Does the body want to be a story? Does it always ask for “narrative repair?” What happens when people tell you about your family’s suffering before your suffering tells you about itself?
In this groundrepairing debut book, Christine Friedlander asks, “What if a long pause is all I know?” A stitch-up of poetry, visual collage, bandages, memoir, and anti-advice, Avant Gauze does not fill in. It fills around.
Friedlander rejects the luridity of catharsis to discover gauze: a new form to weave around trauma and gazes and history, a radical redefinition of healing.
"Empathy is about our ability to comprehend the suffering of others. Few books have shaken me into empathy as much as Christine Friedlander’s Avant Gauze. A closer look than most of us have ever had at the poet’s view of blood and gauze, and love for this world. This is a book you will not be lending out. Make them buy their own. I’m holding onto this one for life!"
And Maria Damon says:
"Christine Friedlander explores the false promises of language as a healing element, the gauze that allows us oblique access to something we can infer as evidence of violence—a bruise, a cut, a mangling torque—but it conceals as much as it reveals.
Without revictimizing the viewer or turning violence into abstraction, powerful and, yes, beautiful, illustrations display the linguistic and material gauze that silences, suffocates, heals, lies, taking us deeper into this high-stakes inquiry on which our lives depend."
And the wonderful Carrie Lorig says:
Oh, my love, this book that came to me in the water. This book, Avant Gauze by Christine Friedlander, my love, I don't even know how to begin to describe how it is needed, to describe how it urgently creates, how it insists so deeply on spac ... Avant Gauze is a critical, imperative feeling or a Boiling Forest. A ruthless, compassionate dive into more, a body covered, a body uncovered, a body filled with the inexpressible.
Order this wonderful book now (our first book edited by MHP Assistant Editor Rebekah Hewitt)!
And thanks to all our friends in Chicago who swung by! Here are some pictures:
Meanwhile, don't sleep on Kamden Hilliard's Distress Tolerance, which just went into its second printing only a few months after its first!
Distress Tolerance is the chapbook for running into your own shadow. It is 7.25x8.5. It is poems that glitch and solidus through form and heart, "funnysad/charming," human-to-bursting, humming with the embodiment and canopy of love and fear and race and money, sparkling with unpolished nails and small fluorescent woodpeckers.
Natalie Eilbert says:
"In Distress Tolerance’s world building, Hilliard infests language itself with a self-aware brutality, and their forms are slanted, stunned, and ripped by a geography wherein 'to mark is to destroy is to court danger.'
Even the destroyed body can flirt with how we’ve ruined one another. But in the wreckage, something—a Yonkers star, a Virginia Slim, a small salmon, a pigeonhole—is glimmering. And it’s remarkable, remarkable."
Click the video below to see and hear two interactive spinning poems from Distress Tolerance!
What's next? Soon we'll release the cover and open pre-orders for several other books, including Ben Hersey's The Autograph of Steve Industry, coming Fall 2016!
Of Ben Hersey's debut novel, I can't give away too much yet, but what if I say "North Shore Massachusetts Barry Hannah doing jumping jacks in his own heart?"
What if, for now, until the official press release, I just invite you to click the picture below and see a video of the legendary Ben Hersey, performer, poet, professor, novelist, resident of Easthampton, MA:
That's the newest news, but it's not the only news. We're still rocked far and wide for Simon Joyner'sOnly Love Can Bring You Peace: Selected Lyrics (1990-2014). We received the following mysterious alien tape to our office, and by some lucky coincidence it turned out to be a book trailer:
This book features a handsome, focused collection of Simon's lyrics, a foreword by Dennis Callaci, illustrations, and some other surprises.
Click the cover below to learn more and to order!
Back in the ancient days of 2015, we held an open reading period with some categories. It was fun! Here are the open reading period selections!
First off, thank you to everyone who sent us manuscripts! Wow—so much great stuff out there, and it was so great to read work by people we've never read before, as well as discover new work by folks who turned out to be old friends.
And special thanks to Assistant Editor Rebekah Hewitt for her help reading poetry and chapbook manuscripts!
And we also had a satisfying time putting together approximately 4,863,453,629 custom PDF catalog samplers as thanks for everyone's reading fee support. Our reading fees were a choice of $2 to $5, and in turn everyone got to choose three MHP titles to form a 30 to 60 page sampler of excerpts.
Our series selections below will form the bulk of our 2016 catalog, which we couldn't be happier about! Instead of having one "winner" for each series and then a list of "finalists," we decided to embrace the fact this was never a contest and just publish all our favorites as series selections.
We hope to introduce each author and manuscript to you with a special interview series that we'll be running through the rest of this year.
Without further ado, the selections (and a little about the people behind the names of each series):
THE TED HAWKINS INNOVATIVE POETRY SERIES
Object Permanence Hossannah Asuncion
AVANT GAUZE Christine Friedlander
When There is No One and There is Everyone Rex Leonowicz
Ted Hawkins was an American singer and songwriter. He was born in Mississippi, but he did most of his singing as a busker in Venice Beach, California. Once he claimed the rasp in his voice came from the sand in the wind of the beach. Because of a damaged left hand, he wore a glove and did not bend notes.
But it's not like he didn't also live in England, play the Montreux Festival in Switzerland, and have a Top 20 hit in Australia. When Ted Hawkins was fifteen, he stole a leather jacket.
A good choice for your favorite Ted Hawkins song begins "Good morning my darling" and ends "You can be sure you won't suffer no more."
THE ADA LOVELACE INNOVATIVE CHAPBOOK SERIES
Holodeck One Jessica Baer
Distress Tolerance Kamden Ishmael Hilliard
The End Part One MC Hyland
Ada Lovelace was the daughter of Lord Byron and the inventor of computer programming. When she was very young, she found a dead crow and invented a flying machine.
As an adult, she called herself a Bride of Science. She was addicted to opium, played the harp, ice skated, flirted with Charles Dickens, and ran up debts at the horse track. Her admirers include the Department of Defense and cyberfeminist Sadie Plant.
At the age of thirty-six, dying of uterine cancer and overzealous bloodletting, Ada spent many of her last hours folding and measuring her handkerchief.
THE MAE YOUNG INNOVATIVE PROSE SERIES
Gladness & Other Stories Amy Bergen
Johnnie Mae Young was a pioneer in women's wrestling, competing in the ring for over seven decades and training dozens of wrestlers. She is in the WWE Hall of Fame. One thing she said was "Anybody can wrestle clean, but the heel steals the show."
In Reno, she was arrested for beating up a man who made improper advances. In California, she tried evangelism, but she went back to wrestling.
When Mike Young's dad was a kid, he hung onto Johnnie Mae's bicep, and she pulled him up, because he was her half-brother. That makes Mike Johnnie Mae's nephew.
Her best friend, The Fabulous Moolah, described her this way: "She used to like to go out drinking till all hours, smoking cigars and picking fights with big, bruising men in dark honky-tonks. Shed always laugh later about that expression on their face, a mixture of surprise and shame, just before they hit the floor after shed conked them upside the head."
Here are the fancy two blankets MHP Art Director Jenelle Stafford bought in Louisville, KY for the festival last year, featuring MHP books and some books from some of our Portland press friends who couldn't make it: