Author Archives: sagustocox

the moon won’t be dared by Anne Leigh Parrish (Oct.-Nov. 2021)

Join us for our Fall 2021 blog tour for the moon won’t be dared by Anne Leigh Parrish, published by Unsolicited Press in October.

Unsolicited Press announces the release of the moon won’t be dared a poetry collection by award-winning author Anne Leigh Parrish that features artwork by Lydia Selk. In this momentous debut collection, the poet harnesses language to give readers a new vision of nature, the impossible plight of womanhood, love, aging, and beauty. Being a woman in a male-dominated society affords Anne Leigh Parrish the space to witness the world on an uneven keel. Parrish pays tribute to the splendor of seasonal renewal, but also weaves the harsh truths of betrayal and brutality into the laments holding the collection together.

Advance Praise:

Anne Leigh Parrish’s poems in the moon won’t be dared are an extended meditation that weaves through time and humanity, injustices and struggles, but with an eye towards love and beauty. These captivating poems carry an underlining ache of loss—past and future—but they are grounded in the present, in beetle and spider, in river and forest, in the windows that look into the yard. Parrish writes “we can only burn slowly over time,” and we see this book is full of light—fire, streetlight, smokelight, garden light, twilight, starlight, and in fact, “darkness/becomes light when the world bears us/along.” This is a voice willing to convey what isn’t working in the world, but also to always acknowledge what is—”a child of the night/who lived on moonlight and cold sparkle stars.” Parrish’s poems feed us, and they will “hold us long enough/to tinge the dawn with hope.”

—Kelli Russell Agodon, author of Dialogues with Rising Tides (Copper Canyon Press).

Sample poem:

pulled back around
circle or line?
round or straight?
what did einstein say?
the universe bends in on itself, or
relates only to itself
i don’t know
but even a lizard remembers and is pulled
back around
and the memory held in my larger, more
deeply folded brain
cries to visit its hinterland, its former place
as easily as the world circles from
one day to the next

About the Author:

Anne Leigh Parrish is the author of nine previously published books: A Winter Night (Unsolicited Press 2021); What Nell Dreams, a novella & stories (Unsolicited Press, 2020); Maggie’s Ruse, a novel, (Unsolicited Press, 2017); The Amendment, a novel (Unsolicited Press, 2017); Women Within, a novel (Black Rose Writing, 2017); By the Wayside, stories (Unsolicited Press, 2017); What Is Found, What Is Lost, a novel (She Writes Press, 2014); Our Love Could Light The World, stories (She Writes Press, 2013); and All The Roads That Lead From Home, stories (Press 53, 2011). Visit her website.

Add to GoodReads:

moon won't be dared

Available at Unsolicited Press and Amazon for pre-order.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Oct. 8: Necromancy Never Pays (Review)

Oct. 13: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (Review)

Oct. 21: The Book Connection (Review)

Oct. 26: Anthony Avina Blog (Guest Post)

Nov. 4: Anthony Avina Blog (Review)

Nov. 16: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Guest Post)

Nov. 19: True Book Addict (Review)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #moonwontbedared #AnneLeighParrish

Any Dumb Animal by A.E. Hines (June-Nov. 2021)

CvrAnyDumbAnimal_bookstore-200x300Join us for our Summer/Fall 2021 blog tour for AE Hines’ Any Dumb Animal, published by Main Street Rag in November 2021.

Any Dumb Animal (Main Street Rag, 2021), the debut poetry collection by AE Hines, presents a memoir-in-verse as told by a gay man raised in the rural South who comes of age during the AIDS crisis. Flashing back and forth in time, a cast of recurring characters and circumstances are woven into a rich tale of survival and redemption, exploring one man’s life as a queer son, father, and husband, over a span of more than thirty years.

