Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tina Chang On Poetry Daily

Four Way Books author and Brooklyn Poet Laureate, Tina Chang had her poem Patriotism published on Poetry Daily yesterday. Congratulations, Tina!


The village was in tatters, smoking before it spoke,
shrapnel in a lung, a toothache in a guilty mouth.

There's something in the back of my mind I'd like
to remember, rubble there and a shovel for digging.

We stood in the deep muck for years. I wrote
love notes to nurse him back to health.
If he dreamed

origami cranes I kept folding this paper inward
and inward until it bloomed and found velocity.

To get inside the earth's black center, I must have tools.
I must be alert and willful. I sat on the ground

to get down deeper, below kneeling, below bowing
and scramble, and boulder. And when you get that low,

you can mount the cry, the zero. What happened
in the marriage between the heart and its territory?

The tools were man-made, the tools worked slowly with labor.
The work was not without toil. When I found him there

face up, I put my mouth to his mouth, exhaled
for many years, my tongue waving like a flag.

Click here to learn more about Poetry Daily and Tina Chang. To get a copy of Tina Chang's latest book Of Gods and Strangers, visit Four Way Books.

Friday, February 24, 2012

American Literary Review: An Interview with C. Dale Young

Justin Bigos:
I'd like to start by talking about beauty. I am currently taking a poetry workshop in which the teacher, on the first day of class, asked us: “Is beauty something you think about in your poems?” I was kind of struck by the question – as if a poet could possibly not think of beauty, not just in his or her own poems but in the poems of others. Carl Phillips has written in an essay, “The point of the poem is not to say anything about beauty, but to enact the vision of it” – “to see it.” So, the student now asks the teacher: Is beauty something you think about in your poems, in the poems of others?

C. Dale Young: Many have written about beauty, but I always return to Stephen Dobyns and his extraordinary book of essays Best Words, Best Order. In that collection, he has a phenomenal essay on the problem of beauty. In that essay, he quotes a passage by Dostoyevsky in which one finds the following:

"Beauty is a terrible and awful thing! It is terrible because it has not been fathomed and never can be fathomed, for God setsus nothing but riddles. […] The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the Devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man."

I return to that quote often because I don’t know exactly what beauty is, and I firmly believe one cannot know it without the juxtaposition of the ordinary. Someone once tried to convince me you could only see the beautiful if you had seen the grotesque, but I disagree. I believe to see beauty one must also see the ordinary out of the corner of one’s eye. So, in the drafting, the getting the poem down, I do not think of beauty. But in revision I do, and at that point I am also keenly aware that to have beauty one must also have the ordinary. If a poem is filled with nothing but the beautiful, it becomes a kind of grotesque. In the end, I strive not for beauty but for elegance, remembering that elegance arises from simplicity and not from the beautiful. Reliance on the beautiful, reliance on detail, gives rise not to elegance but to the baroque, something which if taken to the extreme is grotesque.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Eileen Pollack Gives Suggestions For Writer's Block For Poets & Writers

Four Way Books writer Eileen Pollack has been very successful with her latest book, Breaking and Entering. If you are a writer, you have probably experienced the dreaded "writer's block" from time to time. Poets & Writers asks writers like Eileen Pollack how they deal with this.

“When I'm stuck, I daydream my way back to a place that still holds a great deal of emotion for me, and a ritual that used to take place there, lingering on the objects that vibrate and glow with some hidden, deeper meaning I have yet to discover. (To get myself in the right frame of mind, I tend to reread work by Bruno Schulz.) Once I have recreated the ritual on the page, I think about what might happen to threaten or disrupt it."

To hear more about what Pollack recommends, click here. To check out Breaking and Entering and to order a copy, visit Four Way Books.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Future Four Way Books Author Alex Dimitrov Reading At OUP NYC Poetry Reading

This Thursday, February 23rd, Oxford University Press will be hosting a Poetry Reading in New York City with poets Allyson Paty, Danniel Schoonebeek, Deborah Landau and Alex Dimitrov. It will be held at 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY. A reception will begin at 6pm with the reading to follow. It is free and open to the public. Learn more about the event and read some poems by the readers here. You can also RSVP through Facebook with this link.

