Curating the House of Nostalgia
by Kersten Christianson
Pre-Order Now: Purchase through Sheila-Na-Gig online via PayPal for 20% off and Free Shipping (U.S. only): Ships in May.
KERSTEN CHRISTIANSON is the author of Something Yet to Be Named (Kelsay Books, 2017) and What Caught Raven’s Eye (Petroglyph Press, 2018). Her poetry has published in Camas Magazine, San Pedro River Review, The Bangor Literary Journal, Whiskey Island, The Northern Review, and elsewhere, and she has been a writer-in-residence at the Alderworks Alaska Writers and Artists Retreat in Dyea. She is the poetry editor of Alaska Women Speak. Kersten holds an MFA in Creative Writing and the Literary Arts from the University of Alaska Anchorage. By career, she is a secondary English teacher. She lives by the tides in Sitka, Alaska, where she raises her daughter, tracks the moon, walks among ravens, and makes a dash across the border to the Yukon any chance she’s given.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Curating the House of Nostalgia is a collection of poems grounded in far-flung settings: Alaska, Yukon, Newfoundland. They weave along stretches of pitted road, open spaces, and the interior landscapes of unforeseen circumstances. The words gathered here take inventory of and classify what remains in the shadow of unfathomable loss. They consist of clutter and scree, the scrim of love and bereavement. They are fragments of love letters written to spirit, mailed to a general delivery address in a northern wilderness town, a drop off point for backcountry adventures, and disappearances. These poems germinate cottonwood seed within dark, silent stillness to eventually drift, way-find, and channel what goodness remains. Christianson’s latest work is an offering of Rooibos tea, the tinny of a windchime, the harsh mew of a red-breasted sapsucker, and ultimately a reflection on how to carry on.
As the title promises, this collection invites the reader into the complicated process of arranging while letting go. Through the imagery and cultural associations of The North, with its attending solitude, pain, and spectacular sense of connection to the earth, Christianson explores our human place on the planet with rare lyric precision and grace. These are poems that simultaneously heal and break us apart. What a gift, to enter Christianson’s work and be transformed. ~ Caroline Goodwin, author of Custody of the Eyes and The Paper Tree
There are not many of the untamed ones left… Hang on to the skirt of this dervish poet as she whirls words into worlds, teases you with black holes, quartz crystals and islands of disappearing husbands, and, just when your feet take flight, Kersten upturns you into an earth of mind-numbing beauty. This is the curation of a wild mind, any wild mind…with a longing at its heart. ~ Dr. Carol Lee Birrell, artist, writer and poet
Reading Kersten Christianson’s poems in Curating the House of Nostalgia is like discovering an earthen pot filled with treasures on a windowsill. Look, there’s a moose jawbone and piece of tumbled driftwood. The poems reveal an intimate awareness of the dim shadows of loss and grief, the whimsy of a turquoise kitchen, and the natural world of a black bear grazing on dandelions. At once, delightful and aching. ~ Vivian Faith Prescott, author of Silty Water People
A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen
by Kari Gunter-Seymour
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KARI GUNTER-SEYMOUR is a ninth generation Appalachian and the founder and executive director of the “Women of Appalachia Project” (www.womenofappalachia.com). She is the editor of the Women Speak anthology series and Essentially Athens Ohio; a retired instructor in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University and Athens, Ohio Poet Laureate Emeritus.
Her work can be found in many fine publications including Still, Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, Main Street Rag, Stirring, Lascaux Review, The American Journal of Poetry, and The LA Times, as well as on her website: www.karigunterseymourpoet.com.
A poem she wrote in support of families living in poverty in Athens County, OH, went viral and was seen by over 100,000 people, resulting in thousands of dollars donated to her local food pantry.
ABOUT THE BOOK
In a time of inflated posturing and relentless self-promotion, Kari Gunter-Seymour’s poems offer quiet intensity. Her work provides a refuge where one’s curiosity, intelligence, and awareness of the complexities of contemporary Appalachian female culture and the struggle to hold on to “old ways” while embracing the new, take shape. The work is firmly and unapologetically attached to the poet’s home soil.
