the Colored page
Poetry by Matthew E. Henry
Sundress Publications, July 2022
From the author of Teaching While Black (Main Street Rag), the Colored page by Michael E. Henry (MEH) is a visceral meditation on the multi-layered experience of a Black body in educational spaces. Sprawling with metaphors and allusions to both the contemporary and the historic, Henry brings readers an intense narrative chronicle of the speaker’s life as student, educator, and finally as a writer. At the center, there is a reckoning with the racism written into the pages of America, and Henry leads us from the microaggressions of educational oversight to the horror of blatant dehumanization. In pieces that directly call out those responsible—educators, institutions, and peers alike—the speaker moves via Henry’s generously vivid poems through open letters, vignettes, and poetic narratives that uncover the realities of an educator’s life’s work in the “United” States today. In a world that so often seeks to minimize Black experiences, the Colored page does not inflate, but neither does it look away. Yet, too, there is joy in these pages. Henry invites us to love, but please don’t touch, the beauty of Black hair, of Black lives, and of our Black students. Henry asks us to look at the vile and call it out, but then we are tasked to shift our focus to the glory that is the student who triumphs. Henry invites us, ultimately, to a celebration.
Intimacies in Borrowed Light
Poetry by Darius Stewart
EastOver Press, July 2022
Intimacies in Borrowed Light is Stewart’s first book-length collection of poems, bringing together works from his three previous chapbooks—The Terribly Beautiful, Sotto Voce, and The Ghost the Night Becomes—in addition to new poems. The result is a book that is more than the sum of its parts, but one that coalesces around themes of love, addiction, violence, sexual identity, and the corporeal body to betray the intimate moments that illuminate, especially, Black gay male experiences. Stewart received an MFA in poetry from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin (2007) and an MFA from the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa (2020). In 2021, the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame honored him with the inaugural Emerging Writer Award. He is currently a Lulu “Merle” Johnson Doctoral Fellow in English Literary Studies at the University of Iowa.
Whistling to Trick the Wind
Poetry by Bart Edelman
Meadowlark Books, November 2021
What does it mean to live a full life as the countdown is nearing its end? The variety of narrators and characters in this poetry collection provide answers in these snapshots of impactful moments. Fifty-four poems, divided into four sections–Yellow, Red, Black, and White–balance humor and seriousness, the savored and the fleeting, the makeup of human experience. Bart Edelman was born in Paterson, New Jersey, and spent his childhood in Teaneck. He earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Hofstra University and spent decades teaching at various colleges and universities, most notably Glendale College, where he edited the literary journal Eclipse. In addition to being one of the coolest dudes ever, Bart has had numerous roles in the literary community, published lots, and continues to live an amazing life that he shares through his poetry. If you don’t already know him, you should.
Breathing Lake Superior
Fiction by Ron Rindo
Brick Mantel Books, October 2022
Overcome with grief following the death of his youngest child, Cal Franklin uproots his wife and teenaged children to a ramshackle subsistence farm in far northern Wisconsin. Withdrawn and estranged from all they know, JJ and her stepbrother, John, struggle to adapt to life off the grid and to Cal’s increasingly erratic behavior. Without electricity or even running water, the family suffers a series of calamities until Cal feels a call to preach. He builds a small log church on the property, and his unconventional message soon attracts a following. When elderly locals profess to be healed by the touch of Cal’s hands, word spreads, and desperate people descend on the church from across the country. Though overwhelmed and doubtful of his powers, in a final act of love and faith, Cal seeks to raise his young son from the dead. Narrated by Cal’s stepson, John—named for “the chronicler of Christ’s miracles”—Breathing Lake Superior is an exploration of the mystic borderland where the mental strain of overwhelming grief becomes entangled with the promise and hope of ecstatic faith.
Poetry by Rae Hoffman Jager
Kelsay Books, April 2022
American Bitch is Rae Hoffman Jager’s debut collection of poems that portrays a woman starting a family in an impossibly violent and impersonal world. Jager’s book juggles an unlikely pairing of poems about football, Judaism, pregnancy, and becoming a parent. This collection is a funeral march and a celebration with allusions to Greek mythology, Marshawn Lynch, Rothko, and an ever-growing crack in the ice shelf. Jager holds a BA from Warren Wilson College and an MFA from Wichita State University. Her poetry has been published in a variety of online and print journals. In 2016 She was named The New Voice Poet out of Salina, Kansas. This book originally was a finalist with Sundress and Birdcoat Quarterly before finding a home with Kelsay Books.
