Face by Marcia Meier
Jan09

Face by Marcia Meier

“My AROHO Story,” by Marcia Meier I met Saddle Road Press Publisher Ruth Thompson at AROHO in 2011 (as well as seven other women who have become very close friends), and Ruth has been on my writing journey of this memoir for all these years, encouraging and offering critical feedback. AROHO changed my life in many ways, not the least by bringing Ruth and these other dear women into my life. Until this covid year, we have met every summer on the Northern California coast for 10 days of writing, reading, and being in communion with each other. Last year Ruth, after reading the latest revision of this work, offered to publish it. I was thrilled, and am grateful to her, and AROHO for bringing us together! Face is an unforgettable story of childhood trauma and abuse, identity, and faith. At age five, Marcia Meier was hit by a car, losing the left side of her face and eyelid. Over the next fifteen years she underwent twenty surgeries and spent days blinded by bandages, her hands tied to the sides of her hospital bed. Scarred both physically and emotionally, abused at school, blamed and rejected by her mother, Marcia survived and went on to create a successful life as a journalist, a wife and mother. But at midlife her controlled world began to fall apart, and Marcia began a journey into the darkness of her past, her true identity, her deepest beliefs – a spiritual and emotional exploration that resulted in the creation of Face.   Praise for Face Face, A Memoir, is a beautifully rendered examination of the long-term impact of childhood trauma. Meier’s journey of recovery and growth is testimony to her strength of spirit, and her story will inspire every reader. — Hope Edelman, author of Motherless Daughters, The Possibility of Everything, and The AfterGrief, Finding Your Way Along the Long Arc of Loss In her memoir Face, Marcia Meier achingly, courageously explores anger, bewilderment, and loss, the complex legacy of a terrible trauma to her face and her psyche at the age of five. In each page of this gripping story, Meier lifts from dark places of deep hurt multiple shards of emotion-charged memory, and, turning their facets in the healing light of contemplation, investigation, and imagination, she offers readers the benefit of her soul work: the transformation of rage and suffering into love and compassion.” — Christine Hale, author of A Piece of Sky, A Grain of Rice: A Memoir in Four Meditations...

Read More
to cleave by Barbara Rockman
Jan09

to cleave by Barbara Rockman

to cleave, University of New Mexico Press, 2019, is a collection of poems that searches for and lays bare the mythic moments one finds even in the most ordinary life. Rockman explores themes of aging; relationship to our bodies; marriage: and the surprises, griefs and joys of motherhood. Each section urges readers to view their daily lives with renewed curiosity and wonder. Purchase In Rockman’s book there is natural observation, there is motherhood; there’s trauma, marriage, family, and a deep love of words. She is a varied writer, moving easily among forms, subjects, voices. Each voice, be it that of a gull, a stone, a child, a daughter-in-law, has something necessary to tell us. I can’t imagine any reader coming away empty-handed. This is a book worth multiple readings. —Britton Gildersleeve “My AROHO Story,” by Barbara Rockman My second collection of poems, to cleave, published by University of New Mexico Press, 2019, has received the National Federation of Press Women Book Prize and was a finalist for the International Book Award. These poems explore long marriage, a search for faith and reckoning with age, death and the corruption of and praise for the natural world. It is the AROHO community of women’s stories, the breadth of belief and the ferocity with which my AROHO sisters have insisted on being heard that fuel the poems. The AROHO women writers I have known briefly and those who have become deep, long lasting family are the foundation beneath my own determination to be wilder and more honest and more vulnerable in my...

Read More
Five Sextillion Atoms by Jayne Benjulian
Jan09

Five Sextillion Atoms by Jayne Benjulian

In a single drop of water there are five sextillion atoms, yet Earth in relation to the rest of the universe is infinitely smaller still by comparison. Jayne Benjulian takes this astonishing fact for the title of her first collection of poetry and aptly so, for these poems hold vast reaches of perception, loss, personal and family history, all with admirable compression. Among the stories these poems tell, one is the making of a poet. Purchase Praise for Five Sextillion Atoms, Saddle Road Press, June 2016.   As Roethke said (after Shakespeare), you must “kill your darlings,” must not flinch from deleting words, lines and even stanzas you love. You must, that is, if you want to write like Benjulian in lines that are taut, spare, and fiercely compressed. I admire her poems, too, for their cinematic sense, complete with deftly-drawn characters, vivid scenes, and authentic dialogue, and for how they align family drama with the drama of the human condition.—Rebecca Foust “My AROHO Story,” by Jayne Benjulian In the summer of 2011, a pivotal year in my artistic life, I attended the AROHO Conference at Ghost Ranch. After spending a decade writing speeches and working in theater in San Francisco, I had re-committed to creating my own work and prioritizing my writing over the writing of those whose work I was guiding toward production. After so long away from what it meant to be a poet, I was searching for inspiration and mentorship. I don’t remember precisely my frame of mind at the time. What I do remember: mountains, dry, hot air, a geography that urged me to look at the sky as if I had never seen it before; and meeting women whose identity as artists was central to their lives. Some of these women have remained at my heart’s core. One read my poems and wrote a recommendation to Warren Wilson, where I earned my MFA three years later. She and I exchange manuscripts now. One publisher first heard my poems at AROHO and said she loved my work. That was Ruth Thompson at Saddle Road Press. When I asked a mentor whether or not I should publish my first collection with a tiny press, she said, If you have found someone who loves your work, you have found the best possible publisher. Each year, with few exceptions—notably the cataclysmic year of 2020—I have spent a week in one of my favorite places on earth, Gualala, California, with eight writers I met at AROHO. These are my people, AROHO people.  ...

