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I devoured this book! Sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, a savvy business woman, a social and medicinal revolution: What’s not to love? —Rebecca Skloot, bestselling author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
From the publisher: During the ’70s in San Francisco, Alia’s mother ran the underground Sticky Fingers Brownies, delivering upwards of 10,000 illegal marijuana edibles per month throughout the circus-like atmosphere of a city in the throes of major change. Decades before cannabusiness went mainstream, when marijuana was as illicit as heroin, they ingeniously hid themselves in plain sight, parading through town—and through the scenes and upheavals of the day, from Gay Liberation to the tragedy of the Peoples Temple—in bright and elaborate outfits, the goods wrapped in hand-designed packaging and tucked into Alia’s stroller. But the stars were not aligned forever and, after leaving the city and a shoulda-seen-it-coming divorce, Alia and her mom returned to San Francisco in the mid-80s, this time using Sticky Fingers’ distribution channels to provide medical marijuana to friends and former customers now suffering the depredations of AIDS. Exhilarating, laugh-out-loud funny, and heartbreaking, Home Baked celebrates an eccentric and remarkable extended family, taking us through love, loss, and finding home.
Alia Volz is a homegrown San Franciscan. Her writing appears in The Best American Essays 2017, the New York Times, Tin House, Threepenny Review, River Teeth, Nowhere magazine, Utne, New England Review, and the recent anthologies Dig If You Will the Picture: Writers Reflect on Prince and Golden State 2017: Best New Writing from California. A 2018 MacDowell Colony fellow, Volz has also been an Artist in Residence with Writing Between the Vines and the Soaring Gardens Artists Retreat. The Squaw Valley Community of Writers awarded her the Oakley Hall Memorial Scholarship twice. She was runner-up of The Moth’s GrandSLAM Championship in 2014 and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her piece “Chasing Arrows” appears in NER 37.1.
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Two New Translations by Alexander Booth
Bossong is acclaimed in Germany for both her prose and poetry, but she remains one amongst many young German authors who have yet to be discovered through translation. —New Books in German
From the publisher: Forty-six-year-old Anton Stöver’s marriage is broken. His affairs are a thing of the past, and his career at the university has reached a dead end. One day he is offered the chance to go to Rome to conduct research on Antonio Gramsci, at one time the leading figure of Italian communism. Once there, he falls obsessively in love with a young woman he has met, while continuing to focus his attention on the past: the frail and feverish Gramsci recovering in a Soviet sanatorium. Though Gramsci is supposed to save Italy from Mussolini’s seizure of power, he falls in love with a Russian comrade instead. With a subtle sense of the absurd, Nora Bossong explores the conflicts between having intense feelings for another and fighting for great ideals. Translated by Alexander Booth.
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“I believe that one day, in another age, if there is another age, the poetry of Sandro Penna will be read by all and his greatness recognized by all.” —Natalia Ginzburg, author of Family Sayings
From the publisher: Juggling traditional Italian prosody and subject matter with their gritty urban opposites in taut, highly concentrated poems, Penna’s lyrics revel in love and the eruption of Eros together with the extraordinary that can be found within simple everyday life. There is something ancient in Penna’s poetry, and something Etruscan or Greek about the poems, though the landscape is most often of Rome: sensual yet severe, sinuous yet solid, inscrutable, intangible, and languorous, with a Sphinx-like and sun-soaked smile. Penna’s city is eternal—a mythically decadent Rome that brings to mind Paris or Alexandria. And though the echoes resound—from Rimbaud, Verlaine, and Baudelaire to Leopardi, D’Annunzio, and Cavafy—the voice is always undeniably and wonderfully Penna’s own. Translated by Alexander Booth.
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Alexander Booth is a writer and translator who lives and works in Berlin. A recipient of a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant for his translations of Lutz Seiler’s in field latin (Seagull Books, 2016), he has also published his own poems and other translations in numerous print and online journals. His poetry translations appeared in NER 37.3.
[W]hat sets Shrapnel Maps apart from many of its contemporaries is its insistence on reaching for the light, in reaching for unity, in reaching for new definitions of peace and new definitions of a sustainable joy. —Cleveland Review of Books
From the publisher: Writing into the wounds and reverberations of the Israel/Palestine conflict, Philip Metres’s fourth book of poems, Shrapnel Maps, is at once elegiac and activist, an exploratory surgery to extract the slivers of cartography through palimpsest and erasure. A wedding in Toura, a suicide bombing in Jerusalem, uneasy interactions between Arab and Jewish neighbors in University Heights, the expulsion of Palestinians in Jaffa, another bombing in Gaza: Shrapnel Maps traces the hurt and tender places, where political noise turns into the voices of Palestinians and Israelis. Working with documentary flyers, vintage postcards, travelogues, cartographic language, and first person testimonies, Shrapnel Maps ranges from monologue sonnets to prose vignettes, polyphonics to blackouts, indices to simultaneities, as Palestinians and Israelis long for justice and peace, for understanding and survival.
Philip Metres is the author of ten books, including The Sound of Listening (essays), Pictures at an Exhibition (poems), the translation I Burned at the Feast: Selected Poems of Arseny Tarkovsky, and Sand Opera. His work has garnered fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as six Ohio Arts Council grants, the Hunt Prize, the Adrienne Rich Award, two Arab American Book Awards, the Watson Fellowship, the Lyric Poetry Award, the Alice James Award, the Creative Workforce Fellowship, and the Cleveland Arts Prize. He is professor of English and director of the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights program at John Carroll University. Read his most recent poem in our current issue, NER 41.1.
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“What a healing collection of poems Ahmed has given us.” —Patrick Rosal author of Brooklyn Antediluvian
From the publisher: This collection juxtaposes text from Google Search autocomplete with the intimate language of prayer. Corporate jargon coexists with the incantatory and ancient ghazal form. [Dilruba] Ahmed’s second book of poetry explores the terrain of loss—of a beloved family member, of human dignity and potential, of the earth as it stands, of hope. Her poems weave mourning with the erratic process of healing, skepticism with an unsteady attempt to regain faith. With poems that are by turns elegiac, biting, and tender, Bring Now the Angels conveys a desire to move toward transformation and rebirth, even among seemingly insurmountable obstacles: chronic disease, corporate greed, environmental harm, and a general atmosphere of anxiety and violence.
Dilruba Ahmed’s debut book, Dhaka Dust, won the Bakeless Prize for Poetry, awarded by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Blackbird, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, and Poetry. Ahmed is the recipient of the Florida Review’s Editors’ Award and a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Prize. Her poem “Underground” appears NER 39.2 and you can read her conversation with our Editorial Panel member Angela Narciso Torres here.
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