Sarabande Books

Sarabande Books
Sarabande Books
14Books
A nonprofit literary press dedicated to quality poetry, short fiction, and essay.
Sarabande Books
Sarabande Booksadded a book to the bookshelfSarabande Books6 months ago
Readers familiar with Lia Purpura’s highly praised essay collections—Becoming, On Looking, and Rough Likeness—will know she’s a master of observation, a writer obsessed with the interplay between humans and the things they see. The subject matter of All the Fierce Tethers is wonderfully varied, both low (muskrats, slugs, a stained quilt in a motel room) and lofty (shadows, prayer, the idea of beauty). In “Treatise Against Irony,” she counters this all-too modern affliction with ferocious optimism and intelligence: “The opposite of irony is nakedness.” In “My Eagles,” our nation’s symbol is viewed from all angles—nesting, flying, politicized, preserved. The essay in itself could be a small anthology. And, in a fresh move, Purpura turns to her own, racially divided Baltimore neighborhood, where a blood stain appears on a street separating East (with its Value Village) and West (with its community garden). Finalist for the National Book Critics Award, winner of the Pushcart Prize, Lia Purpura returns with a collection both sustaining and challenging.
Sarabande Books
Sarabande Booksadded a book to the bookshelfSarabande Books8 months ago
In Reenactments, poet Hai-Dang Phan explores the history, memory, and legacy of the Vietnam War from his vantage point as a second-generation Vietnamese American. Woven throughout the poems is a narrative of his family’s exodus from Vietnam that beautifully elucidates the American record of immigration, dislocation, inheritance, and ultimately hope. The poems are persuasively varied in their approach. The past and present, the remembered and imagined, all intersect at shifting angles, providing bold new perspectives. And, in a fresh move, Phan widens the lens, interspersing translations of several other contemporary Vietnamese poems to the mix. This subtle and moving debut is an important addition to the literature of immigration.
Reenactments, Hai-Dang Phan
Sarabande Books
Sarabande Booksadded a book to the bookshelfSarabande Bookslast year
Selected by Dean Young as winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry, Fludde draws on Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience to critique and dismantle contemporary American values and conditioning: commodification, imperialism, toxic masculinity. Surreal and satirical, Mishler channels the voices of disillusioned middle management alongside the freewheeling imaginative vision of children to disrupt the fixity of our received ideas.
Fludde, Peter Mishler
Sarabande Books
Sarabande Booksadded a book to the bookshelfSarabande Books19 hours ago
The ultimate subject of Maya Catherine’s stunning debut collection is violence. American Faith begins with its manifestation in our country: a destructive administration, a history of cruelty and extermination, and a love of firearms. “He owns a gun farm in Florida/they grow in swamps like chestnuts.” The poet introduces a suite of poems that precisely imagines the consequences, a series of “cancellations”—of government, bees, the color wheel, the return to nature, and the end of the world. The violence naturally extends to the personal. The speaker’s Romanian grandfather keeps wild dogs in case a man tries to steal his daughters. A godmother is psychologically erased by her tempestuous husband, who is nevertheless generous to flowers. “It’s what happened inside her/that slouched.” And what for some is routine can feel like an assault: a TSA agent wipes down a bra tucked in a traveler’s suitcase, adding, “prettiest terrorist I’ve seen all day.” Tentatively, the title poem casts light on the unexplored future, a solution that includes faith: “…the days, impatient, fresh beasts, appeal to me—You are here. You must believe in something.”
American Faith, Maya C. Popa
Sarabande Books
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This astonishing, self-assured debut leads us on an exploration to the stars and back, begging us to reconsider our boundaries of self, time, space, and knowledge. The speaker writes, “…the universe/is an arrow/without end/and it asks only one question;/How dare you?”Zig-zagging through the realms of nature, science, and religion, one finds St. Francis sighing in the corner of a studio apartment, tides that are caused by millions of oysters “gasping in unison,” an ark filled with women in its stables, and prayers that reach God fastest by balloon. There’s pathos: “When my new lover tells me I’m correct to love him, I/realize the sound isn’t metal at all. It’s not the coins rattling/ on concrete, but the fingers scraping to pick them up.” And humor, too: “…even the sun’s been sighing Not you again/when it sees me.” After reading this far-reaching, inventive collection, we too are startled, space struck, our pockets gloriously “filled with space dust.”