More than merely commenting, Gunter-Seymour’s work searches for meaning. It takes readers outside and indoors, into the world and into bodies and minds, a foray into the tangled bonds of family, weighted with memories. Her work speaks to a knowing that as the threads of our lives unravel, so too, gifts materialize. Here, relationship issues, trauma and disappointment are transformed into a journey of revelation, a testament to the complexity and power of love even as it contends with circumstances beyond its control.
Each poem is earthy and rich, filled with imagery, exploring beyond the boundaries of feminism, science, and spirituality. There is specific cultural musicality of language and line, a strong sense of observation, giving readers a renewed sense of understanding and discovery of today’s Appalachian woman.
KariGunter-Seymour’s new collection, A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen, is a timeless array of poems that invites the reader to traverse memories that feel as sacred as scripture. The collection is stunning in its ability to elevate memory and hold singular experiences aloft for perusal. In concert, the poems read like a carefully preserved palimpsest, layered cohesively, suggesting there’s always more where that came from. Not a single poem is negligible. This is an airtight intersection of family and kinship, and through Gunter-Seymour’s meticulous model, we are asked to consider what we, too, have inherited from the land as much as from our people, and how any, many ways, “Everything alive aches for more.” -Bianca X, Affrilachian Poet, Author of Black Mermaid
“Generations pass and still we toil/scratch at scars, lose track of the path home” Kari Gunter-Seymour writes in her poignant new collection A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen .These searing poems, however, have no trouble tracing the path to the ground of the poet’s making—her childhood home—and to her mother and father, unforgettable, as flesh, ghost and memory. These poems feel necessary and real and stark as the Appalachian Mountains themselves. -Rita Sims Quillen, author of Wayland and The Mad Farmer’s Wife
In A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen, Kari Gunter-Seymour writes with clear, evocative language as she weaves stories of her people, especially the strong women in her life who are portrayed honestly and with compassion. She takes us along on an intergenerational journey through roles as daughter, granddaughter, mother, grandmother, all closely connected to those who came before and those yet to return home. These vivid poems, deeply rooted in place and nature, are filled with images of a life spent in northern Appalachia. Gunter-Seymour writes of planting by the signs and the music of Hank and Dolly, but moves onto contemporary themes like border walls and legacies of war. In these poems, the past meshes with the present, and provides solid footing to face the future. -Jayne Moore Waldrop, author of Retracing My Steps.
Sheila-Na-Gig Editions is proud to present our first fiction title — Mark Small: This Is Your Life
by John Bullock.
Pre-Order Now: Purchase through Sheila-Na-Gig online via PayPal for 20% off and Free Shipping (U.S. only): Ships in late April/Early May.
JOHN BULLOCK is English and has an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Virginia. His stories have appeared in the Antioch Review, Fifth Wednesday, the Laurel Review, Prague Review, Clackamas Literary Review, in the anthology Open Windows III, and in other journals. He teaches high school English in rural Ohio. Mark Small: This is Your Life is his first novel.
ABOUT THE BOOK: Fourteen-year-old Mark Small has no idea who he is. Anxious for connection and friendship, he embarks on a series of illegal break-ins to punish his father’s nonpaying customers. But mostly he likes to poke around in other people’s lives, a habit borne of his lonely childhood in an English seaside bed and breakfast. This debut novel is a poignant and funny coming-of-age story about identity—in all its guises—tracing Mark Small’s adventures as he learns hard truths about family, friendship, and forgiveness.
ADVANCE PRAISE: “Mark is a wonderful character: young but wise; long-suffering; a survivor. Bullock can be extremely funny. . . but he sees life in its complexity, so that things that are funny are often tinged with sadness, while serious matters often have an element of slapstick about them. [Mark Small] is a clear-headed book about characters who don’t want to reveal themselves, or who want very much to reveal themselves, but wonder where and when and how to begin” –Ann Beattie, author of A Wonderful Stroke of Luck
“Mark Small offers readers many rewards—a light lyrical touch, an engrossing coming-of-age story, and a witty sensibility that at the same time embraces and explores the sadness underpinning every life.” —Christine Sneed, author of Little Known Facts and The Virginity of Famous Men
“John Bullock is a wonderful writer whose greatest gift is his honesty. He has a true skill for dialogue, and for the perfect little detail that makes or breaks a novel.” —Ron Riekki, author of UP
“Bullock somehow manages to infuse serious beauty and poetry into the very real voice of this remarkably likeable character. Funny and intensely felt, this novel holds a magnifying glass up to some of the ugliest parts of small-town life, and yet reminds us that there is still kindness, beauty, and humor in the world after all.” —Ashley Cowger, author of Peter Never Came
“The voice that describes this marvelous seaside place is a fountain of delights.” —Robert Pope, author of Jack’s Universe
NOTE: Sheila-Na-Gig fiction submissions are by invitation only. Please do not send us fiction at this time.
