Monday, January 30, 2012

"Breaking and Entering" is a "Book to Watch For" Says Oprah

Oprah has put Breaking and Entering on the list of 17 books to look for in February. Congratulations to the author, Eileen Pollack!

"The Shapiros have fled to Michigan to start over following the suicide of one of Richard's patients, a woman he secretly loved. Richard begins working at the local prison, a breeding ground for racism among guards and inmates. Louise becomes a social worker at the high school, where a janitor broadcasts vitriol as "Michigan Mike, the Voice of the Militia." The Shapiros' neighbors, also proud members of the paramilitary group, host an annual Tax Blast, using 1040 forms as shooting targets. When, in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, news surfaces that McVeigh had attended a militia meeting at the neighbors' farm, it becomes increasingly difficult to know who's harmless and who's not. Louise tells herself that she "can distinguish among the scents of her enemies and her friends, of safety and disaster, of passion, hate, and love," even as the lines of loyalty blur—in her community and her marriage." To read more, click here.

To get a copy of Breaking and Entering, and to learn about Pollack's other Four Way Books publication, In the Mouth, go here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Upcoming Readings: Jonathan Wells

Jonathan Wells, author of Train Dance (Four Way Books) has a few solo readings coming up.

On January 27th he will be reading at St. John's College in Annapolis, MD . The reading will be free and open to the public. It will be held in the Francis Scott Key Auditorium at 8:15pm.

On February 7th, Wells will read at FSU in Tallahassee, FL. It begins at 8pm at The Warehouse which is located at 706 W. Gaines Street.

On March 19th, Jonathan Wells reads at Aspen Winter Words. He will read at The Gant at 5:30pm. Follow this link to learn more about the event and purchase tickets.

Eileen Pollack Wins The Grub Street National Book Prize for Fiction

Four Way Books author, Eileen Pollack, has won The Grub Street National Book Prize for Fiction for her latest book, Breaking and Entering. Congratulations, Eileen!

"Of Breaking and Entering, Margot Livesey wrote: ..."With great empathy and intelligence, Pollack explores these two opposing hearts of darkness - how Liberals see Republicans, and how Republicans see Liberals - while at the same time charting the vicissitudes of the Shapiros' marriage. Her compelling plot and resonant characters make Breaking and Entering a hugely enjoyable novel; the moral complexity of her themes makes it an important and timely one.”

To read more about Eileen Pollack's award and The Grub Street National Book Prize in general, follow this link.

Letras Latinas Blog Interviews Four Way Books Author Rigoberto Gonzalez

"In his newest collection of poems, “Black Blossoms” (Four Way Books, 2011), Rigoberto González presents us with a brave exploration into the lives of women and their journeys. As much as Black Blossoms is a tribute to the violent lives of women who would otherwise go uncelebrated or at least unacknowledged, it is also very much a work of place. Place in the sense that these “black blossoms” collected here in this book are allowed—through the splendor of poet’s imagination—to re-bloom in all their precarious and delicate ways. They together form a place, a garden of sorts that cannot exist without one another; it is as if these voices have found a home in each others company." To read the full interview, click here.

For more about "Black Blossoms" and books from Four Way, visit our home page.

"Breaking and Entering" is Reviewed in "O, The Oprah Magazine"

Breaking and Entering by Eileen Pollack and published by Four Way Books received a wonderful review in O, The Oprah Magazine's February edition.

"In her novel Breaking and Entering (Four Way), Eileen Pollack delves beneath the surface of blue state/red state stereotypes and brilliantly portrays an American made up of "smaller countries" with polarizing politics and alienated citizens. Richard Shapiro, a therapist, and his wife, Louise, leave Northern California and move to southwest Michigan in 1995, several months before Timothy McVeigh blows up the Murray Federal Building in Oklahoma City." Read more of the review in the magazine or at this link.

"Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century" Reviews Four Way Books' "Blinking Ephemeral Valentine" by Joni Wallace

"The images are meant to be inhaled deeply, like a mind-bending drug. Reading this volume, sometimes I felt like I was in a theater, watching a beautifully conceived and executed animation. The poems have a narrative element in a hybrid-cinematic sense, an original blend of imagism, narrative and language poetry. Wallace’s mothers could be H.D. and Gertrude Stein; her poet-sister Harryette Mullen.