Read More
Big and Bad by Anna Scotti
Jul16

Big and Bad by Anna Scotti

  Buy from Amazon Gritty and realistic enough to appeal to adults as well as to savvy middle school and high school readers, Big and Bad touches on real issues that affect real kids: poverty, alcoholism, racism, urban violence, homelessness, and, even, animal abuse and dogfighting.   “ Big and Bad is an achingly bittersweet and pure novella about the hurt and wonder, the pain and joy of life. I often read sections of this just before I started working each night, because I felt as though it made me a better writer. Anna Scotti writes fiction like the poet she is.” – Cynthia Kadohata, author of Checked   “My AROHO Story,” by Anna Scotti, Orlando Short Fiction Prize winner, Spring 2015, for “They Look Like Angels,” selected by judge Amy Liu.   In 2015, I was stunned to learn that I had received AROHO’s Orlando Prize for short fiction for my story, “They Look Like Angels.” The monetary prize was significant to me, a teacher and single mother writing stories and poems at the kitchen table in the proverbial wee hours. But the recognition was life-changing in larger and more abstract ways. Reading Amy Liu’s sensitive commentary and sharing news of the award rejuvenated my spirit. It was the encouragement I needed to keep writing, and more, to keep offering my work for publication in the face of continual rejection. A year later The New Yorker picked up a poem – yes, miracles happen – and now, five years after receiving the Orlando, I’m publishing fiction and poetry regularly, celebrating the release of my first young adult novel, Big and Bad, and doing my best to mentor other writers who need a boost. Anna K. Scotti’s poetry appears in The New Yorker, and her short stories are regulars in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. She has been awarded The Orlando Prize for short fiction, the Pocataglio Prize for poetry, and the Mark Fisher Prize for poetry. Read more about Anna at...

Read More
H & G by Anna Maria Hong
Aug06

H & G by Anna Maria Hong

H & G, by Anna Maria Hong, was the winner of the 2014 Clarissa Dalloway Book Prize, ENTROPY Magazine’s Best of 2018: Best Fiction Books, and Finalist 2019 Vermont Book Award. Purchase I will always be deeply grateful to all the amazing women who run AROHO and their integral support of idiosyncratic writing by women writers. I never would have anticipated the life of this book in its first year of publication. I know that AROHO’s unwavering commitment to its authors and prize winners has paved the way for this warm reception, and I cherish the vital work that you do. —Anna Maria Hong Praise for H & G In H & G, Anna Maria Hong delivers an innovative rewriting of the fable of Hansel and Gretel. She chronicles the exploits of the ‘girl-hero,’ characterizes the witch as a conscientious citizen, and asks readers to consider “What is the crumb/diamond of this story?” The answer: “You are G. writing a novel about patricidal hatred, inherited misogyny, and looking for good kin./you are G. as little Korean American Fräulein.” —Torsa Ghosal from Bustle “In H & G, Anna Maria Hong brilliantly re-visions the ‘Hansel and Gretel’ fairytale for the post-post-modern 21st century. Or explodes it, producing a text brimming with biting wit, feminist insight, psychological incisiveness, and a hybrid narrative daring that turns genre on its head. G., a ‘Korean American fraülein’ who is ‘sick of the high road’ is willing to tear the whole fantasy edifice of our illusions down as she journeys toward deeper truths, and thankfully, she and H. take us along for their sometimes-frightening, always enlightening rides.” — John Keene “H & G is more than a fractured fairy tale for the Doom Generation. It’s a mordantly funny dismantling of loss and abandonment, a game of Chutes & Ladders played by Angela Carter and the Woolf of Orlando, a spider that waits for its victim to stop struggling before moving in. It suggests that the great escape is just the prelude to an unhappily ever after in which old traumas collapse under the weight of new discoveries. It is a brilliant, bracing book.” —Josh Emmons “This prose, built closely beside one of the most primeval European tales, is full of delectably strong phrasal nuggets and more. Anna Maria Hong unfastens and opens the original narrative, filling in all the icy distress that we already know, then adds the allure of burning sugar.” —Stacey Levine “Anna Maria Hong’s H & G takes a different approach as it brilliantly tells and retells the Hansel and Gretel tale, in prose and verse. Unlike Coover’s postmodern fairy tales, however, H & G...