Buy a Ticket: New and Selected Poems
Poetry by Judith R. Robinson
Word Poetry, February 2022
Buy a Ticket by Judith R. Robinson is a collection of poems about life—its imperfect beauty, its poignance, and the forces that propel it forward. Toggling among life stages—from a child’s recollections of school with its “blue-lined grainy first-grade paper” to an adult’s look back through the eyes of shared reminiscence with a boon companion, these poems resonate with a sense of time’s passage, its transience, and elasticity. Grief and disappointment compete with an indomitable will to continue despite setbacks and loss. Whether through the eyes of teenage Holocaust survivor, Dora, who gleans the forest floors in her quest to live, or the “jobless-wounded-welfar-ians” who keep on dreaming of the windfall that will make it all better, the human beings in Robinson’s poems may be beaten and bruised by life’s hard knocks, but they are not down for the count. Read sample poems here.
Hayley and the Hot Flashes
Fiction by Jayne Jaudon Ferrer
Small Town Girl Publishing, June 2022
Hayley Swift, a country music diva who has slipped out of the limelight, gets more attention when she’s mistaken for Taylor Swift’s mom than for her former glory days. When she’s invited to perform at her 35th high school reunion, a bus accident puts her backup singers in a hospital, Hayley begs her long-gone-domestic quartet from high school to join her onstage for the gig. They’re such a hit that she invites the women to fill in on a low-budget tour for a couple of weeks while her singers recover. Thrilled at the chance to flee routine for a dream deferred for decades, the friends readily accept. Nefarious flirtations, indiscriminate mood swings, equipment malfunctions, and a few nasty cat-fights combine to wreak havoc on the Retro Rodeo tour, but it’s a crazed stalker, an overzealous fan, and an unexpected pregnancy that ultimately derail the road trip. In the midst of the mayhem, friendships and fantasies are redefined as the women come together to face one’s debilitating illness. True love emerges from the tragedy, though, and the friends discover new strengths and aspirations as this adventure ends and new ones begin.
Poetry by Douglas Kearney
Wave Books, November 2022
Optic Subwoof is a collection of talks that poet and National Book Award finalist Douglas Kearney presented for the Bagley Wright Lecture Series in 2020 and 2021. As kinetic on the page as they are in person, these lectures offer an urgent critique of the intersections between violence and entertainment, interrogating the ways in which poetry, humor, visual art, music, pop culture, and performance alternately uphold and subvert this violence. With genius precision and an avant-garde sensibility, Kearney examines the nuances around Black visibility and its aestheticization. In myriad ways, Optic Subwoof is a book that establishes Kearney as one of the most dynamic writers and thinkers of the twenty-first century.
possessions: poems in american poetry
Poetry by Alan Botsford
Cyberwit.net, May 2022
Author Alan Botsford has penned three other poetry collections—mamaist: learning a new language (Minato no Hito); A Book of Shadows (Katydid Press) with William I. Elliott; and mamaist: a different sort of light (dark woods press). He has also published the hybrid essay-dialogue-poetry collection Walt Whitman of Cosmic Folklore (Sage Hill Press). This newest collection consists of a large cast of poets, of multiple voices, over 150, including many contemporaries. As Botsford writes, “this book is a love letter to the art of American poetry, a tribute to American poetry’s pedigree. Its method is simple—I tried to synthesize what the poets wrote with my own music.”
The Meadow and the Misread
Fiction by Max Halper
Threadsuns Press, June 2022
X Parke Penate, a college freshman, realizes she has no memories from before the age of 12 or 13. Determined to understand why, she boards a plane home over winter break to speak with her parents. But her plane crashes, and X Parke is stranded alone in the cold forest. What ensues is a journey—equal parts surreal and hyperreal, epic and interior, esoteric and harrowing, strange and familiar—to uncover the truth about her missing memory. Max Halper is the author of the novella, Lamella, and numerous short fictions. He lives in upstate New York.