Like every year, there’s much to dread about 2018, and to fight against, but, fortunately there’s much to look forward to, including powerful works of art from small presses. Below you’ll find the small press books I’m most excited to see published this year. Following this, you’ll find lists from stellar writers Kate Angus, Kurt Baumeister, Alex Behr, Jeff Bursey, Lisa Chen, Tobias Carroll, Brian Evenson, Tim Jones-Yelvington, Meghan Lamb, Janice Lee, Christina Milletti, Michael Noll, David Leo Rice, Kevin Sampsell, Jason Teal, Dan Wickett, James Yeh, and Leni Zumas. Thanks to them, and thanks, too, to stellar writers Lynn Crawford, Robert Dean, Annie DeWitt, Joe Pan, Dawn Raffel, Jacob Singer, Joanna C. Valente, and Marjorie Welish for giving me the heads-up on other books.
Dawn Raffel shared the following with me: “I’ve got one great one on my list this year: Hap & Hazard and the End of The World (Bellevue Literary Press) by Diane DeSanders. It’s a gorgeously written, fiercely observed novel set in post WWII Texas—a debut that’s clearly the work of a master writer.”
Joanna C. Valente alerted me to Natalie Eilbert’s Indictus (Noemi Press), about which National Book Award winner Daniel Borzutzky writes: “Natalie Eilbert’s Indictus summons what cannot be said while finding a way to articulate, with ferocity and exuberance and a clear and brutal vision, the violence of misogynistic systems and cultures and the ways in which they devour and destroy their inhabitants. It’s not just that this book doesn’t waste words. It goes further than that. Each sound, line, breath is charged with an energy that is explosive. Indictus lays all its cards on the table so there are no doubts about just how high the stakes here are: ‘I didn’t mean to assemble my whole career on lies, so now I blast holes in the men.” Yet in this world of broken bodies, Eilbert’s tenacity, her sheer drive to get to the end of a thought, to get the words onto the page, conveys a demand: to be honest, to resist, to live.’
Jeff Bursey’s Verbatim: A Novel, should be coming out in paperback with additional material (preface and afterword) from Verbivoracious Press. It’s a “a blackly humorous expos of parliamentary practice in an unnamed Atlantic province. The dirty tricks, vicious insults, and inept parliamentary procedures of the politicians are recorded by a motley crew of Hansard employees.But when the Hansard bureaucrats begin to emulate their political masters, the parliamentary system’s supposed dignity is further stripped away. Jeff Bursey reveals in both high and low humour how chaotic and mean-spirited the rules behind the game of politics are, and how political ‘virtue’ corrupts everyone.”
Hermione Hoby’s Neon in Daylight (Catapult). From the publisher: “Set in a heatwave that feels like it will never break, Neon In Daylight marries deep intelligence with captivating characters to offer us a joyful, unflinching exploration of desire, solitude, and the thin line between life and art.”
Ann Quin’s The Unmapped Country: Stories and Fragments (And Other Stories Press). From the publisher: “This new collection of rare and unpublished writing by the cult 1960s author Ann Quin explores the risks and seductions of going over the edge. The stories cut an alternative path across innovative twentieth-century writing, bridging the world of Virginia Woolf and Anna Kavan with that of Kathy Acker and Chris Kraus.”
Hristo Karastoyanov’s The Same Night Awaits Us All (Open Letter), translated from the Bulgarian by Izidora Angel. “In this multilayered historical novel that calls to mind Laurent Binet’s HHhH, Hristo Karastoyanov deconstructs this period, blending this adventurous tale of resistance with current-day reflections on what this period meant to Bulgaria and the world.” (Read an excerpt)
Timmy Reed’s Kill Me Now (Counterpoint), which has received praise from Madison Smartt Bell, Laura van den Berg, and Amber Sparks; and about which Kirkus Reviews writes: “Reed convincingly writes a three-dimensional teenager whose self-consciousness, emotions, and hormones threaten to crush him . . . A coming-of-age story capturing male adolescence in all its disgusting, irrational, and messy glory.”
I read Brandon Hobson’s Deep Ellum (Calamari Press) a few years ago, and I was impressed by the overwhelming sense of anomie, dread, and sadness in its pages, all expressed with a commanding economic style, which is why I’m very much looking forward to read Where the Dead Sit Talking (Soho Press).
Michael Noll’s The Writer’s Field Guide to the Craft of Fiction “offers a refreshing approach to the craft of fiction writing. It takes a single page from forty contemporary novels and short stories, identifies techniques used by the writers, and presents approachable exercises and prompts that allow anyone to put those techniques to immediate use in their own work. Encompassing everything from micro (how to ‘write pretty’ and ‘move between action and interiority’) to macro (how to ‘create characters’ and ‘drive plot forward’), and even how to put it all together on page one, this is a field guide for anyone who wants to start writing now (or get some shiny new gear for their fiction toolbox.)”
Barbara Browning and Sébastien Régnier’s Who the Hell Is Imre Lodbrog? (Outpost19): “A very true love story, told in counterpoint, about friendship, politics, and rock ‘n’ roll.”
Madame Nielsen’s The Endless Summer (Open Letter), translated from the Danish by Gaye Kynoch: “A passionate love story about a Danish woman and a much younger Portuguese artist, The Endless Summer confronts ideas of time, sexuality, and tragedy in a style reminiscent of both Proust and Lars Von Trier.”
Was lucky to have been hired to promote Joe Milazzo’s Crepuscule W/ Nellie (Civil Coping Mechanisms). It’s being reissued this year, and I hope this phenomenal, innovate book continues to receive the praise it deserves.
Kate Braverman’s A Good Day for Seppuku (City Lights). From the publisher: “These furious and often hilarious tableaus of American family life remind us of why she has been seducing readers ever since her debut novel Lithium for Medea shook the literary world nearly forty years ago.”
Michael A. Ferro’s Title 13 (Harvard Square Editions). From the publisher: “A timely investigation into the heart of a despotic government, TITLE 13 is a darkly comic cautionary tale of mental illness and unconventional love. The novel deftly blends satirical comedy aimed at the hot-button issues of modern society with the gut-wrenching reality of an intensely personal descent into addiction.”
Laura Catherine Brown’s Made by Mary (C&R Press) is a black comedy using magic realism to blow up myths about women, mothers, and motherhood, where even the most extreme situations are rendered with candor, intelligence, and empathy.
Steven Seidenberg’s Situ (Black Sun Lit) is a dramatic intensification of Seidenberg’s career-long blurring of fiction, poetry, and philosophy—an accomplishment recalling the literary contributions of Blanchot, Bernhard, and pre-impasse Beckett.
Curtis White’s Lacking Character (Melville House). Curtis White returns to the novel after twenty years. Enough said.
