The recurring images of rising and falling, escape and recovery, spiritual aspiration, and physical decline provide the unifying metaphors of this collection. These poems celebrate the endurance and mourn the fragility of "the truths of this world," especially regarding the family, the body, and the realities of nature. At the same time, they express the yearning for, and the elusiveness of, the life of the spirit-"gorgeous beyond sexuality."
Daniel Stern has been leaving his individual mark on the American short story for the last dozen years in four distinguished collections, starting with the acclaimed Twice Told Tales. Now in his fifth, Stern has offered a novella and seven stories dealing with his major themes: the life of the senses, the life of art-with special emphasis on the art of music-and the comic and lyric results when the two lives cross paths. From contemporary Paris to the New York of the fifties, from the way the mind works to the way the heart sinks or sings, these stories wend their magical way.
Where Skulls Speak Wind glitters like a mosaic. In each poem, Larry Thomas reveals a facet of life in the unforgiving but luminous landscape of the Southwest: cobalt skies over Taos, the silence of a ghost town where 'a rustle of wind is a scream,' a small village 'peppering the mountain side / like fragments of a torn piñata.' Seamlessly interweaving ancestral triumphs and losses with the larger workings of a geography and culture, Thomas makes believers, and admirers, of us all. --Carol Coffee Reposa
No Holier Spot of Ground - A Texas Story is a huge, sprawling saga of Texas from 1834 to 1869. It covers the period of Texas history from the founding of the Texas Republic to the frenetic and frenzied period of the State's history following the War for Southern Independence. As a narrative of a family's history from its origins in South Carolina through the long trek out to Texas with slaves, it is history in a fictional garb. While the historian records what happened, the novelist tells you what it felt like. Smith has performed the dual job well. The story of the Smiths is replete with ambitious men-flawed dreadfully-strong women, devious women, dastardly men, the poignant deaths of babies, children's dreadful accidents, Civil War casualties, and horrendous yellow fever plague, sexual peccadilloes, and much much more.
Before performing stand-up comedy on The Tonight Show and writing on the staff of Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, MACK DRYDEN survived on "goat butt soup" in a Moroccan jail, not knowing if he'd ever be released. He lived not only to tell the tale, but-amazingly-to inspire, instruct, and make us laugh out loud about it as well. Dryden currently lives in California with his wife and children.
Born during the Great Depression, LIONEL GARCIA spent his early years with his grandfather on a ranch deep in the scrub country of South Texas. It is about his life in that hard-scrabble brush country that Garcia so beautifully writes. In addition to his fictionalized autobiography, I Can Hear the Cowbells Ring, Garcia has published four novels and three collections of stories. Brush Country is the first collection of poetry by this award- winning author.
Author Amy Storrow interviewed more than fifty people-pathologists, research physicians, blood processing technicians, and administrative assistants-to weave together a portrait of the Baylor College of Medicine in its members' own words.
"This marvelously witty romp through the postmodern American West is a delightful and fresh point of view with a narrative voice that recalls the best of Tom Robbins and Jane Smiley without being imitative or derivative in the least. The heroine/narrator of this finely wrought story of a dysfunctional family that manages to pull it all together when the going gets . . . well, ridiculous . . . is just plain fun. Never a dull word here, just angst revealed in a candid and totally original and utterly fun story that creates an appetite for more. It is a nearly perfect novella." --Clay Reynolds, Series Judge
Winner of the 2003 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize
"In each of the twenty-two poems in Sinners in the Hands, Ann Killough inhabits and explores an iconic work of American literature, from Walden and 'The Gettysburg Address' to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Gone with the Wind . . . her poems vibrate between the world of the text and the world of the flesh, at once both abstract and concrete. They are insightful and deft, they play with our notion of scale and expand us, all in language that is both clear and mysterious. Killough leaves us with an understanding of our passions, our national character, and ourselves." --Beth Ann Fennelly, Series Judge