The texts in this list are curated through my personal interest and recommendations from publishing companies, authors, and publicists. Please contact me with upcoming releases. Understand that I will only include two texts per publishing company. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
La Belle Ajar by Adrian Ernesto
102 pages – CLASH Books /Bookshop
“La Belle Ajar is a beautiful collaboration between the dead and the living, the muse and the inspired, and a reminder to continue the conversations with the poets who came before us; Cepeda finds the magic of Plath and delicately constructs her enchantment, an enlivening book of poems you will return to reread again and again.”—Kelli Russell Agodon
“The Elvis Machine is a book of poems inspired by living, loving, and hate-fucking in Memphis, Tennessee—a city still kissed with the 1950s. Forged in a dumpster fire of toxic Elvises, these poems are pornographic bad romances, psychedelic love dirges, and threnodies for sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll. They’ll make you laugh off the pain as much as you’ll cry, cringe, and feel exposed in this ‘No Boys Allowed’ clubhouse of feminine rage and healing.” –from CLASH Books website
“If you were made to speak a language you labored to make yours, I wrote it for you. If you wished you could unwrite, rewrite, or write in stone or water any number of lifetimes you’ve endured, I wrote it for you. If you felt that the only home you’ve known was inside words; if you have written the names of lovers on pieces of paper and burned them in spells; if you understand which words hurt and which heal; if you’ve begged for more and for mercy, I wrote it for you.” In her blistering debut, Paula Mendoza wields the weapon of language as she dismantles the longstanding traditions of the colonial narrative, male speech, and the sentimental love poem. Taking on the forms of historically polarizing figures–the witch, the femme-dom, Eve–the speaker of her poems is both submissive object and powerful agent that wills herself caught between pirate and plunder, that rewrites linguistic scripts to survive oppression, that self-immolates into a state of rebirth, that asks what use or meaning can be made of brokenness and displacement. Playful and deliberate, innovative and strange, Play for Time, Mendoza’s debut collection of experimental lyric poems demolishes the literary commonplaces of “universality” and provides a timely introduction to an explosively original voice in poetry.
Goliad Media Group
City of Hate by Timothy S. Miller
236 pages – Bookshop
“The Virgin Mother’s image – a moldy shadow with patches of holy light – has appeared under the Triple Underpass right next to the Grassy Knoll. The image of the Virgin Mother – so close to the site where JFK was assassinated – brings believers to pay their respects and to ponder its meaning. But Hal Scott has more to worry about than the Virgin Mother. Recovering alcoholic, lover of secrets, and quickly approaching middle-age, Scott discovered his best friend dead in his downtown Dallas apartment. And all fingers point to Scott as the murderer. There is a conspiracy under way, and it is tied to a gubernatorial campaign, illicit photographs, and a video that will undermine the election. And more than likely get Hal Scott killed. The only one Scott can turn to is “Lemon” – the self-proclaimed bastard son of Lee Harvey Oswald. Lemon’s mother owns Conspiracy Books, just blocks away from the old Texas School Book Depository, and she used to dance at the Carousel Club, owned by the notorious Jack Ruby. The FBI, the CIA, and the John Birch Society all want what Lemon has discovered in her mouldering attic. What he found is bigger than them all, and there will be a price to pay for it exposure.” –from the Bookshop website
“When Wayétu Moore turns five years old, her father and grandmother throw her a big birthday party at their home in Monrovia, Liberia, but all she can think about is how much she misses her mother, who is working and studying in faraway New York. Before she gets the reunion her father promised her, war breaks out in Liberia. The family is forced to flee their home on foot, walking and hiding for three weeks until they arrive in the village of Lai. Finally, a rebel soldier smuggles them across the border to Sierra Leone, reuniting the family and setting them off on yet another journey, this time to the United States. Spanning this harrowing journey in Moore’s early childhood, her years adjusting to life in Texas as a black woman and an immigrant, and her eventual return to Liberia, The Dragons, the Giant, the Women is a deeply moving story of the search for home in the midst of upheaval. Moore has a novelist’s eye for suspense and emotional depth, and this unforgettable memoir is full of imaginative, lyrical flights and lush prose. In capturing both the hazy magic and stark realities of what is becoming an increasingly pervasive experience, Moore shines a light on the great political and personal forces that continue to affect many migrants around the world, and calls us all to acknowledge the tenacious power of love and family.” –from the Graywolf Press website
The Talking Drum by Lisa Braxton
318 pages – Inanna /Bookshop
