Finishing Line Press 2022
Unsuspecting Cinderella is what happens after the glass slipper slips on and the prince carries the poet off to the castle. These are pensive, incisive lines of deep hungers (I want you to want me like a fever breaking), and the Midas-like emptiness at the castle that leaves one curled into a ball and opening umbrellas on the inside. It’s the cautionary tale of compromising our truest self for a life that is both more than enough and nowhere near enough. A chapbook that reads like a novel written on a silver matchbook.
An Otherwise Healthy Woman
Backwaters Press, 2022
The poems in An Otherwise Healthy Woman delve into the complexity of modern health care, illness, and healing, offering an alternative narrative to heroics and miracles. Drawing on Amy Haddad’s firsthand experiences as a nurse and patient, the poems in this collection teach us to take a moment to stop and acknowledge the longing for compassion in each of us, what ought to be the immediate human response to suffering. The poet isn’t afraid to explore her own fears and failures or to find joy and humor in the many roles women play. An Otherwise Healthy Woman presents the intimate experiences of a nurse, the vulnerable perspective of a patient, and the lessons of caring for family.
Grandmas are Greater than Great
Greenwillow Books, 2021
A humorous, animated, and informative look at the lasting power of ancestors. Explore families, generations, and girl power in this heartfelt collaboration between James Solheim and bestselling illustrator Derek Desierto.
Everyone has two grandmas, and every grandma has her own two grandmas. This cycle continues going back through time and history. And you needed them all for you to be you!
Traveling from generation to generation, this dynamic picture book offers young readers a bird’s-eye view of how daily life has changed over time. But despite all the differences, one thing has remained the same: a grandma’s love.
University of Nebraska Press, 2021
This elegant and moving collection of poems grew out of Hilda Raz’s experience with her son’s journey to a transgender identity. Born Sarah, now Aaron, Raz’s child had a profound impact on her understanding of what it means to be a family, to be whole, and to know oneself. The collection moves between past and present, allowing Raz to reflect on her own childhood and on her experience with breast cancer to find ways to connect with Aaron. The journey takes us from intimacy to strangeness and back again, from denial to humor to grief and rage, but always laced with love and acceptance.
Sundown at Faith Regional
Pinyon Publishing, 2021
In Sundown at Faith Regional, Barbara Schmitz offers Heart Medicine which "drops the pain body"-an invitation to let go to the rhythms of her love songs to life. Death and childhood; memory and forgetting; family cacophonies and inventions of relationships. Detachment and acceptance, like 'the indifference cloak, ' creates a liberating energy. "The wings to the heart the Sufis say / are independence / and indifference, ' and the sense of humor at our failings becomes the success. Laced with "beauty, the lyrical pain," we drink an elixir of laughter and tears.
List & Story
Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2020
Hilda Raz has long been a significant voice for American poetry. She writes of widows dancing and of squirrels fat in late September, of the power of a woman’s voice, solitary, “blessed to be the womb put to use or not.” Raz brings to her poetry and all the things it may encompass an authority wrought of compassion, of awareness and hard-won wisdom. She writes, “I bent over the mess, began to gather it up” and this is an apt description for how a life might be crafted into poetry. She knows where poetry comes from. The reader will remember the triumphs and heartbreaks, where “I lean on rituals of the house. / Is it possible to live forever in silence?” and where a mother, dreaming,
University of Nebraska Press, 2019
Kwame Dawes is not a native Nebraskan. Born in Ghana, he later moved to Jamaica, where he spent most of his childhood and early adulthood. In 1992 he relocated to the United States and eventually found himself an American living in Lincoln, Nebraska.
In Nebraska, this beautiful and evocative collection of poems, Dawes explores a theme constant in his work—the intersection of memory, home, and artistic invention. The poems, set against the backdrop of Nebraska’s discrete cycle of seasons, are meditative even as they search for a sense of place in a new landscape. While he shovels snow or walks in the bitter cold to his car, he is engulfed with memories of Kingston, yet when he travels, he finds himself longing for the open space of the plains and the first snowfall. With a strong sense of place and haunting memories, Dawes grapples with life in Nebraska as a transplant.