Imagine a Town
by Barbara Sabol
Winner of the 2019 Sheila-Na-Gig Editions Poetry Manuscript Contest
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BARBARA SABOL is the author of the poetry collection, Solitary Spin (Main Street Rag Publishing), and two chapbooks, The Distance Between Blues (Finishing Line Press) and Original Ruse (Accents Publishing). Her work has appeared widely in journals, including The Comstock Review, San Pedro River Review, Literary Accents, Akitsu, Presence, and in a number of anthologies. Barbara’s awards include an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council and the Mary Jean Irion Poetry Prize. She has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. Barbara received an MFA from Spalding University. She contributes poetry book reviews for the Poetry Matters blog. Barbara is a speech therapist who lives in Akron, OH with her husband and wonder dogs.
ABOUT IMAGINE A TOWN:
The poems in Imagine A Town reveal how a confederacy of places—a hometown, adopted city, a neighborhood—conspires to shape identity, especially when one’s sense of self butts up against the values and expectations embraced by that place. These narratives convey how a girl’s long view is foreshortened by smokestacks, slim resources, and the rough Alleghenies circling her blue-collar existence. Self-discovery also manifests through a reckoning of events outside the kitchen window, and in the wider world. Conversely, distance from the speaker’s origins gently tightens the grasp of that place as she reconciles inevitable losses and regrets exacted by her departure. Memories of coming-of-age in a time of milkmen and trolley cars prompt a visitation to a hometown that’s taken up residence in the poet’s imagination as she journeys through place and time. Also infusing these poems is the tension of a constructed suburban world imposed on the natural world, such that the sight of a buck in a neighbor’s yard startles a renewed connection with nature, and an awareness of deeper losses. The concept of home, a longing to belong, and the risks and rewards of carving an outsider existence lie at the beating heart of this collection.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR IMAGINE A TOWN:
“Imagine a Town resonates with a strong sense of how hard work (and hard play) shapes the lives of those growing up in a blue-collar community. These poems sing with the earned authority of witness—sharp, clear details etched on the page. Memory casts its spell here not in simple nostalgia, but through a fierce examination and an urge toward preservation as a way of honoring this heritage. She mourns the losses while finding those small moments that sustain us through those losses. Relying on a strong sense of craft and form, Sabol wastes not a word here in these tight, emotionally packed poems.” ―Jim Daniels, author of The Perp Walk
Read a sample from this collection at Sheila-Na-Gig online: https://sheilanagigblog.com/the-poets-volume-4-2-winter-2019/2019-sheila-na-gig-editions-poetry-manuscript-contest-winner-barbara-sabol/
Up Late Reading Birds of America
by Robert DeMott
$25.00 (hardback, ISBN: 9781732940635)
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Read samples from this collection at Sheila-Na-Gig online: https://sheilanagigblog.com/volume-3-3-spring-2019-the-poets/robert-demott/
ROBERT DeMOTT’S poetry has appeared in many journals, including Ontario Review, Georgia Review, Southern Review, Hiram Poetry Review, Southern Poetry Review, Lake Effect, Windsor Review, and elsewhere. His collections include News of Loss (1994), The Weather in Athens (2001), winner of the Ohioana Poetry Award, and Brief and Glorious Transit: Prose Poems (2007). His most recent books are Angling Days: A Fly Fisher’s Journals (2016), and Conversations with Jim Harrison, Revised and Updated (2019). From 1969 to 2013 he taught at Ohio University, where he received half a dozen teaching awards. He serves on the editorial board of Steinbeck Review, and directorial board of Quarter After Eight, a literary journal. He lives in Athens, Ohio, with Kate Fox, poet and editor.