“It is 1971. The fictional city of Bellport, Massachusetts, is in decline with an urban redevelopment project on the horizon expected to transform this dying factory town into a thriving economic center. This planned transformation has a profound effect on the residents who live in Bellport as their own personal transformations take place. Sydney Stallworth steps away from her fellowship and law studies at an elite university to support husband Malachi’s dream of opening a business in the heart of the black community of his hometown, Bellport. For Omar Bassari, an immigrant from Senegal, Bellport is where he will establish his drumming career and the launching pad from which he will spread African culture across the world, while trying to hold onto his marriage. Della Tolliver has built a fragile sanctuary in Bellport for herself, boyfriend Kwamé Rodriguez, and daughter Jasmine, a troubled child prone to nightmares and outbursts. Tensions rise as the demolition date moves closer, plans for gentrification are laid out, and the pace of suspicious fires picks up. The residents find themselves at odds with a political system manipulating their lives and question the future of their relationships. The Talking Drum explores intra-racial, class, and cross-cultural tensions, along with the meaning of community and belonging. Examining the profound impact gentrification has on people in many neighborhoods, and the way in which being uprooted affects the fabric of their families, friendships, and emotional well-being, the novel not only focuses on the immigrant experience, but the way in which the immigrant/African American neighborhood interface leads to friction and tension. This book thus provides a springboard to important discussions on race and class differences, on the treatment of immigrants, as well as the government’s relationship and responsibility to society.” –from the Inanna website
“Audre Lorde: Dream of Europe elucidates Lorde’s methodology as a poet, mentor, and activist during the last decade of her life. This volume compiles a series of seminars, interviews, and conversations held by the author and collaborators across Berlin, Western Europe, and The Caribbean between 1984-1992. While Lorde stood at the intersection of various historical and literary movements in The United States—the uprising of black social life after the Harlem Renaissance, poetry of the AIDS epidemic, and the unfolding of the Civil Rights Movement—this selection of texts reveals Lorde as a catalyst for the first movement of Black Germans in West Berlin. Lorde’s intermittent residence in Berlin lasted for nearly ten years, a period when she inspired many important local and global initiatives. The legacy of this “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” has been well preserved by her colleagues in Germany. It is an erotics of friendship that allowed Lorde and her collaborators to develop a strong sense of political responsibility for each other, transforming alliance and love between women into tools for social change.These selected writings lay bare struggles, bonds, and hopes shared among Black women in a transnational political context, as well as offering sometimes surprising reflections on the US American counter culture with which Lorde is associated. Many of the poems that were important to Lorde’s development are excerpted in full within these pages, serving as a sort of critical anthology.” –from the Kenning Edition website
“Judith Arcana’s remarkable feat in Hello. This is Jane. is to paint, tile by tile, a complex mosaic of compelling linked stories— children’s playgrounds and adult tattoo parlors, ill-advised lovers and underground abortion activists. In the mainstream and on the edges, you’ll feel the urgency of the struggle for reproductive justice as you turn these pages.” – Cindy Cooper
The Lettered Streets Press
Theories of Performance by Jay Besemer
140 pages – The Lettered Streets Press
Theories of Performance emerges from continued engagement with the issues living in and through a queer, trans, sick/Disabled man’s body. Traveling between Chicago to western New York state, caregiving for his terminally ill mother, and grappling with hostility both directly personal and apparently impersonal but political, Jay Besemer presents poems that explode the multiple valences of “performance”—of gender, of expectation, as a type of art—and the theories around them. These poems are confident, playful, and angry; they know both limitation and unboundedness; and they attend, carefully and lovingly, to the language of one’s body. –from The Lettered Street Press
A Midsummer’s Night’s Press
The Idea of Him by Charles Flowers
60 pages – A Midsummer’s Night’s Press/ Bookshop
“In The Idea of Him, this first volume of superb lyric testimonies, we meet the adolescent male body awakening into a forbidden sexuality, then its adult counterpart abandoned by casual encounters, aggrieved by this constancy of loss, barely sustained by a wish to regain connection with paradise through the meager portions of love afforded by ordinary life. Yet it is poetry itself, its compassionate and yet elegiac meditations more sensitive than any lover’s touch, that fulfills this chronic wanting, the work full of awakened tenderness as though the universe of stars that Rilke once imagined had bent down and kissed the shining hair of its own miraculous newborn. This exceedingly mature poetry is full of these moments, cast in strophes supple as a lover’s milkshirt of skin. Charles Flowers is our own terrible angel, possessed of an unbearable raiment of light that allows no shadow. The Idea of Him shines with angelic orders of extraordinary love.” —Garrett Hongo
“How do we re-write American identity? Start by exploding the canon. Chris Campanioni begins by adapting (re-writing?) Henry James’s The American and Gertrude Stein’s “Americans” through an amalgam of annotations, observations, aphorisms, and asides, dissolving the boundaries between journal and novel, autobiography and fiction to enact the correspondence between all things when they are copied out. Then he goes further, imagining several other books inside this one, including an exploration of the ways in which “migrant illegality has been fabricated and shaped since September 11, and how these processes parallel the expansion of criminalization in an increasingly securitized and (border-) patrolled United States, and how this might inform a critical evaluation of technology’s role in capturing and containing bodies: the specular and surveillant logic deployed for the divestment of human rights—to dispel bodies or, alternatively, to keep them in check.” More than anything else, it is this hypothesized convergence of the real, the not real, and the not yet real that propels A AND B AND ALSO NOTHING toward a blueprint for American identity built on errancy and errantry, hospitality and mutability, and a reevaluation of the exclusionary practices premised on the fetishization of origin and the original; the singularity of specialization. “Against nothing,” Campanioni writes, “if not against expertise and the territorial character of art.” In introducing the game and inviting all of us, A AND B AND ALSO NOTHING is both a call and a response to the avant-garde, an attention to the community of neo-mestizo writers and writers of color who have, consistently, been left out of its genealogy. -from the SPD website
Pine State Press
Great Men of Science by Brian Boone
284 pages – Bookshop
“So things didn’t go the way they were supposed to for Albert Malfort. Since his project didn’t win the college-capping science fair — he propelled a teacup pig five minutes through time — he didn’t land a fancy R&D job at Gray Labs, a think tank and retail juggernaut, nor did he escape the shadow of his father, an insane pariah of science and former Gray Labs employee who badmouthed the boss. Of course, that’s all because the smug and wealthy Magnus Riptide destroyed Albert’s project; his project proved the charisma reservoir in his brain allowed him to get away with anything. Albert wound up working as a lackey at Gray Labs, until they wronged him, so he stole a bunch of equipment, and conducted another time travel experiment that opened up an intern-swallowing time rift. Reduced to making weaponized robots in his garage for rogue tyrants, Albert gets the opportunity to put his life back on track when he’s visited by Magnus, who needs his help. It would seem that Magnus, after accidentally winning a Nobel Prize, discovering a new number, and starring on the hit crime-drama The Scientist, made a miniature, evil clone of Thomas Edison, who traveled back to 1931 (via Albert’s time rift) to steal every patent that ever existed. Will Albert and Magnus find a way to stop Edison from ruining science for everybody? Or will they actually work together and become, you know, Great Men of Science (and maybe friends)?” -from the Bookshop website
Sagging Meniscus Press
Spanning two decades, Breath Like the Wind at Dawn tells the epic story of the Tamplin family—of outlaw-twins Quinn and Irving; their brother Edward, who is on the run from a dark past; and their mother Annora, who has been left to defend their haunted Minnesota homestead. Yet at the center of the novel is Les, patriarch of the Tamplins, Civil War veteran, and sheriff of Utica, who is possessed by an indelible lust to strangle his victims. Only when the brothers set about to rob Utica’s bank will the family at last converge in an unforgettable finale when blood will be met with blood. Combining the multi-perspective family drama of As I Lay Dying with the violent lyricism of Blood Meridian, Breath Like the Wind at Dawn brings a brave new voice to American fiction.
“Once upon a time that doesn’t make a blind bit of sense, in a place that seems awfully familiar but definitely doesn’t exist, Willem Seiler’s obsession with measuring his world—with wrapping it up in his beloved string to keep the madness out—wreaks havoc on the Wakeling family. Noranbole Wakeling, living in the scrub and toil of the pantry and in the shadow of her much wooed and cosseted sister, is worshipped by the madman Seiler but overlooked by everyone else. As lives are lost to Seiler’s vanity, she spots her chance to break free of the fetters that tie her to Tiny Village, and bolts. But some cords are never really cut. In her absence, the unravelling of the world she has escaped is complete, and another madness—her mother’s—reaches out to entangle her newfound Big City freedom. The unpicked quilt-work of a life in ruins threatens to ruin her own, and it will be up to Noranbole to stitch it all together. Dark and funny in equal measure, Lake of Urine is a sui generis romp through every fairy-tale convention and literary trope you can think of, including the wicked stepmother, the fairy godmother, Pinocchio, an enchanted penis, the goose that laid the golden egg, binary code, marmalade art and alcoholic meat snacks you can drink. It is also a merciless takedown of self and self-importance, satirizing a society that exalts the inane, drowns out the sane and eschews the divine for the profane, and a lament for the dreadful weight of our own origins, for the heartbreaking impossibility of absolute reinvention, and the heartening tug of the ties that bind us.” –from the Sagging Meniscus Press website
More Miracle Than Bird by Alice Miller
368 pages – Bookshop
On the eve of World War I, twenty-one-year-old Georgie Hyde-Lees is introduced to the acclaimed poet W. B. Yeats at a soirée in London. Although Yeats is famously eccentric and many years her senior, Georgie is drawn to him, and when he extends a cryptic invitation to a secret society, her life is forever changed.
