Author: Lynne Barrett Publication Date: September 1, 2011
Synopsis: In Magpies, Lynne Barrett’s characters move through the past decade’s glitter and darkness. From the Internet’s fragmented pages to a gossip columnist’s sweet poison to the ABCs of a hurricane season, these stories explore story forms and storytelling as a means of connection, betrayal, and survival for characters who learn, sometimes too late, the value of what’s grasped and what’s lost.
Reviews: Publishers Weekly says of Magpies: “Barrett portrays adult lives with minimal flourishes and a powerful command of setting. Florida is electric with the tension of “all that can happen”—hurricanes, sinkholes, and a boom-and-bust history. It becomes as eerie as it is richly imagined, whether stories take place in an Art Deco building or a gas station. One of the year’s finer university press offerings…”
In The Rumpus, Joseph Olshan writes: “Sentence for sentence, Barrett is a superb writer. Her work brims with original ideas, questions and philosophical musings, the product of a probing intelligence and a highly literate sensibility. But what separates her from many contemporary short fiction writers is her consummate story-telling ability.”
Chauncey Mabe asks “Why does Lynne Barrett hate me?” in his review.
Melissa Slayton in the Apalachee Review says, “Fans of Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad or Tony Earley’s Here We Are in Paradise will enjoy Lynne Barrett’s third collection of short stories, which won the Florida Book Awards Gold Medal for General Fiction. Barrett’s aesthetic blends a wry take on contemporary American culture with a unique awareness of the Florida landscape. Within this book, one is as likely to encounter an overwrought editor as a sink hole, a gossip columnist as a tropical depression….This collection is tightly crafted yet eclectic.”
Lynne Barrett is the award-winning author of the story collections The Secret Names of Women, The Land of Go, and, most recently,Magpies. She co-edited Birth: A Literary Companion and The James M. Cain Cookbook, a collection of Cain’s nonfiction. She is the editor of the new collection of prose poetry, flash fiction, and flash nonfiction Tigertail: Florida Flash, to be published in Oct. 2011. Her work has appeared in Delta Blues, A Dixie Christmas, Miami Noir, One Year to a Writing Life, Simply the Best Mysteries, A Hell of a Woman, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Painted Bride Quarterly, Night Train, The Southern Women’s Review, Mondo Barbie, and many other anthologies and journals. Her essay, “What Editors Want,” published in The Review Review, was featured in the L.A. Times Book Blog and republished in Glimmer Train’s digest. She has received the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best mystery story from the Mystery Writers of America, the Moondance International Film Festival award for Best Short story, and fellowships from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, she received her M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. She teaches in the M.F.A. program in Creative Writing at Florida International University and edits The Florida Book Review.
Other Book Publications:
Author: Matt Bell Publication Date: April 15, 2012
Synopsis: Beset with environmental disaster, animal-like children, and the failure of traditional roles, the twenty-six fathers of Cataclysm Baby raise their desperate voices to reveal the strange stations of frustrated parenthood, to proclaim familial thrashings against the fading light of our exhausted planet, its glory grown wild again. As the known world disappears, these beleaguered and all-too-breakable men cling ever tighter to the duties of an unrecoverable past, even as their children rush ahead, evolve away. Unflinching in the face of apocalypse and unblinking before the complicated gaze of parental love, Matt Bell’s Cataclysm Baby is a powerful chronicle of our last days, and of the tentative graces that might fill the hours of our dusk.
Reviews: “In extraordinary language, with deep feeling, Matt Bell has crafted a baby name book for the apocalypse, a gorgeous, brilliant, often darkly hilarious and always moving novella. Written with an ingenuity and joy that call to mind Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, each chapter is a treasure: Here are beast of burden children, larval girls, subterranean daughters and choirs of sirens, combustible baby boys. I loved this book and want to recommend it to every human parent and child I know; if trees, rocks, and stars were literate, I would recommend it to them, too. “Where do babies come from?” children ask their parents, and Cataclysm Baby has an alphabet of answers as beautiful and mysterious as that ancient question, while always posing its haunting corollary: ‘Where do they go?’ –Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!