The Woman in the Moon
The Backwaters Press, 2018
The poems in this collection move into the past with her mother and father and also explore the present both with family and culture. The poems range in quick flourishes of conventional subjects rendered in exquisite imagery and observations to everyday occurrences that are suddenly spiked with clear focus and complex movements. Saiser’s poems are intricate and graceful in their treatments of numerous subjects, including landscape and evening, grocery stores and roadways, death and birth, love and loss, where sudden realizations seem at once deep and clear and natural. The voice in these poems is fluid and sure.
A Proper Lover
Main St. Rag Publishing Co, 2017
A Proper Lover is one woman's journey to find and become a proper lover, in spite of what's been done to her. Like the deceptively simple work of Nikki Giovanni, these well-crafted, honest poems of the heart and body whisper their gospel to the soul.
If You Turned Around Quickly
Main Street Rag Publishing Co, 2016
There’s nothing fraudulent nor overstated in the often-harsh world that Michael Catherwood presents in If You Turned Around Quickly. Yet, too, there’s surprising beauty, “where a shadow/waits like breath against a cool pane of glass,” or “how sunlight feeds/dust on Venetian blinds.” Catherwood surveys his boyhood past, his years of hard drinking, and his love of art, of painting especially (Max Beckman, van Gogh) in which, perhaps, he “Believe(s) for a moment the sky is clear,/so crisp you can see into your first days.”
Rambo Goes to Idaho
In Rambo Goes to Idaho, Scott Abels has blurred the lines between pop culture and personal struggle, the east and the west, God and Gene Simmons. At once heroic and elegiac, these poems balance on a knife edge not unlike Rambo’s, and what’s most beautiful here is that they sometimes get cut. With additional cameos by Paul Bunyan, Karl Rove, and a transformative speaker that can make you laugh or break your heart, bring your popcorn to this one. Abels notes of Rambo in the first poem “He is good, / but he is a product of the world.” By the end, you’ll believe every word he says.
Eat Your Woolly Mammoths
Greenwillow Books, 2022
Food, glorious food!
If there’s one thing that transcends time, it’s our love for food! But what did people generations ago consume? And what will we eat in the years ahead? James Solheim’s Eat Your Woolly Mammoths! serves up the stories behind the world’s most delicious, nutritious, and amazing foods—from the Stone Age to the future. For readers who love the fascinating facts that bring history to life. Let the feast begin!
Would you like a plate of woolly mammoth? Or perhaps a sample of fresh tuna eyeballs? From scorpions on sticks and llama salami to oysters and chocolate chip cookies, you’ll travel through the centuries and around the world and discover the amazing foods that have been eaten—and enjoyed—throughout history.
Santa Fe Writer's Project, 2021
Tenderness meets pain meets joy here, offering up the voices of Black folks fostering connection with their children, their lovers, and themselves. Christian's third collection of poetry takes the reader through love and longing, and manifests how we all cope and get dressed again after the harsh reality of our world lays us bare. From ghazals about erotic kinks to the disappointment of a father, these poems explore the clothes we reach for first when loss strips us naked.
All Odd and Splendid
University of Nebraska Press, 2021
This collection of poems is an exploration of lives and selves transformed by choice and by chance. Formally and thematically diverse, these poems are testament to the will to redefine oneself in a world of constant, and often painful, change. Beginning intimately with poems of personal examination and moving gradually to the world of shared experience, Hilda Raz rethinks the structures of family and community while examining the impact of loss and growth. Raz's poems celebrate the strangeness in the ordinary, bringing us into contact with a beauty and pain that are inseparable when we see things as they truly are.
