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“Transcending genre, these poems and lyric essays search for meaning amid tragedy” —Publishers Weekly
From the publisher: Written during the trial for a close friend’s murder, Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod exposes that the whimsical, horrible, and absurd all sit together. In this ambitious collection, Traci Brimhall corresponds with the urges of life and death within herself as she lives through a series of impossibilities: the sentencing of her friend’s murderers, the birth of her child, the death of her mother, divorce, a trip sailing through the Arctic. In lullaby, lyric essay, and always with brutal sincerity, Brimhall examines how beauty and terror live right alongside each other . . . these poems expose beauty in the grotesque and argue that the effort to be good always outweighs the desire to succumb to what is easy.
Traci Brimhall is the author three collections of poetry: Saudade (Copper Canyon Press); Our Lady of the Ruins, selected by Carolyn Forché for the 2011 Barnard Women Poets Prize; and Rookery, selected by Michelle Boisseau for the 2009 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award and finalist for the ForeWord Book of the Year Award. Her work has been featured in The Best American Poetry, and she has received numerous fellowships. She is currently an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Kansas State University. Her essay “Archival Voyeur: Searching for Secrets in Amelia Earhart’s Lost Poems” was originally published in NER 40.4 and can be read on LitHub.
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“The novel feels unique, timely, and yet timeless. I couldn’t put it down.” —Elizabeth Farnsworth, author of A Train Through Time
From the publisher: Fleeing the ravages of wartime Vienna, Pepa and her family find safe harbor in the small town of El Castillo, on the banks of the San Juan River in Nicaragua. But Pepa’s life–including her relationship with local boy Guillermo–comes to a halt when her family abruptly moves to New York, leaving the young girl disoriented and heartbroken. As the years pass, Pepa’s and Guillermo’s lives diverge, and Guillermo’s homeland slips into chaos. Spanning generations and several wars, Only the River explores the way displacement both destroys two families and creates new ones, sparking a revolution that changes their lives in the most unexpected ways.
Anne Raeff’s short story collection, The Jungle Around Us, won the 2015 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, was a finalist for the California Book Award, and was named one of the 100 Best Books of 2016 by San Francisco Chronicle. Her novel Winter Kept Us Warm was awarded the California Book Award’s Silver Medal in Fiction, was a finalist for the Simpson Literary Prize, and was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award. Her stories and essays have appeared in New England Review, ZYZZYVA, and Guernica, among other places. She lives in San Francisco with her wife and their two cats. Listen to an excerpt from her story “Chinese Opera,” which appeared in NER 37.2, in NER Out Loud.
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“Marked by moments of profound generosity and isolation, Scholarship Boy tells the story of race, family, and possibility in one boy’s life, while contemplating what’s left behind when one journeys between worlds.”—Sonja Livingston, author of Ghostbread
From the publisher: In 1958, fourteen-year-old Larry Palmer left his parents and nine siblings at home in St. Louis and boarded a train to attend Phillips Exeter Academy. In Scholarship Boy Palmer reflects on his experiences as a young black boy growing up far from home, learning to fit into a white world without becoming estranged from his closely-knit family. The ninth of ten children, he illustrates the ways his sibling relationships shaped him as he was also being molded by his elite education. Palmer’s journey from being the “next-to-the-baby” of his family into adulthood reveals the personal and often hidden costs of cultural migration.
Larry I. Palmer holds degrees from Harvard University and Yale Law School, and he spent most of his career at Cornell University as a law professor and university administrator. He is the author of two scholarly works, Law, Medicine, and Social Justice and Endings and Beginnings. Scholarship Boy is his first book for a general audience. Palmer’s reflections on his experience at Exeter, which appears in his book, was originally published in NER as “The Haircut” (NER 35.1).
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“Keep Moving speaks to you like an encouraging friend reminding you that you can feel and survive deep loss, sink into life’s deep beauty, and constantly, constantly make yourself new.” —Glennon Doyle, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Love Warrior and Untamed
From the publisher: When Maggie Smith, the award-winning author of the viral poem “Good Bones,” started writing daily Twitter posts in the wake of her divorce, they unexpectedly caught fire. In this deeply moving book of quotes and essays, Maggie writes about new beginnings as opportunities for transformation. Like kintsugi, the Japanese art of mending broken ceramics with gold, Keep Moving celebrates the beauty and strength on the other side of loss. This is a book for anyone who has gone through a difficult time and is wondering: What comes next?