Samuel Delany’s Atheist in the Attic (PM Press). From the publisher: “Appearing in book form for the first time, ‘The Atheist in the Attic’ is a suspenseful and vivid historical narrative, recreating the top-secret meeting between the mathematical genius Leibniz and the philosopher Spinoza caught between the horrors of the cannibalistic Dutch Rampjaar and the brilliant ‘big bang’ of the Enlightenment. Also Delany’s “Racism and Science Fiction” combines scholarly research and personal experience in the unique true story of the first major African-American author in the genre. This collection features a bibliography, an author biography, and the candid and uncompromising Outspoken Interview.”
Troy James Weaver’s Temporal (Disorder Press). From the publisher: “Set to a shoegaze soundtrack, Troy James Weaver’s Temporal is the story of one tumultuous summer in the lives of three teenagers in Wichita, KS.”
Julián Herbert’s Tomb Song (Graywolf): “Inhabiting the fertile ground between fiction, memoir, and essay, Tomb Song is an electric prose performance, a kaleidoscopic, tender, and often darkly funny exploration of sex, love, and death. Julián Herbert’s English-language debut establishes him as one of the most audacious voices in contemporary letters.”
Daniel Borzutzky’s Lake Michigan (Pitt Poetry Series). I loved Borzutsky’s previous book, The Performance of Becoming Human, Brooklyn Arts Press), so I’m very excited about this new book. From the publisher: “Lake Michigan, a series of 19 lyric poems, imagines a prison camp located on the beaches of a Chicago that is privatized, racially segregated, and overrun by a brutal police force. Thinking about the ways in which economic policy, racism, and militarized policing combine to shape the city, Lake Michigan‘s poems continue exploring the themes from Borzutzky’s Performance of Becoming Human, winner of the National Book Award for Poetry. But while the influences in this book (Césaire, Vallejo, Neruda) are international, the focus here is local as the book takes a hard look at neoliberal urbanism in the historic city of Chicago.”
Michelle de Kretser’s The Life to Come (Catapult): “The stand-alone yet connected worlds of The Life to Come offer meditations on intimacy, loneliness, and our flawed perception of reality. Enormously moving, gorgeously observant of physical detail, and often very funny, this new novel by Michelle de Kretser reveals how the shadows cast by both the past and the future can transform and distort the present. It is teeming with life and earned wisdom—exhilaratingly contemporary, with the feel of a classic.”
Harry Mathews’s The Solitary Twin (New Directions). Mathews final novel. Enough said.
Lynne Tillman’s Men and Apparitions (Soft Skull Press). From the publisher: “Kaleidoscopic and encyclopedic, madcap and wry, Men and Apparitions showcases Lynne Tillman not only as a brilliantly original novelist but also as one of our most prominent thinkers on visual art and culture today.”
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s Wrestling with the Devil (The New Press). From the publisher: Written in the early 1980s and never before published in America, Wrestling with the Devil is Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s account of the drama and the challenges of writing fiction under twenty-four-hour surveillance. He captures not only the excruciating pain that comes from being cut off from his wife and children, but also the spirit of defiance that defines hope. Ultimately, Wrestling with the Devil is a testimony to the power of imagination to help humans break free of confinement, which is truly the story of all art.”
Tracy K. Smith’s Wade in the Water (Graywolf): From the publisher: “In Wade in the Water, Tracy K. Smith boldly ties America’s contemporary moment both to our nation’s fraught founding history and to a sense of the spirit, the everlasting. These are poems of sliding scale: some capture a flicker of song or memory; some collage an array of documents and voices; and some push past the known world into the haunted, the holy. Smith’s signature voice―inquisitive, lyrical, and wry―turns over what it means to be a citizen, a mother, and an artist in a culture arbitrated by wealth, men, and violence. Here, private utterance becomes part of a larger choral arrangement as the collection widens to include erasures of The Declaration of Independence and the correspondence between slave owners, a found poem comprised of evidence of corporate pollution and accounts of near-death experiences, a sequence of letters written by African Americans enlisted in the Civil War, and the survivors’ reports of recent immigrants and refugees. Wade in the Water is a potent and luminous book by one of America’s essential poets.”
Nikhil Singh’s Taty Went West (Rosarium Publishing). Billy Kahora writes: “Savvy, ultra-modern, Taty straddles the mediated realities of our own continent and the groundbreaking possibilities of our ongoing universal imaginaries.”
Dubravka Ugrešić’s Fox (Open Letter). I read The Museum of Unconditional Surrender a few years ago and I loved it, and I definitely need to read more of this writer’s profound writing. According to the publisher, Fox ‘is the story of literary footnotes and ‘minor’ characters―unnoticed people propelled into timelessness through the biographies and novels of others. With Ugrešić’s characteristic wit, Fox takes us from Russia to Japan, through Balkan minefields and American road trips, and from the 1920s to the present, as it explores the power of storytelling and literary invention, betrayal, and the randomness of human lives.”
Jenny Boully’s Betwixt-and-Between: Essays on the Writing Life (Coffee House Press): From the publisher: “Jenny Boully’s essays are ripe with romance and sensual pleasures, drawing connections between the digression, reflection, imagination, and experience that characterizes falling in love as well as the life of a writer. Literary theory, philosophy, and linguistics rub up against memory, dreamscapes, and fancy, making the practice of writing a metaphor for the illusory nature of experience. Betwixt and Between is, in many ways, simply a book about how to live.”
César Aira’s The Linden Tree (New Directions). Aira is the very definition of imaginative writer. This “delightful fictional memoir” promises to circumvent conventional notions of so-called life writing.
I’ve read and loved all of Joy Williams’s books. Unfairly overlooked The Changeling, a fabulist masterpiece, is being reissued by Tin House this year. Celebrate!
Beth Pickens’s Your Art Will Save Your Life (Feminist Press). From the publisher: “A candid guidebook about art-making in the midst of oppression.”
Jacob Singer alerted me to Javier Pedro Zabala’s The Mad Patagonian, “a multi-generational epic spanning three centuries and five continents”: nine interconnected novellas, which, according to its translator, Tomás García Guerrero, “provides a competing vision, a stark counterpoint to the darker vision of much of [Roberto] Bolaño’s work.”
Eduardo Berti’s The Imagined Land (Deep Vellum), translated from the Spanish by Charlotte Coombe. From the publisher: “Evoking Calvino & Yan Lianke, Oulipo member Berti paints a classic tragic love story with sumptuous detail in pre-revolutionary China.”
YZ Chin’s Though I Get Home (Feminist Press). From the publisher: “Interlinked stories trace postcolonial memory and political dissidence across the globe.”
Winner of the Fence Modern Prize in Prose, Hilary Plum’s Strawberry Fields (Fence Books) is “an antidote to the normalization wielded upon us by narrative,…a recursive disorientation of stories starting over and over again, without conclusion.”
Winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, Jenny Xie’s Eye Level (Graywolf) “is animated by a restless inner questioning, and meditates on the forces that moor the self and set it in motion. These poems take us far and near, to Phnom Penh, Corfu, Hanoi, New York, and elsewhere, as we travel closer and closer to the acutely felt solitude that centers this searching, moving collection.”
Sandra Simonds’s Orlando (Wave Books). From the publisher: “With breathtaking fervor, Sandra Simonds delivers an extended address to Orlando, which stands as both a city marked by vibrant promises fallen into betrayals and abuses and the specter of a past lover. Developing a series of recurring episodes and detailing an intricate network of relationships entangled in love, pain, anger, and compassion, this book boldly approaches personal trauma and memory in order to better understand the present.”
Dorothea Lasky’s Milk (Wave Books). From the publisher: “In her latest collection, Dorothea Lasky brings her signature style—a deeply felt and uncanny word-music—to all matters of creativity, from poetry and the invention of new language to motherhood and the production of new life. As much a personal document as it is an occult text, Milk investigates overused paradigms of what it means to be a creator and encapsulates its horrors and joys—setting fire to the enigma that drives the vital force that enables poems, love, and life to happen.
Shahriar Mandanipour’s Moon Brow (Restless Books), translated from the Persian by Sara Khalili. From the publisher: “From ‘one of Iran’s most important living fiction writers’ (The Guardian) comes a fantastically imaginative story of love and war narrated by two angel scribes perched on the shoulders of a shell-shocked Iranian soldier who’s searching for the mysterious woman haunting his dreams.”
Marcelo Hernandez Castillo’s Cenzontle (BOA Editions). From the publisher: “In this highly lyrical, imagistic debut, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo creates a nuanced narrative of life before, during, and after crossing the US/Mexico border. These poems explore the emotional fallout of immigration, the illusion of the American dream via the fallacy of the nuclear family, the latent anxieties of living in a queer brown undocumented body within a heteronormative marriage, and the ongoing search for belonging. Finding solace in the resignation to sheer possibility, these poems challenge us to question the potential ways in which two people can interact, love, give birth, and mourn—sometimes all at once.”
Carmen Giménez Smith’s Cruel Futures (City Lights). From the publisher: “Cruel Futures, the fifth collection from Latinx feminista Carmen Giménez Smith, is a witchy confessional and wildly imagistic volume that examines subjects as divergent as Alzheimers, Medusa, mumblecore, and mental illness in sharp-witted, taut poems dense with song. Chronicling life on an endangered planet, in a country on the precipice of profound change compelled by a media machine that produces our realities, the book is a high-energy analysis of popular culture, as well as an exploration of the many social roles that women occupy as mother, daughter, lover, and the resulting struggle to maintain personhood—all in a late capitalist America. Like Joanne Kyger, Giménez Smith deploys humor while depicting the quotidian and its function as sacrament.”
Tommy Pico’s Junk (Tin House): “Building on IRL and Nature Poem, Tommy Pico’s Junk is a book-length break-up poem that explores the experience of loss and erasure, both personal and cultural.”
Rita Bullwinkel’s Belly Up (A Strange Object): “Belly Up is a story collection that contains ghosts, mediums, a lover obsessed with the sound of harps tuning, teenage girls who believe they are actually plants, gulag prisoners who outsmart a terrible warden, and carnivorous churches. Throughout these grotesque and tender stories, characters question the bodies they’ve been given and what their bodies require to be sustained.”
Every year, I wish for a new book from Helen DeWitt, so I’m very happy that 2018 will see Some Trick: Thirteen Stories (New Directions) published. From the publisher: “For sheer unpredictable brilliance, Gogol may come to mind, but no author alive today takes a reader as far as Helen DeWitt into the funniest, most yonder dimensions of possibility. Her jumping-off points might be statistics, romance, the art world’s piranha tank, games of chance and games of skill, the travails of publishing, or success. […] In various ways, each tale carries DeWitt’s signature poker-face lament regarding the near-impossibility of the life of the mind when one is made to pay to have the time for it, in a world so sadly “‘taken up with all sorts of paraphernalia superfluous, not to say impedimental, to ratiocination.’”
Julia Dixon Evans’s How to Set Yourself on Fire (Dzanc Books). From the publisher: “Threaded with wry humor and the ache of love lost or left behind, How to Set Yourself on Fire establishes Julia Dixon Evans as a rising talent in the vein of Shirley Jackson and Lindsay Hunter.”
Dag Solstad’s Armand V and T Singer (New Directions). Two novels from an acclaimed Norwegian novelist. Armand V is told “exclusively in footnotes to an unwritten book, this is Solstad’s radically unconventional novel about how we experience the passing of time: how it fragments, drifts, quickens, and how single moments can define a life.” T Singer‘s narrator “specifically states that this is not a happy story, yet, as in all of Dag Solstad’s works, the prose is marked by an unforgettable combination of humor and darkness. Overall, T Singer marks a departure more explicitly existential than any of Solstad’s previous works.”
Maria Gabriela Llansol’s Geography of Rebels Trilogy (Deep Vellum), translated from the Portuguese by Audrey Young. From the publisher: “English debut with three linked novellas by influential cult Portuguese writer interweaving history, poetry, and philosophy into transcendent literary vision.”
Michelle Tea’s Against Memoir (Feminist Press), about which Eileen Myles writes: “These essays blow my mind with their algebraic rhythms by which Michelle Tea manages pain and bliss. They take turns erupting in a pulpy and marvelous parade: landscape, passion, morality, family, cigarettes—each cited frankly and exquisitely like a smart kid with a dirty crayon explaining to us all how she sees god.”
Jamel Brinkley’s A Lucky Man (Graywolf) “announces the arrival of a significant new voice in fiction. In these stories, fathers and sons attempt to salvage relationships with friends and family members, and confront mistakes made in the past. A Lucky Man reflects the tenderness and vulnerability of black men and boys whose hopes sometimes betray them, especially in a world shaped by race, gender, and class—where luck may be the greatest fiction of all.”
Janet Dewart Bell’s Lighting the Fires of Freedom: African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement (The New Press). From the publisher: “A groundbreaking collection based on oral histories that plumbs the leadership of African American women in the twentieth-century fight for civil rights, many nearly lost to history.”
Ryan Habermeyer’s The Science of Lost Futures (BOA Editions), which publisher says, “is a prize-winning collection full of quirky humor and intelligent absurdity. Ryan Habermeyer is a yarn spinner of the first order. Drawing on urban legends, internet hoaxes, and ancient medical folklore, these stories go beyond science fiction and magical realism to create a captivating collection of fabulist stories that revel in the alien and the absurd.
