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This Week’s News

Today we honor the life of Marvin Bell, who passed away on December 14 at the age of 83. Bell was the first Poet Laureate of Iowa as well as a National Book Award Finalist, and wrote over twenty volumes of poetry, most recently Incarnate: The Collected Dead Man PoemsYou can read a poem from this collection published in New York Magazine on September 24 and read Copper Canyon‘s celebration of Bell’s life and legacy.

Reaching Mithymnapoet Steven Heighton’s memoir about his experience assisting in the Syrian refugee crisis in Greece, was named a New and Noteworthy title by the New York Times Book Review on December 13. Also mentioned in the Times was Etel Adnan’s Shifting the Silencewhich was recommended in an article about her ongoing gallery exhibition. Dubravka Ugresic’s The Age of Skinwhich “brings deep personal insight into the grinding despair and destructive nationalism of post-communist societies,” was also made an Editors’ Choice. 

50 Ways to Cook a Carrot by Peter Hertzmann was in the New Yorker on December 15, recommended as one of the best cookbooks of the year: “With instructions and explanations delivered with the pleasingly brusque encouragement of a seasoned teacher, this is a brilliantly audacious act of culinary pedagogy that (also quite brilliantly) verges on the absurd.” Bon appetit! 

IntersectionAllies by Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, and Carolyn Choi, illustrated by Ashley Seil Smith (Dottir Press) was recommended in Keys Soulcarethe lifestyle website founded by Alicia Keys.

Book Riot recommended Any Other Place by Michael Croley and Step into the Circle: Writers in Modern Appalachia edited by Amy Greene and Trent Thomson (both Blair) in their list of “15 Books About Appalachia to Read Instead of Hillbilly Elegy” on December 11. 

Grieving by Cristina Rivera Garza and translated by Sarah Booker (The Feminist Press at CUNY) appeared in the Chicago Review of Books and the Latin American Literature Review.

The “charming” LyricPop series was featured in SPIN Magazine‘s gift guide. Akashic publisher Johnny Temple also spoke about the series on the Author Talks podcast from WCBS New York.

Lord the One you Love is Sick by Kasey Thornton (Ig Publishing) was in the Charlotte Observer on December 9.

Excerpts from Red Wave: An American in the Soviet Music Underground by Joanna Stingray and Madison Stingray (Doppelhouse Press) were shared by the NYU Jordan Russian Center.

Black & White & Weird All Over by Jon “Bermuda” Schwartz and Planet Wax by Aaron Lupton & Jeff Szpirglas (both 1984 Publishing)  were featured in the Forces of Geek holiday gift guide.

A Ghost in the Throat by Doireann Ní Ghríofa (Biblioasis) has been named a Foyles Book of the Year. Ní Ghríofa’s memoir is the winner of the Nonfiction Book of the Year 2020.

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This Week’s Reviews

In My Anaana’s Amautik
Nadia Sammurtok, illus. Lenny Lishchenko | Inhabit Media | 9781772272529 | April 2020
“Each spread appeals to a different sense, creating a deliciously cozy and nurturing microenvironment for this lucky tot. The repetition of ‘In my anaana’s amautik’ at the beginning of each short paragraph is both lulling and reinforcing of the relationship between child and mother.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics
Edit. Andrea Abi-Karam & Kay Gabriel | Nightboat Books | 9781643620336 | October 2020
“Gave me everything I wanted and more, the perfect supplement as I started my hormone transition journey. The Zoom reading was one of the best virtual events I attended in quarantine—a riotous joy fest with a veritable who’s who of the genderqueer literati.”—Poetry Foundation

Forgotten Work
Jason Guriel | Biblioasis | 9781771963824 | October 2020
“A wondrous novel.”Ron Charles, The Washington Post‘s Book Club Newsletter

How to Carry Water
Lucille Clifton, edit. Aracelis Girmay | BOA Editions | 9781950774142 | September 2020
“Clifton brings a complexity to something we imagined we understood—and a relentless honesty.”The New York Times Magazine

Slash and Burn
Claudia Hernández, trans. Julia Sanches | And Other Stories | 9781911508823 | January 2021

“With each of its story lines weaving artfully into the next, Slash and Burn is an astonishing literary novel whose style is daring and whose tales are tragic.”—Foreword Reviews
“Slash and Burn is an ember of a novel . . . this restrained narrative about a mother’s sacrifice surges with hot undercurrents of danger and memory.”—Bookpage

