New Books for September from NER Authors

Categories: News & Notes

ohenryprize_0805_300_467_100We are pleased to announce that NER contributor Stephen Dixon’s story, “Talk,” will be featured in the new O. Henry Prize Stories. Dixon’s work appears in several issues of NER, most recently in 34.2.

Stephen Dixon is the author of thirty books of fiction, including His Wife Leaves Him (2013) and nominated National Book Award novels Frog (1991) and Interstate (1995). He has retired after teaching in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins for twenty-seven years and lives in Ruxton, Maryland.

 

johnson“Sara Eliza Johnson’s stunning, deeply visceral first collection, Bone Map (2013 National Poetry Series Winner), pulls shards of tenderness form a world on the verge of collapse . . .”

NER congratulates Sara Eliza Johnson on her first collection of poetry, Bone Map (Milkweed Editions). Johnson’s work appeared in Volume 29.4 of NER.

Garrett Hongo: “Bone Map charts a dreamscape that mixes elements of folk tale into mysterious itineraries through the commingled fringes of the world of sacramental animals and a frail humankind. . . . The logic in her narratives is that of dreaming—primitive, chthonic, and subtly terrifying. Hers is a cunning and dangerous poetry, deceptive in its apparent innocence, not written against the dark backdrop of identifiable horrors, but drawn from a well of the beautiful and the macabre, a crystal cup of roses dipped in the tongueblood of wolves. In all, there is a mystic vision of wintry things first seen at the cusp of spring, not yet sorted into any commonplace order. For Johnson is a builder of miraculous worlds and not their devourer.”

Martha Collins: “The territory mapped in this gorgeous book—first a forest with animals, then water and winter ice—is wracked by violence, war, and loss, with the bones and viscera of the living and dead laying claim to our attention. But it is also a world of dream and vision: ‘All moments will shine if you cut them open,’ the poet says. And though the process is often brutal, as war edges toward apocalypse, then quiets to elegiac ache, a fierce beauty emerges, line by line, image by image, transforming darkness as well as light.”

Sara Eliza Johnson is the winner of the National Poetry Series and Rona Jaffe award, and has published poems in Boston Review in addition to NER and other publiscations.  She is the Vice Presidential Fellow in creative writing at the University of Utah.

 

lasalle“LaSalle’s stories are subtle, evocative, haunting—and brilliantly written.” —Kirkus Starred Review

NER contributor Peter LaSalle has recently published his short story collection What I Found Out About Her: Stories of Dreaming Americans (University of Notre Dame 2014). The collection won the 2014 Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction and includes a story originally published in NER. LaSalle’s work has appeared in several NER issues, most recently in 32.4, and has work forthcoming in 35.3.

“I’ve always believed that as a short story writer Peter LaSalle has been in the same class as Donald Barthelme and Joyce Carol Oates in the avant-garde of American fiction writers, and now, reading his new collection . . . I am more than confirmed in that belief: indeed, his sophisticated and highly controlled formal experimentation, which is the sparkling core of his style, now flows with such masterly ease that he can be said to be in a class of his own, at the forefront of American creators of original prose.” —Zulfikar Ghose, author of The Triple Mirror of the Self

“Peter LaSalle’s stories, set in wonderfully various settings . . . are rich in their delineation of our private lives and loves, and in those moments in which, by ourselves or with others, we live most deeply. These haunting tales are shrewdly original, disarmingly complex, and—always, always, since LaSalle is one of our finest storytellers—as beautifully crafted as they are memorable.” —Jay Neugeboren, author of You Are My Heart and Other Stories

 

41Lg5cefCZL“The book offers a delectable array of cognitive insights, ancient history, and Calvino’s indispensable voice.”

Martin McLaughlin‘s translation of Italo Calvino’s book, Collection of Sand: Essays has been published by HMH/Mariner. His translations of Calvino’s letters were featured under “Literary Lives” in NER 34.1.

From Publishers Weekly: “Museum exhibitions draw Calvino’s attention to the natural world, to the bizarre—and to the past. His subtle humor threads its way through staid descriptions of wax museums, automata, knots, and the ruins of a pig sty . . . Calvino’s travelogues, particularly those set in Japan, are the best example of his ability to capture the real world with the same vigor and verve as his imaginative fiction.”

Italo Calvino (1923–1985) was a distinguished Italian novelist and author of such books as Cosmicomics (1965), Invisible Cities (1972), and If on a winter’s night a traveler (1979). He was also an influential literary critic and editor.