Read More
Miraculum Monstrum by Kathline Carr
Aug16

Miraculum Monstrum by Kathline Carr

“Miraculum Monstrum by Kathline Carr is a remarkably inventive, audacious debut collection that unfolds as poems, stories, fragments, drawings, paintings, mixed media pieces, and quotes to document and illustrate the life of Tristia Vogel, a visual artist who transforms dramatically and traumatically into a bird, and becomes an unintentional prophet. . . . This book is a unique and brilliant contribution to contemporary dystopic literature.”—Jan Conn, author of Tomorrow’s Bright White Light Miraculum Monstrum, winner of the 2015 Clarissa Dalloway Book Prize and Best Book Award Finalist, Fiction: Cross Genre Buy this Book Search for a reading of Miraculum Monstrum near you   Miraculum Monstrum is an illustrated, highly original, and formally inventive speculative hybrid narrative centering on the life and work of a fictional female artist afflicted with wings.   Kathline Carr was born in 1966 and raised primarily in New England. After having a family and living in seclusion at the base of Gallows Hill in Connecticut, Carr earned her BFA in Creative Writing with concentrations in visual art and feminist philosophy from Goddard College, VT and an MFA in Visual Arts from The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. She is the recipient of the 2015 Clarissa Dalloway “Everything but Poetry” Book Prize from AROHO Foundation, and a previous Connecticut Poetry Circuit Award winner (2006). Her writing/art has appeared in Yew Journal, Entropy, Calyx, Earth’s Daughters, Hawaii Review, CT Review, Alexandria Quarterly and elsewhere; she has exhibited her visual work in the Berkshires, Provincetown, NYC, Boston, and Toronto. Carr lives in North Adams, Massachusetts, with her husband and sometimes-collaborator, figurative painter Jim Peters, and her youngest daughter Mercedes. Visit her website at http://www.kathlinecarr.com/.  ...

Read More
Heating and Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly
Jun24

Heating and Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly

Buy from Norton Watch the Trailer The 52 micro-memoirs in genre-defying Heating & Cooling offer bright glimpses–some as short as a sentence, some a paragraph or a page— into a richly lived life, combining the compression of poetry with the truth-telling of nonfiction into one heartfelt, celebratory book. Ranging from childhood recollections to quirky cultural observations, these micro-memoirs build on one another to arrive at a portrait of Fennelly as a wife, mother, writer, and deeply original observer of life’s challenges and joys. Some pieces are wistful, some wry, and many reveal the humor buried in our everyday interactions. Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs shapes a life from unexpectedly illuminating moments, and awakens us to these moments as they appear in the margins of our lives.   “Beth Ann Fennelly brings a poet’s sensibility to Heating & Cooling. Each entry is both insightful and precise, a perfect pearl of memory. By marking out these 52 moments, she draws a portrait of a life that is deeply felt and fully awake. I will be the first in line when there are 52 more.” — Ann Patchett   “Strong and at the same time wonderfully vulnerable. There is a matter-of-fact revelation inherent in her work. I deeply enjoyed this book—deeply.” — Dorothy Allison   “The pieces look like jewels—finely wrought, lyric, and subtle—but they expose themselves as creatures: vital, writhing, surprising, alive. They’re funny as hell. They’ve got a cool wit, but they’re feverish to the touch. They’ve been living inside me ever since I read them, heating and cooling me.” — Leslie Jamison     “My AROHO Story” by Beth Ann Fennelly, Orlando Creative Nonfiction Prize winner, Fall 2015, for “Goner,” selected by judge Sue William Silverman.   When I began the collection that became Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs, I wasn’t really sure anyone would want to read what I was writing. After all, these were just little stories from my (rather unremarkable) life; stories of my life as a mother, wife, writer, and teacher; stories about people I knew in my small town in Mississippi. Some of these stories were quirky observations or memories or bits of overheard dialogue. The shortest was one sentence, the longest a few pages. I couldn’t tell, during the writing, if these were going to hold any worth for anyone but me. But then I got the most excellent email, announcing that Sue William Silverman had awarded one of my micro-memoirs the AROHO nonfiction prize, and I thought—so maybe there is something here, so maybe these stories about my life could have something of value. . . .and I kept writing them. Thank you,...