Princess Arabella at the Museum
Mylo Freeman | Cassava Republic Press | 9781913175061 | January 2021
“Art Easter eggs, as with Arabella’s Mondrian-inspired dress, will entertain artists of all ages.”—Foreword Reviews

Spin a Scarf of Sunshine
Dawn Casey, illus. Stila Lim | Floris Books | 9781782506584 | May 2021
“A lively and entertaining picture book celebration of sustainability, recycling, green living, nature and crafting.”—Midwest Book Review

This Poop is Mine!
Gusti, illus. Gusti | NubeOcho | 9788417673888 | October 2020
“An unusual, unique, and memorable picture book about sharing.”—Midwest Book Review

Yi Sang: Selected Works
edit. Don Mee Choi, trans Jack Jung, Sawako Nakayasu, Don Mee Choi and Joyelle McSweeney | Wave Books | 9781950268085 | September 2020
“A work of highwire avant-garde experimentation, written through a modernist poetic during Korea’s colonial period, Yi Sang’s poems manage to be political acts that do not succumb to mere political statement, but involvement and explosion, in a book that—for a poet who died young in 1938—complicates the very notions of death, haunting, and revival.”—Chicago Review of Books

The Morgan Trust
Richard Bridgeman, illus. Seth | Biblioasis | 9781771963725 | October 2020
The Open Door
Margaret Oliphant , illus. Seth | Biblioasis | 9781771963688 | October 2020
The Story of a Disappearance and an Appearance
M.R. James, illus. Seth | Biblioasis | 9781771963701 | October 2020
“Seth has once again added sparse, but unnerving illustrations to each volume, using shades of gray and shadow-play to cement you in these creepy tales . . . these stories are perfect to read aloud or curl up on the couch with for an evening of spooky entertainment.”—Prairie Fire

The Drive
Yair Assulin, trans. Jessica Cohen | New Vessel Press | 9781939931825 | April 2020
“The sort of soul-level struggling that makes great fiction possible. The translator, Jessica Cohen, is responsible for translations of Israeli literary giants with fans in America like David Grossman, Amos Oz and Etgar Keret, and one can only hope that her name on Assulin’s work means that we’ll be seeing more from him on our shelves soon.”—The Jewish Exponent

Hotel Almighty
Sarah J. Sloat | Sarabande Books | 9781946448644 | September 2020
Hotel Almighty will make your brain spin until the last page, weaving colorful paper cut-outs, vibrant dots, and gold threads with word-jewels excavated from Misery, bewildering you with a new sense of what poetry is capable of.”—Rhino Poetry

“Sloat’s work here belongs within the offbeat orthodoxy of found poetry; the popular label ‘blackout poetry’ certainly applies to her method of scratching out, painting over or otherwise obscuring printed text, thereby bringing novel messages to the surface. And yet these terms, which live in negative language, don’t fully capture Sloat’s sublime, unsettling outcomes.  She coaxes Technicolor poetry from preexisting pages; new verse isn’t merely found—as in stumbled upon—but unearthed.”—The Curator

Pet Sounds
Stephanie Young | Nightboat Books | 9781937658946 | April 2019
“Not only is Pet Sounds an astonishing book of poetry, it’s a surprising new mode of music criticism. In translating the album from a musical form into a written space, Young troubles the distinction between artist and critic – and, in doing so, hears voices that have previously gone unheard behind the cacophony of white male privilege.”—Lana Turner Journal

Vibratory Milieu
Carrie Hunter | Nightboats Books | 9781643620312 | January 2021
Vibratory Milieu is a high-speed polyphonic lyric suite that somehow feels simultaneously an extension of her prior work, and yet, leagues ahead in terms of structure.”—rob mclennan’s blog

The Adventures of a Narrative Gardener
Ronald Lee Fleming | GILES | 9781911282747 | December 2020
“A unique, delightful, large-format book about one man’s desire to create a natural place to hold human memory.”—The VVA Veteran

Skyland
Andrew Durbin | Nightboat Books | 9781643620275 | July 2020
“Skyland is a nice example of fiction tinged by the terror of our contemporary age without being subsumed by it… So even if Durbin’s ‘biography-through-the-periphery’ about Guibert remains largely unfinished, he has written something even harder to define, an airy-yet-ominous diary of a wine-fogged week on a biblical island, one that—like ‘the missing portrait of Guibert’—hovers right there in front of us, nudging us along, floating ‘just out of reach.’”—Hudson Review

Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Gerda Muller | Floris Books | 9781782506614 | September 2020
“Muller’s art is just a wonder.”—SLJ Blog

The Piano Student
Lea Singer, trans. Elisabeth Lauffer | New Vessel Press | 9781939931863 | October 2020
“Gripping in its newness and historical import. . . . The Piano Student contains a lovely air of mystery and a clear-eyed view of the difference between pianistic workmanship and pianistic greatness.”—Washington Indepdent Review of Books

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This Week’s News

The Wolf’s Trail by Thomas D. Peacock (Holy Cow! Press), was recommended in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on December 4.