Advance Praise:

“This compellingly candid work speaks the language of courage, of breath-taking transcendence. Finely crafted, it is a remarkable debut collection. Take note, world: a powerful lyric poet has emerged. Take note and rejoice!” ~ Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita

“I was amazed over and over at the bravery of these poems, never shying from the difficult moments in life, and all the while staying true to the clear-eyed, fearless vision of their author.”  ~ James Crews, Editor of How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope

“With a strong gift for storytelling and an eye attuned to detail, Hines ultimately shows us the beauty and knowledge made of experience.”  ~Richie Hofmann, Author of Second Empire

AEHines_Px_bookstoreAbout the Author:

AE Hines (he/him) grew up in rural North Carolina and currently resides in Portland, Oregon. His poetry has been widely published in anthologies and literary journals including I-70 Review, Sycamore Review, Tar River Poetry, Potomac Review, Atlanta Review, Crosswinds Poetry Journal and Crab Creek Review. He is winner of the Red Wheelbarrow Prize and has been a finalist for the Montreal International Poetry Prize. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Writing at Pacific University. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

Add to GoodReads:

Any Dumb Animal

Available at Main Street Rag for pre-order.

#presale(1)Pre-order the collection and each dollar raised between June and November will be matched dollar-for-dollar and donated to The Trevor Project.

Blog Tour Schedule:

June 15: Diary of an Eccentric (Spotlight)

June 21: the bookworm (Spotlight)

June 24: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (Review)

June 30: The Book Connection (Spotlight)

July 7: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Spotlight)

July 28: Lit and Life (Spotlight)

Aug. 4: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Interview)

Aug. 18: The Book Connection (Review)

Sept. 2: Anthony Avina’s Blog (Spotlight)

Sept. 22: Anthony Avina’s Blog (Review)

Oct. 7: Lit and Life (Review)

Nov. 10: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post)

Nov. 16: Littlemissstar55 (Review on Instagram)

Nov. 17: Pages.for.Sanity (Review on Instagram)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #AnyDumbAnimal #AEHines @PoetAEHines

Septuagenarian by Sherry Quan Lee (May-July 2021)

Join us for our Spring/Summer 2021 blog tour for Septuagenarian by Sherry Quan Lee, published by Modern History Press in March 2021.

Septuagenarian: love is what happens when I die is a memoir in poetic form. It is the author’s journey from being a mixed-race girl who passed for white to being a woman in her seventies who understands and accepts her complex intersectional identity; and no longer has to imagine love. It is a follow-up to the author’s previous memoir (prose), Love Imagined: a mixed-race memoir, A Minnesota Book Award finalist.

Advance Praise:

In Septuagenarian, Sherry Quan Lee accepts her own invitation to look at life in retrospect, but with a new lens. Pulling from and expanding upon her previous body of work, she examines the version of herself that was writing at that time. The dignity and fire of her seventy-three-year-old gaze taking in snapshots of those selves…straightens my spine and gives me a vision for myself traveling today into my future septuagenarian. –Lola Osunkoya, MA, LPCC

Sherry Quan Lee writes courageously to understand herself and the world. She uses rich language and her skills as a storyteller to focus her sharp lens on what it means to have a complex, sometimes complicated identity: becoming invisible as she ages, a history of passing unseen, love and sex, grieving and celebration. She ruminates on history, which repeats itself in the current moment and widens her lens to look at the bigger, global picture to tell truths in poems that tenderly hold memory, time, rituals, trauma, mothering, fear of death and love in many forms. Her poems offer deeply personal, intimate and perceptive insights and opportunities to reflect on what it means to truly live. It feels like I’ve taken the journey with her, and I’m wiser for it. –Shay Youngblood, author of Soul Kiss and Black Girl in Paris

I’ve been reading Sherry Quan Lee’s work for almost thirty years and her voice keeps getting stronger, more urgent, deeper. In Septuagenarian, she continues to write out of her past, “the Black/Chinese/girl passing for white,” but the range of her voice is wider now, both inward and outward and it’s anchored by a wisdom that can only be achieved through struggle and time. This is a significant, heartfelt work, one that will help readers to understand not only the author and her life, but also America itself–what we have been, what we are and, hopefully, what we might become. -David Mura, author of A Stranger’s Journey: Race, Identity & Narrative Craft in Writing

