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TEN YEARS ON THE MOUNTAIN An Anniversary Anthology Susan Gardner and Richard Ross, Editors $18.95 June 2017
An anthology of poems and prose, with commentary from twenty-five authors describing their unique experiences in working with Red Mountain Press. The authors reflect the high esteem Red Mountain has for literary talent together with its commitment to excellence in editing and design. The comments, based on the authors’ personal experience, are variously moving, humorous, and pointed. They present an engaging picture of Red Mountain’s operating style from the authors’ point of view. The picture seems fairly accurate to the publishers. Ten Years on the Mountain is a fitting milestone for the first decade of the press.
WOMAN PUTTING ON PEARLS Jeffrey Bean $18.95 June 2017 Red Mountain Poetry Prize
Woman Putting on Pearls explores human connection and want as manifested through touch and the physically palpable gaze. With richly patterned sounds and rhythms, the collection forms a loose narrative in seven short sections acting much like musical movements. It traces the arc of life from childhood through death, integrating and savoring sensory experience in all its terrors, pleasures and aches. Interlaced throughout is a series of “Voyeur” poems focused on a man’s one-sided relationship with a woman he secretly watches. These are presented as interludes and constitute a separate but related loose narrative. Together, the two threads consider the tensions between the opposing needs for intimacy and independence, and the conflict between the desire to escape time and mortality and the desire to be wholly present in body, tasting all the delicious particulars of the world.
EPHEMERIST Lisa Bickmore $18.95 June 2017
In Ephemerist, the speakers of the poems imagine many provisional homes. They make a study of shelter: in the harbors of memory; in art’s forms and improvisations; in spirit houses; in the body. Each proves transient. In these poems, each speaker finds that the places she thinks she knows are, in the end, knowable only tangentially and partially, if at all. Shelter is a pharmakon, a substance that is both medicine and toxin. The book imagines, as substitution and remedy, a practice of making what cannot last, what will always disappear, a practice that might be termed ephemerism. One speaker seeks an ’empty nave where / the icon should go,’ suggesting that if it could contain ‘just the idea / of an altar, I would worship there.’ This seeking is a kind of ‘vigil on which nothing depend[s],’ a radical freedom that is both burden and blessing.
MOONDRIFTER REVERIE Keith Emmons $18.95 June 2017
Life in the Waldo Point houseboat community was much like Moondrifter, the author’s own houseboat, swinging free in its mooring and subject only to the daily rhythms of wind and tide. Keith Emmons recalls a utopian, civic experiment that flourished briefly in the 1970s in Sausalito on San Francisco Bay. This nostalgic tribute to a youthful interlude steeped in flower power and cannabis reflects a moment in American history. The book describes, through poetry, haiku and free verse, a freewheeling group of dissenters from the social mainstream, determined to live by their own collective philosophy of peace and personal freedom. Through mirthfulness and tears, drumming, howling at the moon, and raising their children in “the natural way”, the small community thrived until ultimately succumbing to moneyed real estate interests.
MUSLIM MELANCHOLIA Samina Hadi-Tabassum $18.95 June 2017
Muslim Melancholia constructs a narrative grounded in history and its hidden trajectories. The poems use of historical fragments creates a recognizable collage of images, from present day immigrant enclaves to the appropriation of India’s past and to America in the 1970s. Place is an integral part of these poems and the everyday experiences in these places constitute the given Muslim world in complex and perhaps contradictory ways. The poems are rooted in the meaning of these places—some inviting and others threatening—and how places are symbols reminding us of the common values that we share as well as our differences.
ON TOKYO’S EDGE Gaijin Tales from Postwar Japan Gordon Ball May $24.95 2017
These twenty-three short stories reaffirm author Gordon Ball’s absorption with, and illumination of, “vanished” people, places, and times. Following on the heels of three memoirs, On Tokyo’s Edge re-creates the texture of life among a rarefied group of relatively isolated foreigners in American-Occupied Japan and the decade following Occupation. Peopling these interrelated short fictions are a great range of vivid characters, including schoolmates, lovers, military men, chemistry teachers, maids, a lustful preacher, and a missionary of exemplary character. Many of the tales focus on young Robert La Salle, suddenly transplanted at age five to a culture 8,000 miles distant and who, as year follows year, confronts levels of “foreignness” within himself and his family as well as the strange larger world around him.
trillos precipicios concurrencias ~ pathways precipices spectators Alfredo Zaldívar, Margaret Randall translator $22.95 April 2017
Trillos is the winner of Cuba’s Critics Award, 2015.
