New Books by NER Authors

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 12.19.17 PMAt once gospel and troubadour song, these deeply spiritual and expansively erotic poems are lucid, unflinching, urgent. Mary Szybist, winner of the National Book Award

A hearty congratulations to NER contributor Derrick Austin on the release of his debut poetry collection, Trouble the Water (BOA Editions, 2016). Trouble the Water is the winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. Austin’s poetry appeared in NER 34.3-4.

C. Dale Young, former poetry editor of NER, wrote of Trouble the Water: “Skilled with the ability to harness detail and stringent images, Derrick Austin creates a lush and smoldering landscape in which the very soul is tested.”

Austin is a Cave Canem fellow and earned his MFA from the University of Michigan, where he was awarded a Hopwood Award in graduate poetry. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best American Poetry 2015, Image: A Journal of Arts and Religion, Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, The Paris-American, Memorious, and other journals and anthologies. He is the Social Media Coordinator for The Offing.

Trouble the Water is available from BOA Editions and independent booksellers.

Sam Ligon has mastered the art of capturing the sweet derangement of love. . . his prose is incandescent, absurd, wickedly funny and, in the end, achingly true. Steve Almond on Wonderland

NER contributor Samuel Ligon has not one but two new books out this month: a new novel, Among the Dead and Dreaming (Leapfrog Press, 2016), and an adult picture book, Wonderland (Lost Horse Press, 2016). He has previously published a novel and a short story collection, and has work in Quarterly, Alaska Quarterly Review, StoryQuarterly, Noise: Fiction Inspired by Sonic Youth, Post Road, Keyhole, Sleepingfish, Gulf Coast, and in NER 30.1.

wonderlandAuthor Pam Houston says of Ligon’s novel Among the Dead and Dreaming, which features a character who has appeared in Ligon’s other work: “Part meditation on modern love’s dark and often unexamined underbelly; part can’t-put-it-down-even-for-a-dinner-break-thriller.”

Wonderland takes the form of a picture book for adults, with illustrations from Stephen Knezovich. Ligon describes it as “full of weird, playful, absurd stories about love and donkeys and bearded ladies and goats and whiskey bosoms and pie and country songs and blackbirds pecking off noses.”

Ligon’s books are available on Amazon, through their individual publishers’ websites (Leapfrog Press and Lost Horse Press, respectively), and will be in bookstores next month.

44e5d7_078251cad5ed4b20bf688d6bd25a080bVisceral, tender and lyrical, fleet and agile, these poems unflinchingly face the legacies of violence and cultural displacement but they also assume a position of wonder before the world. – 2016 Whiting Award Citation

We are excited to announce Ocean Vuong‘s debut poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon, 2016), out this month. Vuong was the 2012 recipient of the Stanly Kunitz Prize for Younger Poets. His poem, To My Father / To My Unborn Son,” was featured in NER 36.1.

This collection focuses on themes personal to Vuong, including poverty, depression, sexuality, violence, and the personal impact of the Vietnam War, but his poems nevertheless, as Traci Brimhall writes, “restore you with hope, that godforsaken thing—alive, singing along to the radio, suddenly sufficient.”

Night Sky with Exit Wounds is available online.

Drones, torture, immigration, weaponry, James Bon, King Lear, medical practice, Hinduism, and the sex life of Adam and Eve are but a few of the subjects treated here without any sacrifice of lyric texture or pulse.—Billy Collins, former US Poet Laureate

www.randomhouse.comCongratulations to Amit Majmudar on a new book of poetry, Dothead (Knopf, 2016). Majmudar is a novelist, poet, essayist, and diagnostic radiologist, writing and practicing in Dublin, Ohio, where he was named the first Poet Laureate of Ohio. His poetry was featured in NER 27.1.

This poetry collection investigates the formation of identity in the alleged “melting pot” of America by playing with forms both traditional and uncommon. The result is what Publishers Weekly calls “a portrait of humankind that exposes its overreliance on the persuasive strength of fear.”

Dothead is available online.

O’Connor produces a tale that is overflowing with the rage of human emotion; in its depiction of feeling, the novel is often brilliant, dense in poetry and light on unearned sentimentality.—Kirkus Review512wOV0Wa6L._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_

The striking Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings (Viking Penguin, 2016) is NER contributor Stephen O’Connor‘s debut novel. He is the author of four books and his fiction has appeared numerous times in NER (27.4, 29.3, 33.3) He teaches in the Columbia and Sarah Lawrence MFA programs.

This novel explores the story of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, in what Karen Russell calls, “a kind of quantum historical novel—simultaneously fiction and nonfiction, rave and particle.” O’Connor uses the unique medium of fiction to explore the costs of the Jefferson and power imbalances that drove so much of history, while giving a fierce and honest voice to Hemings’ story as well.

O’Connor’s striking novel can be found online and at other booksellers.

51RS2wMs5ML._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_Shrewdly pithy and nuanced, edgy and commiserating, Miller’s poems are beacons.—Booklist‘s Donna Seaman

Congratulations to NER contributor Wayne Miller on the publication of his fourth collection of poems, Post- (Milkweed Editions, 2016). His other books have been named “Best New Book of Poetry of 2009” and recognized by the William Rockhill Nelson Award in 2007. His poetry is forthcoming in NER 37.2.

Post- features a world in the wake of catastrophe, full of painful pasts and hidden danger, grief and uncertainity. Nevertheless, it is a world in which Miller finds “fresh meaning . . . pathos and humor, pain and the beauty of living” (from the publisher).

Miller’s new collection can be found online and in the upcoming issue of NER.

Okaloosa | Derrick Austin

From NER Vol. 34 Nos. 3–4


I like the heron best
because it has no song,
flying over the water, its mating
cry mournful, aggressive, and internal.
Seaweed and creamy foam
float on the tide’s restless lapping,
licking my feet like a lost dog.
I am no master.
The Gulf collects its own scraps:
rows of hotels
hollowed out and plastered
ochre by sunsets, knocked down by Ivan
or Dennis—you lose track
after so many seasons.
Mist hangs over shoddy condos.
Beachcombers scan the quartz burrows
of ghost shrimp. A drunken couple
stumbles somewhere. Before they were expelled
Choctaw called this place Okalusa,
“dark water.” 

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