The word indecency often makes me think of the often disturbing relationship our culture has with sex and violence. Indecency is usually connected to the latter, as in indecent exposure or an indecent proposal, with public sexuality and conduct, but it’s rarely (in my experience) used to describe violence. Justin Phillip Reed, in his debut collection forthcoming from Coffee House Press on May 8, muddles that boundary, and brings that idea of indecency as improper conduct of any kind to the forefront.
Tara Skurtu’s The Amoeba Game is her first full-length collection of poems. (She is also the author of the chapbook Skurtu, Romania.) The book begins with “Șoricel,” and the soul as a white mouse “burrowed inside the mouth/ of a sleeping child until he yawns.” It’s a collection concerned with this hidden, temporary nature of the soul. In it, Skurtu seems to be asking, how do we become good again? What is it we need most deeply?
We see sheepheads “big enough to eat,” a sister who saved the Body of Christ to feed to ducks, an English-Romanian dictionary, a train at dusk, and a noseless man playing an accordion.
In January, Skurtu, a two-time Fulbright grantee and recipient of two Academy of American Poets prizes, and I spoke through email. (more…)
We’re thrilled to share that our April Book Club selection is The Pisces (Hogarth, May 2018), the debut novel from poet and essayist Melissa Broder!
Lucy has been writing her dissertation on Sappho for nine years when she and her boyfriend break up in a dramatic flameout. After she bottoms out in Phoenix, her sister in Los Angeles insists Lucy dog-sit for the summer. Annika’s home is a gorgeous glass cube on Venice Beach, but Lucy can find little relief from her anxiety. Everything changes when Lucy becomes entranced by an eerily attractive swimmer while sitting alone on the beach rocks one night. But when Lucy learns the truth about his identity, their relationship, and Lucy’s understanding of what love should look like, take a very unexpected turn. (more…)
Sophie Allison got her start in Nashville’s local DIY scene, going to shows and hanging out with other musicians, though she kept her own songwriting secret. “I’ve played music since I was six,” says Allison in her bio, “and I always wrote songs just for myself. I did it for fun, posting songs on Tumblr, Bandcamp, and Soundcloud. I didn’t think anyone would notice.” in 2015, though, she began to upload her tracks online under the moniker Soccer Mommy. After great anticipation, she’s finally released her debut album, Clean, out now on Fat Possum records.
“Clean” is an emotional album, focused around themes of growth, isolation, and change. At twenty, Allison took her life experience out of the bedroom she used to write and record in, and out in the world, working with a full band in a studio while keeping her creative output in full control. The music gains clarity and power but loses none of the trademark intimacy of her Bandcamp work. (more…)