Alfredo Zaldívar is one of Cuba’s cultural icons. He has won almost every literary prize his country offers. Trillos / Precipicios / Concurrencias – Pathways / Precipices / Rivalries, published bilingually by Red Mountain Press, is the U.S. public’s introduction his work. Ammiel Alcalay writes: “In the hyper-velocity of United Statesian monolingual poetic fashion and social networking, there is a tendency to forget that poetry is human, and that the traditions to be drawn from in it are human and might involve emotions that derive from the echo of forgotten or once remembered music. Reading [this] poetry I found myself in a zone too rarely encountered these days, in which the poet is reserved and allows the senses to finish the sentence, allows the unsaid to suggest the other registers not yet hinted at. In Margaret Randall’s intimately focused translations we finally have a chance to encounter Alfredo Zaldívar, the human poet.”
DIAPOSITIVAS ~TRANSPARENCIES Laura Ruiz Montes, Margaret Randall translator $22.95 April 2017
Diapositivas / Transparencies is Laura Ruiz Montes’ first bilingual poetry collection and her first book published in the United States. The poet, from Matanzas, Cuba, has many titles in her country, among the most recent: El camino sobre las aguas, A qué país volver, Los frutos ácidos and Otro retorno al país natal). In addition to being a prize-winning poet, Ruiz Montes is senior editor at Vigía, Matanzas’ world-renown publisher of handmade books. Of Diapositivas / Transparencies Bob Holman writes: “Laura Ruiz Montes gives us snapshots of everyday life . . . that somehow evoke a deep and emotionally-charged vision of that patria/nation at this momentous hinge of history. Thanks to Margaret Randall’s sensitive translations, here is contemporary Cuba in all its glorious variety, heaving a past of cultural richness forward into a future of infinite unknowns.”
EAST OF SORROW Marc Hudson $18.95 February 2017
Marc Hudson’s fourth full-length collection of poems, the book is a meditation on water, its shaping and animating presence on our planet. In its final section, the book moves fully out into the natural world. Parenthood is a persistent theme in East of Sorrow. It brings to a close the poetic journal of his life with his son, Ian, who died in 2002 and is equally about his daughter, Alix. The personal gives way to the ecological, to a contemplation of our planet in this age that is sometimes called the Anthropocene. A reverent perspective inflects these poems. Though elegiac in places, East of Sorrow ends in praise.
MARCEL MALONE Lew Watts $24.95 October 2016
Marcel Malone is a beautiful first novel, a touching and engaging story of two lost souls whose exploration of the meaning and structure of words and memories brings unexpected confrontations and consequences. It is the odyssey of personal transformation through the experience and love of poetry. Psychologist Vera Lewis, troubled by her own hidden despair, prescribes a radical treatment for her patient, Marcel. Depressed by constant rejection, Marcel finds comfort in writing poetry. Vera becomes drawn to the unfamiliar world of poetry and through her growing knowledge and use of poetry, she uncovers the source of Marcel’s difficulties. Her newfound exploration and writing of poetry become her means of resolving the secrets of her past. Her psychological descent and eventual emergence into a new life are strangely similar to the path taken by her former patient, Marcel.
NIGHTFALL Anne Valley-Fox $18.95 October 2016
Anne Valley-Fox sets out to investigate personal issues of aging, loss, and regeneration of spirit. Her signature voice is tough and tender, sensuous and exacting. This collection is lively with questions, brave explorations of human character and behavior. Introspective poems are matched with intense evocations of the external world’s beauty and cruelty. These are intimate meditations: Valley-Fox invites the reader to lean in close as she “sorts through the wreckage,” “bows to the morning,” waits for a song “on the wave of your next breath.” A number of poems evoke the dazzling work of other writers, as if to say: here’s how language, deeply imagined, sets us free.
