A hybrid collection comprised of short stories, flash fiction, and prose poems, the works in 57 Octaves Below Middle C enact the dilemma of self-forgetting. This book is for any reader who hears the states of dissonance that are disturbing and natural aspects of the human comedy.
A novel told in short stories, The Affliction is an astounding fiction debut by an award-winning poet full of memorable characters across America and the Caribbean. Young beautifully weaves together the elaborate stories of many while holding together a clear focus: people are not always as they seem.
David Dodd Lee Four Way Books, 2014 Library of Congress PS3562.E3383A6 2014 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Reading Animalities is like inhaling and exhaling innumerable versions of life—and like life, these poems embrace “carnage and joy”: “the sun on the horizon bleeding…/ where the loons swim in it by moonlight still laughing.” The curious juxtaposition of the familiar with the surreal—“the flaming peonies,” “black lemons floating on white water.”—contemplates the question, “Why is there something instead of nothing?” PRAISE FOR DAVID DODD LEE “Highly dynamic, irreverent, subversive, and driven by a kinetic music that often breaks into riot…”–Nick Sturm, The Laurel Review “Obsessively, elegantly, poignantly, David Dodd Lee immerses himself in the mysterious intercourse of self and place.”—Franz Wright
Daniel Simko Four Way Books, 2009 Library of Congress PR9170.S563S56 2009 | Dewey Decimal 821.92
Poet and translator Daniel Simko emigrated with his parents to the U.S.A. and lived here until his death, aged 45, in 2004. Steeped in the traditions of European art, Simko remained reticent about publishing. Thanks to his literary executor, Carolyn Forché, this first collection, in the language Simko grew up into, showcases his gift for the unexpected, exact phrase. The Arrival maps a haunting choreography of travel, memory, and the body so gently you will feel you have been carrying this book around with you all along.
Bastards of the Reagan Era
Reginald Dwayne Betts Four Way Books, 2015 Library of Congress PS3602.E8249B37 2015 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Bastards of the Reagan Era is a challenge, confronting realities that frame an America often made invisible. Within these poems, we see the city as distant lover, we hear “the sound that comes from all / the hurt & want that leads a man to turn his back to the world.” We see that and we see each reason why we return to what pains us.
Begging for It
Alex Dimitrov Four Way Books, 2013 Library of Congress PS3604.I4648B44 2013 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
In his debut collection of poems, Begging for It, Alex Dimitrov leads us through the streets, bridges, and bedrooms of New York City, sometimes as far away as Buenos Aires and Iceland, and as close as our own darkest corners. A Bulgarian immigrant, Dimitrov writes as both observer of and fervent participant in this “American Youth,” as his speakers navigate both the physical and emotional landscapes of desire, intimacy, and longing—whether for a friend, a lover, or a self, “Saint or stranger, I still recklessly seek you.”
The Bible of Dirty Jokes
Eileen Pollack Four Way Books, 2018 Library of Congress PS3566.O4795B53 2018 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
When Ketzel Weinrach’s beloved brother Potsie goes missing in Las Vegas, she not only must try to find him, she must confront her family’s shady history and their ties to the legendary Jewish mob, Murder, Inc., as well as her troubling relationship to her cousin Perry (who runs a strip club on the outskirts of Vegas), her long and apparently not-so-loving marriage to her recently departed husband Morty Tittelman (a self-styled professor of dirty jokes and erotic folklore), and her own failed career as a stand-up comic.