Space Struck, Paige Lewis
Sarabande Books
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In these inventive short stories, characters must navigate an impossible world: America as we know it. Two estranged brothers on a road trip attempt to reconcile but end up at a Revolutionary War reenactment camp; a young woman moves in with her boyfriend and discovers an eerily personalized seduction manual on his bookshelf; a middle-aged Korean-American father attends college courses and is either blessed or haunted by the presence of Edward Moon, an eccentric billionaire who also happens to be “the most successful Korean in America.”
Playfully engaging with genres like science fiction, the fairy tale, and the Gothic tale, the interconnected short stories of Impossible Children pit tiny heroes against tiny villains; the result is a stunning mapping of geography, heritage, immigration, freedom, and the mysterious forces behind epic ruins and epic successes.
Impossible Children, Robert Yune
Sarabande Books
Sarabande Booksadded a book to the bookshelfSarabande Books2 months ago
Is it possible for poetry to be simultaneously raw and elegant, direct and oblique, hurtful and consoling? Yes, says Dear Delinquent, Ann Townsend's incandescent new collection. “My heart presses my ribcage like an octagon fist,” she writes, taking on the persona of both betrayed and betrayer. Through poems that masterfully recall the styles of Sylvia Plath or Philip Larkin, Townsend convinces us that, even if its most destructive forms, love is the driving force behind all behavior.
Dear Delinquent, Ann Townsend
Sarabande Books
Sarabande Booksadded a book to the bookshelfSarabande Books2 months ago
Since Heather McHugh first began publishing her poems in 1968, poetry readers have marveled at the immensity and range of her gift. There seems to be nothing that McHugh can’t do with words and do with high wit and sonic brilliance. In her chapbook Feeler, McHugh takes on the fraught subject of empathy—how much we feel, and do, for the afflicted. It also addresses the relation between thought and feeling: “Nowadays I cannot tell/ the two apart: can’t feel things thoughtlessly/or think things up without emotion.”  As with only the very best poets, McHugh seamlessly combines thought and feeling, in poems that are entertaining and profound.
Feeler, Heather McHugh
Sarabande Books
Sarabande Booksadded a book to the bookshelfSarabande Bookslast year
What is important is to avoidthe time allotted for disavowelsas the livid woundleaves a trace leaves an abscesstakes its contraction for those cloudsthat dip thunder & vanishlike rose leaves in closed jars.Age approaches, slowly. But it cannotcrystal bone into thin air.The small hours open their wounds for me.This is a woman's confession:I keep this wolf because the wilderness gave it to me.Simone Muench is the author of Orange Crush, Lampblack & Ash, The Air Lost in Breathing, and Disappearing Address. She teaches at Lewis University in Chicago, Illinois.
Wolf Centos, Simone Muench
Sarabande Books
Sarabande Booksadded a book to the bookshelfSarabande Bookslast year
«David Martinez is like an algebra problem invented by America—he's polynomial, and fractioned, full of identity variables and unsolved narrative coefficients. . . . Hustle is full of dashing nerve, linguistic flair, and unfakeable heart.»—Tony HoaglandThe dark peoples with things:for keys, coins, pencilsand pens our pockets grieve.No street lights or signs,no liquor stores or bars,only a lighter for a flashlight,and the same-faced trees,similar-armed stonesand crooked bushesstaring back at me.There is no path in the woods for a boy from the city.I would have set fire to get off this wildernessbut Palomar is no El Camino in an empty lot,the plastic dripping from the dashand the paint bubbling like a toad's throat.If mountains were old pieces of furniture,I would have lit the fabric and danced.If mountains were abandoned crack houses,I would have opened their meanings with flame,if that would have let the wind and trees lead my eyesor shown me the moon's tiptoe on the moss—as you effect my hand,as we walk into the side of a Sunday night. David Tomas Martinez has published in San Diego Writer's Ink, Charlotte Journal, Poetry International, and has been featured in Border Voices. A PhD candidate at the University of Houston, Martinez is also an editor for Gulf Coast.