From “Star-Spangled Valentine Shagged in Drab”:

I fell hard for the Wide Open,
your scrap yards and tree-lined rivers,
parking lots etched into prairies.
All this inside myself, a broken
bottle gleaming. Tell me a story,
begin with a flag unfurled
and a sun-warmed body of cows,
black/white and black.

Wallace conjures up a defunct television game show, “Let’s Make a Deal,” where participants traded what they had for the possibility of something more valuable, hidden behind a door. They were often disappointed. Wallace’s game of love is quite solemn. What valentines wait behind doors numbered one, two and three? " To finish the review of "Blinking Ephemeral Valentine", go to this link.

To learn more about Joni Wallace's collection, visit Four Way Books online.

New York Times Sunday Book Review Picks Breaking and Entering as an Editor's Choice

Yesterday, January 22nd, The New York Times Sunday Book Review added Breaking and Entering by Eileen Pollack and published by Four Way Books on their Editor's Choice list. Congratulations, Eileen!

"Whatever our politics, there are times we can all feel like foreigners and outcasts in our own country, just as Louise becomes a foreigner in her own marriage. And it is Louise who carries the novel, with her good impulses, her fallibility and her wish for a transforming passion. We always hope that people can change, reassess, realign. It is fitting that Louise, at the novel’s end, provides just enough hope to bring the story home." To read more about The New York Times' take on Breaking and Entering, go to this link.

To learn more about Breaking and Entering and Eileen Pollack's other book published by Four Way Books, In the Mouth, click here.

Four Way Books author and Vermont Poet Laureate Sydney Lea Presented by Kingdom Poets

Kingdom Poets are thrilled to present Sydney Lea, the author of ten collections of poetry (including Young of the Year published by Four Way Books), two collections of essays and a novel, as a Christian who speaks about faith in his writing.

Jeanne Murray Walker wrote of his new collection, Six Sundays Toward a Seventh, “In this book Sydney Lea invites us to take a spiritual journey . . . By the end of Six Sundays, the narrator and the reader step together into radiant light. What is so moving about Six Sundays is not only its wrestling with spiritual questions, but also Lea's affirmation that life is a spiritual journey and that this journey is of paramount importance.”

To read more about Sydney Lea's take on faith and his poem, Barnet Hill Brook, click here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Interview with Rigoberto Gonzalez

Words on a wire:

Expanded interview with Rigoberto Gonzalez also talks about the highlights of his career, and about his memoir, “Butterfly Boy.” Listen here.

Interview With Four Way Books' Author, Eileen Pollack

Author Deborah Diesen who has a blog called Jumping The Candlestick, interviewed Four Way Books' author, Eileen Pollack for "Michigander Monday".

"Breaking and Entering is my second published novel and my first book set in Michigan. Just after I moved here, Timothy McVeigh blew up the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City, and stories about the Michigan Militia were all over the national media. I was fascinated to learn about the far rightwing views of many militia members, and equally interested in the conservatism and fundamentalism of other residents of my new state. I spent a day as a visiting writer in a public school to the west of Ann Arbor and was stunned to find out that most of the biology teachers were creationists. And yet here were my husband and his coworkers in Ann Arbor studying genetics, believing as deeply in evolution as their fellow Michiganders believed in creationism. I grew close to a friend living in a town where the minister was making vitriolic anti-Semitic sermons every Sunday. Her husband, who is Jewish, protested the sermons, and their children began to be harassed. Soon afterward, their house burned down. My friend was pretty sure that she and her family had been burned out on purpose; the town fire marshall, in fact, found evidence of arson, but he accused them of burning down their own house to collect the insurance. All that gave me an idea for a book--a book in which I tried to figure out how people so different from one another could all be Michiganders, could all be Americans, and how we could ever hope to make a democracy work with citizens who felt so passionately about such disparate beliefs."

To read more of the interview, go to this link. And to learn more about Eileen Pollack's books from Four Way Books, click here.

Fiction Writer's Review Announces "Breaking and Entering" as Book of the Week

Breaking and Entering by Eileen Pollack, published by Four Way Books, has been picked as Book of the Week by Fiction Writer's Review.

"It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Eileen Pollack’s work at FWR. In fact, as our Founding and Features Editor, Anne Stameshkin, noted in an addendum to a 2009 interview with the author that we published on the site, Eileen Pollack–and her Contemporary Novel class at the University of Michigan–was one of the inspirations for the creation of Fiction Writers Review. So it’s with particular pleasure that we announce her new novel, Breaking and Entering, as our featured Book-of-the-Week title. Congratulations, Eileen!