Henry A. Giroux’s American Nightmare: Facing the Challenge of Fascism (City Lights). From the publisher: “A far-ranging critique of the rise of authoritarianism and white nationalism in the US and the consequences for democracy.”
Bessora and Barroux’s Alpha: Abidjan to Paris (Bellevue Literary Press): From the publisher: Featuring emotive, full-color artwork created in felt-tip pen and wash, Alpha is an international award–winning graphic novel supported by Amnesty International that received the PEN Promotes Award and Doctors Without Borders Prize, and was longlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal. The U.S. edition is sponsored by Le Korsa, a nonprofit organization devoted to improving human lives in Senegal.”
Ófeigur Sigurðsson’s Öræfi’s The Wasteland (Deep Vellum), translated from the Icelandic by Lytton Smith. From the publisher: “An ambitious epic novel showcases the brutal elements of human nature and mother nature alike in Iceland’s most desolate region.”
The American Novels series, Norman Lock’s current multi-year, multi-volume project, is nothing short of his most ambitious endeavor yet, which I see less as a departure from the work preceding, but an amplification of it, a fusion of all his preoccupations: fabulism, storytelling and the story of the telling, and the exploration of history, its discontents and malcontents. The Wreckage of Eden (Bellevue Literary Press), the fifth, stand-alone volume in series, is a masterfully-crafted narrative “powerfully evocative of Emily Dickinson’s life, times, and artistry.”
Ursula K. Le Guin with David Naimon: Ursula K. Guin: Conversations on Writing (Tin House Books): “In a series of conversations with Between The Covers’s David Naimon, Ursula K. Le Guin discusses her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry―both her process and her philosophy―with all the wisdom, profundity, and rigour we expect from one of our great American writers.”
New Poets of Native Nations (Graywolf), edited by Heid E. Erdrich, “gathers poets of diverse ages, styles, languages, and tribal affiliations to present the extraordinary range and power of new Native poets. Included are twenty-one poets whose first books were published after the year 2000. These are poems of great breadth—long narratives, political outcries, experimental works, and traditional lyrics—an essential anthology of some of the best poets writing now.”
Edward J. Delaney’s Follow the Sun (Turtle Point Press), about which Phillip Lopate writes: “In this pungent, gritty novel, hardscrabble lives are rendered with utter realism, terrific dialogue, and a slow-burning tenderness for all concerned. Delaney’s knowledge of this milieu is never in doubt, and his control of the material is masterful.”
Forrest Gander’s Be With (New Directions): “Drawing from his experience as a translator, Forrest Gander includes in the first, powerfully elegiac section a version of a poem by the Spanish mystical poet St. John of the Cross. He continues with a long multilingual poem examining the syncretic geological and cultural history of the U.S. border with Mexico. The poems of the third section—a moving transcription of Gander’s efforts to address his mother dying of Alzheimer’s—rise from the page like hymns, transforming slowly from reverence to revelation. Gander has been called one of our most formally restless poets, and these new poems express a characteristically tensile energy and, as one critic noted, “‘the most eclectic diction since Hart Crane.’”
Norah Lange’s People in the Room (And Other Stories), translated by Charlotte Whittle. From the publisher: An uncanny exploration of desire, domestic space, isolation and voyeurism by a writer Borges loved – only now in English translation. A young woman spies three women in the house opposite. She imagines them as criminals, as troubled spinsters, or as players in an affair. Lange’s hallucinatory images make this uncanny exploration of desire, domestic space, voyeurism and female isolation a twentieth-century masterpiece, here translated into English for the first time.”
Very much looking forward to the publication of Paula Regossy (Pressed Press), Lynn Crawford’s forthcoming innovative hybrid book, which I was lucky to have read in manuscript.
I’m a massive fan of Thalia Field’s writing, and I loved A Prank of Georges (Essay Press), her engagingly experimental collaboration with Abigail Lang, so I’m looking forward to their follow-up: Legends of Janus / Leave to Remain (Dalkey Archive), which finds Field and Lange “weav[ing] together text and image, poetry and essay, Peter Lorre and Albert Einstein, Santa Claus and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. As the titles imply, this is a book fascinated by double-ness, duplicity, doubles entendres, two-facedness, ambiguity, and ambivalence, composed by two writers whose ludic sense of language makes every page a delight.”
Kathryn Scanlan’s The Dominant Animal (Little Island Press): “Dark, comedic, and breathtakingly poetic, this is the debut short story collection from a remarkably assured literary artist.”
Chaya Bhuvaneswar’s White Dancing Elephants, winner of the 2017 Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Prize. From the publisher: “In luminous, vivid, searingly honest prose, White Dancing Elephants tells stories that have not been heard before, centering on the experiences of diverse women of color, cunning, bold and resolute, who face down sexual harassment and racial violence, as well as the violence women inflict upon each other, including in intimate relationships. Combining the speculative elements and wry psychological realism beloved by readers of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Margaret Atwood, Danzy Senna and Sandra Cisneros, this collection introduces Chaya Bhuvaneswar as an original and memorable new voice.”
Jeffrey Yang’s Hey, Marfa (Graywolf) is a “lyrical, anthropological investigation into history, culture, and extremity of place.”
Craig Morgan Teicher’s We Begin in Gladness: How Poets Progress. From the publisher: “Teicher traces the poetic development in the works of Sylvia Plath, John Ashbery, Louise Glück, and francine j. harris, among others, to illuminate the paths they forged. These luminous essays are indispensable for readers curious about the artistic life and for writers wondering how they might offer us that rare, glittering thing—lasting work.”
Other anticipated books:
Tim Jones-Yelvington’s Strike a Prose: Memoirs of a Lit Diva Extraordinaire (co•im•press) first runner up for the 1913 Prize and a finalist with Noemi and FC2’s Sukenick Prize.
John King’s Guy Psycho and the Ziggurat of Shame (Beating Windward Press), which tells the story about “what happens when the goddess Ishtar interrupts an alcoholic lounge singer while he is re-enacting the epic of Gilgamesh inside a mountain in Tennessee.”
Martin Ott’s Lessons in Camouflage (C&R Press), about which Kathryn Nuernberger writes: “In Lessons in Camouflage, Marin Ott invites readers to discover much strange beauty in mundane domesticities—graffiti in an apartment complex elevator, tedious morning commutes, people in line at Starbucks, these are among his subjects. But rather than reveling in how a clever writer can defamiliarize what we think we know, Ott’s great gift in this collection is to make the familiar seen in all its depth and complexity. This book takes readers fully and vividly into the inner life of a young military recruit, and then later, a father, and beyond that, a grieving son. We may think we know these stories, but what we think we know is mere camouflage—this book helps us see through the obfuscating veils into the clarity of a beating human heart.”