Martin McLaughlin is the Agnelli-Serena Professor of Italian Studies at the University of Oxford. He is the translator of Italo Calvino’s Hermit in Paris: Autobiographical Writings, Into the War, and Why Read the Classics?, which won the John Florio Prize for translation. He is also co-translator of Calvino’s The Complete Cosmicomics.

 

onceinthewest“A searing new collection from one of our country’s most important poets”

Cheers to NER contributor Christian Wiman on the release of his fourth collection of poetry, Once in the West (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2014). His poems have previously appeared in issues 21.1, 24.1, and 30.2.

From Publishers Weekly: “The first half of this harsh and sometimes masterful fourth outing . . . might represent the best verse he has yet penned….His search for religious answers twines itself tautly with reflections on his own illness, homages to the poets of the past, and exemplary self-scrutiny.”

From the publisher: “Christian Wiman’s fourth collection of poetry is as intense and intimate as poetry gets—from the “suffering of primal silence” that it plumbs to the “rockshriek of joy” that it achieves and enables. Readers of Wiman’s earlier books will recognize the sharp characterization and humor…as well as his particular brand of reverent rage….  But there is something new here, too: moving love poems to Wiman’s wife, tender glimpses of the poet’s children, and amid the onslaughts of illness and fear and failures, “a trace / of peace.”

Christian Wiman is the author of seven previous books, including memoirs and collections of poetry.  From 2003 to 2013 he was the editor of Poetry magazine.  Currently, he teaches religion and literature at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School.

Carl Phillips Reads at Bread Loaf

Categories: Audio, NER Community

Carl Phillips reads from his book of poetry, Double Shadow, at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He is a frequent contributor to NER, most recently with his essay “Beautiful Dreamer” in NER 35.2, and in 35.1 with his poems “Spring” and “By Force.”

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 August 19, 2012

Carl Phillips is the author of twelve books of poetry, including Silverchest (2013), Double Shadow (2011), and Quiver of Arrows: Selected Poems 1986-2006 (2007). His 2004 collection, The Rest of Love, won the Theodore Roethke Memorial Foundation Poetry Prize and the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Male Poetry, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. His other honors include the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Library of Congress, and the Academy of American Poets. He is a Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis, where he also teaches in the Creative Writing Program.

All Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference readings are available on iTunesU. To hear more, please visit the Bread Loaf website.

T. L. Khleif to Receive Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award

Categories: News & Notes

Jaffe-T.L.Khleif2We are pleased to announce that fiction writer and New England Review contributor T. L. Khleif will receive a 2014 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, which is given annually to six writers who demonstrate excellence and promise in the early stages of their careers. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Rona Jaffe Awards have helped many women build successful writing careers by offering encouragement and financial support at a critical time. The Awards are $30,000 each and will be presented to the six recipients on September 18th in New York City.

T. L. Khleif received a BA from Brown University, an MA in Arab Studies from Georgetown University, and an MFA from the University of Michigan, where she is a lecturer. Her stories have appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review and the Normal School, and she is the recipient of a MacDowell Colony fellowship. Ms. Khleif is working on a novel tentatively titled The Absence of Layla Halabi, and will use her Writer’s Award to take time off from teaching to focus on this novel full time. 

In addition to T. L. Khleif, the 2014 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award recipients are Olivia ClareKaren Hays, Danielle Jones-Pruett, Mara Naselli, and Solmaz Sharif. Congratulations to them all from New England Review.

www.ronajaffefoundation.org.

Celebrated novelist Rona Jaffe (1931-2005) established The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Awards program in 1995. It is the only national literary awards program of its kind dedicated to supporting women writers exclusively. Since the program began, the Foundation has awarded nearly $2 million to emergent women writers, including several who have gone on to critical acclaim, such as Elif Batuman, Eula Biss, Lan Samantha Chang, Rivka Galchen, Aryn Kyle, Rebecca Lee, ZZ Packer, Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, Tracy K. Smith, Mary Szybist, and Tiphanie Yanique.

 

Marat and Sade in Las Vegas | Stefany Anne Golberg

Categories: Confluences, NER Digital

By Antony Stanley from Gloucester, UK (A line in the sand  Uploaded by russavia) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsIn the days before personal computers, when Xeroxing books was a punishable crime, I hand-typed the entirety of The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade for my personal collection, as such a book was not generally available in 1980s Las Vegas. I’d borrowed a copy from the UNLV library. Marat/Sade is a play written by the German postwar playwright Peter Weiss. Weiss incorporates a play within the play, one written by de Sade, to be performed by his fellow inmates at the Charenton asylum. So Weiss’s actors play lunatics staging de Sade’s play, and also act as various historical figures with whom de Sade has philosophical dialogues.

