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In a society where the predators are the ones doing the celebrating, Jennifer Fliss’s debut collection of short stories, THE PREDATORY ANIMAL BALL, crashes the party. These stories are about the people left in the predators’ wake, and the large and small ways grief and fear manifest. Predators always appear in the places we least expect it, and this collection turns the previously accepted hierarchies upside down in a series of flash fictions that are often absurd, but always cutting.
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Dani Putney’s debut poetry collection, SALAMAT SA INTERSECTIONALITY, is a lyrical triptych that traces the evolution of the speaker’s identity as a queer, non-binary, mixed-race Filipinx, and neurodivergent individual. Each “panel” of the speaker’s life represents a distinct period of growth: a youthful beginning, which features important interactions with the speaker’s parents; a sexually charged middle period that demonstrates the speaker’s explorations of queer sexuality; and a contemplative third section wherein the speaker reckons with their various “selves.” Imagery of the American West percolates through the collection to ground the speaker in their intersectional identity.
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Advance Praise for SALAMAT SA INTERSECTIONALITY:
“Queer creation ain’t easy. Some of its characteristics involve roleplaying with gender, danger, transformation, and death. In that regard, Dani Putney’s debut collection, SALAMAT SA INTERSECTIONALITY, is a slutfest bravura, a graveyard of reinvention, and an erotic sanctification. These poems squeeze possibilities from corners in the U.S. ambiguated between love, lust, and heteronormative self-denial. Putney preaches, ‘Let me be / the sculpture I’m creating.’ Artaudian in spirit and Dimitrovesque in its carnality, Putney’s is a voice you’ll want to make room for!” – Roy G. Guzmán, author of CATRACHOS
“SALAMAT SA INTERSECTIONALITY is a paradise ankle-deep in desert sand. To read these poems is to rest within Dani Putney’s tender understanding of how the things we always touch—the bodies we love, the places we inhabit—are shimmered in our desire but never owned. In dazzling lyric, this collection makes us see the joys and helplessness in inevitably becoming the property of our own need. Dani Putney’s poems are deeply attuned to the political contentions of our 21st-century life while still cherishing the precious moments of queer love.” – C. T. Salazar, author of HEADLESS JOHN THE BAPTIST HITCHHIKING
“Dani Putney’s most striking talent is to burrow into the heart of both place and self, presenting an American Southwest full of budding possibility. The poems in SALAMAT SA INTERSECTIONALITY deftly interrogate notions of authenticity as it relates to ever-expanding notions of family, gender, and the attainment of real personhood. When Putney questions, ‘—am I pregnant? yes yes / to the flesh I’m growing,’ they are crafting a space in which their considered, desired body crashes against the grit of an external, experienced world. These are poems which speak of begetting poetry; how selfhood roars deep within the earth and then blooms upon the surface. But this is not a process which abides without becoming burdened—as Putney writes, ‘I’d rather become the alien in our home / than war with a phantom.’” – Danielle Rose, author of AT FIRST & THEN
“The compressed, lyric poems in Dani Putney’s marvelous debut collection, SALAMAT SA INTERSECTIONALITY, are lessons in economy and potency. An early poem says, ‘If closet doors could speak, / they’d say unravel’—and one finds a series of poems that carefully unravel a narrative of self-discovery and self-realization. What the reader finds is a world both public and private, a world of floral prints and cowboy boots, bathroom sex and roadside trysts, and a speaker who is entirely singular and compelling. The speaker stakes their claim—‘if I’m not beautiful / what am I?’—and Putney is a poet with the capacity to show us this landscape and the things that populate it—their grit, their dust, and their beauty.” – Jim Whiteside, author of WRITING YOUR NAME ON THE GLASS