Robert Dean writes: “I am always ready to see what King Shot Press, Perpetual Motion Machine, Broken River, and Hard Case Crime will put out. Generally, whatever these places release, I’ll buy it because I know it’ll be something that speaks to my tastes.”
Stalking Horse Press is publishing some of the most vital fiction and poetry, so I’m very much looking forward to the publication of Emily Corwin’s tenderling, and very curious to discover what other books they’ll be publishing this year.
Like Annie DeWitt, I’m looking forward to Soho Press’s publishing The Collected Stories of Diane Williams and The Collected Novellas of Diane Williams. I’ve actually read all of Diane Williams’s books, and I’m excited about seeing these elliptical fictions, each one a paradoxical fusion of concision and ambiguity, collected in this way.
Leslie Pietrzyk‘s Silver Girl (Unnamed Press)
Robert Coover is one of my favorite authors, so I obviously can’t wait for The Enchanted Prince (OR Books) to be published.
May-Lan Tan’s Things to Make and Break (Emily Books/Coffee House Press).
Michael Martone’s The Moon Over Wapakoneta: Fictions and Science Fictions from Indiana and Beyond (FC2). A new Michael Martone book is always an event.
Cristina Rivera Garza’s The Taiga Syndrome (Dorothy).
Martin Riker’s Samuel Johnson’s Eternal Return (Coffee House).
Danielle Dutton’s SPRAWL is being reissued by Wave Books.
More anticipated books:
Alicia Jo Rabins’s Fruit Geode
Joe Fletcher’s The Hatch
Poems by Sheila Maldonado
Fiction by Geoff Wyss
Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize winner, selected by Mary Caponegro: Jennifer Natalya Fink’s Bhopal Dance.
Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Contest winner, selected by Elisabeth Sheffield: George Choundas’s The Making Sense of Things.
I’m really looking forward to the first books we’ll publish now that Augury Books has become an imprint of Brooklyn Arts Press. While we have not yet selected our second title, the first Augury Books/BAP title will be Fruit Geode, the second collection of poetry by Alicia Jo Rabins (her first collection won the APR/Honickman Prize and she’s also a fantastic musician—she leads the great folk rock band Girls in Trouble). This book is full of poems about motherhood and individuality, how the individual becomes subsumed in the animal body life, how the self becomes one with family, and it’s also full of witchery and goddesses, herbs and earthy magic. We’re really excited about it.
I’m excited about whatever our other Augury/BAP books will be too, but still will have to select them from our upcoming Open Reading period in January—can’t wait to read the manuscripts authors send us. (so if you know anyone with great work, I’d appreciate you passing the word along!)
I’m excited as well about the first book from Jason Phoebe Rusch, a former student of mine from Interlochen Arts Academy who is a truly talented writer and a dear friend. Their book, Two in One Flesh, will be published by Hobart’s SF/LD Books and is well worth checking out—raw honest intricate poems about the difficulties and glories of living in a body.
And I’m really looking forward to the novel Freshwater by Igbo and Tamil writer and video artist Akwaeke Emezi. This compelling debut novel revolves around ideas about the construction of identity and fractured selves.
And I’m super-excited about A. N. Devers’s book, Train, one of the Object Lesson series. The book is, of course, about trains and American’s rail system and surrounding communities, but it’s also about a writer who quits her museum world profession, buys a 30-day rail pass, and goes on a journey—a kind of quest that allows her to discover the world around her as well as the world inside the self.
Michael A. Ferro’s TITLE 13: A timely investigation into the heart of a despotic government, Title 13 is a darkly comic cautionary tale of mental illness and unconventional love. The novel deftly blends satirical comedy aimed at the hot-button issues of modern society with the gut-wrenching reality of an intensely personal descent into addiction.
Timmy Reed’s KILL ME NOW: With tenderness and tenacity, Timmy Reed’s prose—described by Jessica Anya Blau as, “If George Saunders and Russell Edson had a baby, he’d probably grow up to write like Timmy Reed…”—captures the anguish and grit of adolescence, and the potential that comes with growing up. January 28, 2018 from Counterpoint Press.
Cynthia Drew’s SING FOR THE DEAD: When a 150-year-old bulto—a religious icon purportedly destroyed in in the Smithsonian’s Great Fire in 1865—turns up not once but three times in Sotheby’s auction results, Interpol contacts the FBI’s Art Crimes Unit in Washington, D.C. to find out what’s afoot. Special Agent Jacques Pearce enlists the help of Micki Jaynes, an art appraiser who specializes in icons and monstrances. From Water Street Press.
David S. Atkinson’s ROSES ARE RED, VIOLETS ARE STEALING LOOSE CHANGE FROM MY POCKETS WHILE I SLEEP: In his previous collection, Not Quite So Stories, Atkinson twisted reality with small absurdities. Roses are Red, Violets are Stealing Loose Change from my Pockets While I Sleep leaves sanity completely behind, pondering modern life through surreal humorous flash fiction involving Margaret Thatcher, jam appearing in boxers overnight, Gene Roddenberry, and more. April 2018 from Literary Wanderlust.
Andrew Furman’s GOLDENS ARE HERE: Andrew Furman’s Goldens Are Here, inspired by true events surrounding an historic Florida citrus season and the lynching of a civil rights worker in Brevard County, offering a glimpse of the sea changes bearing down upon Florida and the nation in the 1960’s through the prism of one fictional family’s negotiations with the land, their neighbors, and with each other. April 10, 2018 from Green Writers Press.
Christoph Paul’s AT LEAST I GET YOU: Rooster Republic Press.
Julia Yeager-Archer’s ALL THE GHOSTS WE’VE ALWAYS HAD: A chapbook of contemporary flash fiction. From Thirty West Publishing House.
M.E. Parker’s BORA, BORA: HINTERLAND TRILOGY BOOK 3: Parker’s Hinterland Trilogy has been described by Peter Tieryas Liu as, “Jonesbridge isn’t just a dystopia of geography, but that of the human condition, ravaged by history… M.E. Parker is a cartographer of the spirit, navigating us through his powerful prose that is unflinchingly honest…” Bora, Bora completes Parker’s sci-fi epic. From Diversion Books.
Frank Morelli’s NO SAD SONGS: A YA novel. February 20, 2018 from Fish Out of Water Books.
Gary B. France’s LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF UNITED: A soccer-related memoir. March 10, 2018 from Fish Out of Water Books
R.J. Fox’s AWAITING IDENTIFICATION: A novel set in 1999 Detroit. April 10, 2018 from Fish Out of Water Books.
Carmen Gentile’s BLINDSIDED BY THE TALIBAN: A conflict correspondent’s debut about his unusual injury while reporting in Afghanistan, previously excerpted in The Weeklings. March 20, 2018 from Skyhorse Publishing.