Sherry Quan Lee writes with a purity of intention. She has no interest in certain kinds of poetics that conceal, or only honor, adornment. She has her gaze on the long sweep of her personal history. She reflects on old wounds, key mistakes and certain joys. She pushes against clichéd thinking or feeling. She is hard on herself, in these poems, in ways few poets are. She honors the complicated narratives of race, of being female, of living a long life and works to discern the point of it all. I’ve read and taught Sherry Quan Lee’s work for a very long time now and am grateful for this new collection. -Deborah Keenan, author of ten collections of poetry and a book of writing ideas, from tiger to prayer

About the Author:

Sherry Quan Lee, MFA, University of Minnesota; and Distinguished Alumna, North Hennepin Community College, is the editor of How Dare We! Write: a multicultural creative writing discourse. Her most recent book, Love Imagined: a mixed race memoir, was a 2015 Minnesota Book Award Finalist. Previous books include: Chinese Blackbird, a memoir in verse; How to Write a Suicide Note: serial essays that saved a woman’s life; and a chapbook, A Little Mixed Up.

Quan Lee was a selected participant for the Loft Literary Center Asian Inroads Program, and later was the Loft mentor for the same program. Previously, she was the Writer-to-Writer mentor for SASE: The Write Place, at Intermedia Arts. Also, she was the 2015-2016 Loft Literary Center’s Mentor Series poetry mentor. Visit her blog.

Add to GoodReads:

Septuagenarian

Available on Modern History Press, Amazon, Bookshop.

Blog Tour Schedule:

May 12: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (Review)

May 18: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Interview)

May 26: CelticLady’s Reviews (Spotlight)

June 2: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post)

June 8: The Book Connection (Review)

June 21: Luanne Castle’s Writer’s Site (Review)

July 4: Book Dilettante (Guest Post)

July 5: True Book Addict (Review)

July 7: Pages.for.Sanity (Review on Instagram)

July 8: Impressions in Ink (Review)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #Septuagenarian #SherryQuanLee @mhistorypress

Impermanence by Ren Powell (Spring 2021)

Join us for our Spring 2021 blog tour for Impermanence by Ren Powell, published by Mad Orphan Lit in April.

We are the stories, and our bodies books…

This project began with meditation on the idea of impermanence. And with this image, with the body-as-story slowly losing shape. With our narratives falling apart, becoming loose elements that can/will be rearranged in another story. Which is what history is, after all.

The bust was made of plaster and paper mache and was photographed in various locations in the Jæren landscape of Norway. It was supposed to break up slowly in the waterfall during filming. However, it was taken by the current and slipped under an old mill house – trapped by the torrent of water, the wooden beams, and the rocks.

But, well, this is what happens when we try to plan our stories. Isn’t it?

Advance Praise:

“Ren Powell’s Impermanence acts as a reminder, both visual and visceral–in its physiological meaning (the heart, the gut)–that we live in and through the stories we tell. The cursive in her illustrations operates as one of several connectors that loop through her poems until these pictures and words combine to create, as she puts it, origami boxes: “your stories/ folding in on themselves.” – Ann E. Michael, poet

“… you look up day after day surprised by the foreign landscapes of your own making” Ren Powell’s seventh poetry collection dissects the minutiae of life, and puts it back together in different unfamiliar shapes. Impermanence is what we are. In this collection of new poems, Ren Powell turns the human condition into a collage of words, drawings, and the blank spaces between breaths. -Richard Pierce, poet/novelist/radio personality

See the inside pages:

About the Poet:

Ren Powell is a writer and teaching artist. She is a native Californian – now a Norwegian citizen settled on the west coast of Norway. Ren has been a member of The Norwegian Author’s Union since 2005 and has published six full-length collections of poetry and more than two dozen books of translations with traditional publishing houses. Her poetry collections have been purchased by the Norwegian Arts Council for national library distribution, and her poems have been translated and published in eight languages. Ren is currently focusing on handbound poetry collections and mixed media experimentation as Mad Orphan Lit. Learn more about Ren Powell. Follow her on Facebook.