And we’re not alone in our admiration for this new book or Pollack’s work. In her laudatory review of Breaking and Entering (Four Way Books, 2012) in last Sunday’s New York Times Book Review, author Jen Thompson writes: Pollack is an engaging writer with a first-rate eye for the telling sociological detail, like the Militia Babes calendar in the Banks’s farmhouse."

To read more about Fiction Writer's Review's response to Breaking and Entering, click here.

There is also a chance to win a signed copy of Breaking and Entering if you are a follower of Fiction Writer's Review's Twitter account! To follow their Twitter, go to this link. Books will be given away next week.

If you want to learn more about Breaking and Entering and Four Way Books, visit our website.

Monday, January 16, 2012

AWP Off-site Reading in Chicago

Join us on Thursday, March 1st from 6-7:30pm at Weather Mark Tavern in Chicago for an AWP Off-site Reading. It's about a 10 minute walk or 2 minute cab ride from the Downtown Hilton (conference hotel).

Readers will be from Four Way Books, Persea Books, and Autumn House Press and include: Joan Aleshire, Tina Chang, Patrick Donnelly, Patrick Ryan Frank, Sarah Gorham, Rose McLarney, Jonathan Wells, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Laura Cronk, Cynthia Marie Hoffman, Amy Newman, Patrick Rosal, Alexandra Teague, Sheryl St. Germain, Corrinne Clegg Hales, Martha Rhodes, Philip Terman and Peter Blair. Each poet will read for 2-3 minutes.

The reading is free and open to the public. To read more about it and RSVP, you can go to the Facebook event page.

Hope to see you there!

2012 Four Way Books Intro Prize in Poetry

It is now time to get your submissions together and submit to Four Way Books' Intro Prize in Poetry!

Submission dates are January 1 -- March 31, 2012 by online submission manager or regular mail. The postmark deadline is March 31st and the email deadline is by 3 am EST on April 1st.

The contest is open to any poet writing in English who has not already published a book-length collection of poetry.

This year D. A. Powell will be the judge and
the winner gets a published book-length collection and $1,000.

For important information about how to submit online (preferred) or by mail, and guidelines for the contest, click here.

C. Dale Young's Poem "The Second Fallacy" as Monday's Poem for The Chronicle of Higher Education

Four Way Books author C. Dale Young has his poem, "The Second Fallacy", published in The Chronicle of Higher Education for "Monday's Poem".

The Chronicle’s poetry blogger, Lisa Russ Spaar, notes: Few cognitive constructions are as fluid and fallacious as memory, that conspiracy, that conjuring, that supreme fiction of recalled, reconstructed, recreated experience. How fickle, mutable, and faulty are the brain’s recollections.... In C. Dale Young’s “The Second Fallacy,” which is, among other things, a meditation on the vicissitudes of Mnemosyne, a bougainvillea plant provides the Proustian cookie trigger, the occasion for a psychological foray that is part rhetorical theorem, part id-haunted confession. By indicating that the poem is giving us not the first but the “second” of what could be an even longer enumeration of fallacious errors in a line of reasoning, the title situates the poem in the midst of an a priori and ongoing argument. " Read the rest of the article on their Brainstorm page.

To read more of C. Dale Young's poems, go to Four Way Books' website for his most recent book, Torn.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pollack's BREAKING AND ENTERING Reviewed in the NY Times!!

In the Shadows of Oklahoma City

Eileen Pollack’s new novel, “Breaking and Entering,” takes place in rural Michigan in 1995 — the epicenter and high point of the militia movement, before increased scrutiny and revulsion at the Oklahoma City bombing put some militia groups out of business and sent others underground. (Though not a militiaman, the bomber Timothy McVeigh attended their meetings and spent time on a Michigan farm with his fellow conspirator Terry Nichols.) The Oklahoma City attack comes about a third of the way through Pollack’s book, a real-world event that informs and shadows the fictional ones.


Pollack is an engaging writer with a first-rate eye for the telling sociological detail, like the Militia Babes calendar in the Banks’s farmhouse. There is tension and menace when Richard or Louise encounters some new misunderstanding or threat. But since the author’s intent is to explore intolerance, hatred and evil, it is not enough that these forces merely simmer and self-perpetuate. The stakes are raised, and escalating consequences play out.


