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Red Hen Press
In Bone Light, Orlando White's debut volume, he explores the English language from a Diné (Navajo) perspective. He invites us to imagine that we, as a people—all people in this imaginary country called the United States—are speaking an Indigenous language and that the English language exists merely as a remnant of the colonial past. Despite its tenuous existence in this re-imagined present, English remains a danger to Indigenous thought, as it threatens to impose an alien worldview through its vocabulary and syntactical maneuvers. Historically, English was used by non-Natives to document Indigenous cultures; against this historical backdrop, White also writes to document, but he works to create something more beautiful than harmful. He does not attempt a critique of the English language; he works with it and against it to gain a better understanding of its peculiarities and limits, creating a relationship through these sometimes humorous, sometimes irreverent acts of exploration. Throughout Bone Light, Orlando White approaches the English language as if he has just encountered it, as if it were a mysterious set of symbols. Focusing on the particles of the language, the punctuation marks, the letters, the spaces between words, he turns them a while in his hand like strange inexplicable artifacts from a lost world, then sets to work, refashioning them into something he can use.
Books would seem to be one thing, and rough business another—except that the life of Tullio Pironti has brought both together. This mover and shaker in Italian arts and publishing began as a scuffling street kid in Naples, then enjoyed a boxing career that included two trips to the nationals, and only after that entered the book business. Yet in the decades that followed, he ended up working with the likes of the Nobel Prize-winner Naguib Mahfuz and the Maestro of Italian film, Federico Fellini. Not surprisingly, then, Pironti’s memoir won wide attention in his home country, with more than 100 notices. Before anything else, the young Pironti had to survive a war. His memoir begins with a refugee experience, as he and his family are driven out of their homes in downtown Naples by the American bombing of 1942-43. Then after the liberation, Pironti must make his way with his wits and his fists, amid a colorful array of Neapolitan street figures. His recollections of youth provide rare insight into coming of age in a culture so ancient, so full of secrets. Anyone who wants to know the real Italy, and what it’s been through over the last half-century, will find Books & Rough Business a source of endless fascination. On top of that, this autobiography offers the timeless pleasures of watching a wily player work his way from next to nothing to great success, overcoming just about every kind of adversity along the way.
and Other Poems
Bristol Bay is the easternmost part of the Bering Sea and the site of the largest Salmon run in the world. It is also home to some of the highest tides and roughest water on the planet. In winter, ice storms freeze the riggings of fishing boats and the added weight of the ice, if not chipped off and thrown overboard, is sufficient to sink all but the largest of boats. The working conditions are brutal and the Bay itself as unforgiving as it is lovely. If it were a town, its name would be Deadwood or Tombstone, a place where life is measured in sunrises, not years. The title poem, “Bristol Bay,” is autobiographical. Much of what is described in the poem is true and not hyperbole or metaphor. The author worked two seasons on the 420 foot floating processor, the All Alaskan, now a partially submerged wreck outside of Kodiak, Alaska, and the poem speaks to that almost apocalyptic experience. The poems in this book are thematically aligned with the title poem in that they share a willingness to explore the potentially fatal, often unknown body of the individual. Homelessness, war, the blue collar work ethic, the love of all things opposed by the hatred of one thing—mothers and fathers—all of these become touchstones through which greater awareness may be experienced as a spiritual participation in building and sustaining human communities.
In her debut poetry collection, Kelly Davio invites the reader into a world where sin is virtue and virtue is vice, where the ominous lingers just beneath the surface, and the everyday is imbued with the fantastic. In these intelligent, compassionate, and harrowing poems, Davio gives a modern voice to metaphysical tradition.
But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise emerges at a time when science is discovering more and more about the mystical particles that make up our universe and our bodies. From tidal forces and prairie burns to ruminations on racial identity while standing at the foot of Mount Rushmore, these poems chart a travelogue through mental and physical landscapes and suggest that place, time, love, and bodies are all shifts in the "undulate cosmos." Straddling the lyrical and experimental, these poems conjure and connect the cosmological, the carnal, and the personal in a country—and a universe—that is gobbling itself into oblivion. But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise is in love with the universe of language—Its forms, its sounds, and even its static.