BINI – MEMORIES OF A FORGOTTEN COUNTRY Nabin Kumar Chhetri $18.95 September 2016
Bini is a flow of memory salvaged in the delicate act of recollection. The poems here are untethered to any physical time and appear as ephemeral as a gentle wind sweeping across a moonlit mountain, and yet these are poems firmly rooted in lived experience across cultures and geographies. Each poem in this luminous collection stands as a signpost of diversity, of peoples, places, cultures and the immigrant experience.
THE SKY WATCHED Linda LeGarde Grover $18.95 September 2016
The Sky Watched is a collection of poetry – some bilingual – that tells the collective story of a Minnesota Ojibwe family against the backdrop of history that begins with creation and continues to this day. Through poetry, Linda LeGarde Grover contributes to the continuation of Ojibwe worldview and survival in the recounting of history and family stories. In The Sky Watched the voices of children, adults and elders, of Indian boarding school students and traditional tribal storytellers, and of the Manidoog, the unseen beings who surround our lives every day, are given voice in a manifestation of the Ojibwe oral tradition teachings on the written page.
THE LAST STONE IN THE CIRCLE Irena Praitis $18.95 June 2016 Red Mountain Poetry Prize
These poems report from the human edge and as their readers we are changed. That they are visually simple is what makes them shocking—so few words revealing so much, suggesting by simplicity an enormity—of sadness, regret, outrage, pain. The litany of relative sentiments is long, but it reaches toward understanding, too, no matter how much we resist, and that may be the ultimate shock. “Don’t think I am not you,” one poem ends. Underneath all these tellings, music offers itself everywhere, and perhaps keeps us—and the people in these poems—going, but it is not the same as consolation. When we reach such moments as, “I sing for Papa,” the music is almost unbearable. This is a clearly important book, worthy in its humanly difficult work. ―Alberto Ríos, poet, memoirist, Arizona Poet Laureate 2013-2015
COLTRANE’S GOD Donald Levering $18.95 December 2015
Love of music and honor for musicians are the heart of Coltrane’s God, Donald Levering’s 7th full-length collection of poems. In this joyful tribute to the “language of emotion,” the people’s music of blues and jazz accompanies life’s knocks and peaks. Among the players are a street busker wailing laments in the rain, a choir boy with changing voice, an itinerant fiddler at a WPA work camp, romping barrelhouse piano players, and a woman singing scat in a tram tunnel. One of the book’s motifs is “ear worms,” music that gets stuck in your head, ranging from Mozart to “The Bristol Stomp” to Oliver Nelson’s scales of braided horns. In the title poem, the voice of the god of John Coltrane admonishes the famed sax player to “blister their ears with arpeggios.” More than half the poems have been published in journals; the 2015 Mark Fischer Award 1st Runner-up poem is included. Levering’s prosody is delightfully musical.