Whatever our politics, there are times we can all feel like foreigners and outcasts in our own country, just as Louise becomes a foreigner in her own marriage. And it is Louise who carries the novel, with her good impulses, her fallibility and her wish for a transforming passion. We always hope that people can change, reassess, realign. It is fitting that Louise, at the novel’s end, provides just enough hope to bring the story home.

Read the rest of the review here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Poetry Reading for Parents with Tina Chang

Four Way Books' author, Tina Chang, is reading tonight at a poetry reading, "A Robert Burns Celebration", by Pen Parentis in New York City. The reading will be from 7 to 9pm and will be in the Libertine Library at Gild Hall on the second floor at 15 Gold Street. It's free and open to the public.

This is the perfect event for the busy parent who wishes they could go back to the days of being able to go to readings without having to worry about a crying baby. Rekindle your love of poetry and take a night for yourself amongst people who can understand your pain and your passions.

For more about Tina Chang, check out her new collection from Four Way Books.

Vermont Poet Laureate Sydney Lea at Montgomery Town Library

Even before Sydney Lea became Vermont Poet Laureate, he was being called the “heir-apparent to Robert Frost,” in part because his virtuosic poems tell dramatic and keenly-observed stories about rural northern New England’s people, creatures, and landscape. Pulitzer Prize Finalist, winner of the 1998 Poet’s Prize, Sydney Lea has also been called “a man in the woods with his head full of books, and a man in books with his head full of woods.” When he isn’t writing, he is often walking or working outdoors, promoting nature conservation and literacy, or spending time with family. On Sunday, February 5 at 3 pm, Lea will read some of his poems for us and talk about the process of creating them. He welcomes your questions as well.

Whether you’re a lover of poetry already or just curious, please come—it’s not every day a Poet Laureate visits our neck of the woods. And if you think you don’t like poetry, then absolutely make sure to carve out a piece of your wintery Sunday afternoon for this special occasion (you don’t know what you’ve been missing!) Prepare to be inspired.

Sunday, February 5 at 3 pm. Refreshments. Free.

Reposted from Montgomery Town Library

"Vista" by C. Dale Young as The Academy of American Poets' Poem of the Day

Visit to read "Vista" by C. Dale Young.

Visit Four Way Books' website to see C. Dale's most recent collection, Torn.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tom Healy to Chair Fulbright Committee

from the Best American Poetry blog:

Tom Healy, poet and contributor to the BAP blog, has been named chairman of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarships Board. Here's an excerpt from the State Department's official announcement:

The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB) elected Tom Healy as chairman at its quarterly meeting in Washington, DC on December 6, 2011. The Board elected Susan Ness to serve as vice chair.

Tom Healy of New York City and Miami was appointed to the FSB by President Obama in 2011. Mr. Healy, a poet and writer, teaches at New York University. He is a visiting professor at The New School and has also taught at the Gorée Institute in Dakar. He served as president of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and received the 2006 New York City Arts Award from Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his work to rebuild the downtown arts community after 9/11. Mr. Healy is a trustee of the Miami Poetry Festival and public arts presenter for Creative Time. He was a member of President Clinton's White House Council on HIV/AIDS and has traveled the world for microfinance projects and AIDS prevention efforts. He studied at Harvard and Columbia Universities.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Eileen Pollack: At Home with the Militia, from Ann Arbor Online

Eileen Pollack, former director of the U-M creative writing MFA program, has never been afraid of taking on big themes and big subjects. Among her former students--including several who have gone on to enjoy large international reputations--she is famous for always suggesting, if not insisting, that their stories and novels be about something. She uses her own fiction to wrestle with uncomfortable political and social issues.

In Breaking and Entering, her recently released novel, she has done it again, but this time the subject is closer to home. Pollack's protagonist, Louise Shapiro, and her husband and child have moved from the Bay Area to rural southwestern Michigan. Louise is more than a little smug, self-righteous, paranoid, and desperately lonely. She has reason to be lonely: her therapist husband, Richard, has withdrawn from her, forcing his family to move after a client he was infatuated with killed herself. He has taken a job as a therapist in the local Michigan prison, and the job is clearly the most useful thing he has ever done, even as it alienates him even further from his wife.

