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Summer Round-up

Whether it’s experimental prose, niche poetry, works in translation, voices from historically marginalized communities, or just something that’s hard to describe, indie presses enrich the literary world with their work. Here are some titles from independent presses, coming out in the first half of 2019, that are worth your reading attention.

The Politics of Language, In & Of Translation

At a moment where the freedom of movement is no longer a human right, time itself expands, unless it dissolves, becomes measureless; waiting becomes a way of life.

Mark Doten's Trump Sky Alpha

Humanity has a sort of love affair with lists.

Abi Andrews's The Word for Woman is Wilderness

Some years back a friend told me I had to see Sean Penn’s film Into the Wild (2007) based on Jon Krakauer’s biography of Christopher McCandless, a privileged young white man who gave up his worldly goods to journey into the Alaskan wilderness.

In Conversation

SARAH McCOLL in conversation with Rachel Aydt

It’s an investigation into deep grief and what shapes us, but also it’s a study in observational precision and the moments that add up to a life well-lived.

Where We Come From by Oscar Cásares

“Every morning there’s a long line of women on the bridge coming over to work, and then at night they go back across to their families in Matamoros. Right or wrong, legal or illegal, seen or ignored, that’s how things work here.”

Invasive species by Marwa Helal

“Distance,” writes Marwa Helal, is the story “ive always wanted to tell. / so, ill tell it now” (“let’s get this out of the way”).

The Trouble with Men: Reflections on Sex, Love, Marriage, Porn & Power essays by David Shields

Before I consider a personal book, perhaps I should offer a personal story. My first substantive encounter with David Shields, following some long-distance business, was an interview for his 2017 selection of essays, Other People.

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

Autofiction is growing like a tumor in the body of prose writing; it swells even as the literary forms out of which it spawned slowly shrivel and die

Loudermilk: Or, The Real Poet, Or, The Origin of the World By Lucy Ives

By employing a classical theatrical technique of dramatis personae, rather than “realistic” novel characters, perhaps Ives is able to move between so many registers that enable her unusual “mash-up” to excel as at once philosophical and planted in the mud.

Never Ours to Give: Time Is the Thing a Body Moves Through

This is a slutty book, not just in content but in form. The long, sprawling essay bends prose and language to seek both intimacy and the alive body. “I don’t want to give any more of my touch to language. I just want language to generate more touch.”


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2019

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