Coffee House Press

Coffee House Press
Coffee House Press
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The press’s goal is to "produce books that celebrate imagination, innovation in the craft of writing, and the many authentic voices of the American experience." It is widely considered to be among the top five independent presses in the United States and has been called a national treasure.
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Press3 months ago
• Ed's work deals with war, generational trauma, and colonialism, but he approaches those subjects with a cool-eyed observational stance. The reader isn't let off the hook, but invited to accompany the narrator as he processes what he sees and how it relates to past experience.
• These poems have an often theatrical quality (Ed is also a playwright), muddling the space between narrator and spectator, and creating an enlivening intimacy with the speaker.
• CHP's Asian American list is one that we're exceptionally proud of—it's deep, and old, and represents a breadth of voices who speak to the spectrum of experience, identity, and interest, and Ed will not only benefit from that context, he's an important part of why we have a reputation for that work in the first place.
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Press6 days ago
A writer begins keeping a notebook of handwriting exercises hoping that, if he is able to improve his penmanship, he himself will also improve. What begins as a mere physical exercise is filled involuntarily with humorous reflections and tender anecdotes about living, writing, and the sense—or nonsense—of existence.
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Press4 months ago
• The historical effacement of Native Americans has seen some remedy in the arts of late, and Savage Conversations brings both those original crimes, and the crime of their erasure from our history, to a much needed reckoning.
• Like Layli Long Soldier's Whereas, Savage Conversations deals with the mass execution of the Dakota 38, situating it within our veneration of Lincoln, our collective culpability, and continuing trauma of Native people. In Howe's work, the surreal and the theatrical dislocate the reader and sharpen the lopsidedness and cruelty of the confrontation, and make visceral its insidious affect on our culture, for perpetrator and victim alike.
• Howe's use of Mary Todd Lincoln's family tragedies and her later institutionalization give a new edge to the poisonous, deforming legacy of this country's treatment of Native people.
• Coffee House has built a list on politically charged, formally inventive work (Karen Tei Yamashita being the most notable example), and this fits in with that tradition, making another forceful argument for the importance of art to better understanding ourselves, our societies, and our responsibilities to each other.
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Press5 months ago
Sam Savage's final book is a collection of stripped down visitations, flash fictions of smoke breaks and long drives and friends who finally stop showing up. The acidic tang of disappointment is here, and sparks of biting insight, in portraits of people and animals, in all our absurdity and failed attempts at meaning. As Sam says, “what a life.”
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Press20 days ago
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Press9 months ago
Bill Berkson was a poet, art critic, and joyful participant in the best of postwar and bohemian American culture. Since When gathers the ephemera of a life well-lived, a collage of bold-face names, parties, exhibitions, and literary history from a man who could write «of [Truman Capote's Black and White] ball, which I attended as my mother’s escort, I have little recollection» and reminisce about imagining himself as a character from Tolstoy while tripping on acid at Woodstock. Gentle, witty, and eternally generous, this is Bill, and a particular moment in American history, at its best.
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Press9 months ago
A Summer/Fall 2018 Indies Introduce Debut Fiction SelectionWhen Samuel Johnson dies, he finds himself in the body of the man who killed him, unable to depart this world but determined, at least, to return to the son he left behind. Moving from body to body as each one expires, Samuel’s soul journeys on a comic quest through an American half-century, inhabiting lives as stymied, in their ways, as his own. A ghost story of the most unexpected sort, Martin Riker’s extraordinary debut is about the ways experience is mediated, the unstoppable drive for human connection, and the struggle to be more fully alive in the world.Martin Riker grew up in central Pennsylvania. He worked as a musician for most of his twenties, in nonprofit literary publishing for most of his thirties, and has spent the first half of his forties teaching in the English department at Washington University in St. Louis. In 2010, he and his wife Danielle Dutton co-founded the feminist press Dorothy, a Publishing Project. His fiction and criticism have appeared in publications including the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, London Review of Books, the Baffler, and Conjunctions. This is his first novel.