Add to GoodReads:

Impermanence

Available at Mad Orphan Lit and Blurb.

Blog Tour Schedule:

April 20: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (Review)
April 28: the bookworm (Review)
May 12: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Guest Post)
May 25: Soapy Violinist (Review)
June 8: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post)
June 10: Wall-to-Wall Books (Review)
June 18: Necromancy Never Pays (Review)
July 6: Book Connection (Review)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #Impermanence #RenPowell

Passiflora by Kathy Davis (Spring 2021)

passifloraJoin us for our spring blog tour for Kathy Davis’s Passiflora, winner of the 2019 Cider Press Review Book Award and published by Cider Press Review in January 2021.

Advance Praise:

“In this gorgeous debut collection, Kathy Davis announces, ‘I’ve no illusions of control’—yet even as this book celebrates profusion, it manifests aesthetic control, unsentimental intelligence, and tightly leashed feeling. In fields of fleabane and wiregrass, women are taught to suppress their own wildness but burst out anyway in appetite and laughter. Cancer grows inside, jasmine tangles outside, yet this ecopoetic book cultivates restoration and consolation. Reading it is to imagine healing.” —Lesley Wheeler, author of The State She’s In

“Kathy Davis’ poems may begin in the domestic, but almost invariably end in a place that is startling, unfamiliar, and quietly estranging. And, thanks to the exactitude of her style, these transformations never seem less than inevitable. Hers is a voice of unobtrusive confidence, whether she is fashioning wry character studies or stern self-reckonings. These are haunting, bittersweet, and slyly consoling poems. Passiflora is a debut collection of the very first order.” —David Wojahn, author of for the scribe, World Tree and Interrogation Palace

“Intelligence, in its best meanings. The radiant presence of an informed and informing sensibility. An authentic voice with plenty of attitude. We hunger for these characteristics in our engagements with all the arts and hope for nothing less in what we’re willing to call poetry. In Passiflora we encounter the attentive eye of a passionate naturalist in poems that bring light and color—along with ironies and pain—into realizations of human lives reflected and rooted in the eruptions of wild life: the seeds, plants, animals, and landscapes that are the foundations of survival and the potent wellsprings of wisdom and joy. Kathy Davis weaves the most sophisticated, intimate variety of braided poem, as in the consummately crafted ‘For My Son’s Birth Mother,’ an invitation to the vivid observations of a woman walking through a San Diego art exhibit in a poem that subtly yet poignantly reveals the inescapable undercurrent in her thoughts—the intensities of caring for an adopted child. Davis brings to her revelations a kind of taste and judgment that is not about regulation or limitation, but about courage and respect. In these devotional poems, the erotics of the human body are intertwined with the perfumes of flowers and healing herbs in a collection whose every page brings an awakening, an expansion of experience, acutely satisfying a yearning of which we had been unaware.” —Gregory Donovan, author of Torn from the Sun and Founding Editor, Blackbird: an online journal of literature and the arts.

kathy davisAbout the Author:

Kathy Davis is a poet and nonfiction writer from Richmond, VA. She is also the author of the chapbook Holding for the Farrier (Finishing Line Press). Her work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Barrow Street, Blackbird, The Hudson Review, Nashville Review, Oxford American, The Southern Review, storySouth and other journals. Davis holds a BA and MBA from Vanderbilt University and an MFA in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and been a finalist for Best of the Net and the Conger Beasley Jr. Award for Nonfiction.

Add to GoodReads:

Passiflora

Available at Cider Press Review and Amazon.