What was the appeal, for a fifteen-year-old girl, of a story about a nihilistic and lecherous Revolution-era Frenchman—portrayed by a postwar German avant-gardist—who writes and directs a play in an insane asylum? In Marat/Sade, an actress plays a somnambulist who plays the part of Charlotte Corday, assassin of the Jacobin leader Jean-Paul Marat, as he lay in the bathtub. Marat is played by a paranoid schizophrenic. The radical priest Jacques Roux, who stabbed himself to death in prison, is played by an inmate in a straightjacket. These characters felt very true to me, their concerns urgent ones. They screamed for freedom, and for justice, and then broke into ecstatic singing, and laughed until the asylum staff beat them back into the corners.

The passage that affected me most was a conversation between the Marquis de Sade and Jean-Paul Marat on the nature of life and death. Peter Weiss wrote this dialogue between the two historical figures—who had never met in real life—as a playing-out of the psychological motivations behind the French Revolution, about which I knew very little at that time.

MARAT:
I read in your books de Sade
in one of your immortal works
that the basis of all life is death

SADE:
Correct, Marat
But man has given a false importance to death
Any animal plant or man who dies
adds to Nature’s compost heap
becomes the manure without which
nothing could grow nothing could be created
Death is simply part of the process
Every death even the cruelest death
drowns in the total indifference of Nature . . .

The Marquis goes on like that, and Marat counters:

Against Nature’s silence I use action
In the vast indifference I invent a meaning
I don’t watch unmoved I intervene
and say that this and this are wrong
and I work to alter them and improve them . . .

It was always important to intervene and say this and this are wrong—Marat’s argument here was solid. I couldn’t understand what he meant, though, about inventing meaning against nature’s silence. Meaning was not something you could paste onto death. It was like the Marquis de Sade said, death was important only insofar as it made way for new life, and nature didn’t care about either.

I hadn’t really thought about nature until then—I lived in Las Vegas and didn’t think deserts counted as nature. Though often I would stand in my backyard at night and look up at the stars. They were indifferent to me. The vast treeless sand-scape of Vegas, the mountains that dwarfed the casinos in the valley—all unmoved by my small, individual experience. Surely, it mattered little to the stars or trees whether I lived or died. The house next door looked as calm as it ever did, even though our neighbor Mark had died only the year before. I eventually decided that the Marquis de Sade also meant human nature, because he realized that the heart of man was fundamentally apathetic and all acts of kindness manipulation and façade.

I spent a year’s worth of evenings in my father’s office typing up Marat/Sade. I did not know how to type properly and did not intend to learn. I typed and retyped the words until I had a complete manuscript. I had never been so close to anything in my life as I became to that text. I learned its message letter by letter, and when I was finished, I never read the play again.

 

Stefany Anne Golberg is a writer and artist located in Schwenksville, PA. She is a columnist for the Smart Set magazine and Critic-in-Residence at Drexel University.

NER Digital is New England Review’s online project dedicated to original creative writing for the web. “Confluences” presents writers’ encounters with works of art such as books, plays, poems, films, paintings, sculptures, or buildings.  

 

 

 

New Books from NER Authors

Categories: NER Authors' Books, NER Community

PlacetoRead” . . . a collection of personal retrospectives that deserve a place in the finest tradition of the American essay.”

We are pleased to announce the publication of NER contributor Michael Cohen‘s essay collection, A Place to Read: Life and Books (Interactive Press). The book includes an investigative essay published in NER 31.4 as well as The King in Winter, which appeared as an NER digital.

From Christina Thompson, Editor, Harvard Review: “Michael Cohen’s essays on the reading life are a treat to read. Relaxed, personal, wide-ranging, they contain fascinating nuggets of information and lively assessments of hundreds of books, as well as a whole life’s worth of thoughtful rumination on time, love, travel, and family, as well as what it means to be, almost existentially, a reader.”

“Each [piece] is in its own way a comment on the human situation, filtered through a personal optic that is both refined and erudite. Amusing, highly personal, insightful, they’ll make you smile, smirk, frown, and gasp . . .” —E. A. Allen, author of the Montclaire Mysteries

Since retiring from university teaching, Michael Cohen’s essays have appeared in Harvard Review, Birding, the Humanist, Missouri Review, and the Kenyon Review in addition to NER. He is also the author of five books, including a poetry text, The Poem in Question (Harcourt Brace, 1983) and an award winning book on Shakespeare’s Hamlet (Georgia, 1989).