Carl Adamshick Four Way Books, 2019 Library of Congress PS3601.D399A6 2019 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Lee Briccetti Four Way Books, 2018 Library of Congress PS3602.R49A6 2018 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
In Blue Guide, Lee Briccetti is as much archeologist as tour guide as she excavates the layers of her life and reassembles the shards into poems that are stunning in their lyric wisdom. She moves easily, albeit restlessly, between past and present and here and there, from the streets of ancient Rome to post-9/11 lower Manhattan, ultimately concluding that “The dead / always tell us live.” Through this journey, she constructs a new architecture of the soul that realizes “In this happiness we build each other—”
The Book of Ruin
Rigoberto González Four Way Books, 2019 Library of Congress PS3557.O4695A6 2019 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Sam Ross Four Way Books, 2019 Library of Congress PS3618.O84687A6 2019 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
A Crown of Hornets
Marcia Pelletiere Four Way Books, 2019 Library of Congress PS3616.E37C76 2019 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Days of Our Lives
Joan Aleshire Four Way Books, 2019 Library of Congress PS3551.L34779A6 2019 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Day of Our Lives is equal parts social history and memoir documenting the unraveling of a marriage against the backdrop of the shifting social mores of 1960s and ’70s America. Joan Aleshire’s speaker, a young wife, enters marriage gratefully, even eagerly, believing it to be “a long table / with friends crowding in, red wine / in tumblers.” Motherhood follows, but so do infidelities and reconciliation and ultimately divorce. With each hard knock, the speaker sheds a little more of her innocence as she gains awareness of her power as both a woman and a writer: “Coming home / late from a festival for women / where I’d said all the things / the audience liked, I slipped / into bed so flush with triumph / my husband recoiled from the heat.”
Gregory Pardlo Four Way Books, 2014 Library of Congress PS3616.A737A6 2014 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
From Epicurus to Sam Cooke, the Daily News to Roots, Digest draws from the present and the past to form an intellectual, American identity. In poems that forge their own styles and strategies, we experience dialogues between the written word and other art forms. Within this dialogue we hear Ben Jonson, we meet police K-9s, and we find children negotiating a sense of the world through a father’s eyes and through their own.
Maya Phillips Four Way Books, 2019 Library of Congress PS3616.H4626A6 2019 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Maya Phillips’ stunning debut collection Erou borrows the framework of the traditional Greek epic to interrogate the inner workings of a present-day nuclear family and the role of a patriarch whose life, marriage, and death are imagined as a sort of hero’s journey. Her poems move seamlessly between the worlds of the living and the dead, between myth and reality in a journey that raises its own Homeric question: What is home and how do we locate our place within that home? These are poems of passion and compassion in their reconciliation with what cannot be changed—but can be understood—by those who have been left behind.
The Exit Coach
Megan Staffel Four Way Books, 2016 Library of Congress PS3569.T16A6 2016 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
How do we find the courage to change? In The Exit Coach, a collection of six stories and a novella, the characters arrive at an impasse that requires them to step out of the wreckage of their habituated lives. It is the entrance of an unexpected voice—a visitor from France, a retired talent scout, an invisible friend, a midnight phone call, or even a wild animal—that disrupts their patterns of behavior and illuminates the possibilities they’ve been blind to, pointing the way to an exit they’ve dreamt of, but lacked the courage to enter.
Forest with Castanets
Diane Mehta Four Way Books, 2019 Library of Congress PS3613.E4257F67 2019 | Dewey Decimal 818.609
The Glimmering Room
Cynthia Cruz Four Way Books, 2012 Library of Congress PS3603.R893G58 2012 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Fierce and fearless, The Glimmering Room beckons readers down into the young speaker’s dark underworld, and because we are seduced by Cruz’s startling imagery and language rich with “Death’s outrageous music,” we follow willingly. Peopled with “ambassadors from the Netherworld”—the orphaned and abused, the lost and addicted—Cruz leads us through this “traveling minstrel show / Called girlhood—” which is at once tragic and magical.