Blog Tour Schedule:

April 1: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (Review)

April 5: Emzi.reads (Review)

April 6: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post)

April 12: Musings of a Bookish Kitty (Review)

April 20: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Interview)

April 26: Impressions in Ink (Review)

April 28: Suko’s Notebook (Guest Post)

May 3: Anthony Avina’s blog (Guest Post)

May 5: Jorie Loves A Story (Interview)

May 10: Anthony Avina’s blog (Review)

May 11: The Book Connection (Review)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #Passiflora #KathyDavis @CiderPressRev @KathyDavispoet

Anything That Happens by Cheryl Wilder (Spring 2021)

Anything that HappensJoin us for our Spring 2021 blog tour for Cheryl Wilder’s Anything That Happens, a Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection published by Press 53 in March 2021.

At the age of twenty, Cheryl Wilder got behind the wheel when she was too drunk to drive. She emerged from the car physically whole. Her passenger, a close friend, woke up from a coma four months later with a life-changing brain injury. Anything That Happens follows her journey from a young adult consumed by shame and self-hatred to a woman she can live with… and even respect. Along the way, Wilder marries, has a son, divorces, and cares for her dying mother. Anything That Happens examines what it takes to reconcile a past marked by a grave mistake, a present as caregiver to many, and a future that stretches into one long second chance.

A debut poetry collection that examines how to reconcile a past grave mistake and a future that stretches into one long second chance. Cover art, “In bloom” by Coleen Tagnolli.

Advance Praise:

The difficult story of what follows a terrible accident in Anything That Happens has me thinking about the word aftermath, how it means not only dire consequences but second-growth, as new grass after a harvest. Cheryl Wilder’s poems are almost shatteringly direct: they explore guilt and suffering so cleanly and so precisely that every detail testifies, and mercy is ever possible. This is a brave and honorable book. —Nancy Eimers, author of Oz

Anything That Happens is a mature poetic inquiry into the ways early trauma can reverberate through the whole of a life—relationships, family, one’s sense of self. The poems are candid, sharp-edged and very well rendered. You can taste “the bone in the broth” here as Wilder works through the maze of emotion. In the end, we witness change and redemption, but the psychic weight remains. As she aptly describes it: “I am two people now— // the before and the after; one I’ve already forgotten, // the other I have not met.” —Mark Cox, author of Readiness: Prose Poems

CherylWilderAbout the Author:

Cheryl Wilder is the author of Anything That Happens, a Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection (Press 53, 2021), a collection that examines how to reconcile a past grave mistake and a future that stretches into one long second chance. Her chapbook, What Binds Us (Finishing Line Press, 2017), explores the frailty and necessity of human connection.

A founder and editor of Waterwheel Review, Cheryl earned her BFA from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Sign up for her newsletter.

Add to GoodReads:

Anything That Happens

Available at Press 53 and Amazon.

Blog Tour Schedule:

April 1: Diary of an Eccentric (Review)

April 5: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (Review)

April 14: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Interview)

April 21: Impressions in Ink (Review)

April 29: Jorie Loves A Story (Interview/Review)

May 3: Musings of a Bookish Kitty (Review)

May 4: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post)

May 5: Suko’s Notebook (Guest Post)

May 6: Anthony Avina’s Blog (Review)

May 13: Anthony Avina’s Blog (Guest Post)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #AnythingThatHappens #CherylWilder @Press53

What Mothers Withhold by Elizabeth Kropf (Jan.-Feb. 2021)

Join us for our winter blog tour for Elizabeth Kropf’s What Mothers Withhold, published by Finishing Line Press in January 2021.

kropf-elizabeth-webThe poems of “what mothers withhold” are songs of brokenness and hope in a mother’s voice, poems of the body in its fierceness and failings. Elizabeth Kropf’s poems revel in peeling back silence, and invite us to witness a complicated and traumatic world that is also filled with love.

–Cindy Huyser, poet and editor, author of “Burning Number Five: Power Plant Poems.”

With these visceral poems, poet and mother Elizabeth Kropf has composed a chant of the vocabulary of vulnerability. From fertility to conception to birth—or not—and into motherhood, Kropf’s recounting of her experiences compels the reader to enter and acknowledge the power of what mothers endure and withhold.