ABOUT UP LATE READING BIRDS OF AMERICA:
Each of these hybrid “proems,” inspired in part by Audubon’s great book, attempts to combine the amplitude and spaciousness of prose with the compression and focus of poetry. In traveling into darkly intertwined spaces of personal geography, memory, emotion, and loss, as well as into wild nature, each piece surrounds its lyrical moment in a context of details, imaginings, and resonances with which to express its dramatic occasion.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR UP LATE READING BIRDS OF AMERICA:
“Robert DeMott’s Up Late Reading Birds of America displays a deep caring for the world and its countless wonders, whether animal, mineral, firefly, or the unexpected movement of clouds in an autumn sky. DeMott’s habit of seeing deeply rewards us on every page, offering up evocative, passionate moments from a well-considered life. You will stay up late, too, savoring this book of generosity and remarkable beauty.” ––Dinty W. Moore, Director of Creative Writing, Ohio University, and Editor of Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction.
PRAISE FOR DeMOTT’S PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED WORK:
“Bob DeMott’s poems [in The Weather in Athens] achieve what is to me one of the most important accomplishments any poet can offer….We are invited to read through the screen of the words into the poem without being dragged back to the surface of the page by stylistic and graphic peculiarities. This is reader’s poetry, inviting, heartfelt, generous and moving.” ––Ted Kooser, Pulitzer Prize winner in Poetry (2005), and former United States Poet Laureate (2004-2006).
The Shape of Emptiness
by Regina O’Melveny
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-7329406-4-2 & Ebook ISBN: 978-1-7329406-5-9
(Now Available through your favorite online retailers).
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REGINA O’MELVENY is a writer and assemblage artist whose award-winning poetry and prose can be found in various literary magazines including The Bellingham Review, rattapallax, Barrow Street, and The Sun. Her long poem, Fireflies, the Conflux Press Poetry Award winner, was issued as an artist’s book designed by Tania Baban. She has published three chapbooks, New and A Secret from Conflux Press, and most recently, other gods, an award-winning collection from the Munster International Poetry Centre in Ireland. Her full-length manuscript, Blue Wolves, won the Bright Hill Press poetry book award. Little, Brown and Company published her novel, The Book of Madness and Cures, listed as one of six best historical novels of the year 2012 by NPR. She has taught writing at Marymount College, the Palos Verdes Art Center and the South Coast Botanic Gardens. Regina lives with her husband in the fragrant sage-scrub hills of Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
ABOUT THE SHAPE OF EMPTINESS:
The lyric poems that compose the three parts of The Shape of Emptiness, while each distinct, work in concert like the near invisible lines of an orb-weaver who tacks her continuous silk to the spokes of a web, beginning at the center, spiraling ever outward and then returning to center again. At the outset the poems explore the poet’s core relationship with her father and his haunting absence. Then they touch upon the tragedy of suicide and her mother’s troubled mind and heart. A hunger for connection runs through all the poems informed by the meditations and urgencies of the soul. In the last section of the book the poems draw upon the experiences that bind the poet to her husband, daughter and animal companions, in ways that open toward the greater fabric of nature of which we are all a part. Throughout the book, the delicate yet resilient strands between nature and human concerns are tested, explored, mourned where they have been torn, and celebrated where they hold, as revelatory and healing.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR THE SHAPE OF EMPTINESS:
The language of these poems creeps so close to the natural world it gets entangled in it and soon we are also submerged in harsh truth and ultimate beauty. Here, in The Shape of Emptiness, life crackles and death comes alive. This book is true medicine. Drink deeply. Take it in. Yes. – Deena Metzger, author of the novels A Rain of Night Birds, La Negra y Blanca, and Feral; and Ruin and Beauty: New and Selected Poems
Traveling for No Good Reason
by George Franklin
Winner of the 2018 Sheila-Na-Gig Editions Poetry Manuscript contest
$17.00 — Paperback ISBN: 9781732940604 (available through your favorite online bookstores)
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$14.00 — Ebook ISBN: 9781732940628 (available through your favorite online bookstores)
GEORGE FRANKLIN practices law in Miami and teaches writing workshops in Florida state prisons. His poems have been published in Sheila-Na-Gig online, Salamander, The Wild Word, B O D Y, Matter, Scalawag, Gulf Stream, Rascal, Amsterdam Quarterly, Twyckenham Notes, The Threepenny Review, Cagibi, The Wild Word, and armarolla. A bi-lingual edition of his poems, with Spanish translations by Ximena Gomez, is published by Katakana Editores.