We're proud to say that Dimitrov will have his first book published with Four Way Books in 2013 called Begging for It. Visit us online to see some of our current books and be sure to watch for Begging for It!

Four Way Books Author Monica Youn Reading At "Writers at Newark"

Poet Monica Youn, author of Ignatz will be a reader at Rutger's reading series, "Writers at Newark" on Tuesday, February 28th. It will be from 5:30 to 7pm at the Paul Robeson Gallery at the Paul Robeson Center, 350 Martin Luther King Blvd, 1st Floor. It is a free event.

"The Reading Series brings nationally prominent writers of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction to campus. It provides opportunity for a diverse audience of students, faculty, staff and the public to hear and interact with published writers." To learn more about the event/get contact info, click here.

Don't forget to visit Four Way Books and check out Monica Youn's writing!

Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan On Rita Dove's "List of Young Poets to Watch" Via Bill Moyers

Four Way Books is so thrilled to announce that one of our authors, Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan has been put on the list of "Young Poets To Watch" according to Rita Dove's list through Bill Moyers.

"Claire Kageyama-Ramakrishnan has authored two books of poetry, Shadow Mountain (2006) and Bear, Diamonds and Crane (2011). Her poems recall the tragedy of the Japanese internment camps and her own memories of her grandparents. Critic Gregory Orr writes that her poems “celebrat[e] the mysteries of personal identity as they intertwine with history and culture.”"

Check out the list for yourself with the link above. There are a lot of great poets to watch! And come to Four Way Book's website to get a copy of either one of Claire's books.

Yale Celebrates Eileen Pollack As Yale Author

Eileen Pollack continues to gain recognition for her latest book, Breaking and Entering (Four Way Books). As a Yale grad, she is on the list of Yale alumns in print in the Yale Alumni Magazine.

To learn more about Breaking and Entering and Pollack's writing, and to buy her book(s), visit Four Way Books online.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Great Blog Response to Sarah Gorham's Reading At WKU

Sarah Gorham went to WKU recently and gave a reading, mostly from her latest book, Bad Daughter (Four Way Books). Thanks to an enthusiastic blogger, we can share a great response to the reading in case you missed it.

"Ms. Gorham had a wonderful speaking voice and an obvious passion for her work. I bought one of her books, which she gave those of us at her reading a discount on. Be sure to check out the book trailer for it, in which the character on the cover is brought to life."

Click here to read more of the post and to see pictures from the reading. To get a copy of Bad Daughter and to learn more about Gorham's work, visit Four Way Books online.

Bomb Magazine Interviews Four Way Books Author and Brooklyn Poet Laureate Tina Chang

Robin Beth from Bomb Magazine interviews Tina Chang, Four Way Books author and Brooklyn Poet Laureate. Beth asks Chang about her latest book Of Gods and Strangers (Four Way Books) and much more.

"I definitely draw from the images, moments, dreams, conversations, conflicts, and hysteria in my everyday life, but when I’m writing a poem, everything falls away as if this world is collapsing—and I don’t mean that in a catastrophic way. Everything is swept away, broken down, dismantled and then built up and reconstructed again. I, too, rise up as a character in a town, city, room, in someone’s arms. I’m never sure what will happen and where these speakers might resurrect, but I feel like the “me,” the real me that teaches, commutes, brings my son to school, must be ready to receive what these speakers wish to say or do."

To hear more of what Chang has to say, read more of the interview. And be sure to visit Four Way Books to get a copy of one (or both!) of her books.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Today's Poem-a-Day by Tina Chang

Today's feature on Poem-a-Day from the Academy of American Poets is "Birth" by Tina Chang. You can view the poem here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Future Four Way Books Author Paul Lisicky Reading At O'Neill Literary House

We at Four Way Books are proud to say that this coming fall we will be publishing a book by Paul Lisicky. Watch our website to learn about us and get your copy of his book!

Tomorrow, Thursday, February 16th, Lisicky will be giving a reading at the Rose O'Neill Literary House at Washington College in Chestertown, MD. The O'Neill Literary House is at 407 Washington Ave. and the reading will begin at 4:30. It is free and open to the public and sponsored by the Sophie Kerr Committee.

Make sure to stop by if you're in the area! Here's a link to information about the event.