Guidebooks for the Dead
Cynthia Cruz Four Way Books, 2020 Library of Congress PS3603.R893A6 2020 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Sydney Lea Four Way Books, 2019 Library of Congress PS3562.E16A6 2019 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
In his thirteenth book of poetry, Sydney Lea gives voice to the deep connection between human life and the natural world as well as their fragility and transience. Here, nature is as much a muse as a trigger for sense memory—as a schoolboy on a playground “breathing in autumn mud, / that cherished aroma” or as witness to a redtail hawk’s attack and the aftermath during which “That poor doomed duckling’s wisps of down / Floated in air like snowflakes, /Diaphanous.” Death is a constant presence in these poems, too, arising from the bittersweet awareness of what eventually will be lost. While there is reckoning, there are few regrets in a life well-lived and closely observed. Here is a title, but it’s also a statement, an incantation and affirmation: “Let’s chant it throughout the year,” Lea writes, “like so much birdsong: we’re here we’re here we’re here.”
How the End Begins
Cynthia Cruz Four Way Books, 2016 Library of Congress PS3603.R893A6 2016 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
How the End Begins juxtaposes the world’s seductions and incessant clamoring for more with the invisible world: the quiet, the call of the desert, and the pull to faith. The book chronicles this move toward faith and away from the “dingen” (things or stuff). Within the worlds of these poems are Orthodox monks, Emily Dickinson, anorexic patients inside a hospital ward, Larry Levis, Ingeborg Bachmann, Thomas Bernhard, Captain Beefheart, Henry Darger, Jean Genet, Goya, Karen Carpenter, Joan of Arc, and, of course, God. How the End Begins is a burning down, a kind of end of the world while, at the same time, a new, triumphant beginning.
In a bizarre love triangle, a man becomes increasingly desperate for the attention of a woman obsessed with her little dog. A hapless unromantic develops an algorithm to help him succeed at dating. And a divorcee becomes consumed with jealousy when a man she likes begins to date her 60 year old mother. In these tales of love pursued, yet rarely caught, characters find themselves tripping, sometimes painfully, sometimes hilariously, toward self-revelation. Here is life in all of its clumsiness, humor, and beauty.
A close look at the rigors of our current cultural moment, In an Invisible Glass Case Which Is Also a Frame offers readers a way to navigate vital questions: what does it mean to be “secure”? How do we make art amid complexity? In Guez’s debut, readers will witness realities of income inequality, climate change, and the opioid epidemic alongside a series of reliable antidotes: art, music, humor, and love. “Have we made it across the vast plain of night?” asks one poem. No, not quite. There is more night, but there is singing, too. Rich in its sophisticated engagement of a “still life” series, dilemmas large and small, political and personal, are treated with generosity, curiosity, and a precise investigation of the heart.
Let It Be Broke
Ed Pavlic Four Way Books, 2020 Library of Congress PS3616.A9575A6 2020 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Paul Otremba Four Way Books, 2019 Library of Congress PS3615.T74A6 2019 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
The poems in Paul Otremba’s Levee explore the intersection between the ecological, the political, and the personal in a world built on oil and greed. The city of Houston is at once backdrop and metaphor for the ways in which violence—both natural and manmade—have become part and parcel of twenty-first century life. “It’s a luxury to be this calm,” Otremba writes in the opening poem, a held-breath between the disastrous effects of hurricanes and cancer. Yet Otremba’s exquisite lines manage to wrest meaning from the devastation wrought by both global warming and a terminal illness: “If there is a lesson / on how not to worry, it’s that you’re not stuck only being one thing, /the multitudes in me and the multitudes in you.”
Lighting the Shadow
Rachel Eliza Griffiths Four Way Books, 2015 Library of Congress PS3607.R5494A6 2015 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Lighting the Shadow is about a woman’s evolving journey through desire, grief, trauma, and the peculiar historical American psyche of desire and violence. These poems explore the international and psychological wars women survive—wars inflicted through various mediums that employ art, race, and literature. Furthermore, the collection is about a woman’s transformation and acceptance of her complicated attempts to balance her spirit’s own spectrum. Pulling the poet away from death, these poems insist that she open her life to her own powers and the powers of a greater world—a world that is both bright and dark.
