We are thrilled to share that past contributor Valyntina Grenier’s art is being featured as part of ShockBoxx Project Gallery’s show Intergalactic Open. Intergalactic Open had an in-person opening on Saturday, January 14th in Hermosa Beach. The show can be enjoyed online through Artsy until January 29th.
Grenier’s featured piece Flotsam was designed to be hung in any orientation as the curator or collector pleases. To learn more about Valyntina Grenier, visit her website. You can also connect with her through Instagram at @valyntinagrenier.
Congratulations to Luanne Castle for her newest poetry collection Rooted and Winged, published by Finishing Line Press. It explores the relationship between flying and falling, the earth and the sky. Even when soaring, the poetry is grounded in small observations.
The poems of Luanne Castle’s Rooted and Winged are embedded in land and weather. “Bluegills snap up larvae in slivers of illusory light,” she writes early in the collection, hinting at the sensibilities of the companionable speaker who will usher us through the book. She sees. She is open to the world out there. She calls herself “unknown but solid,” a teller of “tiny limitless tales.” She is engaged in the retrieval of generational memory: “one hairbrush, a plastic ball / a swaying branch, leaves decaying / the insides of my grandmothers’ fridges / bubble and pop into shards of memory / dangerous to the touch,” she writes, enacting the progression from concrete detail to concrete memory to the kind of numinous memory that can be combustible. How rare it is, to discover a writer who notices that “Grandma used to stand under the bulb over the sink that haloed her and pearlized the onions she chopped,” who can bring language to this: “When the last star falls to the others, / it darkens like the hush in a theatre, / a twinkling or two from silence.” There is no arrogance in this book, but there is power.
Diane Seuss, author of frank: sonnets, Four-Legged Girl, and Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl
Luanne Castle’s work has appeared in Copper Nickel, TAB, The American Journal of Poetry, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Verse Daily, Saranac Review, Lunch Ticket, River Teeth, and elsewhere. Her first poetry collection, Doll God, won the 2015 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award and was published by Aldrich Press. To learn more, visit her website.
Rooted and Winged is a fitting title for this collection of poems that plant themselves in reality but often hint at the surreal. Throughout, Luanne Castle has mastered sound and image: “I’ve done my best with feet and fists, my small / lungs blossoming like paper flowers in water…” The poem that lingers most for me is “A Year in Bed, with Windows” in which stark details create a palpable intimacy.
Karen Paul Holmes, author of No Such Thing as Distance
Congratulations to Marieken Cochius for her new solo exhibition at SUNY Ulster’s Muroff-Kotler Gallery. The Muroff-Kotler Visual Arts Gallery showcases art to cultivate an environment of teaching, performing, and exhibiting for both SUNY Ulster’s students and the outside community. SUNY Ulster is a public community college located in Stone Ridge, New York.
Marieken Cochius’ exhibition, called “Guiding the Currents,” will be available from Oct. 7 to Nov. 29, 2022. Cochius is a Dutch-born artist who sculpts, paints, and draws to explore forms in nature. Her work has been featured as covers for Willard and Maple Magazine, Sun Spot Journal, and inside of Esthetic Apostle, FLAR, DeLuge Journal, Alluvian Environmental Journal, and Raw Art Review. To learn more about her, visit her website.
Cochius’s art appeared in Issue 25 of Superstition Review.
Congratulations to Katherine Soniat for her new poetry collection Polishing the Glass Storm, published by LSU Press. Described as a “riveting sequence of verse,” Soniat’s language delves into the relationship between vision and experience.
I am in awe of Katherine Soniat’s latest collection… Her poetic energies and talents are many and fierce—mystery, imagination, story, knowledge, music and wonder. Here, the narrator wings us through birth, fear, sorrow, loss (including the loss of her own twin at birth)—as she says, “in love as I am with absence”—as generations unfold and fold, in image and story. Some of those stories are “soft ones, with feathers at the bottom,” told “with the island nature of the mind.” Others are so tactile and gripping, they were surely written with the narrator’s bare knuckles r the bear’s “warm saliva,” leaving the reader “freshly skinned and slick…” This collection captivates, energizes and charms. I’ll return to it again and again.
dannye Romine powell, author of in the sunroom with raymond carver
Katherine Soniat currently teaches in the University of North Carolina at Asheville’s Great Smokies Writers Program. She has published numerous collections and chapbooks, many of which have received awards. Among them are the Camden Poetry Prize, the Iowa Poetry Prize, and a Virginia Prize for Poetry. To learn more about her, visit her website.