University of New Mexico Press, 2021
A book of wild imagination and linguistic play, Nowhere begins by chronicling the pain that the speaker and her absent father endure during the years they are separated while he is in prison. The alternative universe the speaker builds in order to survive this complex loss and its aftermath sees her experimenting with her body to try to build connection, giving it away to careless and indifferent lovers as she dreams of consuming them in the search for a coherent self. But can the speaker voice her trauma and disjunction? Can anyone, or is suffering something that cannot be said, but only hinted at? Ultimately the book argues that the barest hour of suffering can be the source of immense creative power and energy, which is the speaker's highest form of consolation.
This brilliant debut collection offers cohesive trauma narratives and essential counter-narratives to addiction stories, and it consistently complicates the stories told by the world about so-called fatherless girls and the bodies of women.
Indigo Quill Publications, 2020
Written as a way of exploring our darkest emotions, Forbidden Fruit: Poems of Love, Loss, Hope and Regret is a collection of poetry that pulls at the tendrils of thoughts we tend to sweep aside for fear of what bringing them into the light says about us.
This collection shines a light on those thoughts hidden within us where despair seems too close and love all too fleeting to be any barometer of truth. The poems guide us through those blackest of feelings back to where we can see the good. They allow us to express the unimaginable and realize we are all capable of regret and loss and, more importantly, love and hope.
Blue Light Press, 2020
Two-Toned Dress shows us good times, times of abundance, but does not shy away from showing the lonely times. Dig in! This well-crafted collection expertly deals with relationships, and does so with beautiful honesty. This poet helps us to remember our own times of being in love and leads us toward a compassionate view of others, including our parents, who have also known what it is to negotiate what life throws at us.
Quiver: A Sexploration
Picture Show Press 2019
From the first time you saw naughty pictures to the snickering of your classmates to the age-old negotiation of virginity; the temptation in a bar, the temptation at work, and the safe (How safe?) bet at home; “To the Lover I Never Had,” the heartbreaks and the hearts you broke – this collection of poems will make you remember. In Quiver: A Sexploration by Holly Pelesky, what is private is public and what is public is private.
City of Bones: A Testament
As if convinced that all divination of the future is somehow a re-visioning of the past, Kwame Dawes reminds us of the clairvoyance of haunting. The lyric poems in City of Bones: A Testament constitute a restless jeremiad for our times, and Dawes’s inimitable voice peoples this collection with multitudes of souls urgently and forcefully singing, shouting, groaning, and dreaming about the African diasporic present and future.
As the twentieth collection in the poet’s hallmarked career, City of Bones reaches a pinnacle, adding another chapter to the grand narrative of invention and discovery cradled in the art of empathy that has defined his prodigious body of work. Dawes’s formal mastery is matched only by the precision of his insights into what is at stake in our lives today. These poems are shot through with music from the drum to reggae to the blues to jazz to gospel, proving that Dawes is the ambassador of words and worlds.
Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2017
Projector navigates past and present in Michael Catherwood’s world of colorful scenarios of a one-armed Vietnam Vet running pool tables, dreaming alternate endings to John Wayne films, a vacation photo of a father scalping his son next to a teepee in the deserts of Arizona, and a man frozen in time.
Scott Abels inhabits vestiges that include Mexico, Hawai`i, and Nebraska. Their landscapes are very different, but Abels is more interested in their parallel dysfunctions. The boys who lose arms on Mexican trains join missing hands with the unemployed in the American Midwest. “We can depend upon the land. / But we cannot depend on jobs.” He codes his family history with symptoms (e.g., Rx = prescription drugs; SRP = Strong Religious Preference). Not that everything is hopeless, as Abels remarks with a wryness worthy of strong whiskey: “Happy journey, / Everybody. / We had medical care, / and Coca-Cola / has reached us here.” This is global capital's family tree, whose diagnosis is dire. But Abels's prescription makes the desert of the real a carnival. It's a “Dick Cheney Parade,” and Christopher Columbus shits bricks. Given an oil spill or other disaster, “Whoever owns it / is lord of all he wants.”
The Only Alex Addleston in All These Mountains
Carolrhoda Books, 2014
Alex Addleston and Alex Addleston do everything together. They chase Flatt Mountain fireflies. They code secret messages. They collect crawdads named Mr. and Mrs. Sassafras Jorgensen. But when Alex's parents move her family to Kenya, the two friends lose contact with each other.