Listen & Other Stories
Liam Callanan Four Way Books, 2015 Library of Congress PS3603.A445A6 2015 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Listen is a book where characters ask readers to do just that: listen to their stories, especially because many aren’t the type of people who often get listened to—even though they should. These characters’ trials, missed connections, and sundry challenges are full of surprises—some good, some bad, some funny, some wise, and some all this at once. Perhaps most surprising of all, there’s tenderness here and a lot of heart—which often gets the collection’s characters into a lot of trouble.
Patrick Donnelly Four Way Books, 2019 Library of Congress PS3604.O5634A6 2019 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Melanie S. Hatter Four Way Books, 2019 Library of Congress PS3608.A8656M35 2019 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
Hatter’s artful, moving novel looks closely at the murder of a young black woman and her family’s devastation. Old—and new—questions about race and civil rights in 21st Century America arise alongside the unfolding story of Malawi and those who live in the wake of her loss.
Karen Brennan Four Way Books, 2016 Library of Congress PS3552.R378A6 2016 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Literal as well as metaphorical monsters inhabit this book of 38 innovative fictions. Here the reader will encounter not only zombies and ghosts, but a lyrical dream braided into a brutal and sorrowful real world. Monsters’ vision embodies the heartbreakingly private and depressingly public—and the funny flipside of it all.
Daniel Tobin Four Way Books, 2005 Library of Congress PS3570.O289N37 2005 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Coming of age in Brooklyn's Bay Ridge, these poems explore what it is to be an Irish American Catholic; a dutiful son of hard drinking, sometimes hilarious and sometimes tragic parents; a son of Brooklyn; and, too, deeply rooted to the country of his ancestors, Ireland. Dark, funny, and sometimes troubling, these poems, always accessible, track a life well lived and felt.
Andrea Cohen Four Way Books, 2019 Library of Congress PS3603.O3415A6 2019 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
The poems in Andrea Cohen’s Nightshade, her sixth full-length collection, are constructed from the wisdom of loss—of lovers and loved ones and a world gone awry. Cohen builds a short poem the way a master carpenter does a tiny house, in lines that are both economic and precise, with room enough for sorrow and wit to exist comfortably in their spaces. The great pleasure in reading these poems is their surprise in the way the endings arrive again and again in startling truths: The bride whose dress is sewn “from a hundred/tattered flags/of surrender” and the ever-present reminder of the title poem that the things of this world are both “poison and . . . balms” that “We /call . . . bitter- / sweet––what / living isn’t?”
Nocturnes of the Brothel of Ruin reflects on the ways love and sex can ruin us—our bodies, our contentment, our sense of self—but can also grant us an almost spiritual knowledge of the human. Structured around the life of a central speaker born into a world where love is a fever, a sickness, Donnelly’s masterful volume moves through deserted New England mill towns, the sexual abandon of the 1980s gay demimonde, and (in several translations) medieval imperial Japan, searching out the spirit that survives ruin.
Jen Levitt Four Way Books, 2016 Library of Congress PS3612.E9345A6 2016 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
The poems in The Off-Season are populated with things—'90s TV shows, mixtapes, crosstown buses, winter beaches—signifiers that trace a trajectory from girlhood to adulthood and bring to the surface feelings and desires that ordinarily stay hidden. We witness the strangeness of modern life, relive our own adolescent awkwardness and listen in on conversations with dead poets, TV characters, family members and intimates. With humor, fierceness and generosity, The Off-Season grapples with the question of how to be in the world.