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Press10 months ago
• Booksellers and readers have responded with great enthusiasm to our Emily Books imprint, embracing both the ethos and the individual titles, and Tan's work has all the hallmarks of what that audience has responded to in previous books: dark humor, a strong voice, and a decidedly transgressive feminist stance.
• Sceptre is publishing Things to Make and Break in the UK, giving our edition a great potential publicity runway. The previous, micro-press edition already has fans as well, so we're well situated to build review momentum.
• Tan's stories are beautifully crafted, but they also have a bitter heart—each digs into the uncomfortable wounded spots that keep us from being fully present, fully alive, fully happy.
• Short fiction, especially explicitly feminist short fiction, is enjoying something of a renaissance, and Tan's stories fit into a sweet spot between Machado's fabulism and Joy Williams's acidity.
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Presslast year
• Toliver's work has the generosity and intelligence of C.D. Wright's and Claudia Rankine's, both of whom were her teachers, and the exacting standards of form, meaning, and language of Dawn Lundy Martin's.
• One of the delights of Spectra is how it is maximal in content, and minimal in production—these are razor sharp, almost clinically precise poems about a domestic sphere—there's nothing soft-focus about them.
Spectra, Ashley Toliver
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Presslast year
• Guadalupe Nettel has already established a reputation for herself in this country with Natural Histories and The Body Where I Was Born, and we’re delighted to have yet another exceptional young Mexican writer join our already stellar Latin American list.
• After the Winter is the prototypical Coffee House book—deeply sad, ambitious, formally daring, and executed with aplomb. Stores that did well with In the Distance or Faces in the Crowd should have a market for this one as well.
• Nettel’s ability to inflect the emotional lives of two closed-off (and, in the case of Claudio, quite cruel) narrators, giving their limitations not just texture, but also the pathos of human frailty, makes the novel a vigorous entrant into conversations about “likeability” and the challenges of creating fiction about fully realized, and deeply flawed, characters.
• Nettel’s English is very good, and she will be able to participate in events and interviews, lowering the barriers that sometimes greet works in translation.
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Press9 months ago
The events of 1999’s Columbine shooting preoccupy Forsythe in these poems, refracting her vision to encompass killer, victim, and herself as a girl, suddenly aware of the precarity of her own life and the porousness of her body to others’ gaze, demands, violence. Deeply researched and even more deeply felt, Perennial inhabits landscapes of emerging adulthood and explosive cruelty—the hills of Pittsburgh and the sere grass of Colorado; the spines of books in a high school library that has become a killing ground; the tenderness of children as they grow up and grow hard, becoming acquainted with dread, grief, and loss.
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Presslast year
Comemadre is a natural fit for our Latin American translation list—funny, oddball, and dark. It came to us recommended by Valeria Luiselli and Daniel Saldaña París and is our first collaboration with translator Heather Cleary, who lives in New York and is an eloquent, charming advocate for the book. The novel deals with questions of obsession (artistic, scientific, romantic) and the desire for transcendence/immortality—it's really exciting and rich with ideas. The ethics of experimentation in art and science come under scrutiny here, as does the attraction to spectacle, and the dangers of capitalism.Booksellers really engaged with last year's Sudden Death (Alvaro Enrigue, Riverhead) and this should hit the same sweet spot.
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Presslast year
Not Here is a flight plan for escape and a map for navigating home; a queer Vietnamese American body in confrontation with whiteness, trauma, family, and nostalgia; and a big beating heart of a book. Nguyen’s poems ache with loneliness and desire and the giddy terrors of allowing yourself to hope for love, and revel in moments of connection achieved.