“You can read Matt Bell’s apocalyptic abecedarium as a grotesque allegory of the devastations of parenthood, or as a grim realist extrapolation evoked by our crumbling world order. But these lovely, harrowing pieces do not float off into the Ideasphere; they remain tethered to the dusty, arid earth by their palpable nouns: baby, hair, teeth, womb, seed, porridge, hut, crib, bone, mouth, hatchet, shovel, flesh. Like The Red Cavalry Stories or The Age of Wire and String, Cataclysm Baby is both surreal and vividly concrete, as much a Feeling Experiment as a Thought Experiment. The trope of end time is always about revelation, and what is revealed here, among other things, is Bell’s brutal compassion.” –Chris Bachelder, author of Abbott Awaits
“The baby born as fur ball, the one who chews up its sibling in the womb, the amputated limbs, the child sacrifices, the girl untethered into the sky, the skewed biblical cadences and the mythic tropes, the continuous horror begot by parenthood and authority–Matt Bell’s collection of condensed narraticules, Cataclysm Baby, is Avant-Gothic at its most remarkable, unsettling, potent.” –Lance Olsen, author of Calendar of Regrets
“Here is the alphabet of the pulsing apocalypse that is fatherhood, a book in love with what words, like parents, create: beauty, terror, awe.” –Lucy Corin, author of The Entire Predicament
Author: David Patten Publication Date: November 1, 2012
Synopsis: From his birth in 1954, David Patten was unbearably sensitive to the world around him. Unable to concentrate or learn the basics of reading and writing, he was punished and pathologized, labeled lazy, stupid, and a troublemaker. David was finally diagnosed with dyslexia, among other elements in the autism spectrum. But at a time when these disorders were little understood, David was unable to get the help he needed, and he gradually fell into the dark underbelly of American life. David’s struggle to survive and find a life worth living included time in a mental institution for attempted suicide at fourteen, and life as a drug dealer in Chicago’s criminal underworld. Eventually, David’s exceptional abilities in abstract and analytical thinking led him into the technology field, and a lucrative six-figure career as a crisis manager and trouble shooter. His story of gradually transforming disabilities into skills, hopelessness into freedom is a testament to the power of the human spirit.
Reviews: I have not found a book with such heart and spirit for a long time. This book, about a life worth living, is definitely worth reading — once, and again, and then sharing it with friends and loved ones.”
~ Dan Millman, author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior
“This book is fascinating. I read it with the greatest interest. There are all sorts of reasons to delight in it.”
~Andrei Codrescu, NPR commentator and author
“This wonderful book, Dummy, is much more than a success story, it is a story that speaks to the eternal light of the Soul and how it finds its way through an odyssey of darkness and despair back to wholeness and freedom. In the end this story is a testament to the power of love and grace and how they can be found in the most unexpected of circumstances.”
~ Adyashanti, spiritual teacher and author
Born to well-educated parents in Chicago as an autism-spectrum child, David Patten was repetitively misdiagnosed in the 1950’s, a time when autism was little understood. After a youth of a severe disorientation and isolation, the seriously dyslexic Patten made a living dealing drugs and engaging in other street-level enterprises. In his twenties he discovered his native genius in abstract conceptual mathematics which led him to a successful career as a businessman who worked debugging computer systems for major corporations and American military installations.
David’s deep sensitivity and insight gave him the capacity not only to maintain meaningful and affectionate human relationships, but enabled him to observe that his desperation and limitations need not define who he was. It was this understanding that eventually allowed him to accept his life and move beyond his identification with his human personality. Today he is the father of two grown, productive and happy children. He lives with his wife of 30 years, a physician, in Hawaii.