Turner Canty Interviews Four Way Books Author Kevin Prufer For OmniVerse

Turner Canty, a poet and a new writer at Omnidawn interviews a Four Way Books writer, Kevin Prufer.

"On 9/11/01, I was living in a little town in west-central Missouri, about ten miles from an air force base. My students were frequently military or, if not, came from military families. They were also smart and, like a lot of people in the service who have had to think about the real-life repercussions of going to war, they had complex feelings about all of this. Some of them went off to fight, while others returned from fighting to take classes.

It was a strange place to be during that time–surrounded by farms, unfathomably far from the idea of battle … and, at the same time, the B2 bomber flew over my house almost every day, two billion dollars worth of graceful, lovely killing.

So I read Ancient Roman histories—Livy, Tacitus, Suetonius, Procopius—and thought about the ends of empires, about the porosity of borders, about the way a nation or an administration can, like a person, seem suddenly to change its mind, to go nuts. What, exactly, are our borders anyway, I wondered, when we can send a bomber from the middle of Missouri all the way to Baghdad, a city where our Hollywood movies are already playing?

I think it was these sorts of dizzying thoughts–and accompanying feelings of frustration, rage, a sort of harrowing historical vertigo—that led me to the poems in National Anthem.

And, yeah, that had diminished a bit by the time I got to work on In a Beautiful Country, which has been discussed elsewhere, also, as a sort of zonked-out sequel to National Anthem. After a while, my despair turned to numbness or, worse, a feeling of enormous ironic (or theological) distance, a sort of grinning skullishness beneath which that same despair wouldn’t go away. So, yes, the book’s a little less cosmic and, in ways, angrier. I think that’s true. I don’t imagine that it’s resigned to some normalcy of living with war, though. I hope not."

To read more of the interview and a poem by Prufer, click here. To learn more about his books National Anthem and In a Beautiful Country and to purchase them, visit Four Way Books.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Interview With Rose McLarney From The Collagist: Online Literature From Dzanc Books

Four Way Books couldn't be more excited about publishing Rose McLarney's book, The Always Broken Plates of Mountains this year. Here is an excerpt from an interview with this great poet from The Collagist: Online Literature From Dzanc Books. Enjoy!

"The truth is that I spend much of my time reading history, folklore, biology, etc., because that material, and real hand work and listening to real people talk, are what prompt me to write. I want to give an answer that is planned to demonstrate the breadth and diversity of my literary background, but it would probably have the opposite of the intended effect.

So I’ll just tell you what one book I happen to be reading today: Charles Wright. He grew up in Western North Carolina and East Tennessee, so he makes references to places in which I am at home. But then he takes them so far beyond the familiar—and the earthly—to something transcendent. For instance, I turn to the poem “Chickamaugua” and I read: “History handles our past like spoiled fruit. / Mid-morning, late-century light / calicoed under the peach trees. / Fingers us here. Fingers us here and here. / The poem is a code with no message: The point of the mask is not the mask but the face underneath, / Absolute, incommunicado, / unhoused and peregrine.” This is not the rallying cry for the old South I might expect from something bearing the name ‘Chickamauga,” but a poem of more enduring and far reaching ideas.

He makes huge statements such as, “ A love of landscape’s a true affection for regret, I’ve found,/ Forever joined, forever apart,” and I think, well, in two lines he’s summed up everything I’ve tried, in so many ways, to say. And the next poem of his I read will deliver a statement just as strong."

To read more of the interview, click here. Remember to keep an eye on our website to see the arrival of Rose's book and more at Four Way Books!

Rose McLarney Published By The Collagist: Online Literature From Dzanc Books

A new author for Four Way Books, Rose McLarney has been published by The Collagist: Online Literature From Dzanc Books. Congratulations, Rose!

Survived this Loneliness


Running through the forest
with his hatchet,
it’s sweetness he’s seeking.

He’ll follow a bee all day,
go straight through the brambles,
stop each time it settles
on a flower, until it leads him
to the hive. I remember
how persistent he could be,
how patient.

Then he’ll cut into the tree
and honey will run out.
When he took me
with him, I watched and thought
he could get to the gold
inside anything.

Once he chased me.
Now, he claims hives,
carving only his own initials
into the bark."