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Presslast year
Praise for Raymond McDaniel:“Raymond McDaniel's language trains every particle of your attention on the surface and what stirs beneath.” —C.D. WrightFrom “Projection Box”:Light is not light.Light is only one way things radiate,so light is an object falling apart. The light of the moonis the light of the sunwhich is the sun collapsing.Raymond McDaniel is the author of Special Powers and Abilities, Saltwater Empire, and Murder (a violet), a National Poetry Series selection.
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Presslast year
Praise for Lightsey Darst:“This is a vital poetry of the Deep South ripe with bones, blood and bogs, Snow Whites, Gretels and debutantes all stirred into a harrowing stew of lust, dusk and summer.” —New York Times“A terrific collection. … Full of horror, bleak humor, and suspense, these poems read like mini-thrillers, daring you to put the book down.” — Entertainment WeeklyDesire & the page felt it.I told myself, something is happening.You could make weather happen then. Dear not only in dream life, dear never until storm.
Thousands, Lightsey Darst
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Presslast year
Victor Hernández Cruz is a major poet of the Nuyorican school and co-founded the East Harlem Gut Theatre and the Before Columbus Foundation. Closely associated with both it and Second Generation New York school poets, his work speaks to others on the CHP list, most particularly Ron Padgett. These poems are sometimes prosey, and sometimes close to songs, but always inclined to be performed, and pleasurable for even casual readers of poetry. He’s been the recipient or nominee of several major awards and prizes, including a Guggenheim and na NEA grant. He was the Chancellor of the Academic of American Poets from 2008–13.
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Presslast year
A young Swedish immigrant finds himself penniless and alone in California. The boy travels East in search of his brother, moving on foot against the great current of emigrants pushing West. Driven back again and again, he meets naturalists, criminals, religious fanatics, swindlers, Indians, and lawmen, and his exploits turn him into a legend. Diaz defies the conventions of historical fiction and genre, offering a probing look at the stereotypes that populate our past and a portrait of radical foreignness.

Hernan Diaz is the author of Borges, Between History and Eternity (Bloomsbury 2012), managing editor of RHM, and associate director of the Hispanic Institute at Columbia University. He lives in New York.
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Presslast year
Bao Phi brings people to poetry who might not be interested or otherwise find it accessible. Though Phi?s poems are incredibly tender; they are colored with first-hand accounts of oppression, discrimination, and blatant, even violent, racism. These poems confront the privilege of white Americans, institutionalized racism, and the often unseen or unacknowledged violence toward minority groups, particularly Asian Americans.Phi is a child of the late 70s and 80s, and an unapologetic nerd?Star Wars movies, sci fi, comics, old-school hip hop?and those enthusiasms provide moments of lightness in the manuscript. How do you learn to be a father, you've been violently removed from your home and the context of your community? These poems are Phi's way of addressing that question. Phi has an extraordinary following in the spoken word community, and his work at the Loft has made him a hero to many, especially young poets of color. A new book should be greeted with real enthusiasm from his substantial audience.
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Presslast year
Building on Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong and Pretentiousness, Little Boxes expands CHP's investment in cultural criticism, this time inviting 12 writers to talk about TV, and what it means to be raised with television, not the internet, as the primary cultural background noise. These essays are less “Why I Loved Parker Lewis Can't Lose” and more «What Is Up with Everyone in the 80s Having a Domestic: The Different Strokes/Gimme a Break/Mr. Belvedere/Charles in Charge Story.”The writers assembled come from a mix of genres, and work in very different modes, but for each one, TV is part of their cultural DNA, and the collection purposefully abrogates the space between the arts and pop culture, making an argument for how they seed and reflect each other. There was something essentially lonely about watching television in the era before the internet—you did it alone, one episode at a time. The essays here represent, in some ways, the opportunity to binge watch and live tweet together—to turn viewing into a form of cultural production.
Coffee House Press
Coffee House Pressadded a book to the bookshelfCoffee House Presslast year
An NEA Big Read selection, the new edition of The Latehomecomer will include reading guides and other supplemental materials to increase its adoption in both that program, other community reads, FYE, and academic use.
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