Author: Oni Buchanan Publication Date: October 1, 2012
“Oni Buchanan’s startling new collection stages the sacred, violent, and beautiful encounter between the human and the animal, each wild, domesticated, caged, terrified, and liberated. These wondrously inflamed poems recall the eerie worlds of early Plath, yet the pleading, enraged, but ultimately tender voice is entirely Buchanan’s.”—Thomas Heise, associate professor of English, McGill University
“There is a road that winds from Buchanan’s masterful, animal ear to her strange and magnificent heart that is unlike any road ever traveled. It is the road the most fragile creatures—Violence and Mourning—take to bring themselves home. They are the ones who must most be, because it is they who mark our cry to exist and our hide from extinction. Buchanan is my favorite species of poet: the rarest of the real.”—Sabrina Orah Mark, author, The Babies
“Given the on-going, increasingly sensuous relationship between man and machine, Must a Violence has an ethical music beneath its desire, lines ‘ricocheting from one elastic / possibility to the next.’ These possibilities
must be heard, as courageously as Oni Buchanan fiercely gives them to us here, today and now.”—Major Jackson, Richard Dennis Green & Gold Professor, University of Vermont
“Must a Violence is a gorgeous ode to the infinitely unnoticed sounds and movements of the world. From hearing “the flank of a fish creak” to feeling the “presence underneath” a woman’s hair, this book gives us the world inside of the world, the sensory experience beneath and beyond even the deepest reaches of our days. No other poet writes like Oni Buchanan. And I don’t think anyone ever could.”—Katie Ford, author, Colosseum
Oni Buchanan’s third poetry book, Must a Violence, was just published by the Kuhl House Poets Series in October 2012, selected by Mark Levine. Her previous books include Spring, a Poetry Honors winner of the 2009 Massachusetts Book Awards and selected by Mark Doty for the 2007 National Poetry Series, and What Animal, selected by Fanny Howe for the University of Georgia Press Contemporary Poetry Series. Oni is also a concert pianist, has released three solo piano CDs, and actively performs across the U.S. and abroad. She lives in Boston with her husband, the poet Jon Woodward.
Other Book Publications:
Author: Steven Cramer Publication Date: November 15, 2012
Synopsis: Schizophrenia may be characterized by a surfeit of language, a refurbishment of our used up words with musical connections every day speech and sense cannot provide. These riffs are “clangings,” and Cramer imagines them into a poetic narrative that exults in both aural richness and words’ power to evoke an interior landscape whose strangeness is intimate, unsteady, and stirring.
Reviews: “Steven Cramer handles and contends with and profits from that extremely difficult, intensely compressed, stanzaic form, over and over, inventive all the way, hilarious a lot of the time, and scared, scary, distanced and objective, and very moving. Clangings is a wild ride.” –David Ferry, 2012 National Book Award winner
“Humane from its aching heart to its flummoxed nether regions, whipsmart, formally acute but unfussy, and entertaining as all hell-Steven Cramer’s new book shreds our airwaves with an inventiveness that is rare. Rare, as in once-in-a-lifetime-if-you’re-lucky rare. It balances perfectly on the knife-edge of improvisation and necessity. Clangings is magnificent.” –David Rivard
“Steven Cramer’s Clangings is a poetry not of madness, nor even the merely unspeakable, but instead irresistibly musical musings that reveal a command of language only achievable through fierce intelligence and the most piercing wit. A brilliant revision of the clinical term that describes speech that sacrifices sense to sound, here one finds that sound itself-“Two rhymes snagged between rhymes,/ spun puns, all my blinds up in flames./ The voices in noise are getting wise,” as Cramer writes, indelibly-is indeed sense. Poetry is healing here, the astonishing process itself laid out on these pages in all its utterly humane glory.”–Rafael Campo, MD, Harvard Medical School, author of The Desire to Heal: A Doctor’s Education in Empathy, Identity, and Poetry