R.E. Burrillo, author of Behind the Bears Ears (Torrey House Press), was interviewed in Foreword Reviews on November 20.

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This Week’s Reviews

The Living Is Easy
Dorothy West | The Feminist Press at CUNY | 9781936932979 | November 2020
“The living here—for West’s characters, the Black community, herself—is hardly easy, but their ‘wildness’ continues to provoke, embolden and inspire.”—Shelf Awareness 

Platinum Blonde
Phoebe Stuckes | Bloodaxe Books | 9781780375021 | November 2020

Platinum Blonde accomplishes what some of the best literature does, which is to articulate a standpoint that you hadn’t recognised as such until it was given a coherent form of expression.”—Oxonian Review

A Kabbalah of Food: Stories, Teachings and Recipes
Rabbi Hanoch Hecht | Monkfish Book Publishing | 9781948626316 | November 2020
“In this delightful book, Rabbi Hecht weaves precious Chasidic tales and spiritual teachings around the theme of food. With more than sixty recipes, this book will nourish the soul and stimulate the palate.”—Lubavitch Magazine

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This Week’s Reviews

We Too: Essays on Sex Work and Survival
edit. Natalie West | The Feminist Press at CUNY | 9781558612853 | February 2021
“This book is salvation. The writing is unfailingly keen, each piece individually capable of inducing radical empathy. This book and its fierce creators are ready to change the world.”—Booklist, starred review

Seeking an Aurora
Elizabeth Pulford, illus. Anne Bannock | Blue Dot Kids Press | 9781733121279 | January 2021
“A memorable picture book that captures an unforgettable experience.”—Booklist, starred review

Shifting the Silence
Etel Adnan | Nightboat Books | 9781643620305 | October 2020
“A quietly shattering meditation on death, which interweaves memoir with observations both geopolitical and galactic.”—The New Yorker

Classic Black
Brain D. Gallagher | GILES | 9781911282358 | February 2020
“A handsomely illustrated catalog written by Mr. Gallagher, with contributions by several eminent colleagues in the field.”—The New Yorker

Cold Moon
Roger Rosenblatt | Turtle Point Press | 9781885983886 | October 2020  
“The celebrated author and essayist takes us on a tour of his ‘weathered mind’ at age 80 [and] his memories of his life summon ours, without warning or apology. Line by line, he helps us find softer landings.”—The Washington Post

The Night Monster
Sushree Mishra, illus. Sanket Pethkar | Karadi Tales | 9788181903310 | September 2018
“Honestly delightful. . . . A wonderful story that explores fear and how you can conquer it, especially with loved ones lending a helping hand.”—Book Riot

Black & White & Weird All Over
Jon “Bermuda” Schwartz | 1984 Publishing | 9781948221160 | November 2020
“A beautiful, new, personal book that will have fans flipping.”—LaughButton

“Gorgeous. Black & White & Weird All Over is well worth the admission price, and it has instantly become one of my most treasured art books to arrive in recent years.”—MovieWeb

The Theory of Flight
Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu | Catalyst Press | 9781946395412 | January 2021
The Theory of Flight is full of magic, a magic willing to be observed by eyes that can see the beauty in knowledge, facts and far beyond.”—Full Stop

Red Wave: An American in the Soviet Music Underground
Joanna Stingray, Madison Stingray | Doppelhouse Press | 9781733957922 | September 2020
“Few rock albums are “daring” in any real sense, but Red Wave: 4 Underground Bands from the USSR was one of the bravest. . . . The California woman responsible for that comp album tells her story in Red Wave: An American in the Soviet Music Underground. Joanna Stingray was an also-ran rocker [who] was connected just enough to deliver on her chutzpah. Stingray was floored by [the musicians’] thoughtful profundity—theirs was not a ‘wave’ floating on shallow fashion statements—and makes the keen observation that oppression, coupled with lack of distraction, nurtured their art.”—Shepherd Express