As the old joke says, even paranoids have enemies. The novel takes place over the spring and summer of 1995; very early on, the characters learn about the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City and, soon after, about Timothy McVeigh. Some of Louise's neighbors are members of the Michigan Militia, and their meeting ground is the Sportsman's Gun Club down the road, where, on his way south to Oklahoma City, McVeigh may or may not have stopped for a beer. The janitor at the school where Louise works part-time as a social worker hosts a radio show where he shouts racist and anti-Semitic rants. "Mike from Michigan" is his radio moniker, and none of us who've been around here for a while have to stretch very far to find tha model. Louise's Jewish husband is fascinated with the gun culture espoused by his militia neighbors, using that interest as yet another way to withdraw from his wife.

Louise takes up with the local Unitarian minister, and their affair becomes the center of her life, moving from passion into the realm of obsession. It is clearly doomed from the start, and the unraveling of it all--the inevitable failure of the love affair and the cultural and physical assaults on Louise herself--becomes the center of this novel. As the title indicates, Louise breaks--or is broken--but whether she is ever able to enter is the uncertainty and profound sadness that Pollack leaves with us.

Eileen Pollack reads from Breaking and Entering at Nicola's Books on Wednesday, January 18.

Sydney Lea on Poetry Daily

Read Sydney Lea's poem "Young of the Year" at Poetry Daily:

Young of the Year

—for Cora Jane Lea

A small hare's stride displays itself in snowdust up on this knob
that we call The Lookout. Young of the year.
I whisper the term our old folks use to name
a prior spring's wild things—or the year itself, young year.

New grandfather now, have I a right to the phrase? I speak it no matter.
To me its assonance appeals;
its heft of optimism and forward-looking
correct a mood. It's a counter-cry to my vain appeals

to some power unseen that it remake me into a youthful man,
that it change this world. I scrutinize
a certain mountain's western flank, ravines
turned to fat white rivers in winter. I likewise scrutinize

myself in relation to mountain. I used to charge her up and down
in a slim few hours. Today I wonder
if I'll climb there again, my strength and stamina less
than once they were. What isn't? The mountain. The mountain's a wonder.

With inner eyes I see its trees, knee-high at 4000 feet.
I see myself step onto aprons of stone
at her summit. I'd never have dreamed how much I'd love it,
loving that child. In youth the thought would have turned me to stone.

On The Lookout's granite, a wisp—unidentifiable, blooded—of fur.
So many hundreds and thousands of victims
in a cruel season. Behind the mountain an airplane
aroar to put me in mind of bombers searching out victims.

In time it may even be that I'll prefer to see her from here,
not here from her. I mean the mountain.
Wonders never cease, it's rightly said.
Those inner eyes go back and forth from infant to mountain,

where even now in January the hardwoods' fraught tight buds
display their purple, enduring signal
of spring. Which will come. Which has never failed to come.
Already the girl and I have developed private signals:

I can waggle my tongue at her, or flutter my fingers, and make her smile.
I can lie back humming in uncanny peace,
child on my chest, and I can remember how
I held her father. But I think I hold her better. Peace:

perhaps it's for this one exchanges his further dreams. And perhaps I know
what's worth the knowing here on earth,
among its weather-decked hills, its beasts and birds
in their ceaseless cycles, migrations. Of course the glorious earth

will take me back, of course the young-year hare give profligate birth.


Young of the Year
Four Way Books

Monday, January 2, 2012

A nod to C. Dale Young's TORN in NPR's Best American Poetry of 2011

Truth and Beauty: 2011's Best American Poetry
by David Orr, NPR

One of the few things almost everyone can agree on about contemporary American poetry is that no one can agree on much. At present, poetry is a jumbled landscape, with no single, dominant style and few living figures whose importance is accepted in more than one or two of the art form's tiny fiefdoms. Although some might find this state of affairs discouraging, I think there's good reason to be optimistic — poetry often needs to undergo periods of confusion to achieve the clarity for which we'll later remember it. Here are five books that suggest that even if American poetry isn't entirely sure where it's going, that doesn't mean it's gotten lost.


And because no critic can refrain from recommending more books than he's supposed to, you might also consider:

Torn by C. Dale Young (Four Way Books) — Young is a doctor as well as a poet, and Torn demonstrates a skilled physician's combination of empathy and formal precision.