Our Prayers After the Fire by Katie Jean Shinkle
"When I finished reading Our Prayers After the Fire I saw that my fists were clenched tight. I'd been trying to grab a fistful, punch my way in. I wanted to get inside this book, figure out how it did what it did. I felt grateful and jealous, two of my favorite emotions when reading. Now my fists are open, my palms out. Katie Jean Shinkle is a writer who makes you beg for more, more, more."
"Our Prayers After the Fire's exquisite discontinuation lays waste to the tired turns of conventional fiction. Every sentence is a wonder here, every gesture is fresh, and Katie Jean Shinkle has given us a book that's as wacky, consecrated, and as unsettling as a fever."
"Katie Jean shinkle performs extraordinary feats of emotional and narrative funambulism in Our Prayers After the Fire. Her linguistic high-wire dexterity is gorgeous and devastating in equal masure. It is, in fact, the painful deadpan beauty of the prose that will knock you to your knees and allow you to feel things you may never have felt. Prepare to be happily shattered."
Say, Cut, Map by Ken Baumann
140 pgs. /// November–December 2013 /// $12
"Say, Cut, Map stakes out a literary terrain that so far has no name. Its constantly shifting cartography is made up of severed hands, premature burials, hospital wards, and fragile families. This novel of compounding mysteries redraws itself from sentence to sentence, while still relentlessly propelling the reader through its pages. Ken Baumann has constructed a dazzling mirage that pulses with real emotion."
Irritant by Darby Larson
624 pgs. /// June 2013 /// $25 + $5 shipping
"There are two books I’ve read only ever in bed somewhere on the cusp of sleep and waking drunk in the logic of their sentences, those being Wittgenstein's Tractatus and Joyce's Finnegans Wake. Darby Larson's Irritant has turned into the third. It is a puzzle machine of engrossing order, deceptively simple in how it wakes and slips and snakes itself with mesmerizing syntax inside a single 624-page 1-paragraph-shaped monolith of colors and suns and prayers. The result is a relentless, terrifying spell, or book of spells, or library of books of spells, or worse, a multi-mega-leveled text-world the likes from which I or my ability to sleep may never find an exit."
Black God by Ben Spivey
144 pgs. /// Nov. 2012 /// $6
"Ben Spivey’s Black God is a surreal dreamscape of a book. To borrow from the book itself, 'There's something black in that place like it was untouched by God himself... Or herself.' At its claustrophobic core, this book is a love story about time and memory, fear and death. At its dreamlike fringes, it is a book that might have been written by the son of Kafka and Braque. Like our best books, it is a love story in love with its own death."
"In Black God there is a dream architecture that draws the aging narrator Cooper from his dying wife like a moth to its hard and gateless outer shell. With him we explore the received forms of daily life mingling with fluctuating dreams of the interior of eternity. Here, Spivey accomplishes the rare feat of investing Cooper’s efforts with resonance though his motives obscure even to himself and the theater in which he operates is a dreamscape of mechanical islands, a wife retreating into silhouettes, and beaches of washed up clocks: ‘I looked up and could see where I fell from-a house hanging in the sky like a new moon-the actual moon cast shadow on the home giving it celestial shape. I could even see the stairs I must have tumbled from hanging there like a limp wrist.’ This is a visionary book, a genuine terror and awe."
Slow Slidings by M Kitchell
123 pgs. /// July 2012 /// $12
"Kitchell is a channel for the erotic possibilities of place."
"Take the most disconcerting moments of all the weirdest movies you ever saw, subtract from them the comforts of narrative and character, cut and paste them into weird, oblique combinations … and then realise that you are watching yourself masturbating alone, in someone else’s house. Kitchell’s weirdness is insidious and queasy, both intimate and incomprehensibly far from home. Language and architecture are the spaces we inhabit and are contained in, and whose familiarity renders them banal. With an insatiable appetite for the impossible, these writings burrow and bore their way into these spaces, exposing the festering, pullulating chambers where desire unfolds itself into limitless sentient labyrinths of raw pink experience. Kitchell uses theory to do everything that theory wanted to get away from, and forcibly prevents poetry from going where it would like to go. Both lived and abstract, his writings vibrate with their own ferocious impotence, and the infinite powers it releases."
fuckscapes by Sean Kilpatrick
100 pgs. /// Dec. 2011 /// $12
"The violent, sexual zone of television and entertainment is made to saturate that safe-haven, the American Family. The result is a zone of violent ambience, a 'fuckscape': where every object or word can be made to do horrific acts. As when torturers use banal objects on its victims, it is the most banal objects that become the most horrific (and hilarious) in Sean Kilpatrick's brilliant first book."
"Pregnancy dream of poetry has this Sean Kilpatrick book by the fist. You learn to signal to others from the woken state, here, line-by-line. Do you have any extra money? Buy this book! If you have to skip lunch, buy THIS BOOK! 'I held my breath so hard I ended up in the country.' Some poetry you read is forgotten, and never remembered. Some poetry, this poetry, Sean Kilpatrick's poetry, is a manual for exciting the engine to throw you out of the vanquished pleasures. Here is your I.V. drip of sphinx's blood."
Theater-State by Jack Boettcher
198 pgs. /// Aug. 2011 /// $12
E-book available from Amazon, here
"Theater-State reveals the panopticon not as an instrument of surveillance but as a mesmerizing holograph from which we prisoners of 'reality' (and of high school) cannot tear our eyes. In this inside-out world, violence is an encircling Megahighway and the center mutable, vulnerable, and virtual, always flowing somewhere else. As young Janus negotiates the heights and sinkholes of adolescence, including an affair with a regional pop-avatar, servitude to a morphing, megalomaniacal principal, and a class project managing a convulsive neocolony, Jack Boettcher's reticulated sentences themselves contract and unfurl with sometimes enticing, sometimes ensnaring beauty."
"Even though the principal in Boettcher's Theater-State has a white tiger slumbering in his office, the school that Janus and Katydid and Cassie attend, with Ms. Denton, TX as their teacher, is all too familiar - terrifyingly familiar. The mind-bending cross over between the world of statecraft and a private science academy becomes all too real for Janus...when it is revealed that it is drivers that shape the roads and not the other way around...and when the general paranoid lyricism of Boettcher's odd and compelling novel, like the Mayan ceremonial white roads, leads you not necessarily to a destination but on a journey. It's an amazing journey. I don't think you have any choice but to take it."
Flowing in the Gossamer Fold by Ben Spivey
164 pgs. /// Aug. 2010 /// $12
"Ben Spivey's alluringly melodial debut novel of a marriage gone asunder unreels itself with the indisputable logic of dreams and delivers, along its phantasmagoric and dazing way, emotional clarities that feel entirely new."
"Reading like the troubled offspring of Claire Denis's L'Intrus and the surreal ending of Jim Thompson's Savage Night, Spivey's Flowing in the Gossamer Fold creates a deliberate and satisfying confusion between the habitations of the skull, of the word, and of the world. A strange and satisfying debut."
Forthcoming from Blue Square Press:
Gumma Homo by Gary J. Shipley
Submissions: Currently closed.