David Roderick’s second book, The Americans, pledges its allegiance to dirt. And to laptops. And to swimming pools, the Kennedys, a flower in a lapel, plastic stars hanging from the ceiling of a child’s room, churning locusts, a jar of blood, a gleam of sun on the wing of a plane. His poems swarm with life. They also ask an unanswerable question: What does it mean to be an American? Restless against the borders we build—between countries, between each other—Roderick roams from place to place in order to dig into the messy, political, idealistic and ultimately inexplicable idea of American-ness. His rangy, inquisitive lyrics stitch together a patchwork flag, which he stakes alongside all the noise of our construction, our obsessive building and making, while he imagines the fate of a nation built on desire.
In this vibrant reflection of sound and word, poet Edwin Torres reignites the possibilities of poetry. From poems like “Me No Habla Spic,” a rumination of life’s major moments, to “Fixative,” which exercises shifting vantage points, Torres is nimble—surfing through memory, definition, and forms of social address. In this new collection, Torres offers some signature performance pieces for the first time in print. Ameriscopia reimagines New York City and its expansive inspirations, which for Torres capture the contradictions of America. Allusions to the Twin Towers, Coney Island hot dogs, and the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe continuously recolor the pages. But even as he makes these iconic references, Torres allows his poems to invert and refract the identities they evoke—New-Yorker-American-Latino-Dad-Performer-Boy-Writer—to invigorate poetry out of its slumber into a deep cultural urgency. Torres’s kaleidoscopic vision is borne of decades of poetic experimentation. Audiences have delighted in his spontaneous mashups of disparate topic matters; writers have studied his skilled technique at synthesizing—for example, from a mundane curbside view to an imagined conversation with artists Marcel Duchamp and Yves Tanguy. Torres writes, “I discovered that, this world uncovered / is like the soul / of The Puerto Rican man — occupied / by the weight of his balance.” Ameriscopia is Torres’s statement on growing up and the inspirational facets that accompany his journey into fatherhood. From conversations in cars to fast-beat lullabies, Torres’s poetry taps into rhythms both distinctive and dynamic. In Ameriscopia Torres is at full force, a poet in control, a writer emboldened by the page—in flight.
From the end of the 1950s through the middle of the 1960s, Amiri Baraka (b. 1934) and Edward Dorn (1929–99), two self-consciously avant-garde poets, fostered an intense friendship primarily through correspondence. The early 1960s found both poets just beginning to publish and becoming public figures. Bonding around their commitment to new and radical forms of poetry and culture, Dorn and Baraka created an interracial friendship at precisely the moment when the Civil Rights Movement was becoming a powerful force in national politics. The major premise of the Dorn-Jones friendship as developed through their letters was artistic, but the range of subjects in the correspondence shows an incredible intersection between the personal and the public, providing a schematic map of what was so vital in postwar American culture to those living through it.
Their letters offer a vivid picture of American lives connecting around poetry during a tumultuous time of change and immense creativity. Reading through these correspondences allows access into personal biographies, and through these biographies, profound moments in American cultural history open themselves to us in a way not easily found in official channels of historical narrative and memory.
In two intertwined songs, a feminist epic poem and a dreamlike opera libretto, Among the Goddesses traces one woman’s harrowing mythological journey of discovery. Tutored by encounters with seven Goddesses, both frightening and nurturing, Marie/Lily is tested by loss, rape, and abortion as she finds her community and her spiritual strength. This magical book embodies the goddesses in every woman and gives voice to the power of the feminist spirituality movement.
Set in the suburbs and cities of the Midwest, Mid-South, and Texas, these stories explore the lives of characters biracial, black, white, and all sorts of in-between. The intersections and collisions of contemporary life are in full effect here, where the distinctions between fast food and fine art, noble and naked ambitions, reality and reality shows have become impossible to distinguish. Read these stories and understand why Steve Yarbrough said Williams “writes like Paul Auster if he were funnier or like Stanley Elkin might have if he’d ever been able to stop laughing.”
" Tom Williams has done the near impossible in penning a book that is both undeniably entertaining and deeply thoughtful, Millhauser meets Bukowski meets Ellison." --Alan Heathcock, author of Volt
“Sure, we need the nudge of category to help us all think straight, but we also need the rangy trickster, Tom Williams, to do the bang-up boundary work of imaginary anthropology in these deadpan dead-on gems. These infiltrating texts take us sideways, through and through, turn us inside-out.” . --Michael Martone, author of Michael Martone and Four for a Quarter
Charles Harper Webb’s eccentric and distinct writing style makes this collection of poetry a funny and charmingly memorable read. A melting pot of pop culture, historical references, and everyday life, Webb’s poems are refreshingly candid and straightforward.
An Sionnach is a journal of Irish Studies featuring scholarly articles, creative work, and reviews that promote active discussion and provide in-depth analysis of developments in Irish writing and Irish Studies in the United States, Ireland, and Europe, from 1958 to the present.
An Sionnach is published by Creighton University Press and distributed by the University of Nebraska Press
Anadarko, a small bootlegger town in Oklahoma’s Kiowa Country, shakes off its sleepy veneer when J.D. Daugherty, an Irish ex-cop turned private eye, and Hoolie Smith, a Cherokee war veteran, show up to investigate the mysterious disappearance of oilman and geologist Frank Shotz.
J.D. and Hoolie find their simple missing person case hides a web of murder, graft, and injustice tied to a network of bootleggers with links to the Ku Klux Klan. Set in the aftermath of the violent Tulsa race riot of 1921, Anadarko reveals a deadly and corrupt town filled with a toxic cocktail of booze, greed, and bigotry.
Tackling racial prejudice head-on, author Tom Holm expertly weaves a vivid and suspenseful tale set in Prohibition-era Indian Country. This gritty whodunit shows nothing is ever simple in the fight between good and evil.
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