Ada Limón’s THE CARRYING: A new collection of poems from the National Book Award finalist. Fall 2018 from Milkweed.
Joshua Rivkin’s CHALK: The Art and Erasure of Cy Twombly: CHALK: The Art and Erasure of Cy Twombly, combines biography, art criticism, interviews, and memoir in a meditation on the life and art of Cy Twombly. From Melville House.
Jonathan Evison’s LAWN BOY: From the award-winning author comes an important, entertaining, and completely winning novel about social class distinctions, overcoming cultural discrimination, and standing up for oneself. April 3, 2018 from Algonquin Books.
Pam Jones’s ANDERMATT COUNTY: TWO PARABLES: Welcome to Andermatt County. Hill country. South-central Texas. The residents walk the terrain and feel the air as if in a haze of their own self-interest. The children live in a mystical void of wonder mixed with downtrodden hopes of their lives to come. January 12, 2018 from April Gloaming Publishing.
Brandon Hobson’s WHERE THE DEAD SIT TALKING: Set in rural Oklahoma during the late 1980s, Where the Dead Sit Talking is a startling, authentically voiced and lyrically written Native American coming-of-age story. February 20, 2018 from Soho Press.
Rita Bullwinkel’s BELLY UP: A story collection that contains ghosts, mediums, a lover obsessed with the sound of harps tuning, teenage girls who believe they are actually plants, gulag prisoners who outsmart a terrible warden, and carnivorous churches. Throughout these grotesque and tender stories, characters question the bodies they’ve been given and what their bodies require to be sustained. Advance praise from Lorrie Moore and Jeff Vandermeer. May 8, 2018 from A Strange Object.
Julia Dixon Evans’s HOW TO SET YOURSELF ON FIRE: Threaded with wry humor and the ache of love lost or left behind, How to Set Yourself on Fire establishes Julia Dixon Evans as a rising talent in the vein of Shirley Jackson and Lindsay Hunter. May 8, 2018 from Dzanc Books.
Emily Corwin’s TENDERLING: Between the thorns of the Brothers Grimm and the labyrinthine chambers of Angela Carter, Corwin’s first full-length poetry collection promises to be red of tooth, claw, and lipstick. February 2018 from Stalking Horse Press.
Troy James Weaver’s TEMPORAL: A NOVEL: Set to a shoegaze soundtrack, Troy James Weaver’s Temporal is the story of one tumultuous summer in the lives of three teenagers in Wichita, KS. With advance praise from Scott McClanahan: “Troy James Weaver is so good he shouldn’t need any blurbs. Troy James Weaver is one monster of a writer.” March 6, 2018 from Disorder Press.
2018 indie books that look cool: Conversations on Writing by Ursula K. Le Guin and David Naimon (Tin House Books). Gielgud by my friend Dan DeWeese (Propeller Books); I’m a huge fan of his writing. More from my publisher, 7.13 Books: Mr. Neutron, a novel by Joe Ponepinto; Like a Champion, stories by Vincent Chu; The Place You’re Supposed to Laugh, a novel by Jenn Rossmann; and Nightwolf, a novel by Willie Davis. Tomb Song by Julián Herbert and Wade in the Water by Tracy K. Smith (both out on Graywolf) and The Underneath by Melanie Finn (Two Dollar Radio).
In a rough order, here are books I’m looking forward to. I can’t say they’re from marginalized groups (one could argue that all writers are marginalized in an increasingly aliterate + illiterate environment) and, really, I’ve no interest in having my books match some hypothetical syllabus of what should be read. Had enough of that in school and university. With that in mind, here’s my list:
(1) Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: The Red Wheel: March 1917: Node III: Book 2, and the first of two volumes of Between Two Millstones, his memoir of the West. University of Notre Dame Press, Fall 2018. TWR is an astounding mega-novel of great significance that should blow apart notions that Solzhenitsyn is conservative in his writing style. Book 1 came out November 2017 and I’m looking forward to more of Solzhenitsyn’s version of Hegel’s “the slaughter-bench of history,” as TWR is replete with blood, civil unrest, and rampant political ambitions. Check <<http://undpress.nd.edu>> for details closer to the release date.
(2) César Aira: The Linden Tree. New Directions. April 2018. <<www.ndbooks.com>> Any release of an Aira book is a positive thing. One can never tell where his books will start or end up.
(3) W.M. Spackman. On the Decay of Criticism: The Complete Essays of W.M. Spackman. Ed. Steven Moore. October 2017. <<www.fantagraphics.com>>. October 2017. Not 2018, but this book isn’t going to get much attention, so why not pay it some? Moore lavished great care on this, and Fantagraphics did as well in the packaging.
(4) Curtis White. Lacking Character. March 2018. <<www.mhpbooks.com>>. New fiction from White is a treat.
(5) Harry Mathews. The Solitary Twin. March 2018. <<www.ndbooks.com>>. Sadly, the last novel by this Oulipian master (unless a desk drawer hides something).
(6) Kjersti Skomsvold. Monsterhuman. November 2017. <<www.dalkeyarchive.com>>. Another late 2017 title, and one that looks quite promising.
(7) Wolfgang Hilbig. Old Rendering Plant. November 2017. <<www.twolinespress.com>>. A writer praised by László Krasznahorkai and compared to W.G. Sebald is someone to consider.
(8) A.J. Perry. Twelve Stories of Russia: A novel, I guess. May 2017. <<www.coweyepress.com>>. By now you may be have noticed a trend—books from 2017 not yet read. Despite the tumultuous times—yet things are quieter in Canada—the year was a good one for fiction. Cow Eye Press is a house to keep an eye on.
(9) Olga Tokarczuk: Drive Your Plough over the Bones of the Dead. September 2018. <<https://fitzcarraldoeditions.com>>. Tokarczuk is an amazing writer. Fitzcarraldo published her Flights in May 2017, so it’s good to see a shorter wait time before the next translation (by Antonia Lloyd-Jones).
(10) Robert Nichols: Daily Lives in Nghsi-Altai. January 2018. <<www.verbivoraciouspress.org>>. This is a reprint of a neglected set of novels that originally appeared in the 1970s. The volume look fascinating.
(11) Gabriel Josipovici. The Cemetery at Barnes. March 2018. <<http://www.carcanet.co.uk >>. A new novella from Josipovici is always something to look for. This time it’s a murder mystery where three narratives intertwine.
City of the Future by American Book Award winner Sesshu Foster (Kaya Press, Spring)
2018 will bring with it new editions of Samantha Hunt’s debut novel The Seas, Joy Williams’s The Changeling, and Barbara Comyns’s The Juniper Tree — all novels that, in their own way, blend realism and folklore in unexpected ways. In each of them, there’s a tension between the tactile and the folkloric; that all three are tremendous writers helps to bolster this and create an even more haunting, disconcerting reading experience.