JACKALOPE Denise Low 19.95 December 2015
Jackalope recounts the seriocomic encounters of a Native American trickster who travels through a world that’s “part factual and part mythological, just like everything else.” In the “intergender” Jackalope/Jaqalope Kelley’s picaresque sojourns in bars (mostly), truck stops, and galleries, history meets tall tale, dream and vision worry the mundane, and humor functions as a salve for wounds of the long-oppressed. Here is a multi-faceted and incisive look at America from the viewpoint of its indigenous people and spirits. —William Trowbridge, Missouri Poet Laureate
LIFTED TO THE WIND Susan Gardner 19.95 October 2015
Lifted to the Wind is artist and poet Susan Gardner’s sixth book, a rich collection of poems from over four decades illuminated with original brush-and-ink work. Her mostly short poems, some in Spanish as well as English, probe the complexities and contradictions of human experience—art, love, loneliness, eros, even war—even as they portray the natural world with vividness and precision: “Thin ice cracks in tatters” in “Nebraska Sunrise”; “Thunder rolls its baritone song” in “Rain in Santa Clara.” Yet they don’t stop there—as we see the girl in “August” “listening to the shadows,” and as “Galaxy” concludes, there’s “Still a trace of red sky beyond the grounded world,” these poems take us to another dimension: they lift us to the wind. – Gordon Ball, author of East Hill Farm: Seasons with Allen Ginsberg, Dark Music, and ’66 Frames: A Memoir
fragile Jeffrey Thomson 24.95 November 1, 2015
Life and death and poetry, love and loss, nature and spirit, joy and risk, delight in small things and large–these are among the pleasures of fragile, a book to read in a gulp, and then to be savored in small bites for years to come. Jeff Thomson is a poet of the mind but also a poet of the heart, both figurative and literal, and here he proves himself a memoirist of the heart and mind as well. Fragile marks new territory for this accomplished poet, new treasure for his readers, new ways to think about our world. — Bill Roorbach, author of The Remedy for Love
FAR AWAY Gregory Lawless 18.95 October 2015 Winner of the 2014 Poetry Prize
The poems in Far Away explore the gothic landscapes and depleted economies of a semi-fictional state on the margins of empire. The beleaguered voice at the center of this collection wanders through foreclosed houses and shattered relationships, caught between vision and memory, forgetting and curiosity. These are poems that “look too much” but don’t know what to feel. Human loss and state neglect overlap in Far Away to reveal a republic of isolation.
HARD PROOF Molly Kirschner 14.95 July 2015
Molly Kirchner has a keen ear both for spontaneous American idioms and for the elemental sounds of language itself. She also has a sharp eye both for the significant human gesture—legs hanging off a pier, a hair tucked behind an ear—and for the details of the nonhuman world, some of which are big as the sky in summer, some small, yet all somehow human gestures, too, as when “the white pines’ five-needled fascicles / dangle as if from the wrists of hands waiting to be / kissed.” Reality is always, everywhere, and free—as this poet tells us, “You’re lucky. It’s enough. / You don’t have to deserve it.”– Christopher Collins
OCCOQUAN Gary Worth Moody 18.95 March 2015
I admire Gary Worth Moody’s work for its long, haunting lines, for its connection to the historic record, for its humanity, and for its ambition. His connection to Black Mountain poets is present on the ranging fields of his pages and also his concerns with deep geography—here the remaining imprints of slavery and feminist struggles. This poet ignites words with fire. In reading Occoquan, I enter timeless conflagrations of events. This book is a live ember. – Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, author of Mélange Block
ECHO LIGHT Kate Gale 17.95 2014 Winner of the 2013 Editor’s Award
The poems in Kate Gale’s ECHO LIGHT do what poems should do—they give wings to darkness, shadows and bruises. We find ourselves lost in cornfields and then saved in a desert, a city, unsuspected places. Gale crafts poems that are ‘curiously powerful’ and offer us ‘salvation from boredom.’ The stories, the speakers weave myths of intoxication and sensuality, reminding us of ‘words you aren’t saying.’ They roam from earth and snow to sun, stars and sky. ECHO LIGHT ‘has invented the world’ of poetry that we yearn for—a world full of imagination, music and flight.—Lory Bedikian
MELANGE BLOCK Denise Low 17.95 2014
Aim for the eye,’ Denise Low writes and in her poetry, she constantly threads the most precise images through the the sturdy music of each poem’s world. Low speaks with intelligence, art, and originality. Altogether, the poems in this collection delve into the nuances of various elements of a life to show us an expanded understanding of the layers of reality. ‘May all our bones rest in peace,’ Low writes at the end of ‘Flint Hill Lullabies,’ showing us how history travels in our bones and the bones of wherever we live.—Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
Denise Low was Kansas Poet Laureate, 2007-091
CHURCH OF NEEDLES Sarah Sousa 17.95 Winner of the 2013 Poetry Prize
CHURCH OF NEEDLES dwells in the tension between our desire for autonomy and our need for connection; with each other, with our own mercurial selves, with god. If the poems circle a place of alienation, where even the landscape appears aloof if not hostile, where the bond between a mother and her newborn isn’t a given, they often arrive at redemption, but a curiously godless one. Threaded through poems of darkness, of abuse, betrayal, witness and hardship, god is merciless when present, but more often obstinately absent. The voices of a ridiculed small town giantess, the abused wife of a Civil War veteran and a former slave making her way in the north dialogue with contemporary voices telling their own stories of suffering. Loneliness, like an Andrew Wyeth landscape, is the familiar ground on which these characters have built their lives, not counting on but surprised by unexpected grace.
