Category Books

Discover news from independent publishers and university presses including new titles, events, and more.

New Book :: Steeple at Sunrise

Steeple at Sunrise new poems by Burt Kimmelman published by Marsh Hawk Press book cover image

Steeple at Sunrise
Poetry by Burt Kimmelman
Marsh Hawk Press, November 2022

Burt Kimmelman’s new poems continue his exploration of syllabic forms. The book’s first section contains individual poems written in recent years, each standing on its own as a unique experience. “Plague Calendar,” which follows, consists of especially brief and understated poems presented in the order of their inception. They subtly chronicle an individual’s psychological endurance over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, person and landscape reveal a transformation in recent time, an individual’s experience of daily life. Steeple at Sunrise is Kimmelman’s eleventh collection of poems. His work is often anthologized and has been featured on National Public Radio. He has also published eleven books of criticism, most recently Visible at Dusk: Selected Essays and Zero Point Poiesis (a gathering of writings on George Quasha).

New Book :: Prize for the Fire

Prize for the Fire a novel by Rilla Askew published by The University of Oklahoma Press book cover image

Prize for the Fire
Fiction by Rilla Askew
The University of Oklahoma Press, June 2022

Lincolnshire, 1537. Amid England’s religious turmoil, fifteen-year-old Anne Askew is forced to take her dead sister’s place in an arranged marriage. The witty, well-educated gentleman’s daughter is determined to free herself from her abusive husband, harsh in-laws, and the cruel strictures of her married life. But this is the England of Henry VIII, where religion and politics are dangerously entangled. A young woman of Anne’s fierce independence, Reformist faith, uncanny command of plainspoken scripture, and—not least—connections to Queen Katheryn Parr’s court cannot long escape official notice, or censure. In a blend of history and imagination, award-winning novelist Rilla Askew brings to life a young woman who defied the conventions of her time, ultimately braving torture and the fire of martyrdom for her convictions. An evocation of Reformation England, from the fenlands of Lincolnshire to the teeming religious underground of London to the court of Henry VIII, this tale of defiance is as pertinent today as it was in the sixteenth century.

Book Review :: What Cannot Be Undone by Walter M. Robinson

What Cannot Be Undone by Walter  M Robinson

Guest Post by Kevin Brown

In his collection of essays, What Cannot Be Undone: True Stories of a Life in Medicine, Walter M. Robinson warns readers in his introduction that this book is not full of success stories or happy endings. His book is not for those who want to see people perform miraculous (or even ordinary) recoveries. Instead, he writes honestly about those patients who suffer and, quite often, die. Robinson is a pediatrician who specializes in lung transplants (many related to cystic fibrosis), so a number of the patients he writes about are children or young adults, making the book an especially challenging read for some. However, the book explores important ideas about healthcare, ethics, life, and death, no matter how harrowing the stories he relates. He also includes moments of grace and humor, as those continue to occur even in the midst of death and everything that leads to it. Robinson is willing to share his doubts and fears openly and honestly, which makes him not only a narrator readers can trust, but a doctor one would wish to have by their bedside during those times of loss. He is a doctor who gives the bad news straight, which should only serve as a reminder to celebrate the better moments while they last.


What Cannot Be Undone: True Stories of a Life in Medicine by Walter M. Robinson. University of New Mexico Press, February 2022.

Reviewer bio: Kevin Brown has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (Wipf and Stock); A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press); and Exit Lines (Plain View Press). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels. Twitter @kevinbrownwrite or kevinbrownwrites.weebly.com/.