To read more of The Collagist, click here. To learn more about Four Way Books, visit us online.

Kevin Prufer Writes About Sentimentality and Complexity

Four Way Books poet, Kevin Prufer writes about sentimentality, complexity and more and how these concepts reveal themselves in writing.

"So what makes the scene sentimental? In my short essay, I argued that sentimentality often involved reducing an emotionally complex situation into an emotionally simple one. Given the full sentimental treatment, my little story will ask us to respond with nothing but simple outrage and sadness. But it will never ask us to examine those feelings, to look closely at the social forces that would refuse a sick child medical treatment and make it impossible for a single mother to care for her family. Neither will the sentimental story allow us to understand the complexity of Faith’s feelings for her absent husband, her mixture of love and anger and loss and frustration and rage. Instead of offering a surplus of inappropriate emotion, it seems to me that sentimental literature often reduces strong emotion to a single channel.... And it was here that it occurred to me—not for the first time!—that the way we teach poetry in our schools—the way I was taught poetry in high school!—is deeply fucked up. I remember learning that a poem was like a puzzle. If I could just sort out what each element in the poem symbolized—the window, the fly, the keepsakes, the light—then I could put them together and voila! solve the poem! Or, put another way, I’d been taught to think of poetry as a kind of coded language, a medium in which writers resisted communicating with readers. Poetry, I’d learned, is a kind of really hard crossword puzzle, but with a meaning at the end."

To read more of the blog post, click here. To read Prufer's original essay on sentimentality, click here. To look at Prufer's poetry books, visit Four Way Books online.

Four Way Books Author Kevin Prufer Finalist For UNT's First Rilke Poetry Prize

We are proud to announce that a Four Way Books author, Kevin Prufer, was a finalist for UNT's First Rilke Poetry Prize for his book, A Beautiful Country. Visit us online to learn more about the author and his books at Four Way Books.

"Rilke Prize entrants must have published at least two previous books of poetry, and the book of poetry to be considered must have been published the previous year. The three finalists for the first Rilke Prize were: Kevin Prufer’s In a Beautiful Country, Dana Levin’s Sky Burial and Wayne Miller’s The City, Our City.

The full info follows:

Laura Kasischke’s Space, in Chains, published by Copper Canyon Press, has won the first annual UNT Rilke Prize. $10,000 prize recognizes a book written by a mid-career poet and published in the preceding year that demonstrates exceptional artistry and vision. In this collection that explores imaginative freedom in the face of personal loss, Kasischke reveals a penetrating insight into what makes people work and not work through her characteristic emotional range, wit, surprising and uncanny imagery, and an intensity created through spare and radiant language. We see ourselves as “space, in chains,” bound and free, challenged by the book’s transfigurations of anxiety and grief into tribute and play. Kasischke will read at University of North Texas on Thursday, April 19 and at the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture on Friday, April 20." To read more about the prize and the winning book and author, click here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sarah Gorham Poetry Reading

Four Way Books author, Sarah Gorham, will be reading tomorrow evening, February 9th, at Western Kentucky University (WKU). The reading will be from 7 to 8 pm at 125 Cherry Hall. This will be the first reading for the Creative Writing department this semester. After the reading, you can buy her books and get them signed! For more info on this reading, click here.

Four Way Books Poet Tina Chang On Why She Writes

Tina Chang explained to Poets and Writers in March of 2010 why she writes.

"I was sent to live in Taiwan at the age of two after the sudden death of my father. Uncles and aunts rushed through the rooms to feed me, bathe me, teach me. I was both confused and curious about words as they bounced in the delicate bowl of my mouth, meaning rising. This recollection of language is at the core of who I am, why I work, why I write. I write in order to capture what is no longer there: sweet ghost of minutes, mist covering the thatched roofs, vendors calling out their wares to the windows, typhoon rattling the red door of my childhood home in summer.

Many years later, I am a poet trying to recreate, again, sound, image, place, mood, the fine texture of things. I am driven to grasp the unnamable or to get to a sensual site that has vanished. The Taiwan of my past no longer exists. Taipei, the capital, is now a bustling district, city of smog, avenues clogged with progress and industry.

