"This work is unlike any other, in its range of rich, conjuring imagery and its dexterity, its smart voice. Carroll-Hackett doesn’t spare us—but doesn’t save us—she draws a blueprint of power and class with her unflinching pivot: matter-of-fact and tender." —Jan Beatty

Archive for the ‘Must Read Writers’ Category

Monday Must Read! Corn Exchange by Helen Vitoria

Helen Vitoria is an award winning poet and an artist living in Pennsylvania.  Her poems and photographs appear widely online and in print.  She is the author of nine poetry chapbooks, a poetry pamphlet, a full length poetry collection and a collaborative ekphrastic poetry/photography collection. Her poems have been nominated thrice for Best New Poets & several Pushcart Prizes.

Corn Exchange (Wild Chestnut Press. 2013), her first full length collection of poetry won the 2014 IPPY (Independent Publisher Book Award) SILVER MEDAL for Poetry, the 2014 Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for Poetry, an Honorable Mention for the 2014 Eric Hoffer Grand Prize Book Award, in addition to having placed as a finalist for the 2014 Eric Hoffer da Vinci Eye Award & the 2014 Eric Hoffer Montaigne Medal, and recently been nominated for the 2015 Tufts Discovery Award.

Buy this beautiful book here! 

corn exchange

Cover photo : The Cornfield by Kathy Harcom , http://www.kathyharcom.com

Visit Helen’s website here! 

Praise for Corn Exchange

“Invoking Anne Sexton’s brand of highly personal, confessional verse, Vitoria’s tragically intimate collection fearlessly attempts to reconcile ideas such as fear, suicide, family, commitment, pornography, memory, and experience through the binary elements of sight and touch. Vitoria shows a clear understanding of the safety existing in the eyes, in the act of seeing and observing, and in its inherent physical distance that the hands cannot and do not carry. Not until there exists a trust able to reconcile that physical distance and, as Vitoria explains, “spread the body, [using] thumb and palm and say: here, be happy.”– Hoffer Award judges had to say to the US Review of Books 

Corn Exchange has been taught in MFA courses in Umbria, Italy, and her poem, We Were Horses, taught in various Creative Writing MFA classes throughout the US.

She is the Founding Editor & Editor in Chief of  the award winning, Thrush Poetry Journal  & Thrush Press.  She also  served as a Poetry Editor for Poets & Artists Magazine.  She teaches a free monthly poetry  workshop in her community and will be teaching poetry to inmates in Pennsylvania Corrections  Facilities.  She is working on her second full length collection of poetry, NEBRASKA. Visit her listing on Poets & Writers here. 

Monday Must Read! Raised by Humans by Deborah Miranda

An enrolled member of the Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen Nation of California, poet Deborah Miranda was born in Los Angeles to an Esselen/Chumash father and a mother of French ancestry. She grew up in Washington State, earning a BS in teaching moderate special-needs children from Wheelock College in 1983 and an MA and PhD in English from the University of Washington. Miranda’s collections of poetry include Raised by Humans (2015); Indian Cartography: Poems (1999), winner of the Diane Decorah Memorial First Book Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas; and The Zen of La Llorona (2005), nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. Miranda also received the 2000 Writer of the Year Award for Poetry from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. Her mixed-genre collection Bad Indians: A Tribal Memoir (2013) won a Gold Medal from the Independent Publisher’s Association and the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award, and was shortlisted for the William Saroyan Award. She teaches at Washington & Lee.

Buy this beautiful book here!

miranda humans

“The poems in Raised by Humans are about surviving childhood and colonization. Childhood did not agree with Deborah Miran­da, mostly because the adult humans in charge of her life were not prepared to manage their own lives, let alone the life of a human-in-training. Humans raised Deborah, but it wasn’t a hu­mane childhood.

This poetry collection is also about how indigenous people survive civilization and become readers and writers of the same alphabet that colonized their culture. The complexity of being forced to find her way into relationship with the very people or cultures that have hurt/raised Miranda is a paradox at the heart of her poetry, which pushes language past what Miranda calls the “alphabet of walls.”

Monday Must Read! Blood Dazzler by Patricia Smith

In minute-by-minute detail, Patricia Smith tracks Hurricane Katrina as it transforms into a full-blown mistress of destruction. From August 23, 2005, the day Tropical Depression Twelve developed, through August 28 when it became a Category Five storm with its “scarlet glare fixed on the trembling crescent,” to the heartbreaking aftermath, these poems evoke the horror that unfolded in New Orleans as America watched it on television.

Buy this amazing book here! 

blood dazzler 1

Assuming the voices of flailing politicians, the dying, their survivors, and the voice of the hurricane itself, Smith follows the woefully inadequate relief effort and stands witness to families held captive on rooftops and in the Superdome. She gives voice to the thirty-four nursing home residents who drowned in St. Bernard Parish and recalls the day after their deaths when George W. Bush accompanied country singer Mark Willis on guitar:

The cowboy grins through the terrible din,
***
And in the Ninth, a choking woman wails
Look like this country done left us for dead.

An unforgettable reminder that poetry can still be “news that stays news,” Blood Dazzler is a necessary step toward national healing.

