Burlington, Vermont, and is the senior nonfiction editor of Fiddleback. Her work has appeared in Threepenny ReviewPANKCarolina QuarterlyBest American Essays 2012, and elsewhere.

From Josh Cook of Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA: “Memory doesn’t move in a straight line. It is chaotic, digressive, and imperfect. While most memoirs force life into the restrictions of straight lines, Nelson embraces the chaos by moving back and forth in time, free associating among memories, and organizing her life into a series of essays. What could be just another memoir of a family disintegrated by substance abuse becomes a vibrant and challenging exploration of abuse, obsession, coping, family, friendship, and self-discovery.”

Nelson will appear as a featured author at the upcoming Vermont Reading Series event on November 21st.

If Only You People Could Follow Directions will be available from Powell’s Books and from  local independent booksellers.

VT Poet Laureate Sydney Lea to teach a class and read at RWC

leaVermont’s Poet Laureate, Sydney Lea, will be teaching a poetry class for 8-12 students at the Renegade Writers’ Collective on Sunday, November 24. This class is for committed writers and will take place in the RWC classroom in the Karma Bird House at 47 Maple Street in Burlington. The class is from 4-6 pm and will be followed by a reading of his work, Q&A, and book signing, which will take place in the first floor gallery in the same building. The reading will take place from 6-7pm, and is free and open to the public. You do not have to take the class to come to the reading. Click here for a full course description and to reserve your spot in the class.

Sydney Lea is a founding editor of New England Review, and his work has appeared in the magazine in recent years.

Emily Mitchell

Three Marriages

Fiction from NER 34.2.

[View as PDF]

Eamon_Everall._The_Love_LetterShortly after they moved from their own house in Darien, Connecticut, into a retirement home near Fort Myers, Florida, Lucinda announced that she didn’t want to be married anymore to Fred, her husband of fifty-nine years. When she told her children this they were first horrified and then dismissive. She could not mean it, they said to her and to each other. She could not possibly be serious. They interpreted it as a sign that she was becoming senile, that her mind and judgment, which had until then remained very sharp, were becoming impaired. They took her to get tested for other signs of reduced cognitive function, but the doctors they spoke with found Lucinda to be lucid and competent, her memory of recent and distant events remarkably intact for someone of her age, which was eighty-three years old.

“But what about this idea that she’s going to leave my father?” her son, Harry, asked the gerontologist who administered the battery of tests. “If that doesn’t count as crazy, I don’t know what does.”

The doctor looked at him and shrugged.

“I can’t comment on whether your mother is making a sensible choice in this matter,” he said. “But she is able to talk about her decision with perfect clarity. Being sane is in no way related to being wise.”

[Read more]

Emily Mitchell’s first novel The Last Summer of the World, (W. W. Norton), was a finalist for the 2008 Young Lions Award. Her short fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, Alaska Quarterly Review, TriQuarterly, and previously in NER. She teaches fiction at the University of Maryland. 

Grief! | By Mark Bibbins

800px-NYC_fire_escapesfrom the current issue (34.2):

Once I told someone
he should call his poem that
but I don’t know how
it turned out.
You could say Good
magazine or There’s a celebrity
on the fire escape
behind you,
and enough people
would still want to hear
the part about fire. I have
one enemy
but we don’t know it yet.
When we do we will meet up
at the balloon show
with a box of pins.

The Point of the Needle | By Dana Levin

From the current issue (34.2):

Hyalophora-cecropia-mating copy

Since you got to behead


           hollyhock crown
           with your round
           of a mouth—
I hope you get to spin inside your
           paper house.
           Emerge noctuidae,
           owlet moth,
           laying your eggs in leaves at night.