Read More
how to get over by t’ai freedom ford
May06

how to get over by t’ai freedom ford

  “From the moment the poet declares that there’s a ‘plantation in them lungs,’ and sets the stage for a starkly ‘muscled music,’ you may as well let loose your rigid misconceptions about what poetry can do and steel yourself as it becomes the way your body moves from one exclamation to the other. Each of these lean and urgent poems, bulging with insistent energy and image, is a hallmark of t’ai freedom ford’s fierce inventiveness and refusal to settle for anything that lives its only life on the page. The fact that you aren’t ready for this work is exactly why you need it in your life.” —Patricia Smith, author of the National Book Award finalist Blood Dazzler   how to get over, winner of the 2015 To the Lighthouse Poetry Prize Judge: A.E. Stallings Buy this Book Search for a reading of how to get over near you …in these poems, full of jostling rhymes, elaborate rhythms, well-weighed syllabics, received and invented forms, deft improvisations, sonnets and bops, the poet confronts public tragedies and private trauma with craft and music, subverting and incorporating tradition. — Alicia Stallings   t’ai’s AROHO Story A Room of Her Own Foundation’s poetry prize contest allowed an emerging writer like me to get her foot in the door of the ever-competitive world of poetry publishing. Winning AROHO’s To The Lighthouse Prize has validated me and my voice as a poet and writer. Having my book enter the world is my proudest accomplishment and I am so very grateful to AROHO for blessing me and countless other women with this opportunity.—t’ai freedom ford t’ai freedom ford is a New York City high school English teacher, Cave Canem Fellow and Pushcart Prize nominee. In 2014, she was the winner of The Feminist Wire’s inaugural poetry contest judged by Evie Shockley. She is a 2015 Center for Fiction Fellow and a 2015–16 Emerge-Surface-Be Fellow sponsored by The Poetry Project. t’ai lives in Brooklyn; you can also connect digitally at: https://taifreedomford.com/...

Read More
Dreadful Wind & Rain by Diane Gilliam
Apr10

Dreadful Wind & Rain by Diane Gilliam

Diane Gilliam was AROHO’s 6th Gift of Freedom winner. This stunning verse narrative is the first to be published of the three books Diane completed during the two years of the grant. This book is a river you will want to swim in. It is the hardest thing this holding open of everything with nothing —from “Some Things the Doorways Want to Tell Us” Buy on Amazon Synopsis So the story goes: Neglected and abused by her family, eclipsed by her elder and more beautiful sister, a young girl longs for happily-ever-after, for something, someone to rescue her. She is soon swept away into the next chapter of her life: marriage—a promising world mirroring Old Testament stories and fairy tale traditions. But loving just anyone and living the age-old “ever-after” narrative, as it turns out, fails to bring true happiness after all. Dragged down by a destructive marriage, her sister’s continued manipulations, and the growing weight of roles and expectations created by others at her back, she must choose between continuing in her familiar, complacent life, or boldly breaking free—and finally making her own way. Named for an Appalachian murder ballad in which a girl is drowned by her sister, Dreadful Wind & Rain unseats expectations for what it means to live a fairy tale life, revealing the powerful force that comes from stripping away traditional roles and beginning to write a story all your own. Review Quotes “Ache and lift and veracity tambourine through these lines and stanzas. This new Diane Gilliam collection exults its power inside our ears and through our hearts in a rich, stinging, marvelous way. We are never ready for what she has to tell us. Never ready for how tall her words can reach through the trees. I believe that Diane Gilliam is incorruptible as a poet.” —Nikky Finney, winner of the National Book Award for Head Off & Split “Like all the most original poetry, Dreadful Wind & Rain draws its singular power from the place of origins, as female figures from fairy tales and Bible stories are transformed to confront, and ultimately transcend, the damage and entrapment of familial cruelty and betrayal. These intimate voices, interwoven with her own, informed by a deep confidence in the inner life, together create that extraordinary venture: the imaginative transit of a change of heart—a restorative grace.” —Eleanor Wilner, author of The Girl with Bees in Her Hair Bio Diane Gilliam is the author of three previous collections of poetry: Kettle Bottom, One of Everything, and Recipe for Blackberry Cake (chapbook). She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and a PhD in Romance Languages and...