Katherine Soniat speaks like a mystic in her collection… She travels a landscape of mythology and memory to explore the mystery of existence in “thin places” where there is an overlap between the living and the dead. The prismatic poems o this sequence b rush up agains the “intimacy of time” like “bees in a crazed terrarium.” Soniat displays her mastery as a poet while introducing us to many selves in this marvelous collection of poems.
alison pelegrin, author of our lady of bewilderment
Soniat’s poems “Sister Feather” and “Knees” appeared in Issue 14 of Superstition Review.
Congratulations to Sarah Viren for her upcoming memoir To Name the Bigger Lie, published by Scribner. It begins as Sarah researches her high school English teacher—a man who taught his students to question everything—in preparation for a new book. As she delves into the effects of his teaching, however, her wife Marta is informed that she’s being investigated for sexual misconduct. Sarah knows the accusations must be false, but when she’s drawn further into the investigation, Sarah struggles with the nature of truth, skepticism, and what is fact.
A thrilling, labyrinthine and ultimately illuminating reckoning with what it feels like to caught up in a vortex of post-truth, conspiracy, and lies, Sarah Viren’s To Name the Bigger Lie is a fascinating and deeply disturbing account of our contemporary age of weaponized falsehoods. That what most of us experience only through the news came for her life so personally makes for heart-in-throat reading. This is a memoir, yes, but it’s also a view into a terrifying aspect of modernity, and Viren’s ability to unspool complicated tangles for the reader is unparalleled.
Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, author of The Fact of a Body
Sarah Viren has written an essay collection, Mine, which won the the River Teeth Book Prize and the GLCA New Writer’s Award. Currently, she is an assistant professor in the creative writing program at Arizona State University and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine. To learn more about her, visit her website.
Sarah Viren’s To Name the Bigger Lie is a work of radical moral philosophy as much as a memoir of one woman’s confrontation with the seeming contradictions of certainty and doubt, truth and conspiracy, of the sometimes unbridgeable distance between the truth we know and the one we can prove. This is one of the most astonishing books I’ve ever read—a beacon in these uncertain times.
Lacy M. Johnson, author of The Reckonings
To Name the Bigger Lie will be available in June of 2023. Pre-order it here.
Congratulations to Roxanne Doty for her debut novel Out Stealing Water, published by Regal House. Originally a finalist in the Autumn House 2019 fiction contest, Out Stealing Water follows Emily, who must live without water after the city shuts off her family’s access. Her uncle Dwight, who doesn’t believe he should pay for water, simply steals it from others. This is when Emily and her cousin Paula begin stealing, too, trying to collect enough money to leave Phoenix. As their crimes escalate, Dwight joins forces with an armed anti-government group to keep his land out of the government’s hands.
…The consideration of class energize[s] the narrative, which quickly but effectively builds to a suspenseful final act. Sublime characters stick together in moral dilemmas and gripping drama.
Roxanne Doty taught and did research at ASU for 30 years in the School of Politics and Global Studies. Her work has been published in Forge, I70 Review, Soundings Review, Four Chambers Literary Magazine, Lascaux Review, Lunaris Review, Journal of Microliterature, NewVerseNews, Saranac Review, Gateway Review and Reunion-The Dallas Review. Her short story “Turbulence,” published in Ocotillo Review, was nominated for the 2019 Pushcart Prize. To learn more, visit her website.
The current conflicts in our different Americas are an integral part of Out Stealing Water, not just touched on but the very foundation that holds the plot together from privilege to poverty, spirituality to doubt, money and power to hardscrabble lives lived on the brink of our cities. The story explores our culture in which losing and winning come down to the dreams and promises on a postcard. Read this illuminating book! It will shine in the dark while you stay awake, hurrying to find out what is next, but slowing down to savor Roxanne Doty’s writing and the depth of her novel.
Congratulations to Chauna Craig for her new short story collection Wings & Other Things, published by Press 53. While her characters differ in terms of circumstance, each story centers around women trying to fly: a widow searching for her past self, a stranded artist accepting a ride from a stranger, lovers sequestered in a cornfield. Her collection is both a migration and a transformation, filled with unusual, eye-catching phrases. Railroad tracks morph into an “infinite number line,” and a lightning bolt becomes a “tentacle of the unseen.” Craig captures longing, loss, and freedom as she tells the women’s stories.