LOVE ENOUGH Ann Filemyr 17.95
These poems take the reader for a whirlwind of a ride through language brilliantly used and finely crafted. They invite us to better understand the transforming power of love even as we experience its ‘tumult between danger and safety,’ and they reflect the rollercoaster ride that we all know love to be. Filemyr’s poems explore the emotions of love with a profoundly human compassion and great respect for love’s sacred core. The deeply moving last poem ‘Love Enough’ is without question, the most amazing and important love poem I have ever read. Every word rings with its own truth, its own wisdom. This book is a ‘must read!’—Michael S. Glaser, Maryland Poet Laureate
THE WATER LEVELING WITH US Donald Levering 17.95
Donald Levering takes us from ocean bottom to outer space, and from the jungles of Costa Rica to Arctic regions to the Andean heights of Chile, observing all the while the ways in which the earth’s surface and its creatures labor to survive. These poems are never didactic, restrained and beautifully rendered as they are; rather, they evoke over and above the vulnerability man has imposed on nature, the vulnerability of man himself as he shares with them the shadow of extinction. Elegaic and observant, these poems illuminate the connections that inform our lives.—Leslie Ullman
“Forche, Milosz, Neruda: all our true poets of witness are poets of what we can’t not see, poets of the heightened awareness that comes from danger. Levering offers THE WATER LEVELING WITH US in the same spirit and tradition as these poets. It is a book rich with images of the natural world and with sympathy for the people who inhabit it. It is a book modest in its ambition of making us pay attention, but that is the kind of modesty that can change the world.—Benjamin Myers
ALGONQUINS PLANTED SALMON Donald Levering 16.95
Donald Levering’s eleventh poetry book, ALGONQUINS PLANTED SALMON , makes myths into poems of wonder and warning. It celebrates dancing cranes, flitting moths, and falling stars. It likewise decries river damming, coal mining, and monstrous poisonings such as at Fukushima and the sonic onslaught on dolphins. It is a book in which, “Nature is making her last stand,” as she is paved over “to make way / for the passing of humans.” It closes with elemental odes offering succor: a night train from the ice ages, juncos whose feet “tap out the secret of flight,” gravity as circus master, an apostrophe to the wind.
RANSOMED VOICES Elizabeth Raby 19.95
RANSOMED VOICES is a thoroughly engaging book that presents an astounding sweep of history….—Alan Berecka
[It} is a personal story, it is a family history, yet it is your history… This book will bring back your childhood and remind you of who and why you are who you are…—Clark H. Tester
A FIVE-BALLOON MORNING Charles Trumbull 16.95
Winner of the Touchstone Distinguished Book Award
Charles Trumbull is a poet of quiet, deep emotion. His haiku are ripples on the pond; the source invisible, yet of paramount importance. There is a sense not just of the past in these lines, but of the future, the reclaiming back of things as they were. Certainly thoughts such as these are never far away in a desert clime… Trumbull has composed a set of poems that in some ways are like whispers, just barely heard, until we learn how to focus in on the sound. It isn’t so much the volume of the sound as it is the locale. It comes from within. —Lilliput ReviewPoetry Blog
TO INHABIT THE FELT WORLD Susan Gardner 16.95
Exploding in consonants and fertile juxtapositions of verbs with their luxuriant tenses, rubbing against the grain…celebrating the meaning of anything seen, held, or enjoyed—this collection rocks the reader in ways post-modern poetry never will…. these poems make us want to believe in the human project—the words breathe and beat with music and electricity….” Indeed, these poems go after life, dragging it in, holding it close—devouring it through iambs and “…the Felt World.” —Eric Hoffer Book Award, Honorable Mention for Poetry
Susan takes us by the throat…into seemingly veiled poems that leave haunting images for us to reinterpret, to meditate upon. These are poems for the poet-breath within us.. As a fellow poet, I am revived by this gathering of penetrating tenderness. —James McGrath, author of Speaking With Magpies
The work is painfully honest and joyously expressive. You can almost hear the voice of the poet in the structure of the poems and in the powerful cadence of the words. Susan’s work speaks of honest emotion, introspection, and heart. —Sharon Vander Meer, Happenstance
DRAWING THE LINE Susan Gardner 24.95
Drawing the Line ~ A Passionate Life received the 2011 Eric Hoffer Book Award, honorable mention for memoir.