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New Book :: What Follows

What Follows poetry by H.R. Webster published by Black Lawrence Press book cover image

What Follows
Poetry by H.R. Webster
Black Lawrence Press, June 2022

In What Follows, the poet writes: “It’s the end of the world and we can’t stop saying the word tender.” Tenderness runs through the book, even as Webster demonstrates brutality and strength in the face of life’s experiences. These poems explore the vastness of the human experience, from sexual powerplays and the crimes commited against fellows to the mundanity and beauty of factory work. There is very little that escapes H.R.‘s glance and raw lyricism. H.R. Webster has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Vermont Studio Center, and the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Her work has appeared in the Massachusetts ReviewPoetry MagazineBlack Warrior ReviewNinth Letter, 32Poems, Muzzle, and Ecotone. You can read more poems at hrwebster.com

New Book :: The Plea

The Plea The True Story of Young Wesley Elkins and His Struggle for Redemption by Patricia L. Bryan and Thomas Wolf published by University of Iowa Press book cover image

The Plea: The True Story of Young Wesley Elkins and his Struggle for Redemption
American History / True Crime by Patricia L. Bryan and Thomas Wolf
University of Iowa Press, July 2022

On a moonlit night in 1889, Iowa farmer John Elkins and his young wife, Hattie, were brutally murdered in their bed. Eight days later, their son, eleven-year-old Wesley Elkins, was arrested and charged with murder. The community reeled with shock by both the gruesome details of the homicides and the knowledge of the accused perpetrator—a small, quiet boy weighing just seventy-five pounds. Accessible and fast-moving, The Plea delivers a complete, complex, and nuanced narrative of this horrific crime, while shedding light on the legal, social, and political environment of Iowa and the country in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Bryan and Wolf also coauthored of Midnight Assassin: A Murder in Amer­ica’s Heartland (Iowa, 2007). Both reside in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Book Review :: The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki book cover image

Guest Post by Kevin Brown

Readers should know something going into Ozeki’s novel: inanimate objects talk to the main character, Benny Oh. One of those items is the book the reader is reading and that Benny is writing, more or less. If you can’t get past that technique, this book isn’t for you, as it’s central to the novel. Benny might be crazy, but he might also simply be seeing more of the world than other people; Ozeki leaves that up to the reader, as it’s a question she believes is worth exploring. Benny struggles with it himself, as does everybody around him, and there is a colorful cast of characters he interacts with. Ozeki tangentially explores a number of relevant social issues, ranging from climate change to consumerism, but she mainly seems interested in how we relate to the universe and those around us. Thus, she uses a variety of characters to explore the things (the actual stuff) that make up our world and our relationships with it, whether we horde them or seek to order them. As a Buddhist, Ozeki believes the world is more alive than most of us would admit and that we are one with it, whether we want to be or not. Most of us just aren’t listening closely enough.


The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki. Viking, September 2021; Penguin, June 2022.

Reviewer bio: Kevin Brown has published three books of poetry: Liturgical Calendar: Poems (Wipf and Stock); A Lexicon of Lost Words (winner of the Violet Reed Haas Prize for Poetry, Snake Nation Press); and Exit Lines (Plain View Press). He also has a memoir, Another Way: Finding Faith, Then Finding It Again, and a book of scholarship, They Love to Tell the Stories: Five Contemporary Novelists Take on the Gospels. Twitter @kevinbrownwrite or kevinbrownwrites.weebly.com/.

If you are interested in contributing a Guest Post to “What I’m Reading,” please click this link: NewPages.com Reviewer Guidelines.

New Book :: Taxonomies

Taxonomies Poetry by Erin Murphy book cover image

Taxonomies
Poetry by Erin Murphy
Word Poetry, April 2022

The demi-sonnets in Erin Murphy’s Taxonomies categorize elements of the human experience that defy simple classification. In this form of her own invention, Murphy holds a magnifying glass to issues of gender, aging, relationships, and social justice. Erin Murphy is the author or editor of thirteen books and has received numerous awards. In April 2022, she was named Poet Laureate of Blair County, Pennsylvania. She received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is Professor of English and creative writing at the Pennsylvania State University, Altoona College. Read sample poems here.