“In their triumphant debut collection, SALAMAT SA INTERSECTIONALITY, Dani Putney kicks down your door to announce that they have arrived. With familiars of scorpions, rattlesnakes, and bees (and tattoos of Plath and Woolf on their thighs), Putney sets fire to all boundaries as they navigate multiple identities in the harsh desert landscape of the American West. As I read this collection, I found myself unable to put it aside for fear that the pages were still burning behind me. Putney’s language is as fearless as their subject matter: they move with craft and audacity through the intersections of tenderness and violence, violence and lust, lust and rage, rage and family, family and love. Read this book with a fire extinguisher in your hand and a bucket of ice water at your feet.” – Beth Gordon, author of MORNING WALK WITH DEAD POSSUM, BREAKFAST, AND PARALLEL UNIVERSE
“Dani Putney is an astounding poet of place. These poems teleport the reader to deserts, truck stop bathrooms, highway collisions—but also into moments of longing so realized they feel like a body being excavated. Poignant, unflinching, and powerful, SALAMAT SA INTERSECTIONALITY is an essential collection of poetry by a new and compelling queer voice. ‘I want to live in the cracks of dry earth / outside between and among / where the queerest flowers grow.’” – Todd Dillard, author of WAYS WE VANISH
Tara Isabel Zambrano’s debut story collection, DEATH, DESIRE, AND OTHER DESTINATIONS, explores the rocky terrain of relationships, finds their fault lines, and unearths the hidden boundaries between love, longing, and loss. Both real and surreal, lyrical and magical, sci-fi and speculative, these small stories shine a light in the dark of seeking a human connection across space and time.
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Advance Praise for DEATH, DESIRE, AND OTHER DESTINATIONS:
“Sharply cut, glowing, hallucinatory prose—alive, sensual, and dangerous.” – Ben Loory, author of TALES OF FALLING AND FLYING
“‘As the spaceship crash lands in our backyard…’ matter-of-factly begins one story in Tara Isabel Zambrano’s sexy and strange DEATH, DESIRE, AND OTHER DESTINATIONS. This collection is likewise an otherworldly force with startling impact. A couple has a destination wedding on the moon, hearts leap from their bodies, dead girls share cigarettes while contemplating their lost lives, women suffer sex-induced blindness, and lovers swallow each other whole. This is a wild and captivating book.” – Kim Magowan, author of UNDOING and THE LIGHT SOURCE
“DEATH, DESIRE, AND OTHER DESTINATIONS is the debut collection by one of my favorite writers of the short form working today. Tara Isabel Zambrano is an artist of singular voice and vision, a master of image, language, and character. These stories are vivid and unforgettable. I can’t exactly say how Zambrano works her magic, only that her stories have left me awestruck. This collection is not to be missed.” – Kathy Fish, author of WILD LIFE: COLLECTED WORKS, 2003-2018
“From the first gripping story ‘Alligators’ onward, we know we are in the hands of a confident, subtle prose stylist unafraid to face some of the darkest moments of our lives, but in a language that is still redeeming and utterly beautiful. Please go out and buy this collection and read it. Marvel at the emergence of a new and distinctive talent in literary fiction.” – Chaya Bhuvaneswar, author of WHITE DANCING ELEPHANTS
“Possessing both an unflinching eye for detail and an uncanny ear for poetic juxtaposition, Zambrano simultaneously shocks and comforts, builds and destroys, condemns and redeems, as she slices to the center of the human experience. DEATH, DESIRE, AND OTHER DESTINATIONS is written with sharp intelligence and scorching prose; this book is an astonishing achievement and Zambrano is clearly a modern master of the short story.” – Audra Kerr Brown, managing editor of NEW FLASH FICTION REVIEW
* Finalist for the 2021 Balcones Prize in Poetry *
Todd Dillard’s debut poetry collection, WAYS WE VANISH, is about navigating the grief following the loss of a parent, while at the same time starting a new life and becoming a parent yourself. It peels back the layers of everyday life to reveal the impossible landscape flourishing underneath—a landscape fraught with sorrow, want, and pain, but also filled with hope, joy, and flight.