Read More
Blackbirds in the Pomegranate Tree: Stories from Ixcotel State Prison by Mary Ellen Sanger
Jan03

Blackbirds in the Pomegranate Tree: Stories from Ixcotel State Prison by Mary Ellen Sanger

Mary Ellen Sanger, who won the Orlando Prize for Poetry for her poem “Secrets of a Wooden Saint in a Church in Jalcomulco”, and who was a finalist for the 4th Gift of Freedom, has self-published a book of nonfiction. Read on for her AROHO story, and details about her book. When I returned to the US after my incarceration, I tried to write the stories I had lived with the women of Ixcotel, sitting in a cramped NYC apartment. The stories came in spurts, but mostly – as I was struggling with my own “new” identity after so long abroad, finding time within a new framework of work and commuting and learning a new and enormous city – I doubted everything, and nearly stopped writing. I applied to the Gift of Freedom Award on a lark, for the exercise of pushing myself into an unexplored creative space. I am a great fan of the improbable. Winning seemed improbable, but applying was well within my reach.   I recall when Mary Johnson called to tell me I was a finalist, I was aswim with emotion! She indicated that few non-winners had reacted as enthusiastically as I had… but to me, I had won. I had won the reminder that I can and should write. Though I still struggled with time, I had renewed faith in my ability to do justice to the stories of the women with whom I was incarcerated for 33 days.   A subsequent Orlando Prize for Poetry for my poem “Secrets of a Wooden Saint in a Church in Jalcomulco” buoyed my belief that I can weave poetry through serious subjects.   It is with great thanks that I recall the confidence that AROHO put in my words – and the stories of triumph and struggle and solidarity and pain and redemption that I was able to put into my book well reflect the spirit of AROHO and the women who have shaped and continue to shape it. I am so happy to have been a part of that work. Buy on Amazon Synopsis Blackbirds in the Pomegranate Tree: Stories from Ixcotel State Prison tells my story of an unjust incarceration in Mexico, and the stories of 9 women that I met “inside.” They are stories of community and solidarity in an unlikely corner, in unlikely circumstances. I had made my life in Mexico for 17 years when I suddenly found myself in prison in Oaxaca, Mexico, arrested on invented charges. I spent 33 days in Ixcotel State Prison in the fall of 2003. These stories of the women I met there, illuminate my biggest...

Read More
Breakfast with Allen Ginsberg, by Esther Cohen
Sep12

Breakfast with Allen Ginsberg, by Esther Cohen

Esther Cohen is on the AROHO Board of Directors, and has authored several books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Breakfast with Allen Ginsberg is her sixth book. Buy on Amazon 1 Allen Ginsberg or I Wanted to Be a Poet Part One When I moved to New York City in the ‘70s from Ansonia small factory town in Connecticut Allen G was who I wanted to meet Jean Boudin Good Beat Poet said Allen will see anyone if they’ll buy him breakfast Found his number from Kenneth Koch and I of ce temp at Rochester Button had plenty of breakfast money In the diner he was Allen Ginsberg I was Esther Cohen Ask me anything he said in exchange for two eggs Can I be a poet like you Not having read even one word he said You Are a Poet Esther Cohen Can I quote you I asked You have my lifetime permission he said and all these years later I am Part Two A few weeks ago at a poet’s retreat in San Miguel de Allende British poet laureate a Sir did not like my poems You he said infusing You with Ultimate British Disdain You he repeated are in the same category as that American poet Allen Ginsberg At long last I replied At long last Esther...

Read More
SIX by Julie Marie Wade
Aug07

SIX by Julie Marie Wade

  SIX, winner of the 2014 To the Lighthouse Poetry Prize. Judge: C.D. Wright Buy this Book    Search for a Reading of SIX Near You “I call six times just to be sure you heard,” this speaker announces on the first page. These poems are also the six calls—calls to attention, calls to action, calls to account for something of our own. The speaker in SIX is insistent, scrupulous, and unflinching as she plumbs six essential aspects of human experience that have shaped us all: art, language, desire, vocation, faith, and life-changing love.   I chose SIX not in spite of but because of its discursiveness, its willingness to wander through the poem with technique at hand, but also a permit to allow both substantive and ephemeral material to wander into the field of the poem and exit without a conclusive goal in mind. It’s an accumulative project, inclusive, and busy about the business of sifting and sorting through this thing we call life that we carry out in this creation we call a body on this tumultuous blue orb we call earth. —C.D. Wright Julie Marie Wade is the author of four collections of poetry, including When I Was Straight (A Midsummer Night’s Press, 2014) and Postage Due (White Pine Press, 2010), and four collections of lyric nonfiction, including Catechism: A Love Story (Noctuary Press, 2016) and Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures (Bywater Books, 2014; Colgate University Press, 2010). She has received an Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council, a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir. She teaches in the creative writing program at Florida International University...