 

“The poetic sensibility itself is characterized by restlessness–a ‘daring’ aspiration toward fuller meaning, feeling, and vision.”

9781555976811Congratulations to NER contributor Carl Phillips on the publication of his collection of essays, The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination (Graywolf). An excerpt of this book appears in NER 35.2. His reflection, “On Restlessness,” can be read in full online.

From Publishers Weekly: “Abundant autobiographical glimpses lend substance and specificity to Phillips’s tenet that ‘art and life are forever part of the same thing.’ Phillips analyzes individual poems by Shakespeare, Herbert, Shelley, Frost, Gunn, and others, along with his own work. The result is a slim volume memorable for delicate
insights . . . and for its grounding of theory in the life and personality of the poet.”

Carl Phillips is the author of twelve books of poetry, including Silverchest (2013), Double Shadow (2011), and Rest of Love (2004). He is the recipient of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Library of Congress, and the Academy of American Poets. He teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.

 

” . . . his poems, more than anyone else’s, take the shape of fire, all its ambiguity and wind-shreddedness, all its likeness to poppies in the wheat.” —H. K. Hix

Gpankey100Eric Pankey has published his tenth poetry collection, Dismantling the Angel (Parlor Press, 2014). Pankey has been appeared in several issues of NER, most recently in 34.1.

“In these precise, dream-like poems, Eric Pankey peers through the clarifying lens of metaphor and parable to meditate on mystery, human sympathy and the divine. Here, the shifting image of fire both articulates and consumes our sense of the vastness of history and the ineffable nature of divinity.”—Kevin Prufer

Pankey’s other publications include The Pear as One Example: New and Selected Poems 1984-2008 and Trace. He is Professor of English and the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University.

 

9781556594663_p0_v1_s600“Kasischke astonishes with her lyricism and metaphorical power as she considers illness and mortality through exacting, imaginative poems.”

Laura Kasischke’s newest collection of poetry, The Infinitesimals (Copper Canyon, 2014) is now out with strong reviews. Her work appears most recently in NER 34.2.

From Publisher’s Weekly: The brevity of Kasischke’s lines movingly captures the absence of death and the limitations on memory, and her mastery of meticulous, though seemingly effortless, description shines throughout, as when she dubs a cake once baked for her father as “Soggy church bell on a plate,” or describes a tumor as a “terrible frog/ Of moonlight and dampness on a log.”

Laura Kasischke has published nine novels and eight previous collections of poetry. For her collection, Space, in Chains, she received the National Book Critics Circle Award. She teaches at the University of Michigan.

 

9780822963127_p0_v2_s260x420“It’s the music, the beauty, after all, that’s balm to all this sorrow. The American reminds me of this.” —Ross Gay

Longtime NER contributor David Roderick has published his poetry collection, The Americans with the University of Pittsburgh Press. His work has previously appeared in NER issues 24.2 and 32.1.

The Americans is a compelling meditation on the ways we go about our lives at this cultural moment, often unmoored from the facts of history though we drift along its shores. Part complicated love letter to suburbia, these poems demand that we consider not only what we are drawn to but also what we fail to see, how the apocryphal feeds our cultural amnesia. The poet asks: ‘Must nostalgia / walk like a prince through all our rooms?’ This lovely collection shows us a way to confront that question within ourselves.” —Natasha Tretheway, U.S. Poet Laureate

David Roderick’s first book, Blue Colonial, won the APR/Honickman Prize. He is a recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, and he currently teaches in the MFA Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

 

Lisettes-List-A-NovelNew York Times bestselling novelist Susan Vreeland is back with the publication of Lisette’s List. Her short story, “Love Burning,” was featured in NER 20.2.

Susan Vreeland is the author of four New York Times bestselling novels—The Passion of Artemisia, Luncheon of the Boating Party, Clara and Mr. Tiffany, and Girl in Hyacinth Blue, which was adapted into a Hallmark Hall of Fame television drama. Her books have been translated into 26 languages.

“Vreeland’s ability to make this complex historical novel as luminous as a Tiffany lamp is nothing less than remarkable.”The Washington Post

“Vreeland’s writing is so graceful, her research so exhaustive, that a reader is enfolded in the world of Tiffany and Driscoll.”Los Angeles Times

New From Kate Lebo in NER 35.2

Categories: Nonfiction

The Loudproof Room | Kate Lebo

 

1024px-Tidens_naturlære_fig40

 

An Earmoir

I was born with a strawberry hemangioma splashed over the bottom half of my right ear and two inches down my neck. The sort of red that has purple trapped inside it. A swollen, shocking hue. For the first year, I had no hair to disguise it. The sight of me made strangers uncomfortable.

