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Thursday, December 24, 2009

tara betts, arc and hue

i've been introduced to the concept of the 'book trailer' and i'm fascinated by it. tara betts introduces herself to us as a poet, as a social media 'maven,' and an orchestrator of delivery with the various online outlets in which we can find her sincere work and warm certitude. welcome her book to the forever family of books:

Tara Betts, Arc and Hue
You can network with Tara Betts here
Willow Press

New Fiction from Elisabeth Sheffield: Fort Da

A psychological and linguistic exploration of obsession and illicit love.

While working at a sleep lab in northern Germany, Rosemarie Ramee, a 38-year-old American neurologist, falls in love with Aslan, an eleven-year-old Turkish Cypriot. To get closer to the boy, RR undertakes a "marriage of convenience" to the boy's uncle. But when the uncle suddenly disappears, Ramee, alone with Aslan, must take the boy to his relatives in northern Cyprus. A train journey ensues, chronicled in RR's psychological reports and neurological inquiries.

But what begins as an objective "report" breaks down as the story progresses: RR's voice, hitherto suppressed and analytical, emerges hesitantly and then erupts, splintering every conception of inner and outer lives, solipsistic reality, and the irrevocable past. Consistently surprising and unrelenting, Fort Da turns one woman's illicit affair into a riveting exploration of language and the mind.

Elisabeth Sheffield is the author of the novel Gone. She teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

This is Lemony Snicket retelling Lolita for an audience that insists it isn't already hopelessly tangled up in the essential American fairy tale. Fort Da [is] brilliant in a careless way, and written even better.

—Stephen Graham Jones, author of Led Feather, The Bird is Gone, Bleed into Me, and All the Beautiful Sinners.

A literary high–wire performance with stunning language. Sheffield makes psychological sense of an ‘aberrant’ sexual behavior and the condition of longing, along with a chase, a European travelogue, and a parody of academia.
—Stacey Levine, author of My Horse and Other Stories, Frances Johnson, and Dra–.

from the
University of Alabama Press

Selected for the 2009 Sawtooth Poetry Prize by Rae Armantrout

100 Notes makes use of multiple sources, and so is not merely a subjective account of violence and its effects, but also a research project. For example, I quote from such authorities on violence as Elie Wiesel, Hannah Arendt, Susan Sontag, Dostoevsky, William T. Vollmann, and Georges Bataille. I also include information from books and websites on issues such as childhood depression, child abuse, and gun control. I have also sourced material from many stories told to me in person, over email, or discovered in fiction and film. Included as well are events from the news.
-- Julie Carr (from
Author Statement)

100 Notes on Violence
Julie Carr
Ahsahta Press

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Split This Rock and Chris Abani

Split This Rock Poem-of-the-Week: Chris Abani

The New Religion

The body is a nation I have never known.
The pure joy of air: the moment between leaping
from a cliff into the wall of blue below. Like that.
Or to feel the rub of tired lungs against skin-
covered bone, like a hand against the rough of bark.
Like that. "The body is a savage," I said.
For years I said that: the body is a savage.
As if this safety of the mind were virtue
not cowardice. For years I have snubbed
the dark rub of it, said, "I am better, Lord,
I am better," but sometimes, in an unguarded
moment of sun, I remember the cowdung-scent
of my childhood skin thick with dirt and sweat
and the screaming grass.
But this distance I keep is not divine,
for what was Christ if not God's desire
to smell his own armpit? And when I
see him, I know he will smile,
fingers glued to his nose, and say, "Next time
I will send you down as a dog
to taste this pure hunger."

-Chris Abani
From Hands Washing Water (2006). Used by permission.
Chris Abani's poetry collections are Hands Washing Water (Copper Canyon, 2006), Dog Woman (Red Hen, 2004), Daphne's Lot (Red Hen, 2003), and Kalakuta Republic (Saqi, 2001). His prose includes Song For Night (Akashic, 2007), The Virgin of Flames (Penguin, 2007), Becoming Abigail (Akashic, 2006), GraceLand (FSG, 2004), and Masters of the Board (Delta, 1985). He is a Professor at the University of California, Riverside, and the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the PEN Hemingway Book Prize, and a Guggenheim Award. Library Journal says of Hands Washing Water, "Abani enters the wound with a boldness that avoids nothing. Highly recommended."
Abani will be featured at Split This Rock Poetry Festival: Poems of Provocation & Witness, March 10-13, 2010, in Washington, DC. The festival will present readings, workshops, panel discussions, youth programming, film, activism-four days of creative transformation as we imagine a way forward, hone our community and activist skills, and celebrate the many ways that poetry can act as an agent for social change.
For more information:

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Split This Rock