Read More
Under the Harrow, by Flynn Berry
Apr20

Under the Harrow, by Flynn Berry

Flynn Berry, who won the Spring 2012 Orlando Creative Nonfiction Prize Winner for “Surfing,” will have her debut novel published June 2016 by Penguin. Here is her AROHO Story, and details about her book: I still remember exactly what the genre judge, Celeste Fremon, said about my story, and doubt I’ll ever forget it. It was the first time I’d been published or won a national prize. I read the message from Tracey Cravens-Gras, and then went straight to a waitressing shift, where I spent the entire night smiling from ear to ear.   Author Tessa Hadley said about becoming a writer: “I felt as if, eventually, you find your own house and you let yourself in your front door, with your own key. Things can still go wrong, but it doesn’t matter – you’re there.” Winning the Orlando prize felt the same, except the house was full of women to welcome me inside. —Flynn Berry   Buy on Amazon Publisher’s Synopsis of Under the Harrow: When Nora takes the train from London to visit her sister in the countryside, she expects to find her waiting at the station, or at home cooking dinner. But when she walks into Rachel’s familiar house, she finds her sister has been the victim of a brutal murder. Haunted by the murder and the secrets that surround it, Nora is under the harrow: distressed and in danger. As Nora’s fear turns to obsession, she becomes as unrecognizable as the sister her investigation uncovers. A riveting psychological thriller and a haunting exploration of the fierce love between two sisters, the distortions of grief, and the terrifying power of the past, Under the Harrow marks the debut of an extraordinary new writer.     “Once I started reading Under the Harrow, I couldn’t stop. It’s like Broadchurch written by Elena Ferrante. I’ve been telling all my friends to read it—the highest compliment. Flynn Berry is a deeply interesting writer.”—Claire Messud, author of The Emperor’s Children and The Woman Upstairs “I read Under the Harrow through the night—I couldn’t put it down. Berry’s deft touch with atmosphere and emotion are sure to make this a stand out.”—Alex Marwood, author of The Wicked Girls and The Killer Next Door “What grabbed me by the bones and hurled me through this read-in-one-sitting novel wasn’t the plot, as compelling and tenacious and suspenseful as it is. Rather, it was Flynn Berry’s perfect, unrelenting prose. This is flawless storytelling.”—Jill Alexander Essbaum, author of...

Read More
Blood Sugar Canto by Ire’ne Lara Silva
Mar21

Blood Sugar Canto by Ire’ne Lara Silva

  “Being named the 2013 Fiction Genre Finalist for the Gift of Freedom Award validated me as a fiction writer and buoyed my belief that I could push forward with my projects and that they would find an audience.” —Ire’ne Lara Silva   Buy on Amazon “Silva is a poet-curandera who “sings the body electric,” transforming suffering into song. She probes the ways that love, justice and forgiveness help heal our individual selves and our communities. I am profoundly grateful for ire’ne’s hard-won wisdom and poetic gifts.”—Demetria Martinez, author of The Block Captain’s Daughter “I am stunned by ire’ne lara silva’s blood sugar canto, a searing and intensely personal and political collection of poems…The exhausted self, pricked by syringes, prodded by clinicians, fights fiercely to love and to decolonize the self, the changing body. These are poems of confronting traumas and of mourning. Ultimately, Silva’s poems are filled with important, hopeful and triumphant words; “you cannot live in fear / you cannot heal in fear / fear will never make you stronger … i will not / live / in fear / i will make song.” —Barbara Jane Reyes, author of Poeta en San Francisco and Diwata   “Once again, Silva brings us a kind of soul-exploration unprecedented in American letters. A poet of gut-wrenching honesty and visceral language, here, Silva aims her pen at a subject that concerns us all—health. blood sugar canto is an ode to the needle-prick of the diabetic, a letter to the inheritances of hunger and habit, a “love-song” to our collective internal organs. The poet invites us to an intimate dinner at her table, to sit and eat with her, share stories of azucar, of labwork and grace, to indulge ourselves in the unspoken cravings, and we leave nourished, full, and stronger for it.”—Tim Z. Hernandez, author of Natural Takeover of Small Things Saddle Road Press presents Ire’ne Lara Silva’s Blood Sugar Canto, a new book by the author of Flesh to Bone and Furia. Blood Sugar Canto is a powerful hymn to life and to her own body by a “curandera-poet” struggling to transmute the fear and despair of diabetes into healing. It is the only book of its kind, uniquely beautiful, original, and full of hope.  “In 2008,” Silva says, “I was diagnosed as an insulin-dependent diabetic. I wasn’t the first in my family. I had grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents, and siblings with diabetes. It still came as a shock. There were a lot of adjustments and a lot of losses. It came to me that I should write about what my life was immersed in—issues concerning my health, my family’s...