The women in these stories are certainly willing to pay to get where they need to go—whether it’s out of bad relationships or into new formed lives. These stories are full of hard-won wisdom, sharp insights, and generous compassion. Her characters suffer from and bear up under ordinary though devastating failures and disappointments, but through force of will, wit, and wonder they persevere and often prevail.
Kerry Neville, author of remember to forget me
Chauna Craig grew up in Montana. Her work has appeared in Jellyfish Review, Blue Fifth Review, and elsewhere. To learn more about her, visit her website.
In small-town, rural, or city life, these women, in perfectly drawn revelatory moments, show us what we settle for and how we are haunted by what could’ve been. These stories and the characters in them disquiet and rivet, demanding our attention and inviting our reflection on how one reconciles the desire for escape with the need to stay put. Subtle and artful in its choreography of miscommunications and conflicting desires, this is an intelligent and absorbing collection.
donna miscolta, author of Living Color: Angie Rubio Stories
Author of House on Mango Street and a dozen other books, Sandra Cisneros has published a collection of poems for the first time in twenty-eight years. Woman Without Shame, published by Knopf, details Cisneros’s journey to embracing her identity as a woman and an artist through song, elegies, and declarations. Using both Spanish and English, Cisneros is both blunt and humorous in her collection.
Sandra Cisneros is currently traveling all over the US, and she will be coming to the Poetry Center in Tucson, AZ, November 9-12. Find a complete list of locations here!
Glorious . . . Cisneros candidly ticks through past lives and lovers with an approach that isn’t concerned with what people will think. . . . As in her former works, Cisneros masters scene-setting, and story, usually with a humorous angle. . . . Woman Without Shame is brave and beautiful.
Meredith Boe, Chicago Review of Books
Sandra Cisneros has won numerous awards throughout her long career as a writer: the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award, the Mountains & Plains Booksellers’ Award, and others. To learn more about her, visit her website.
These lush, narrative-lyrics are written with a vivid wild girl spirit, filled with unbridled love, angst and joy! This book is a page-turner and should not be missed!
Marilyn Chin, author of Portrait of the Self as Nation
Winner of an American Book Award for his poetry collection Currents, Bojan Louis is making his fiction debut with Sinking Bell: Stories. Published by Graywolf Press, Sinking Bell: Stories is a collection that centers on collisions of love, cultures, and racism. All of Louis’s stories take place in or near Flagstaff, Arizona, and they include stunning portrayals of all kinds of people—from metalheads to construction works—struggling to live their complicated lives.
Louis’s prose carries his poetic sensibility with a decided rhythm and resonant detail, and the narrators achingly convey their outsider status. The result is immersive and powerful.
Bojan Louis is Diné of the Naakai dine’é, born for the Áshííhí. His debut novel Currents received an American Book Award in 2018. His work has been published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Ecotone, Yellow Medicine Review, and elsewhere. He currently teaches creative writing at the University of Arizona. To learn more about him, visit his website.
Sinking Bell doesn’t shy away from the dim corners of life. . . . You’re going to want to take your time with this one, and then you’re going to want to press it into the hands of all your best people.
Congratulations to Philip Gross for his upcoming poetry collection The Thirteenth Angel, published by Bloodaxe Books. Coming November 17, 2022, Gross’s collection examines patterns in the world around us and also within ourselves. It teeters between the before and after of the pandemic years, focusing in the opening sequences on almost-aerial views of London streets and Europe’s motorways. It ultimately reveals that “if there are angels, they are nothing otherworldly, but formed by angles of incidence between real immediate things.”
Moving from island to island, continent to continent, Between the Islands is concerned with memories, with resonances throughout time, but also with emergent dangers; ecological fears and the rising islands of refuse accumulating in our oceans.
Poetry Book Society Bulletin, Spring 2020 [on Between the islands]
Philip Gross has written over twenty books of poetry and won a number of awards, including the TS Eliot Prize for his book The Water Table. To learn more about Gross, visit his website.
Great poetry is like walking on water. In this paradoxical, humane collection, Philip Gross achieves that miracle.