–Anne McCrady, author of Letting Myself In and Along Greathouse Road

About the Author:

Elizabeth Kropf earned her Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Perelandra College and is widely published in literary publications, including The Texas Poetry Calendar, The Penwood Review, and Windhover: A Journal of Christian Literature.  A dream called her from California to Texas where she now lives with her husband and daughters.

Add to GoodReads:

What Mothers Withhold

Pre-Orders Available at Finishing Line Press.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Jan. 7: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (Review)

Jan. 7: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Interview)

Jan. 12: Unconventional Quirky Bibliophile (Review)

Jan. 14: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Review)

Jan. 20: Wall-to-Wall Books (Review)

Jan 25: Musings of a Bookish Kitty (Review)

Jan. 27: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post)

Feb. 11: Diary of an Eccentric (Review)

Feb. 23: Suko’s Notebook (Guest Post)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #WhatMothersWithhold #ElizabethKropf

Who’s Your Daddy by Arisa White (Oct.-April 2021)

Join us for our Fall 2020-Spring 2021 blog tour for Arisa White’s Who’s Your Daddy, a poetic memoir published in March 2021.

Arisa White - Cover w borderA lyrical, genre-bending coming-of-age tale featuring a queer, Black, Guyanese American woman who, while seeking to define her own place in the world, negotiates an estranged relationship with her father.

Advance Praise:

“Arisa White channels the ear of Zora Neal Hurston, the tongue of Toni Cade Bambara, and the eye of Alice Walker in the wondrous Who’s Your Daddy. She channels Guyanese proverbs, Shango dreams, games of hide and seek, and memories of an absentee father to shape the spiritual condition. What she makes is “a maze that bobs and weaves a new style whenever there’s a demand to love.” What she gives us are archives, allegories, and wholly new songs.” —Terrance Hayes

“In these crisply narrative poems, which unreel like heart-wrenching
fragments of film, Arisa White not only names that gaping chasm between
father and daughter, but graces it with its true and terrible face. Every
little colored girl who has craved the constant of her father’s gaze will
recognize this quest, which the poet undertakes with lyric that is tender
and unerring.” —Patricia Smith

“Somewhere nearing its end, Arisa White says of Who’s Your Daddy, it’s
“a portrait of absence and presence, a story, a tale, told in patchwork
fashion . . .” This exactly says what Who’s Your Daddy is, though it
doesn’t say all it takes to do justice to the mythic paradox an absent
parent guarantees a child, young or grown, or what it takes to live with
and undergo such birthright. There’s not only a father’s absence and
presence, there’s a mother who says “you raise your daughters, and love
your sons,” there are stepfathers, uncles, aunts, cousins, a grandmother,
brothers, lovers, all of whom leave their marks and give and take love.
Surrounding the whole book hovers the questions do I forgive him, and is
forgiveness possible? This beautifully, honestly conceived genius of a book
shook me to the core.” —Dara Wier

Listen to Arisa read from Who’s Your Daddy:

Arisa White-Small photo by Nye Lyn ThoAbout the Author:

Arisa White is a Cave Canem fellow and an assistant professor of creative writing at Colby College. She is the author of four books, including the poetry collection You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened, and coauthor of Biddy Mason Speaks Up, winner of the Maine Literary Book Award for Young People’s Literature and the Nautilus Book Award Gold Medal for Middle-Grade Nonfiction. She serves on the board of directors for Foglifter and Nomadic Press. Find her at arisawhite.com. Photo Credit: Nye’ Lyn Tho

Add to GoodReads:

Who's Your Daddy

Pre-Orders Available at Augury Books and Amazon.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Oct. 12: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post)

Oct. 21: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Review)

Nov. 20: CelticLady’s Reviews (Interview)

Nov. 23: Unconventional Quirky Bibliophile (Review)

Jan. 19: Allonge and emzi_reads (Review)

Feb. 23: Luanne Castle’s Writer Site (Review)

March 18: The Coffee and a Book Chick (Review)

March 25: Anthony Avina Blog (Guest Post)

March 25: Anthony Avina Blog (Review)

April 21: Jorie Loves A Story (Review)

April 27: True Book Addict (Review)

TBD: Everything Distils Into Reading (Review)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #WhosYourDaddyMemoir #ArisaWhite

Out of No Way by Rojé Augustin (Sept.-Nov.)