I’m mightily excited to hear that Coffee House Press and Emily Books are releasing May-Lan Tan’s collection Things to Make and Break in the US. I picked up a copy of the UK edition a few years ago, after Tan did a few readings in NYC and friends raved about her work. It’s a stunning, innovative book, with some of the boldest stylistic choices in short fiction that I’ve seen in a while. While we’re talking about prose innovation, I’m also eager to read Harry Mathews’s final novel, The Solitary Twin. Given that no two works by Mathews resemble one another, I’m curious to read what’s in store here.
Part of 2018 involves the anticipation of new work from writers I’ve long admired. On the poetry side of things, I’m looking forward to Tommy Pico’s new collection Junk and Natalie Eilbert’s Indictus. And Colin Winnette’s The Job of the Wasp pushes a number of my buttons, from its neo-Gothic setting to its use of an unlikely ghost story.
Before getting to the books I’m looking forward to in 2018, I want to mention two books that came out in 2017 that I felt deserved more attention. The first is Duncan Barlow’s The City, Awake (Stalking Horse Press), a kind of odd noir with one replicated seemingly amnesiac character: kind of like what might have happened if Robert Coover had been a straightedge punk musician who had written Memento. The second is Antoine Volodine’s Radiant Terminus (Open Letter), brilliantly translated by Jeffrey Zuckerman, which is a remarkable book that gathers together much of what makes me believe that Volodine is among our most interesting and original French writers…
2018: there’s a lot that’s great that’s coming out and a lot that I don’t know about yet that I’ll be incredibly excited for. But, among other things, there is:
—Colin Winnette, The Job of the Wasp (Catapult): an odd gothic tale that takes place in a school for orphaned boys;
—Lynne Tillman, Men and Apparitions (Soft Skull Press): it’s Lynne Tillman and mapcap, and that’s probably all you need to know;
—Kim Hunter, The Official Report on Human Activity (Wayne State University Press): a story collection featuring formally innovative and odd dystopic fairy tales;
—Ian Holding, What Happened to Us (Little Island Press): Zimbabwe’s answer to Cormac McCarthy;
—Roque Larraquy, Comemadre (Coffee House Press): an exceptionally odd and quite good book about the manipulation of bodies for the sake of science and art;
—Bruce Olds, This Way Slaughter (Wings Press): Olds is almost unique in his ability to synthesize and recreate a historical moment;
—Michelle de Kretser, The Life to Come (Catapult): de Kretser strikes me as an almost criminally underrated writer. Her book Springtime was one of my favorite books of 2016;
—Andres Barba, The Right Intention (Transit Books): I read my first Barba this year, Such Small Hands, and loved it;
—Forrest Gander, Be With (New Directions): I’ve seen some of the poems in this in magazines, and they’re terrific;
—Kristen Tracy, Half Hazard (Graywolf): disclaimer—I’m married to Kristen, but the fact that this book was chosen for the Emily Dickinson First Book of Poetry Prize suggests that I’m not the only one who thinks it’s worth reading;
—Ann Quin, The Unmapped Country: Stories and Fragments (And Other Stories Press): Quin is gradually being recognized as one of the great British writers of the 1970s.
—César Aira, The Linden Tree (New Directions): Every Aira book is eccentric, unique, and compelling, and this is sure to be no exception;
—Kathryn Scanlan, The Dominant Animal (Little Island Press): I’ve seen a lot of her stories in magazines and liked them, and am very much looking forward to this first collection
—Damien Ober, Doctor Benjamin Franklin’s Dream America (Night Shade Books): This book is absolutely bonkers, blending as it does American Revolutionary History with computer viruses, aliens, and everything else;
—Brandon Hobson, Where the Dead Sit Talking (Soho Press): an excellent and harrowing story about a Native American kid struggling his way through foster care
Jazzercise Is a Language, Gabriel Ojeda-Sague (Operating System)
Junk, Tommy Pico (Tin House)
MEND, Kwoya Fagin Maples (University of Kentucky Press)
Self Portrait, Sade Murphy (Birds of Lace)
Our Colony Beyond the City of Ruins– Janalyn Guo- Subito Press
Noirmania– JoAnna Novak- Inside the Castle
Ruination– Katie Jean Shinkle- Spuyten Duyvil
Lunch Poems 2 – Paul Legault- Spork Press
Attack of the Fifty-Foot Centerfold– Dorothy Chan- Spork Press
Indecency– Justin Phillip Reed– Coffee House Press
The Imagined Land– Eduardo Berti- Deep Vellum
Not One Day– Anne Garréta- Deep Vellum
On Hell– Johanna Hedva– Sator Press
The Listening Room by Kathleen Rooney
Christine Hume, experimental nonfiction: The Saturation Project (Solid Objects).
Jonah Mixon-Webster, poetry: Stereo (TYPE) (Ahsahta)
Dave Kress, experimental fiction: Fads and Fallacies (Mammoth Books)
Clarice Lispector, a new novel translation: The Chandelier (New Directions)
Samantha Hunt, fiction: The Seas (Tin House)
Shelley Jackson, novel: Riddance (Black Balloon)
Complete Stories by Clarice Lispector (New Directions), June 2018: This is going to be a fabulous volume.
H & G by Anna Maria Hong (Sidebrow), February 2018: This “fractured fairy tale” novella sounds amazing and I can’t wait to read it.
Attendance by Rocío Carlos and Rachel McLeod Kaminer (The Operating System), Fall 2018: I’ve been following this project and can’t wait to see this in book-form.
From #RECURRENT/Civil Coping Mechanisms:
We will be re-releasing 2 original #RECURRENT titles:
Family Album by Jason Snyder (#RECURRENT/CCM), February 2018
Crepuscule W/ Nellie by Joe Milazzo (#RECURRENT/CCM), February 2018
Also coming late 2018, we’ll be publishing a new title:
Here are a couple of books from A Strange Object, a small press based in Austin:
Belly Up by Rita Bullwinkel: A debut collection containing stories filled with ghosts, zombies. carnivorous churches, and girls who think they might actually be foliage. Bullwinkel was recently artist-in-residence at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts and completed a residency at Hawthornden Castle.
The Writer’s Field Guide to the Craft of Fiction by (yours truly) Michael Noll. A collection of writing exercises and essays about craft based on one-page excerpts from books and stories by authors such as Roxane Gay, Marlon James, Karen Russell, and George Saunders.
And here’s a book from Transgress Press:
Tomorrow or Forever by Jack Kaulfus: With a focus on transitional queer identities struggling to find purchase, these stories offer glimpses into an unexpected worlds that pull characters out of their survival dens and into their destinies. In “The End of the Objects,” a newly deceased woman finds herself in a vaguely utilitarian afterlife and must choose a few objects that will have huge implications in her next life on earth. In another story, a young murderer undergoes a radical genetic transformation in an effort to escape her past transgressions. Transversing the mundane and the fantastic, Kaulfus deftly deconstructs the manner in which outsiders make spaces for themselves when no one else will.