Under the Dome: Walks with Paul Celan
Jean Daive, trans. Rosmarie Waldrop | City Lights Publishers | 9780872868083 | November 2020
“[Under the Dome’s] form aptly mirrors Celan’s own: it is composed in short fragments, its style is hallucinatory and obsessive. . . . And though it is steeped in melancholy, the memoir also shows Celan absorbed in the quiet happiness of his work. Daive watches from a distance and leaves him undisturbed.”—Boston Review

The Complete Writings of Art Smith, the Bird Boy of Fort Wayne, Edited by Michael Mortone
Michal Martone | BOA Editions | 9781950774210 | October 2020
“Misspellings, miscommunications, romantic missteps, and many, many plane crashes color the life of Art Smith through a seamless blend of fact and fiction in a literary form that I can’t seem to pin down. Not quite a biography, but not entirely a work of fiction either, Martone’s mythology is a self-defining exploration of purpose.”—Indiana Review

“Martone blurs the line between fact and fiction in his latest work, which focuses less on Smith’s contribution to aviation, and more on his contribution to writing.”—ABC WBTA 21

Constantly
GG | Koyama Press | 9781927668726 | January 2020
“Constantly is another (mostly) silent work, rendered in pastel and watercolour shades and painted lines. The art looks so delicate it’s as if it’s barely staying on the page, like some whisper only half heard.”—The Quietus

Reaching Mithymna
Steve Heighton | Biblioasis | 9781771963763 | November 2020
In 2015, Steven Heighton went to the Greek island of Lesbos to put his halting Greek, his mother’s native tongue, to work as a volunteer among the surge of Syrian refugees arriving in Europe. The Canadian author wasn’t starry-eyed to begin with, and there was little in his experiences alongside dedicated aid workers—under-resourced or, like him, unqualified—and traumatized refugees, to change that. Even more than pandemic fatigue, the refugee tragedy illustrates our ability to normalize what should never be normalized. What once dominated headlines began fading from global attention long before COVID-19. Heighton’s harrowing and moving book about his time in Greece, with its rich array of characters and finely expressed understanding of the pain of exile, wrenches our gaze back to the refugees and refuses to let go.”—Maclean

Take Me Outdoors
Mary Richards | Agnes & Aubrey | 9781916474581 | April 2021
“For those of you in search of a guided journal that’s great for a bit of independent reading and ideal for home learners, this book has your number.”—School Library Journal Blog

Villa of Delirium
Adrian Goetz, trans. Natasha Lehrer | New Vessel Press | 9781939931801 | August 2020

Adrien Goetz’s Villa of Delirium is not merely a historical novel, it’s a novel about history. Belle Époque France, Ancient Greece, the two World Wars and the Holocaust: each provides the author his narrative setting but also the ideas he reckons with. . . . Exhilarating . . . It’s a remarkable feat of storytelling.”—Open Letters Review

The Legend of the First Unicorn
Lari Don, illus. Nataša Ilincic | Kelpies | 9781782506478 | September 2020
“Not only is this a Scottish legend that includes a griffon but it shows a female heroine with magic who saves the prince’s smile, a ferocious battle between the griffon and the unicorn, and a happy ending.”—Imagination Soup

Mountains of Mumbai
Labanya Ghosh, illus. by Pallavi Jain | Karadi Tales Picturebooks | 9788193654293 | September 2020
“This gorgeous hardcover picture book from Karadi Tales has won the Neev Book Award this year and is a sheer delight to read and flip through.”—Huffington Post India

The Night Monster
Sushree Mishra, illus. Sanket Pethkar | Karadi Tales Picturebooks | 9788181903310 | September 2018
“The art picks up where the words leave off in a perfect balance so that you know exactly how Avi’s fears are manifesting and also how much of a safe harbor he finds in his sister’s love.”—Book Riot

Bright Green Lies
Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith, Max Wilbert | Monkfish Book Publishing | 9781948626392 | March 2021
“True environmentalists don’t buy into The Green New Deal. They think all the encouraging words from other environmentalists are bright green lies. Because at bottom, all the positive noises are simply a sop to industrialized society and the giant industries that run it. And according to Bright Green Lies, the book, it’s all about maintaining the current opulent lifestyle, and continuing to destroy the planet. No sacrifices will be made that might slow the consumer economy. This dramatic, sane and passionate book lays out the lies with evidence like simple math and direct observation.”—The Straight Dope

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