Read More
Words Like Love by Tanaya Winder
Feb18

Words Like Love by Tanaya Winder

  Buy on Amazon How do we pronounce words like love? How do we believe in them, and how can we apply them to the missing, wounded and massacred: To the missing indigenous women in North America, to a wounded culture, a dying language and the open grave of a massacred history that we refuse to stare into? Tanaya Winder seeks to articulate this heartbreak in her debut collection of poetry, Words Like Love, poems that act as a series of love letters dedicated to family, culture, a decimated environment and all who perished under the brunt and brutality of the capitalist colonialism that shaped our reality. Winder’s poetry is armed love, speaking truth in the teeth of power. In this slim tome, a mess of tears surges through every stanza, coursing its way through occupied territory, trying to find the heart, ready to penetrate its stone-cold reality. Words Like Love is a stunning debut where each page presents devastating, uplifting ruminations on the tragic dance between life and death in occupied North America, where the suffering of the marginalized goes unheard. Yet Winder breaks that silence by bearing witness and giving voice to the suffering. Each poem is a reminder to the missing and forgotten that their lives matter. Winder’s poetry is a must-read for everyone. Let her words hold your hand and grasp your heart. And don’t let go until we all learn to speak and act in the language of love. – Kirbie Bennet “Tanaya Winder’s work offers us a profound knowing—that art cures; that the censured and frozen words of love can be born anew in the warm waters of our open mouths—from bathroom stall graffiti to the classroom poetics of “Patrick.” I am already changed by this collection: in its keen intelligence, its vast empathy, and in the courageous specificity of each and every remembered wounding. Gracias, hermana-hija-poeta.”—Cherríe Moraga, playwright, poet, and author of A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness “These poems are a love song for a generation, for those who do everything they can to stand with dignity despite the insults, for those who have died tragically because they could not carry what these poems are carrying. Within these poems is the grief of losing a country, a family, a lover. The poet is a beautiful straggler of history who through poetry has learned how to fly.”—Joy Harjo, Mvskoke/Creek poet, musician, performer and author of Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings   “My AROHO Story”—by Tanaya Winder, Orlando Poetry Prize Winner, 2010, for her poem “The Impermanence of Human Sculptures”   I was 24 years old; my best friend would’ve just turned 22....

Read More
River Electric with Light by Sarah Wetzel
Nov24

River Electric with Light by Sarah Wetzel

River Electric with Light, winner of the 2012 To the Lighthouse Poetry Prize. Judge: Tracy K. Smith Buy this Book “Sarah Wetzel’s River Electric with Light is a work in search of the sacred and the spiritually significant. Touching down in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Kabul, New York, and Rome, Wetzel’s poems, ranging from lyric meditations to discursive drama, weave themselves from her life as wife, lover, stepmother, and traveler. She names the force propelling her River—“If I must choose a word for you, / let it be the word / for what flows,” she writes. At times joyful, at times grief-ridden, her poems accumulate associatively, riven together by a common quest. Wetzel’s worship is, like her worship of rivers, the worship of the continuing.” Publisher, Red Hen Press Like the river of the collection’s title, these poems ride upon a current of arduous insight and indelible imagery. And, like all courageous writing does, they make their own particular peace with the likelihood that even our most insistent questions—about love and human cruelty and belief—will never be adequately answered. —Tracy K....

Read More
More of This World or Maybe Another by Barb Johnson
Nov24

More of This World or Maybe Another by Barb Johnson

“More of This World or Maybe Another is a collection of award-winning short fiction about four outsiders whose unruly lives intersect on the back streets of New Orleans from writer Barb Johnson. Funny and haunting by turns, Johnson’s unforgettable characters are driven by something fragile and irresistible, a sputtering drive to love and be loved, in these “stunning stories . . . the kind that reveal, enlarge, and make living seem worth the trouble.” —Dorothy Allison   Buy This...

Read More
i built a boat with all the towels in your closet, by Leia Penina Wilson
May18

i built a boat with all the towels in your closet, by Leia Penina Wilson

i built a boat with all the towels in your closet (and will let you drown), winner of the 2012 To the Lighthouse Poetry Prize. Judge:  Evie Shockley Buy this Book Leia Penina Wilson’s i built a boat with all the towels in your closet (and will let you drown) is at once a love ballad and a warning. These poems are—at their simplest—about relationships, sex, love, creatures, different kinds (and degrees) of violence, and—at their most complex—about the limits of the imagination, of language, and about the power the imagination has over the body. These poems confront the shifty line between human and animal, and urge the question: at what cost the body. Wilson’s animal-human doesn’t intend to answer that question; instead, she lunges towards it and tears it up and begins again, and again, and again. Read more about Leia Penina Wilson and the To the Lighthouse Book Prize. I was mesmerized by the wild lyricism, quiet wit, and fearless curiosity of these poems. I feel lucky to have encountered them and am delighted to recognize them with the To the Lighthouse Prize. ­—Evie...