Here are some books I’m looking forward to:
The Job of the Wasp by Colin Winnette
Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson
The Right Intention by Andres Barba
The Linden Tree by César Aira
Palaces by Simon Jacobs
Acid West by Joshua Wheeler
Things to Make and Break by May-Lan Tan (Emily Books): So glad that May-Lan’s cinematic and moving stories will get some wider exposure in the US. She’s too damn good to be ignored.
Animals Eat Each Other by Elle Nash (Dzanc): I love novels about relationships—and this one sounds delightfully fucked up.
The Job of the Wasp by Colin Winnette (Soft Skull): It sounds like Winnette is about to pour the weird sauce all over the new kid at school coming-of-age novel.
And of course, the Genevieve Hudson story collection, Pretend You Live Here, from Future Tense, is going to break hearts.
2017 hurt, but friends helped me recover gradually with good book news. I’m so ready for the language-wild worlds of Joe Sacksteder and Janalyn Guo, whose books, GAME IN THE SAND and OUR COLONY BEYOND THE CITY OF THE RUINS, both won prestigious contests with Sarabande Books and Subito Press. A grad school chum, Krys Malcolm Belc, is tearing up the essay world and announced that his chapbook, IN TRANSIT, is coming out with The Cupboard (if last year’s roster is any indicator, I’m excited to have friends in high places). One of my favorite writers, Steven Dunn, is releasing his sophomore novel, water & power, with Tarpaulin Sky Press. Similarly, Denver essayist and Best American Essay contributor Jason Arment is publishing his memoir, MUSALAHEEN, with University of Hell Press, where Isobel O’Hare’s erasures of sexual misconduct apologies is releasing. Poetry editor Ally Harris has a chapbook releasing with The Song Cave alongside Mark Leidner. Simone Savannah is releasing her first chapbook LIKE KANSAS with Big Lucks. Chase Berggrun’s R E D, an erasure of Dracula, is set to release with Birds LLC next year. A former instructor, Callista Buchen, has her first book of poems, LOOK LOOK LOOK, coming out with Black Lawrence Press—don’t miss that one. Horror novel centered on the Midwestern punk scene, PALACES by Simon Jacobs, is debuting with Two Dollar Radio. Also, Nicholas Gulig’s ORIENT will be published by Cleveland State University Poetry Center. Lastly, a recent discovery, Alana I. Capria’s feminist horror fairy tale (yeah I’m stunned by that combo too), MOTHER WALKED INTO THE LAKE, was released by KERNPUNKT in December so it’s safe to say I’ll be reading and rereading it into the New Year. Oh, it’s not a book, but showrunner Nick Antosca commands respect as an indie author of multiple horror goodies—CHANNEL ZERO: BUTCHER’S BLOCK is in post for SyFy channel.
The Lost Country by William Gay (Dzanc Books, July)
Not to Read, by Alejandro Zambra (April, Fitzcarraldo Editions)
Some Trick: Thirteen Stories, by Helen DeWitt (May, New Directions)
My Struggle: Book Six, by Karl Ove Knausgaard (Fall, Archipelago)
Men and Apparitions, by Lynne Tillman (March, Soft Skull)
The Changeling, by Joy Williams (April, Tin House)
Wade in the Water, by Tracy K. Smith (April, Graywolf)
Cat Poems, edited by Tynan Kogane (February, New Directions)
Street-Fighting Years: An Autobiography of the Sixties, by Tariq Ali (March, Verso)
Scenes from a Childhood, by Jon Fosse (May, Fitzcarraldo Editions)
Wrestling with the Devil: A Prison Memoir, by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (March, New Press)
Denmark Vesey’s Garden Slavery and Memory in the Cradle of the Confederacy, by Ethan J. Kytle and Blaine Roberts (April, New Press)
Slave Old Man, by Patrick Chamoiseau (May, New Press)
The Linden Tree, by Cesar Aira (April, New Directions)
The Emissary, by Yoko Tawada (April, New Directions)
The Beekeeper: Saving the Stolen Women of Iraq, by Dunya Mikhail (March, New Directions)
The Chandelier, by Clarice Lispector (March, New Directions)
Neon in Daylight, by Hermione Hoby (January, Catapult)
The Desert and Its Seed, by Jorge Barón Biza (April, New Directions)
The Seas, by Samantha Hunt (July, Tin House)
Mirror, Shoulder, Signal, by Dorthe Nors (June, Graywolf)
Cecil and Jordan in New York, by Gabrielle Bell (reissue by Uncivilized Books)
Junk, by Tommy Pico (May, Tin House)
Terese Marie Mailhot, Heart Berries, Counterpoint (February)
I’ve heard amazing things about this memoir. Mailhot writes about trauma, racism, mental health, and coming of age on the Seabird Island Indian Reservation in British Columbia.
Clarice Lispector, The Chandelier, New Directions (March) + Complete Stories, New Directions (June)
First English translation of Lispector’s second novel!!! Paper edition of the Complete Stories with three just-discovered pieces!!! Delight, doubled.
Hilary Plum, Strawberry Fields, Fence (April)
Winner of the Fence Modern Prize in Prose. Plum’s stunning Watchfires (2016) is a memoir of chronic illness, a lyric essay about the Boston Marathon bombing and American war-making, and a fractured investigation of the body’s frailties. Gorgeous sentences and flinchless inquiry. I want to read anything Plum writes.
Jennifer Firestone, TEN, BlazeVOX (Spring)
Firestone is one of my favorite contemporary poets. Her several previous collections are smart, strange, spiky, penetrating. Can’t wait for the new one.
Heather Abel, The Optimistic Decade, Algonquin (May)
Political idealism, class, and the American West. Abel’s essays and stories are wise and lovely and hilarious, and I am excited for her debut novel.
Dorthe Nors, Mirror, Shoulder, Signal, Graywolf (June)
Finalist for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize. Of her own fiction, the Danish author says: “I write minimalism that is under attack from within.”
Heid E. Erdrich (ed.), New Poets of Native Nations, Graywolf (July)
An anthology of work by “21 poets whose first books were published in the 21st century and who are members/citizen or descendants with status of indigenous/Native American/Alaskan Native nations.” Contributors include Natalie Diaz and Layli Long Solider.
Genevieve Hudson, Pretend We Live Here, Future Tense (Summer)
Debut fiction collection by a stellar writer I had the privilege of working with in the Portland State MFA program. Hudson also has a memoir/cultural history out in January 2018 from Fiction Advocate: A Little in Love with Everyone, about Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and queer coming-of-age narratives.
John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.