ABOUT TRAVELING FOR NO GOOD REASON:
These poems in Traveling for No Good Reason tell stories, and they invite the reader to enter into those stories. Whether the poet is drinking Cuban coffee in Miami, visiting Joseph Brodsky’s grave in Venice, teaching writing workshops in a Florida prison, learning to read Greek in New York City in the 1980s, or trying to make sense out of a love that is unexpected and undeserved, the stories are about the recompense we receive for our losses, the pleasures and ideas that allow us to start to live all over again. Sometimes that recompense is erotic, sometimes merely the fact of telling the story. The poems are conversational in style while at the same time seeking out what is often hard to talk about: the end of a marriage, a friend’s slow death, or what desire might actually mean. Regardless, it’s the conversation that’s always foremost. In looking to understand, these poems themselves want to be understood, to be transparent. They may engage historical or mythological figures or the woman whose life the poet shares, but their conversation is ultimately with the reader.
REVIEWS OF TRAVELING FOR NO GOOD REASON:
by Richard Allen Taylor in Pedestal Magazine: https://www.thepedestalmagazine.com/george-franklins-traveling-for-no-good-reason-reviewed-by-richard-allen-taylor/
by Deborah Bacharach in Broadsided Press: https://broadsidedpress.org/broadsides-to-books-is-the-arrow-in-motion/
Reviews on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Traveling-No-Good-Reason-Sheila-Na-Gig/dp/1732940606
today can take your breath away
by Marc Swan
$17.00 — Paperback ISBN: 9780692055137 (available through your favorite online bookstores)
$14.00 — Ebook ISBN: 9781732940611 (available through your favorite online bookstores)
MARC SWAN is a retired vocational rehabilitation counselor. His poems have found an international audience with work published in the small press throughout the US, in Canada, the UK, Ireland, France, Australia and New Zealand. Tall-lighthouse Press in London, England published his last two collections: In a Distinct Minor Key (2007) and Simple Distraction (2009). He lives with his wife Dd in Portland Maine.
ABOUT TODAY CAN TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY:
In today can take your breath away, Swan uses everyday language and compelling images to write sensitively about daily life. His insights are both political and personal, his poems journeying to Maine and to California, allowing readers to experience life’s frustrations and losses and life’s joys and abundance.
REVIEWS OF TODAY CAN TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY:
Marc Swan’s poems breathe into the solar plexus of experience and release us into the tangible world of parents in phases of dementia; immigrants in Trumpian times; and protest marches—reflections of eras and places as the red world crashes on the shores of the blue. In a poem that personifies so many Marc finds a rusted out Matchbox Dodge Charger, “tires lost to the sea/body faded to gray/a hemi-head fashioned to the hood—/the remnants we carry” All the while Marc steers a steady course through these tightly written portraits of our times. — Mary Elizabeth Gillilan, Editor-in-Chief, Clover, A Literary Rag
Marc Swan’s latest collection celebrates gifts of life in its many forms: conversation over dinner with friends, daily walks on a beach, Being in all its natural glory. In this he is like Ray Carver, a poet he references in a discussion with an older woman that ends in silence and confusion. Loved ones grow old, get Alzheimer’s, and are visited in nursing homes. The process of life slowly integrates, much is lost along the way but the celebration of life continues: today can take your breath away. — Alan Catlin poet and editor of Misfit Magazine
In this new collection Marc Swan continues to create his own special type of poetry, one that is conversational, steadfast but never predictable. With deft maturity his acute observations on aging, coupled with a quietly stated anger on the social tensions of America today, reveal a uniquely astute voice. These are poems that care from a master of his craft. — Les Robinson, tall-lighthouse Press