Patricia Smith is the author of four previous collections of poetry, including Teahouse of the Almighty, winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and the Paterson Poetry Prize. A record-setting, national poetry slam champion, she was featured in the film Slamnation, on the HBO series Def Poetry Jam, and is a frequent contributor to Harriet, the Poetry Foundation’s blog. Visit her website at http://www.wordwoman.ws.

Monday Must Read! States of Mercy, A Novel by Ace Boggess

Ace Boggess is author of the novel A Song Without a Melody and four books of poetry: I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So, Ultra Deep Field, The Prisoners, and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled. He earned degrees from Marshall University and the West Virginia University College of Law. His fiction appears in Notre Dame Review, Lumina, Belmont Story Review, Superstition Review, and other journals. He received a fellowship for fiction from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

Buy States of Mercy Here! 

States of Mercy Boggess

Mercy Adams, the young existential heroine, follows a path of self-discovery through chaos at the turn of the millennium and beyond. Her friend Lucian Lang narrates the story of her struggle to overcome hurt in a world in transition. Violence, drug abuse, and a growing diversity of approaches to spirituality are the norm, setting up barriers to understanding and, ultimately, transformation. States of Mercy explores questions of identity and belief, but also friendship. How far can friends travel this road together before one goes where the other cannot follow? Mercy and Lucian intend to find out together, unless the mad world destroys them first.

 

Monday Must Read! The Storytelling Animal by Jonathan Gottschall

A must-read for any writer or storyteller, I think. 

Buy It Here! 

storytelling

A New York Times Editor’s Choice
 
A Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Finalist
“A jaunty, insightful new book . . . [that] draws from disparate corners of history and science to celebrate our compulsion to storify everything around us.”
New York Times

Humans live in landscapes of make-believe. We spin fantasies. We devour novels, films, and plays. Even sporting events and criminal trials unfold as narratives. Yet the world of story has long remained an undiscovered and unmapped country. Now Jonathan Gottschall offers the first unified theory of storytelling. He argues that stories help us navigate life’s complex social problems–just as flight simulators prepare pilots for difficult situations. Storytelling has evolved, like other behaviors, to ensure our survival. Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology, Gottschall tells us what it means to be a storytelling animal and explains how stories can change the world for the better. We know we are master shapers of story. The Storytelling Animal finally reveals how stories shape us.

“This is a quite wonderful book. It grips the reader with both stories and stories about the telling of stories, then pulls it all together to explain why storytelling is a fundamental human instinct.”
–Edward O. Wilson

“Charms with anecdotes and examples . . . we have not left nor should we ever leave Neverland.”–Cleveland Plain Dealer

Monday Must Read! Before Language by Susan Deer Cloud

Love this book! 

Buy Before Language Here! 

before language deer cloud

Susan Deer Cloud, a mixed lineage Catskill Indian, is an alumna of Goddard College (MFA) and Binghamton University (B.A. and M.A.). She has taught Creative Writing, Rhetoric and Literature at Binghamton University and Broome Community College. A few years ago she returned to her “heart country” Catskills to dwell once more with foxes, deer, black bears, bald eagles, and the ghosts of panthers and ancestors. She now lives as a full-time mountain woman, dreamer and writer. Deer Cloud is the recipient of various awards and fellowships, including an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, two New York State Foundation for the Arts Fellowships, and a Chenango County Council for the Arts Individual Artist’s Grant. Some of her books are Hunger Moon (Shabda Press); Fox Mountain, The Last Ceremony and Car Stealer (FootHills Publishing); and Braiding Starlight (Split Oak Press). Her poems, stories and essays have been published in anthologies and journals too numerous to name. In order to get out “the voices of the voiceless,” the poet has edited three published anthologies: multicultural Confluence and Native American anthologies I Was Indian (Before Being Indian Was Cool), Volumes I & II; the 2008 Spring Issue of Yellow Medicine Review, a Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art & Thought; and the Re-Matriation Chapbook Series of Indigenous Poetry. She is a member of the international peace organization SERVAS; Poets & Writers; Associated Writing Programs (AWP); and indigenous Wordcraft Circle. She has served on panels at writers’ conferences and given myriad poetry readings at colleges, cultural centers, coffee houses, and other venues. In between her sojourns in the Catskills, Deer Cloud has spent the past few years roving with her life’s companion, John Gunther, around Turtle Island (North America) as well as on the Isles (Iceland, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England) and Europe

Monday Must Read! Leopard Lady: A Life in Verse by Valerie Nieman

Love this book! 

Buy Leopard Lady Here from Press 53

Leopard+Lady Nieman

You have not before read a book like this one. This one will take you where you have never been. Yes, you may have seen a circus but that is not exactly what is here. Nor have you met these people before. Unique, deeply moving, funny, and withal composed on the edge of danger and enlightenment, Leopard Lady is masterful. Nieman’s syntax, rhymes, meter and scenes make music while the reader is charged with an energy that takes us closer and closer to the singular truth we must bear.

—Kelly Cherry, former Poet Laureate of Virginia

Here, readers are taken on an unexpected adventure. In “Destroyed by Fire Flood and Ice,” the Gypsy Queen asks, “Do you dare see the secrets past the veil?” Readers, be ready to find what you did not know you were seeking, as the Leopard Lady will take you on an unforeseen journey and, indeed, you will discover secrets as you travel these wondrous paths.

—Jill Gerard, Editor, Chautauqua

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