Half a world apart, each Alex still keeps the other close while climbing trees, counting stars, and playing games. One day, just maybe, they will rediscover what it means to be best friends, no matter what.
Born Yesterday: The Diary of a Young Journalist
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, 2010
Publishers Weekly Review: As fake memoirs go, this one is a hoot, with Solheim adopting the voice of a precocious infant diarist observing his newly discovered world. The narrator is a kinder, gentler version of The Family Guy's Stewie Griffin: “If I'd known I was going to be born in public, I'd at least have put on a tank top,” he writes. Eight months later, he confidently notes, “Finally—I have it figured out. Some things are noses, some are taxicabs, and some are Belgians.” But most important (both for the story and for the battered egos of readers with new brothers or sisters) the narrator has figured out who's the big Kahuna in the house—and it's not Mom or Dad. Describing his kindergarten-age sister as “some kind of monkey-bar superstar or something,” he also scribbles: “Note to myself: Imitate that girl. Just imitate her.” James's reportorial watercolor-and-ink cartoons make terrific visual punctuation; he never overplays the jokes, and he may well convince readers that there actually are deep, incisive thoughts lurking behind their new sibling's pudgy, pacifier-sucking face.
Santa's Secrets Revealed
Carolrhoda Books, 2004
After Stevie tells a reporter that he does not believe in Santa Claus, Santa himself pays him a visit, takes him to the North Pole to show him his operation, and proves that he uses magic as well as science.
Bones of a Very Fine Hand
The Backwaters Press, 1999
Intense poetry about family life, told in a mature voice by a veteran poet of the Great Plains, Marjorie Saiser. Poet Judith Minty writes: "I am deeply moved by these extraordinary poems about giving birth and dying, about what it means to live life with dignity. They grow out of the heart of America, out of the landscape of small town and prairie, out of the hearts of people who look you straight in the eye. You dare not turn away, for the lessons to learn here are compelling. Marjorie Saiser is not only a wise and compassionate writer—her poems shine with details of the things of this earth, they pulse with the earth's very rhythms".
Chorus of the Underground Sea
WSC Press, 2022
“In lush verse and precise imagery, the many voices that make up Chorus of the Underground Sea reveal and reflect the gravity of what it means to be a woman, a lover, a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a witch, an outcast, an artist, a muse. Kassandra Montag brilliantly embodies a multitude of voices that span the centuries, and these poems are equal parts meditation, lamentation, and celebration in their unflinching look at how, for many women, our deepest desires are almost always at odds with the lives we’ve chosen or been given.”
–Sarah McKinstry-Brown, author of This Bright Darkness
Letter from a Place I've Never Been
2021, Edited by Kwame Dawes
Hilda Raz has an ability “to tell something every day and make it tough,” says John Kinsella in his introduction. Letter from a Place I’ve Never Been shows readers the evolution of a powerful poet who is also one of the foremost literary editors in the country. Bringing together all seven of her poetry collections, a long out-of-print early chapbook, and her newest work, this collection delights readers with its empathetic and incisive look at the inner and outer lives we lead and the complexities that come with being human.
University of Nebraska Press, 2021
Unholy Heart includes generous selections from each of Grace Bauer’s previous books of poetry, plus a sampling of new poems. Bauer has long been known for the wide range of both her subject matter and poetic styles, from the biblical persona poems of The Women at the Well, to the explorations of visual art in Beholding Eye, to the intersections of personal history and pop culture in Retreats and Recognitions and Nowhere All At Once, and to the postmodern fragmentations in MEAN/TIME. Along with these selections, Bauer incorporates her most elegiac work yet.
University of Nebraska Press, 2021
This elegant and moving collection documents Hilda Raz’s experience with breast cancer. The journey, from diagnosis to chemotherapy to mastectomy, from denial to humor to grief and rage, is ultimately one of courage and creativity. The poems themselves are accessible and finely wrought. They are equally testaments to Raz's insistence on making an order out of chaos, of finding ways to create and understand and eventually accept new definitions of good and evil, health, blame, and personal boundaries—in short, a new sense of self. These poems remain intimately bound to the world and of the senses, becoming documents of transformation.