Read More
Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
Jan07

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Throughout her blockbuster career, Jodi Picoult has seamlessly blended nuanced characters, riveting plots, and rich prose, brilliantly creating stories that “not only provoke the mind but touch the flawed souls in all of us” (The Boston Globe). Now, in her highly anticipated new novel, she has delivered her most affecting work yet—a book unlike anything she’s written before. For more than a decade, Jenna Metcalf has never stopped thinking about her mother, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared in the wake of a tragic accident. Refusing to believe she was abandoned, Jenna searches for her mother regularly online and pores over the pages of Alice’s old journals. A scientist who studied grief among elephants, Alice wrote mostly of her research among the animals she loved, yet Jenna hopes the entries will provide a clue to her mother’s whereabouts. Desperate to find the truth, Jenna enlists two unlikely allies in her quest: Serenity Jones, a psychic who rose to fame finding missing persons, only to later doubt her gifts, and Virgil Stanhope, the jaded private detective who’d originally investigated Alice’s case along with the strange, possibly linked death of one of her colleagues. As the three work together to uncover what happened to Alice, they realize that in asking hard questions, they’ll have to face even harder answers. As Jenna’s memories dovetail with the events in her mother’s journals, the story races to a mesmerizing finish. A deeply moving, gripping, and intelligent page-turner, Leaving Time is Jodi Picoult at the height of her powers.   Purchase on Amazon   “Piercing and uplifting . . . a smart, accessible yarn with a suspenseful puzzle at its core.”—The Boston Globe “Poignant . . . an entertaining tale about parental love, friendship, loss.”—The Washington Post “In Jenna, Picoult has created an unforgettable character who will easily endear herself to each and every reader. . . . Leaving Time may be her finest work yet.”—Bookreporter  “A riveting drama.”—Us Weekly  “[A] moving tale.”—People  “A fast-paced, surprise-ending mystery.”—USA Today “[A] captivating and emotional...

Read More
November Butterfly by Tania Pryputniewicz
Nov01

November Butterfly by Tania Pryputniewicz

Alternately image rich and direct, the narrative lyric poems in November Butterfly (Saddle Road Press) channel the voices of iconic women, from Nefertiti to Guinevere to Marilyn Monroe and Sylvia Plath. The collection explores women’s choices and their consequences, as well as the violences that are not chosen. It delineates the collective responsibility, male and female alike, for posing challenges to the creative feminine. Section one inhabits familiar iconics such as Joan of Arc, Amelia Earhart, and Lady Diana; section two inhabits Guinevere’s abduction and coming of age at Camelot. The third section breaks from persona poems to revisit the book’s themes through the experience of a childhood rape. The collection as a whole celebrates the hidden strengths, vulnerabilities and choices women face as they pass through the timeless initiations of falling in love, raising children, and staying true to oneself. Buy on Amazon   My AROHO story begins in a cubicle where I had newly returned to teaching community college English after a decade-long hiatus I took to I raise my family. I walked out of a class rife with students texting one another under the desktops and signing absent classmates “present” on the roll sheet and pulled up my email to see that I’d been accepted to attend, teach and present at AROHO’s summer 2011 retreat. It was the first step towards living my dream of working with motivated women writers in a dynamic environment in which every participant gave and received of her talents. Friendships forged at AROHO retreats provided me with courage to create curriculum for online classes over the next four years. Risks I saw poets taking at the 2011 and 2013 retreats (by Lauren K. Alleyne, Michelle Wing, Bhanu Kapil, Diane Gilliam, and Evie Shockley) initiated an ongoing transformation in how I perceive my calling and commitment to my poetry. In a desert delight theater workshop with Nicelle Davis and Nicole Galland at the 2013 retreat, I was able to physically imagine into and inhabit the core metaphor for my then unfinished poetry manuscript. Ruth Thompson believed in the poems; under her mentorship and with the daily help of a tight knit group of writers I met through AROHO, I wrote the rest of the manuscript. Thompson’s Saddle Road Press published November Butterfly in 2014. AROHO’s active female collaborations remain inspirational for me as I move forward. I’m thinking especially of the 2011 retreat, during which Mary Johnson unveiled her book, An Unquenchable Thirst, closing the circle by keeping her promise to Darlene Chandler Bassett to write her story while nurturing the AROHO community we have come to know and love at Ghost Ranch with...

Read More