Poetry. Art. Poems by Daniel Rounds with photographs by Jesse Vasquez. Daniel Rounds’ second volume of poetry is a rumination of what it is be a self and a body and the simultaneity of desire. Accompanied by full-color plates by photographer Jesse Vasquez, Rounds work continues to ruminate on language as inscription and definition but also as sound. Here Rounds tilts toward the physical, the coupling of one body with another, the fact of physicality as self-definition.
After a successful robbery to bankroll her escape from a life of prostitution, Tina Martin finds herself stranded — and flat broke — in the most unlikely place, a rustic fishing resort and campground nestled in the Sierra Nevada. And though it’s difficult to shake off the curious habits and natural mistrust of others that she learned in her past life, Tina comes to rely on her good intentions, keen intelligence, and her willingness to take on unpleasant tasks to make herself indispensable to the camp’s proprietor, Bill — and his desperately fractured family.
Poetry. Beloved Sacramento poet Traci Gourdine has been a mainstay of the Northern California poetry scene for years. RINGING IN THE WILD is her debut full-length collection, long in coming. “Poems, like screenplays, lyricize. Words and pictures thread and needle us. Consider ‘tired bras, proletariat panties / sleek cool satins / delicate lace made of thin air / all worth a month’s salary / all for him’ – and feel the weave of Traci Gourdine’s spell. Consider ‘steamy nights when all goes still’ and young women who watch ‘familiar men / light and gather noisily // crows on wires / men on front stoops’ – and the pictures that her nudging, teasing poems almost begin complete. Still, mystery gathers. Consider ‘They’ll couple up with sudden dates / outside movie houses / karate films, stale popcorn / young girls popping gum, snapping Juicy Fruit in time / with the crisp click of thin heeled shoes’ – and the reinforced heart of old-time heterosexual love and social need beats on. Gourdine’s vivid poem-story reveries lay bare love-secrets we, all of us, covet and share.”—Al Young
Poetry. Middle Eastern Studies. Translated from the Farsi by Parisa Samadi. The first English-language translation of Ziaeddin Torabi’s Iran Book of the Year award- winning FACE TO FACE WITH DREAMS, presented in a beautiful facing-page Farsi/English edition. “Ziaeddin Torabi’s remarkable poetry happens at the intersection of the dreamed and the real. In one poem, mythic snakes ‘have grown on your shoulder.’ In another, a tree having dropped its leaves ‘can be gallows / or a light pole.’ In another, the human heart is a grenade. Confident, imaginative, clear-eyed, self-effacing, Torabi convinces us of the reality of his fiercely imagined worlds and takes us deeply into our own. FACE TO FACE WITH DREAMS is a literary feast.”—Greg Glazner “What a thrill for the world to get the gift of Ziaeddin Torabi. A beloved Iranian bard and scholar, Torabi tints many old and new worlds, classical and contemporary, in his singular style and vision. FACE TO FACE WITH DREAMS is a gorgeous, heartbreaking, strange, ecstatic collection.”—Porochista Khakpour “Here, in Torabi’s poems, simple and direct language conveys the emotional complexity of human everyday drama. Moving forward through the pages, one finds in Torabi’s fragmentary poetic narratives, the long deep structures of the self. People shuffle through the incomplete day, losing and finding themselves amid the collateral events of a broken world. Refreshing, earnest work in a time of demasiado irony. You can feel the emotional depth way down in your guts.”—Daniel Rounds
A little girl discovers the power of the creative impulse. A woman remembers her first confusing sexual encounter. An aging flower child travels to Mexico to save her daughter. A baby is born with blue feet. A man ponders his ex-wife’s last word. Those who live in the pages of Circus Girl & Other Stories are seeking—wisely or foolishly, successfully or vainly—to make sense of their lives and to become more completely themselves. For some, the self-examined life leads deeper into darkness; others find the crack in their universe that lets the light in.
Fiction. After the birth of his first child, dramatist, fiction writer, and former member of Blue Man Group Jason Sinclair Long set out to write one piece of microfiction every day for a year. TINY GIANTS collects the very best of those pieces. A genre- jumping, maniacal look at love, loneliness, joy, despair, terror, and laugh-out-loud humor, Long’s work is a study in brevity and a firm claim that a perfect story can ultimately be told with a scant handful of words.
Inspired by such thinkers as Deleuze, Badiou, and Agamben and such subjects as mathematical paradox and scientific method, Daniel Rounds’s debut, SOME DISTANT LATERAL PRESENT, is poetry as intellectual, emotional, and phenomenological argument. These are poems that challenge the reader even as they challenge what poetry does, what it can do, even what it is willing to address as a form.
Still reeling from the loss of his family in an accident that he feels responsible for causing, Hank Singer accepts an invitation to move to the isolated and beautiful state of Chiapas. There, in the streets and cafes of a colonial city nestled in the mountain forests, he settles into the semblance of a new life under the watchful eye of his best friend and former college roommate, César, the charismatic heir to one of Mexico’s most powerful families. But when an army of impoverished Indians calling themselves Zapatistas emerges from the jungle to seize half the state, Hank finds himself a foreigner trapped in someone else’s war. The repercussions of the decisions he makes—and does not make—threaten to shatter both his friendship and the renewed life he has found in the Mexican highlands
To an outside observer, north Sacramento, California might seem an unlikely place for a creative writing mecca. The fact that American River College is a state-funded, public education community college might make it seem even more unlikely. And yet American River College has drawn some of the area’s most talented creative writers to its halls and has published, for a quarter century, their work in the award-winning American River Review.