A Mouthful of Home
University of Nebraska Press, 2020
Ghanaian poet, Tryphena Yeboah's debut collection, part of the acclaimed New-Generation African Poets limited edition 2020 box set edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani. Published by Akashic Books.
Finishing Line Press, 2020
Clustered around the stabbing murder of two women in a Quaker meeting house, the poems in this stunning collection propel the reader forward through “Clues and Certainties” while simultaneously calling for a slowing of inquiry and judgment to the speed of stillness, to silent contemplation. In ways no legal argument could attempt, Stillwell’s poems probe the secrets, not only of guilt and innocence, but also of racial and ethnic histories, and, indeed, of life itself: “I do not know precisely, /” the speaker muses, “what this Light within means, / but gone from the body, so are we.” In simple, astonishing language, these quietly beautiful poems call on us to reach for mercy over vengeance, for an understanding that probes more deeply than “[c]onventional wisdom,” which “prepares us/ for nothing.” In a time when simplistic slogans, swift judgments and rash rhetoric prevail, poems like those found in Reasonable Doubts are nothing short of crucial.
Waking to the Dream
Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2018
In a love letter to the Midwest, Heidi Elaine Hermanson writes of discovery, heartbreak, and redemption in the natural accumulation of her life as a poet. Inspired by a sense of longing for whatever comes next and for wherever life may take us, Waking to the Dream takes readers on a road-trip (figuratively and literally). Inspired heavily by the relationships we create together and rooted in imagery of place, Hermanson gives readers a sense of home in the search.
What is Left Behind: Garden Elegies
Finishing Line Press 2017
The lovely poems in What is Left Behind: Garden Elegies are grounded in the past and connect us to the eternal music of spring. Stephanie Marcellus makes skillful use of the language of colorful blooms to convey grief, their scents reminding us of the temporality of life. While there is sorrow here—“I reached for your hand/ but your fingers slipped from my grasp/ like the sweet rocket’s scent on the dawn’s wind”—there is also redemption in the garden’s “life lines” and in taking her “own cure from the earth.” –Twyla M. Hansen, Nebraska State Poet
I Have Nothing to Say About Fire
The Backwaters Press, 2016
This collection explores the notion of witnessing. Particularly in our technological age, when we have access to international news as it happens, the question comes up: what responsibility do individuals—including those living in relatively quiet middle America—have in regard to world events? The poems in I Have Nothing to Say about Fire reference autobiographical elements: marriage, children, parents, in-laws, etc., but they also reference global tragedy: war, terrorism, genocide. As we experience our own personal losses and triumphs, what relationships should we strive for with family, friends, neighbors, and the strangers around us, particularly as their narratives push them forward into our and/or the public’s consciousness? In this book, Marjorie Saiser explores these essential questions and offers potential answers that may help all of us.
Smell of Salt, Ghost of Rain
BrickHouse Books, Inc, 2015
In pool hall and tenement, pine forest and ocean depths, these poems reclaim the abandoned moment from chalk and rust, shadow and silence. Young summons forth the grit and the ghost, the breakable and the beautiful to show us how we are ''one thing breathing'' in an earthly elegance that is surely the language of grace.
Beside You at the Stoplight
The Backwaters Press, 2010
Marjorie Saiser's poetry is wise and generous and altogether genuine. No poet in this country is better at writing about love and, in a sense, all of her poems are in some way about love~Ted Kooser
It's Disgusting and We Ate It
How about a nice dish of Colonial Squirrel Pie with a side of milkweed shoots? If that doesn’t grab you, you might think about trying some Garbage Stew, just like they made in medieval England. But if you’re feeling a little tired and need a boost, your best bet is roasted spiders. They’ve got three times the protein of cooked beef. (Is your mouth watering yet?)