Sarah Manguso Four Way Books, 2006 Library of Congress PS3613.A54S57 2006 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
“This book is for those of us who want to read more poetry but are frequently stopped by its--what is it? Its chilly self-seriousness? Its unwillingness to hold our hand every so often, while cracking an easy joke? Either way, Sarah Manguso, like her spiritual siblings David Berman and Tony Hoagland, is a friendly kind of savior and guide. Her writing is gorgeous and cerebral (imagine Anne Carson) but she doesn't skimp on the wit (imagine Anne Carson's ne'er-do-well niece). Poetry-fearers, don't back away from this beautiful book; these might be the pages that bring you back into the form.” --Dave Eggers
These Many Rooms
Laure-Anne Bosselaar Four Way Books, 2019 Library of Congress PS3552.O772A6 2019 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
Threat Come Close
Aaron Coleman Four Way Books, 2018 Library of Congress PS3603.O4324A6 2018 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
In his debut collection, Aaron Coleman writes an American anthem for the 21st century, a full-throated lyric composed of pain, faith, lust and vulnerability. Coleman’s poems comment on and interrogate the meaning of home and identity for a black man in America, past and present. Guided by a belief system comprising an eclectic array of invented saints—Trigger, Seduction, Doubt and Who—Coleman’s quest finds answers in the natural world where “[t]he trees teach me how to break and keep on living.”
Paul Lisicky Four Way Books, 2012 Library of Congress PS3562.I773U53 2012 | Dewey Decimal 818.5403
The many subjects of the individual short fiction pieces within Unbuilt Projects intersect God, sex, family, childhood, and adulthood. Fluctuating between descriptions of the exterior world and the speaker’s interior world, these stories are at once lyric and narrative, funny and heartbreaking, beautifully rich and stark. Here the subjective collides with the objective. These short, compelling stories show Lisicky at the top of his form.
Up Jump the Boogie
John Murillo Four Way Books, 2020 Library of Congress PS3613.U6945A6 2020 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Sara London Four Way Books, 2019 Library of Congress PS3562.O48815A6 2019 | Dewey Decimal 811.54
The poems in Sara London’s Upkeep offer a guidebook for both coping with and negotiating the difficult terrain of life after great personal loss. In the book’s opening section, the speaker explains to a Martian the ways we earthlings attempt to raise our dead—“you’ll find that with dreams // we exhume our dead without the mess /of upturned dirt”—and later finds comfort in objects that connect her to her late Mr. Fix-It father. These are elegies whose solemnity has been upended by humor and the nuanced interrogations of the daily rituals that heal us. “How do you / do it, start the experiment— / gas up, each day, anew?” she asks. Oatmeal and duct tape help, London suggests, but ultimately the heart decides: The “old tubes, they play on.”
Glen Pourciau Four Way Books, 2017 Library of Congress PS3616.O868A6 2017 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
These new stories from Iowa Short Fiction Award–winner Pourciau reveal the day-to-day drama of various characters through their interior monologues. As readers become engaged in a character’s viewpoint and voice, they may begin to see the story from a different perspective than the narrator’s. The ground shifts as the reader questions the reliability of the narrator’s single point of view.
Allison Benis White Four Way Books, 2020 Library of Congress PS3602.E66346A6 2020 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Cynthia Cruz Four Way Books, 2014 Library of Congress PS3603.R893A6 2014 | Dewey Decimal 811.6
Within the world of Wunderkammer, or “cabinet of curiosities,” Cynthia Cruz archives the ruinous, the sparkling, the traumatic, and the decadent. These poems, through sensuous impressions, mimic what it’s like to wake from a dream only to realize you are still inside the dream. We encounter gluttony pinned against starvation—“ceiling high cream cakes, / I ran twelve miles in my ballet leotard” — and the glamorous mixed with the grotesque —“I follow a sequin / Thread of dead things.” Through “brutal music,” Wunderkammer grips at the edges of memory and chaos; these poems have “found the kill / And entered it.”
Guided by a poem assembled from “compliments” paid by a suitor to his girlfriend (which echo the endearments Anna Karenina’s Count Vronsky directs toward his racehorse, before she collapses under his weight and is shot), You Darling Thing investigates bridehood and the concept of the vow through the voices of a variety of brides, ex-brides, courtesans, and wives. The book is ultimately less about marriage than about potentiality and promise, an engagement with what seems possible before it stops being possible—anticipation at the outset of a hunt, embryos that stay unborn, youthful predictions for a life before it’s lived, and delight in the expressive possibilities afforded by language and art.