New Book :: My Aunt’s Abortion

My Aunt's Abortion poetry and narrative memoir by Jane Rosenberg LaForge published by BlazeVOX book cover image

My Aunt’s Abortion
Poetry / Narrative Memoir by Jane Rosenberg LaForge
BlazeVOX, February 2023

My Aunt’s Abortion is a series of poems and two essays that detail the effects of an illegal abortion the author’s aunt underwent in 1960’s California. Part cautionary tale and part retrospective, the essays recall family life before and after the abortion; the poems provide the perspective of the young girl who witnessed her aunt’s recovery from a mysterious disease and the disintegration of her parents’ marriage. Together, the poems and essays evoke a period of loss and shame that will likely return with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Sample pages can be read on the publisher’s website. Jane Rosenberg LaForge is the author of three previous collections of poetry; four chapbooks; a memoir; and two novels. Her 2018 novel, The Hawkman: A Fairy Tale of the Great War (Amberjack Publishing), was a finalist in two categories in the Eric Hoffer awards. Her 2021 novel, Sisterhood of the Infamous (New Meridian Arts Press), was a finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards in regional fiction (west). A reviewer for American Book Review, she reads poetry for COUNTERCLOCK literary magazine and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net.

New Book :: Triptychs

Triptychs poetry by Sandra Simonds book cover image

Triptychs
Poetry by Sandra Simonds
Wave Books, November 2022

Sandra Simonds’s Triptychs is a brilliant intersection of poetic form and the passage of time. Initially crafted in handwritten strips on rolls of receipt paper obtained at a dollar store, then assembled into three textual columns that sit side-by-side on the page, these triptychs are joined or disjoined in several ways—through diction, through the special relation of words (evoking intimacy, touch, or, in contrast, alienation), and through thematic similarities or dissimilarities. As a result, the poems energize the confines of this writing space as they invite readers to recall painterly constructions and news headlines, wherein each pillar is in conversation with another, sequentially and simultaneously. With the same lyric attention found in all of Simonds’s poetry, the poems here mark an innovative shift in poetics that is both polyvocal and singular.

Books Received August 2022

NewPages receives many wonderful titles each month to share with our readers. You can read more about some of these titles by clicking on the “New Books” tag under “Popular Topics.” If you are a publisher or author looking to be listed here or featured on our blog and social media, please contact us!

Poetry

American Bitch, Rae Hoffman Jager, Kelsay Books
Blood Snow, dg nanouk okpic, Wave Books
the Colored page, Matthew E. Henry, Sundress Publications
Creature Feature, Noel Sloboda, Main Street Rag Publishing
In Our Now, Valyntina Grenier, Finishing Line Press
Intimacies in Borrowed Light, Darius Stewart, EastOver Press
Optic Subwoof, Douglas Kearney, Wave Books
Pacific Light, David Mason, Red Hen Press
possessions, Alan Botsford, Cyberwit.net
Slight Return, Rebecca Wolff, Wave Books
Steeple at Sunrise, Burt Kimmelman, Marsh Hawk Press
Triptychs, Sandra Simonds, Wave Books
What Follows, H.R. Webster, Black Lawrence Press
Whistling to Trick the Wind, Bart Edelman, Meadowlark Books

Fiction

Against the Wall, Alberto Roblest, Arte Público Press
Breathing Lake Superior, Ron Rindo, Brick Mantel Books
Chronicles of a Luchador, Ray Villareal, Arte Público Press
The Displaced, Rodrigo Ribera d’Ebre, Arte Público Press
Hayley and the Hot Flashes, Jayne Jaudon Ferrer, Small Town Girl Publishing
The Meadow and the Misread, Max Halper, Threadsuns Press
Midstream: A Novel, Lynn Sloan, Fomite Press
Prize for the Fire, Rilla Askew, The University of Oklahoma Press

Nonfiction

Eating Up Route 66, T. Lindsay Baker, University of Oaklahoma Press
Making Your Mark, Peter Davidson, Sweet Memories Publishing
The Plea, Patricia L. Bryan & Thomas Wolf, University of Iowa Press
Ships in the Desert, Jeff Frearnside, Santa Fe Writers Project
These Dark Skies, Arianne Zwartjes, University of Iowa Press
Warrior Spirit, Herman J. Viola, University of Oklahoma Press