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Hear Melinda Mueller on KUOW

By | Reviews

Elizabeth Austen discussed the new book by Melinda Mueller, Mary’s Dust, with Bill Radke on the Noon Hour.

They discuss the poem, “Covert Arts”, about three different Marys in the Civil War and how the women in the poem overcome the constraints of their time and are both seen and unseen.

Listen to the ten minute segment on KUOW. This poem is so fierce.

“Flowers & Sky”: An SPD Staff Pick

By | Reviews

We were honored to have Flowers & Sky: Two Talks be one of the SPD Staff picks this month. That means it’s 20% off all month long.

In FLOWERS & SKY: TWO TALKS Aaron Shurin deftly uses its eponymous subject matters to consider the poetics of a whole life, following out the flowers and skies in his actual experience, as well as the appearance of these words in his work. The talks are excellent examples of the lyric essay, a form that allows the writer the latitude to make prose sense in a poetic way. One of the advantages of the form, fully exploited by Shurin, is the opportunity to use wonderfully sounded language to make incantatory as well as logical sense. A danger can be the risk of being self-indulgently vague. Far from falling prey to this danger, this book is precise and rigorous in its examination of a writing practice and a series of lived incidents that both inspire and comprise that practice. As revelatory as they are expository, these talks, along with the poems and other material in the book, allow Shurin to celebrate (and demonstrate) his poetics with an honest zeal that seems to tell all. Who better, I thought reading and rereading the book, to fully present one’s poetics than oneself? This work is like a textbook of how to write about one’s poetics in a way that is serious, accurate, and engaging. Old poets thinking to write their memoirs and young ones to assert their own poetics should take notice. -Laura Moriarty


Maya Jewell Zeller Interview in Spokesman Review

By | Reviews

Spokesman Review Maya Jewell Zeller
Even the publisher learns new things when the interviews come out! So now I know the poems for Alchemy for Cells & Other Beasts started during piano lessons!

“…the poems in “Alchemy” in particular, partially because of the interdisciplinary influence, play with space and line and syntactical disruption and fragment in ways that a lot of other contemporary poets are also playing – this deconstructivist approach resulting, I think many of us would say, from a fractured political and social climate, and from the sense of disorder and stress that so many of us feel.”

Read the whole Interview here. SPOKESMAN REVIEW

Alchemy for Cells: Recommended by SPD!

By | Reviews

Alchemy for Cells & Other Beasts is a Staff Pick this month, meaning you can get it for 20% if you order from them, here: SPD Staff Picks.

Books about anxiety are too often deemed feminine and interior—too personally specific. But in the refractive kaleidoscope of ALCHEMY FOR CELLS & OTHER BEASTS, anxiety becomes an externalised and colorful weapon, one encompassing not just the landscape of the self, but the universe as it affects the self, the tales of other selves around the self. From geologic time to climate change, individual anxiety spreads virally throughout the book, populating its readers with the troubling accoutrements of human existence and its oft negative impacts — “so mammal / so leathery like our sin / the one I cover over my organs / like a filmy curtain.” Accompanied by misleadingly succulent artwork by Carrie DeBacker, ALCHEMY FOR CELLS & OTHER BEASTS is a journey at turns mystical and frightening, guilt-inducing and comforting, muddling humanity’s oppressive force with its animal instincts, all without being self-righteous or accusatory. We exist, it seems to say, and we have an impact. And what that is can be beautiful or frightening — it’s up to us. —Trisha Low

Aaron Shurin: A Lovely Personal Review

By | Other Presses & Other Rooms, Reviews

Aaron Shurin Full Stop ReviewWhile, the mention of “Flowers & Sky: Two Talks” is really just an aside for a longer review of Aaron’s previous book, “The Skin of Meaning”, I thought this review/conversation/tribute is quite lovely.

“…it’s his ability to create beauty, to literally invoke it, that has most captivated me. He is a Romantic Poet in an era eviscerated of romance.”

Yep. And a hero to many for his embrace of it and all the swoon.


Our First Review! (and it’s for Aaron Shurin)

By | Reviews

We were delight to see our first review and, more so, since it is a good one by Daniel Casey on Heavy Feather Review.

Here’s a stab at an excerpt:

Intensely interrogative… Shurin has created a body of work sparked by the low and inspired by the high… always spiraling more and more poetic thought… Once he has given us his flowers of the field talk, Shurin raises his head skyward. It is a wonderfully balanced maneuver, giving us a parallel of particular with universal… Shurin keeps his focus on the revelations in each governing image… At once literary criticism and memoir, “Flowers & Sky” gives cutting insight into the poetic process illuminating for readers and writers alike.


Our First Press Mention: Awww, a School Paper!

By | Reviews

Fantastic! We were so delighted to have our first lengthy press mention in a school newspaper.  Sure, the New York Times would be nice, but what is best is that this where so many young people learn writing skills and these are our future journalists, novelist, and story-tellers.  We thank SAAS student, Bianca, for asking some good questions of Melinda Mueller and the process behind, The After.

“Mueller said she began thinking about the idea for this book back in 1985 while on a class retreat with her students on the Oregon Coast. She describes the moment of inspiration in detail, “One evening we were sitting out just after sunset on the beach, full moon behind us rising, stars like crazy above us. But way out at sea in front of us there was a huge thunderstorm… one of my students says to me, ‘Are there any other species that look at something like this and think about how beautiful it is?’” Mueller says she believes that may be one of the traits that make humans unique. She says it inspired her when her student suggested that perhaps humans are a “test for everything.”

Read the whole essay here on the Seattle Academy site: “Melinda Mueller Publishes “The After,” A Poetic Look at the Sixth Extinction”