My birthmark was so red and angry and I cried so murderously when my parents bathed it that it became, as I grew, the explanation for a lot of things. Why I was teased in school, why I cried easily. Why I couldn’t hear conversational tones out of my right ear.

By the time I was ten the skin faded to a mottle of mostly normal looking tissue. It looks enough like a burn scar that no one asks what happened. Mostly I forget it’s there. When a new friend asks me “what’s up with your ear?” I need a second to remember what she’s talking about. My father and I were in a motorcycle accident when I was five, I say. It tore my ear half off. When she looks sorry for asking, I tell her I was born this way. Which isn’t exactly the truth. If it was, I’d still have a stoplight for an ear.

[read more]

NER Classics | Northern Insomnia | Mark Jarman

Categories: NER Classics, Poetry

Mark Jarman’s poem “Northern Insomnia” appeared in NER 13.3-4:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loch_Leven_%28Highlands%29#mediaviewer/File:Loch_Leven.jpg

Passing out of the rain into dull cloudlight,
Through
heather, a field of sleep, and rock,
Into the discovery of water
And with it the recognition of wind.

Dark water, water showing,
In a basin cut lengthwise below a hill,
Nothing of the sky, a sheepish gray,
Nothing of the eye’s desire for rest…

[read more]

Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others | Lou Mathews

Categories: Fiction

1280px-Path_between_sugar_canes_(5216462193)

No man knows his apotheosis. Carl Jung said that. No man knows his apotheosis, but I know mine. That particular deal went down in the scrubby jungle outside of Rivas. This was in Nicaragua, in 1987. I can tell you the day and even the hour. April 22, 1:00 p.m., the high point of my life. At noon that day, the producers fired Alec Litwer-Bowen as director. Alec had recommended a two-million-dollar line of credit, to be spent in-country, which made sense. The US Embargo made the usual studio transactions impossible. When Alec arrived in Nicaragua, he handed a million dollars over to the Sandinista government. It would have been a bargain; government support in the form of reliable cars, trucks, gasoline, construction equipment, soldiers, helicopters, boats, soldiers, extras, and rare goods like plywood and other necessities for sets would be worth well beyond that sum. The bonding company, which should never have known about this transaction, got squeezed by the Reagan administration and demanded that the producers shut the movie or fire Alec. They fired Alec, at least that is what we assumed. Alec had disappeared and the studio publicists began cranking up the creative-differences-agree-to-disagree machine. It was quite a concert back in LA; the rumor machine began a bass murmur of overdoses and breakdowns while contracts and legal whistled moral turpitude. Meantime, the studio tried to recruit an A, B, or even C-list director. No one would touch it; the bad juju taint was out on this one. I was right place, right time. I was the writer, I was second-unit assistant director, I’d made a short, I spoke Spanish. Mostly, I was there. They handed me the swagger stick, the metaphorical pith helmet and megaphone. Traditionally, a transition like this would be noted by a newly stenciled parking space and a folding chair with my name on the back: Dale Davis, Director.

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New from Marcelo Hernandez Castillo in NER 35.2

Categories: Poetry

Pulling the Moon | Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

 

 

I’ve never.
I’ve never made love.
I’ve never made love to a man.
I’ve never made love to a man but I imagine.
I imagine pulling the moon.
Pulling the moon out of his brow.
I imagine pulling 
the moon out of his brow and eating it again.

[read more]

New From John R. Nelson in NER 35.2

Categories: Nonfiction

Mr. Forbush and Mr. White | John R. Nelson

800px-289_Solitary_SandpiperFor a bird-fancier, I was late in getting to Edward Howe Forbush’s three-volume Birds of Massachusetts and Other New England States, published in the 1920s. I assumed that much of Forbush’s work would now be dated, supplanted by fresh scientific knowledge and more scrupulously kept records of the distribution and habits of birds. And the weight of it, fourteen hundred pages in all—that’s a lot of damn bird-lore to lift. But in 2012, when I took on the task of writing a hundredth anniversary history of the Brookline Bird Club (BBC), I knew I could put the man off no longer. The preeminent New England ornithologist of the early twentieth century, he’d been the first speaker at the annual BBC meeting (his stereopticon malfunctioned), and the club had lobbied the Massachusetts legislature to fund publication of his three volumes. In my research his name kept springing up everywhere. One could not write any history of New England birds without looking into Forbush.

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