[read more]

Peter Plagens

Confessions of a (Six-) Figure Painter

Nonfiction from NER 34.2

[View as PDF]

Bad Boy jacket image - © Eric Fischl by Gérard Rondeau 1993

To get a couple of things out of the way at the top: Eric Fischl isn’t all that bad, either as a painter or a person. As a smart-ass conceptual artist friend of mine (who has no particular affection for the dauber’s craft) points out, “He can move it around.” But before I get to Fischl’s recent memoir,* this personal anecdote:

My wife, Laurie Fendrich, teaches at a university that, in 2006, organized a symposium about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. She invited Eric Fischl, whose commemorative bronze sculpture, Tumbling Woman, had met with great protests and ultimately a rejection, to participate. He did, for free. The school scheduled several simultaneous sessions, so that the audience for the Fischl panel was much smaller than it should have been, and, moreover, the tech stuff got screwed up so that the artist was unable to project images from his computer. But he took the snafu like a trouper and, afterwards, over a cup of coffee, waxed calm and philosophical about the whole event. A real gentleman, she said.

[Read more]

Peter Plagens is a painter who has shown with the Nancy Hoffman Gallery in New York since 1974 and is also represented by the Texas Gallery in Houston. The staff art critic for Newsweek from 1989 to 2003, he now writes for the Wall Street Journal and other publications, including NER. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Arts Journalism Program. His book Bruce Nauman: The True Artist is forthcoming from Phaidon in 2014, and his novel The Art Critic is available from Hol Art Books. Other publications include Sunshine Muse: Modern Art on the West Coast, 1945–1970 (University of California Press, 2000), Moonlight Blues: An Artist’s Art Criticism (UMI Research Press, 1986), and an earlier novel, Time for Robo (Black Heron Press, 1999).

Du Bellay in Rome | By Seamus Heaney

From the current issue (34.2):Joachim_Du_Bellay

You who arrive to look for Rome in Rome
And can in Rome no Rome you know discover:
These palaces and arches ivied over
And ancient walls are Rome, now Rome’s a name.

Here see Rome’s overbearing overcome—
Rome, who brought the world beneath her power
And held sway, robbed of sway: see and consider
Rome the prey of all-consuming time.

And yet this Rome is Rome’s one monument.
Rome alone could conquer Rome. And the one element
Of constancy in Rome is the ongoing

[read more]

Lindsay Hill

Sea of Hooks

Fiction from NER 34.2.

[View as PDF]

sea of hooks


Of the great Victorian conservatory in Golden Gate Park, known formally as the Hall of Flowers, Christopher Westall’s mother had once said, “This is a place where glass is safe.” For some reason he thought of this first on finding her body, the plastic bag fitted so snuggly over her face. He held her hand awhile there in the cold. It felt reef-stiff. Her eyes were closed. She had somehow managed to tuck herself in quite tightly. Her face was soft, expressionless and tired. No hint of how it had been for her to die, there on the bed in his room, the bed under which he once thought knife-people slept.

[Read more]

Lindsay Hill was born in San Francisco and graduated from Bard College. Since 1974, he has published six books of poetry, and his work has appeared in a wide variety of literary journals. Sea of Hooks (McPherson & Company, 2013), his first novel, was the product of nearly twenty years of work and the recipient of the 2014 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Fiction. It was composed concurrently with his other writing and editorial projects. These included the production of a series of recordings of innovative writing under the Spoken Engine label, and the co-editing, with Paul Naylor, of the literary journal Facture. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, the painter Nita Hill.

NER Stories Cited as “Notables” in Best American Short Stories

9780547554822_lresFour stories first appearing in New England Review were cited as “Notables” in The Best American Short Stories 2013, edited by Elizabeth Strout and Heidi Pitlor.

Those cited were Matthew Baker’s “Everything That Somehow Found Us Here” (33.2), and from 33.1 William Gilson’s “At the Dark End of the Street,” Jane Ratcliffe’s “You Can’t Be Too Careful,” and Christine Sneed’s “The Finest Medical Attention.”

The complete list of selections and notables can be found on the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt website, and the book can be purchased here and at your local booksellers.