“surprising nuance and depth” Kirkus Reviews;
“most interesting and impressive” Drunken Boat
“a work to savor…. imbued with the same vitality, restraint, and dignity as a perfect line” Blood Lotus
The author recounts her life with an artist’s eye, furnishing telling details about the places and people she encounters. Despite the disappointments in her life, the narrator doesn’t wallow in self-pity. Instead, she ties her experiences to political and historical events with clear, sometimes funny one-liners…. her writing mirrors her line drawings—simple lines with surprising nuance and depth. The book’s title evokes her love of calligraphy, her meandering travels, her poetry (the book includes several poems) and society’s expectations for women that she must decide to uphold or not. Her deliberate storytelling style makes for thoughtful… reading. Artists, writers and other “outsiders” will find much to ponder in this reflective memoir. — Kirkus Reviews
BOX OF LIGHT ~ CAJA DE LUZ Susan Gardner 16.95
The musical vowels of her poetry give us a quiet assurance…each word hovering in its own luminous space, although some poems hint occasionally at unrest, violence, and global conflict…. each poem bleeds moods, tones, and hues in subtle ripples and depths…. ” -Karen An-Hwei Lee, poet, Santa Ana, California
Susan Gardner, an astute observer of human nature and the natural environment, is skilled at illuminating relationships and drawing contextual meaning from her surroundings. The strength and lyrical appeal of her poems, in English and in Spanish, bridge the gaps between the two languages with clarity of meaning and the best poetic values. It is a challenging task to translate poetry from one language to another, given the differences in rhythmic feel and expressive syntax between any two languages. In this case, the work is characterized by rich imagery and a clear, concise means of expression, no matter which language serves as the starting point.
THE SHAPE OF CAUGHT WATER Robyn Hunt 16.95
In this human family, a man digs a hole in his backyard for a swimming pool, hoping the excavation will hold his children as he divorces their mother. Another inks his lover’s name on his knuckles; a teenage daughter explores her sexuality. A wife sings to her husband, who does not hear, through a marriage muted by disappointment. The inhabitants learn a language that lifts beyond the bills being paid, drunk on the memory of tastes they had nearly forgotten. These are unwavering poems marked by flirtation, anger, forgiveness, and praise, poured into vases of roses, blessed with THE SHAPE OF CAUGHT WATER.
HAZARDS OF GRACE Gary Worth Moody 15.95
HAZARDS OF GRACE journeys through landscapes, natural and familial that bridge the 20th and 21st centuries. The work harnesses the tension between lyric and narrative forms to mirror the collective memory of a generation balanced on the cusp of history. The characters that inhabit these poems, farmers, ranchers, damaged war veterans, Siberian miners, gravediggers, and denizens of the wild, wield equally brutality and love. From barren ruined farmsteads and ranches of west Texas, Siberian coal mines, the claustrophobic woodlands of Virginia, the city surrounding the Pentagon on September 11, and finally to the ascetic landscapes of northern New Mexico, HAZARDS OF GRACE illuminates the archetypal power of wildness to render us human.
A large format collection with 44 color plates features Gardner’s work in each of these art forms. It presents a rich blend of classic aesthetics and personal insight. The book is an object of visual delight fully in keeping with the elegant, compelling nature of its content. Her visual and literary art still reflects the style of forceful spontaneity and directness she developed early in her career.
“Her art speaks of what is not seen yet is present, of what is common yet irredeemably precious”—J. W. Mahoney.