A shadow falls over London as zeppelins stalk overhead and bombs bloom against the skyline. Amidst the chaos, Georgie finds purpose tending to injured soldiers in a makeshift hospital, befriending the wounded and heartbroken Lieutenant Pike, who might need more from her than she is able to give. At night with Yeats, she escapes these realities into an even darker world, becoming immersed in the Order, a clandestine society where ritual, magic, and the conjuring of spirits is practiced and pursued. As forces—both of this world and the next—pull Yeats and Georgie closer together and then apart again, Georgie uncovers a secret that threatens to undo it all. In bright, commanding prose debut author Alice Miller illuminates the fascinating and unforgettable courtship of Georgie Hyde-Lees and W. B. Yeats. A sweeping tale of faith and love, lost and found and fought for, More Miracle than Bird ingeniously captures the moments—both large and small—on which the fates of whole lives and countries hinge.
Vera Kelly is not a Mystery by Rosalie Knecht
264 pages – Bookshop
When ex-CIA agent Vera Kelly loses her job and her girlfriend in a single day, she reluctantly goes into business as a private detective. Heartbroken and cash-strapped, she takes a case that dredges up dark memories and attracts dangerous characters from across the Cold War landscape. Before it’s over, she’ll chase a lost child through foster care and follow a trail of Dominican exiles to the Caribbean. Forever looking over her shoulder, she nearly misses what’s right in front of her: her own desire for home, connection, and a new romance at the local bar. In this exciting second installment of the Vera Kelly series, Rosalie Knecht challenges and deepens the Vera we love: a woman of sparkling wit, deep moral fiber, and martini-dry humor who knows how to follow a case even as she struggles to follow her heart. The “splendid genre-pushing” (People) Vera Kelly series returns in full force as our recently out-of-the-spy-game heroine travels from Brooklyn to a sprawling countryside estate in the Caribbean in her first case as a private investigator.
Two Dollar Radio
“The award-winning stories in Dima Alzayat’s collection are luminous and tender, whether dealing with a woman performing burial rites for her brother in “Ghusl,” or a great-aunt struggling to explain cultural identity to her niece in “Once We Were Syrians.” Alzayat’s stories are rich and relatable, chronicling a sense of displacement through everyday scenarios. There is the intern in pre-#MeToo Hollywood of “Only Those Who Struggle Succeed,” the New York City children on the lookout for a place to play on the heels of Etan Patz’s kidnapping in “Disappearance,” and the “dangerous” women of “Daughters of Manāt” who struggle to assert their independence. The title story, “Alligator,” is a masterpiece of historical reconstruction and intergenerational trauma, told in an epistolary format through social media posts, newspaper clippings, and testimonials, that starts with the true story of the lynching of a Syrian immigrant couple by law officers in small-town Florida. Placed in a wider context of U.S. racial violence, the extrajudicial deaths, and what happens to the couple’s children and their children’s children in the years after, challenges the demands of American assimilation and its limits. Alligator and Other Stories is haunting, spellbinding, and unforgettable, while marking Dima Alzayat’s arrival as a tremendously gifted new talent.” –from the Two Dollar Radio website
Two Lines Press
Lake Like a Mirror by Sok Fong Ho (Trans. Natascha Bruce)
240 pages – Bookshop
“By an author described by critics as “the most accomplished Malaysian writer, full stop,” Lake Like a Mirror is a scintillating exploration of the lives of women buffeted by powers beyond their control. Squeezing themselves between the gaps of rabid urbanization, patriarchal structures and a theocratic government, these women find their lives twisted in disturbing ways. In precise and disquieting prose, Ho Sok Fong draws her readers into a richly atmospheric world of naked sleepwalkers in a rehabilitation center for wayward Muslims, mysterious wooden boxes, gossip in unlicensed hairdressers, hotels with amnesiac guests, and poetry classes with accidentally charged politics–a world that is peopled with the ghosts of unsaid words, unmanaged desires and uncertain statuses, surreal and utterly true.” –from the Bookshop website