Hustle, David Martinez
Sarabande Books
Sarabande Booksadded a book to the bookshelfSarabande Bookslast year
Jeff Dolven’s poems take the guise of fables, parables, allegories, jokes, riddles, and other familiar forms. So, there is an initial comfort: I remember this, the reader thinks, from the stories of childhood . … But wait, something is off. In each poem, an uncanny conceit surprises the form, a highway paved with highwaymen, a school for shame, a family of chairs. Dolven makes these strange wagers with the grace and edgy precision of a metaphysical poet, and there are moments when we might imagine ourselves to be somewhere in the company of Donne or Spenser. Then we encounter “The Invention: A Libretto for Speculative Music,” which is, well—surreal, and features a decisively modern, entirely notional score, sung by an inventor and his invention, which (who?) turns out to be a 40s-type piano-perched chanteuse who (which?) somehow knows all the words to the song you never knew you had in you. The daring of this collection is not in replaying the fractured polyphony of our moment. Speculative Music gives us accessible lyrics that still manage to listen in on our echoing interiors. These are poems that promise Frost’s “momentary stay against confusion” and, at the same time, provoke a deep, head-shaking wonder.
Speculative Music, Jeff Dolven
Sarabande Books
Sarabande Booksadded a book to the bookshelfSarabande Bookslast year
The poems in this, Kiki Petrosino's second collection, fulfill the promise of her debut effort, Fort Red Border, and further extend the terms of our expectations for this extraordinary young poet. The book is in two sections, the first a focused collection of wildly inventive lyrics that take as launch pad such far flung subjects as allergenesis, the contents and significance of swamps, a revised notion of marriage, and ancestors—both actual and dreamed. The eponymous second section is a cogent series, or long poem, based on a persona named “the eater,” who, along with the poems themselves, storms voraciously through tablefuls of Chinese delicacies (each poem in the series takes its titles from an actual Chinese dish), as well as through doubts and confident proclamations from regions of an exploratory self. Hymn for the Black Terrific has Falstaffian panache; it is a book of pure astonishment.Kiki Petrosino is the author of Fort Red Border (Sarabande, 2009) and the co-editor of Transom, an independent on-line poetry journal. She holds graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and the Iowa Writer's Workshop. Her poems have appeared in Tin House, FENCE, Jubilat, Gulf Coast, and The New York Times. Petrosino teaches creative writing at the University of Louisville.
Sarabande Books
Sarabande Booksadded a book to the bookshelfSarabande Bookslast year
Winner of the Man Booker International Prize“You read Lydia Davis to watch a writer patiently divide the space between epiphany and actual human beings by first halves, then quarters, then eighths, and then sixteenths, into infinity,” says The Village Voice. Indeed, Lydia Davis is mathematician, philosopher, sculptor, jeweler, and scholar of the minute. Few writers map the process of thought as well as she, few perceive with such charged intelligence.The Cows is a close study of the three much-loved cows that live across the road from her. The piece, written with understated humor and empathy, is a series of detailed observations of the cows on different days and in different positions, moods, and times of the day. It could be compared to some sections of Wallace Stevens' “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” or to Claude Monet's paintings of Rouen Cathedral.Forms of play: head butting; mounting, either at the back or at the front; trotting away by yourself; trotting together; going off bucking and prancing by yourself; resting your head and chest on the ground until they notice and trot toward you; circling each other; taking the position for head-butting and then not doing it.She moos toward the wooded hills behind her, and the sound comes back. She moos in a high falsetto before the note descends abruptly, or she moos in a falsetto that does not descend. It is a very small sound to come from such a large, dark animal.
The Cows, Lydia Davis
Sarabande Books
Sarabande Booksadded a book to the bookshelfSarabande Bookslast year
Winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize in short fiction, selected by David Means.Winner of the University of Nevada’s Silver Pen Award. «Mullins writes about these journeys, and about sex and the desert, with a wonderful, edgy lucidity. Greetings from Below is a remarkable debut.»––Margot LiveseyWhat would have become of Nick Adams if he'd been born along the ragged edges of a new American city, one with more churches per capita than any other, and twice the suicide rate? Meet Nick Danze, the main character of David Philip Mullins's vital debut collection, Greetings from Below. The opening story finds fourteen-year-old Nick and his pal Kilburg sitting in the Las Vegas desert, drinking whiskey from Kilburg's fake leg. It's the first of many shocks in Nick's sexual education, which begins with a kiss from Kilburg he calls “practice.” In later stories, Nick hires a call girl, visits a swingers' club on Christmas Eve, obsesses over obese middle-aged women, and meets the love of his life, Annie, only he's not sure he loves her and he's compulsively unfaithful. Ashamed of his behavior, he stubbornly repeats it. And lurking behind it all is Vegas, with its gilded casinos, neon-tinted suburbs, and dingy, outer-ring strip clubs. In Nick's wounded honesty and queasy self-consciousness, Mullins awakens us to the perverse power of alienation and shame.
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