Maggie Smith is the award-winning author of several books of poetry including Good Bones, The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, Lamp of the Body, The List of Dangers, and Nesting Dolls. A 2011 recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Smith has also received several Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council, two Academy of American Poets Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Sustainable Arts Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has been widely published, appearing in the New York Times, Tin House, Gettysburg Review, Southern Review, and more. Read her poem “The Hum,” in NER 40.1.
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“Delight and humor abound… There is wistfulness in these poems, though they never become mired in shadows of what is lost or gone.” —Booklist
From the publisher: In The Park, his second book of poetry, John Freeman uses a park as a petri dish, turning a deep gaze on all that pass through it. In language both precise and restrained, Freeman explores the inherent contradictions that arise from a place whose purpose is derived purely from what we bring to it—a park is both natural and constructed, exclusionary and open, unfeeling and burdened with sentimentality. Throughout, Freeman wonders at how a park, being both curated and public, can be a nexus for a manifestation of great wealth inequality. Freeman plucks out difference in small daily dramas of people and animals only to dissolve it. Interspersed with meditations on love, beauty, and connection, The Park is a pacific and unflinching mirror cast upon a space defined by its transience.
John Freeman is the editor of Freeman’s, a literary biannual of new writing, and executive editor of Literary Hub. His books include How to Read a Novelist and Dictionary of the Undoing (forthcoming), as well as a trilogy of anthologies about inequality, including Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation, and Tales of Two Planets (forthcoming), on the climate crisis. Maps, his debut collection of poems, was published in 2017. Freeman’s work has been translated into more than twenty languages and has appeared in the New Yorker, Paris Review, and the New York Times. He is the former editor of Granta and a writer-in-residence at New York University. His poem “Columbine and Rue” appears in NER 41.1.
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“Slow down. Find a quiet place. Read this book. It will not give you hope so much as comfort for your sorrow.”
— Ann Lauterbach, author of The Night Sky
From the publisher: Dan Beachy-Quick’s Arrows rests in the palm of the hand like a shard of ancient pottery, caressing antiquity into the present, reminding us of the impossibility of separating ourselves from outdated ways of knowing. Here, in increments, we are enchanted by the humming of bees and the vibrating strings of lyre and bow. Through the winging and winding of violence, love and beauty, these poems pull and elongate various forms of harm. Yet, a shadow question haunts the book: Might some means of recovery be borne out of harm itself? Poems of desire and hurt, care and prayer answer in the affirmative, turning wound into song. In other words, within these covers, something entirely new and miraculous is offered the reader.
Dan Beachy-Quick is the author of six books of poetry, six chapbooks (two in collaboration with Srikanth Reddy), and two prose collections, as well as criticism and fiction. His work has won the Colorado Book Award, has been a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Prize and the PEN/USA Literary Award in Poetry, and has appeared in the Best American Poetry anthology. He is the recipient of a Lannan Foundation residency, and has taught at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. He is a University Distinguished Teaching Scholar at Colorado State University, where he serves as assistant chair of the English Department and teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing. His poem “Memory-Wax, Knowledge-Bird” appears in NER 38.3 and his conversation with Rick Barot can be read here. His translations from Ancient Greek poetry are forthcoming in NER 41.2 this summer.
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“Spanning over a decade, these are poems of deep irreverence and relentless questioning… In these English translations, poet and musician Sze-Lorrain presents an arresting chronological sequence of Yin’s fresh and fearless revelations.”—Carolyn Kuebler
Yin Lichuan is a poet, fiction writer, essayist, film director, scriptwriter and one of the founders of the “Lower Body” Movement based in Beijing during the early 2000s. Born in 1973 in Chongqing, Sichuan province, she studied French at Beijing University before pursuing a graduate degree in filmmaking at École supérieure libre d’études cinématographiques (ESEC) in Paris. Her publications include several books of prose and fiction, as well as three volumes of poetry. Since 2006, Yin has devoted herself to filmmaking. She lives in Beijing.
Fiona Sze-Lorrain is a poet, translator, editor, and zheng harpist. Her recent book of poetry The Ruined Elegance (Princeton, 2016) was a finalist for the 2016 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her work includes two earlier collections, My Funeral Gondola (2013) and Water the Moon (2010), and several books of translation of contemporary Chinese, American, and French poets. Her latest translation is Ye Lijun’s My Mountain Country (World Poetry Books, 2019). Currently a Abigail R. Cohen Fellow at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination, she lives in Paris.
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