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Advance Praise for WAYS WE VANISH:
“WAYS WE VANISH is a book of astounding grief that leaves us grateful for the ability to acknowledge the fact of absence and the presence of loss. Todd Dillard is a lyric poet of family—of brotherhood, of fatherhood—whose poems mean to keep these ties alive in memory and word: ‘There is a beautiful thing / I should be able to speak / my tongue a rope to drag him back.’ This is a brilliant debut.” – Jericho Brown, author of THE NEW TESTAMENT and THE TRADITION
“Each poem in WAYS WE VANISH is an answer to a question—what if this is the best way to say this? What if this is the only way to say this? These honest, kind-hearted, and generous poems about family (motherhood, fatherhood, sonhood, brotherhood) are also about war, snakes, bees, dancing, graves, marriage, and the moon—in short, life on Earth, and poetry as a way of understanding it. ‘You look until / you become looking.’” – Elisa Gabbert, author of THE WORD PRETTY and THE UNREALITY OF MEMORY
“To read Dillard’s work is to take a journey to the edges of human experience and imagination: across the surface of Mars, through a door in the woods, into a room where young monsters learn about adulthood. But however far we travel, Dillard returns us—deftly, gloriously, devastatingly—to the most familiar yet least understood landscape: a place in the human heart where we seek to make sense of our pasts. In this stunning debut collection, Dillard struggles with grief for his mother as he rejoices over becoming a father, showing us that within every joy lies sorrow, and vice versa. Though we live in a world where those we love are ‘there and just as / suddenly not there,’ we move forward to find that ‘every step had become a door’ behind which we may find peace.” – Emma Bolden, author of MEDI(T)ATIONS and HOUSE IS AN ENIGMA
“Stepping into conversation with such collections as Kevin Young’s BOOK OF HOURS and Maggie Smith’s GOOD BONES, Todd Dillard’s beautiful, elegiac book explores a son’s complex grief over the death of his mother, even as he becomes a parent himself. There is such care in Dillard’s language, such clarity of image and thought; these poems left me choked up at their tenderness, their urgency, and their heartfelt exploration of the territory between loss and love.” – Amorak Huey, author of BOOM BOX and POETRY: A WRITER’S GUIDE
Cathy Ulrich’s debut story collection, GHOSTS OF YOU, seeks the names of the lost and finds the person behind the sensationalism. It examines some of the most common tropes of mystery and crime storytelling in which the narrative always begins with the body of another murdered woman. They are mothers and daughters, teachers and students, lovers and wives, actresses and waitresses. Their lives have been taken, but their stories still remain. This is how they set the plot in motion…
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Advance Praise for GHOSTS OF YOU:
“‘The thing about being the murdered girl,’ writes Cathy Ulrich, ‘is you set the plot in motion.’ But, of course, it’s Ulrich herself who brilliantly constructs the plots set around, in, before, and after another senseless murder—making fully realized gems of stories in the most unlikely of spaces.” – Amber Sparks, author of THE UNFINISHED WORLD and AND I DO NOT FORGIVE YOU
“GHOSTS OF YOU, the much anticipated collection of Cathy Ulrich’s brilliantly original ‘Murdered Ladies’ stories, is by turns a haunted and haunting literary work. This book left me deeply moved, shaken, and forever changed. Read these stories, then seek out everything else Ulrich has written, for she is a writer of singular voice and vision, and this is only the beginning.” – Kathy Fish, author of WILD LIFE: COLLECTED WORKS, 2003-2018
“Cathy Ulrich gives voice to all the romanticized murdered darlings—wives, lovers, prom queens, babysitters, cheerleaders—lying unquestioned at the heart of the American media. GHOSTS OF YOU is a powerful meditation on loss that restores their lives anew, and more: it’s a lyrical and fiercely human howl in the wilderness.” – Kendra Fortmeyer, author of HOLE IN THE MIDDLE
“In a dazzling, richly detailed series of second-person narratives addressed to ghostly girls and women, Cathy Ulrich unearths their buried lives and the lives of those around them. Every single one of them becomes unforgettable… In a culture increasingly inured to the violence against women and at a time when women are being systematically disempowered, their bodies and voices erased, stories like these take on a particular urgency and importance. GHOSTS OF YOU will haunt you. Don’t miss this stunning debut collection.” – Jacqueline Doyle, author of THE MISSING GIRL