When I began writing poems, I was struck by how much a poem looked like the physical structure of a house. Each word seemed like a window, each comma a blade of grass, each line was a slow locomotive passing through a quiet town. So, in my imagination, I constructed a permanent place where I could live even if the moments were fleeting."

To read more of the article which is now online, click here. To read some of Chang's poems and to order copies of her books, visit Four Way Books online.

Four Way Books Poet, Rigoberto Gonzalez Featured By Academy of American Poets

We are thrilled to say that an excerpt of Rigoberto Gonzalez's poem "La Pelona as Birdwoman" is now on, the Academy of American Poets' website. Congratulations, Rigoberto!

I dared to crawl
beneath the sheets

to be nailed down
around me,
waiting for my lover, she

who enters
without knocking, she
who will unstitch

my every seam
along my thigh,
my side, my armpit.

She who carves
a heart out of the heart
and drops it

down her throat.
Sweet surrender this
slow death in sleep

as I dream
the love-making
is autopsy. How else

will I be hers completely? Be her
treasure box I said:

a trove of pearls
and stones,
the ding of coins cascading

through her fingers.
The bird over her shoulder
not a parrot, but an owl

to be my mirror
when I close my eyes
and shape a moon-white

bowl out of my face
where she can wash
the hooks of her caress.

Click here to visit and to hear Gonzalez's poem. If you want to learn more about this wonderful writer's work, visit Four Way Books.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Vermont Poet Laureate and Four Way Books Author Sydney Lea Reading in Fairlee, VT

If you are in Fairlee, Vermont tomorrow, February 8th, head on over to the Fairlee Public Library to hear Vermont's Poet Laureate, Sydney Lea read! The reading begins at 7pm. It's free, open to the public and refreshments will be served. The reading is called "Lyric Poetry: Another Way of Knowing".

To learn more about Sydney Lea and other Four Way Books authors, visit us online.

Eileen Pollack Mentioned in Article Celebrating Success of PEN Member Authors

Congratulations to Eileen Pollack for all her great success with Breaking and Entering! PEN America celebrates the recognition of many of their author members, including Eileen.

“While there’s never a good time to find Anne Frank in your attic, this was a particularly bad time,” writes PEN Member Shalom Auslander in his tongue-in-cheek novel Hope: A Tragedy, which was recently reviewed in the The New York Times Sunday Book Review. Member Eileen Pollack’s Breaking and Entering also appeared in The Review. Her new novel follows a California couple to rural Michigan, where they encounter militias and marital troubles against the backdrop of the Oklahoma City bombings. Congratulations also to Editor’s Choice PEN Member picks Sara Paretsky and Roger Rosenblatt."
To read more, click here.

To get a copy of Breaking and Entering and to learn more about her other book, visit Four Way Books online.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Jennifer Denrow's "California" is a Notable Book of 2011 from the Academy of American Poets

Jennifer Denrow's book California (A Four Way Books publication), has been chosen by The Academy of American Poets as a Notable Book of 2011. Congratulations, Jennifer!

"The narrators in this collection range from a woman fixated on California as a mythical promised land, to a ventriloquist and his dummy. Zachary Schomburg writes, "In Jennifer Denrow's "California", California doesn't exist, so it devastates us." Indeed there is an awareness of the "real," but the speaker in these poems upholds imagination even when her dreams seem futile. In "California" Denrow writes, "I need to arrive at something." Later in the poem, she notes, "If California didn't exist, I'd still want to go there."

To read more of the review, click here. To see what other books are on the list, go here.

"In a Beautiful Country" Noted as a Notable Book of 2011 from the Academy of American Poets

Four Way Books author, Kevin Prufer, has his latest poetry collection, In a Beautiful Country on the list of Notable Books of 2011 from The Academy of American Poets. Congratulations, Kevin!

"A natural follow up to the themes in his previous collection, National Anthem, the poems of In a Beautiful Country are meditations on one's connection to faith, love, and country— and the loss of all three of these ideals.In the poem "To the 20th Century" Prufer personifies the period, ending on a stark note:

And if it finds no comfort from your visit,
put a pillow to its mouth, and, so, be done
with it."

To read the rest of the review, click here. To see what other books were on the list of Notable Books of 2011 from The Academy of American Poets, click here. (There's another one from Four Way!)