Join us for our Summer/Fall 2020 tour for Rojé Augustin’s Out of No Way: Madam C.J. Walker & A’Lelia Walker, a poetic drama published in May 2020.

Author, producer and emerging poet Rojé Augustin has written a groundbreaking debut collection of dramatic poems about hair care entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker and her daughter A’Lelia Walker. Out of No Way: Madam C.J. Walker & A’Lelia Walker, A Poetic Dramatracks Walker’s phenomenal rise from penniless orphan to America’s first self-made female millionaire in dramatic verse.

Born Sarah Breedlove to former Louisiana slaves in 1867, Madam C.J. Walker was orphaned at seven, married at 14, became a mother at 17, and was widowed at 20. After the death of her first husband, Sarah moved to St. Louis with her daughter where she earned $1.50 a day as a washerwoman. When her hair starting falling out she developed a remedy and sold her formula across the country. In the process she became the wealthiest Negro woman in America. Rojé’s highly original and accomplished poetry is written through the lens of the mother/daughter relationship via different poetic forms — from lyric poems to haikus, blackout poetry to narrative (one poem takes its inspiration from Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Raven’) — with each chapter addressing issues relevant to their lives at the time.

Written against the backdrop of the Jim Crow era, Out of No Way is ultimately an examination of what W.E.B Du Bois called “conflicting identities.” Sarah was a proud African American on the one hand and a woman seeking America’s acceptance on the other. She was a pauper who achieved the American Dream while denied the rights and protections of the American Constitution. She was a wife, mother, and businesswoman who juggled the demands of family with the demands of career. And she was an orphan who had to transcend a brutal childhood in order to be a loving mother to her child. As Du Bois stated at the time, “One ever feels a two-ness. An American, A Negro…Two warring ideals in one dark body.” Indeed Madam C.J. Walker/Sarah Breedlove was an American and a Negro, as was her daughter, A’Lelia Walker, both of whom likely viewed herself through their own conflicting identities. What did they see?

Out of No Way tells Walker’s remarkable rags-to-riches story by exploring thoughtful questions — What impact did Sarah’s busy work life have on A’Lelia? What was the bond between a mother orphaned so young and the daughter who might wait days or weeks for her return? Could the death of her parents when she was a child have compromised Sarah’s nurturing instincts? How did A’Lelia feel about their newfound wealth? What, if any, were the drawbacks of that wealth?

Check out this video reading of “Why Our Hair Is Not Straight” from the book:

Check out this video reading of “Elegy for my Mother”:

Video Reading of “The Lost Letters”:

“Graves & Thrones” video reading:

3 PSX Red Trench cropped patissier xtra surreal plus 002 film hi resAbout the Author:

Rojé Augustin is a native New Yorker who grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Her first novel, The Unraveling of Bebe Jones, won the 2013 National Indie Excellence Award in African American fiction. She wrote the novel while living in London and Sydney as a stay-at-home-mom. She established Breaknight Films shortly after her move to Sydney in 2009 to develop and produce television projects across a range of formats, including television, web, and audio. Her first Sydney based project was a podcast and visual web series called The Right Space, which explores the relationship between creatives and their workspace. Rojé continues to work as a television producer while also writing in her spare time. She is an Australian citizen who currently lives in Sydney with her Aussie husband and two daughters.

Add to GoodReads:

Out of No Way

Available on Amazon, and here.

Blog Tour Schedule:

TBD: Everything Distils into Reading (Review)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #OutofNoWay #MadamC.J.Walker #RojeAugustin

Enter the Giveaway:

2 copies available (digital for international entrants; print for U.S./Canada entrants) Giveaway ends Nov. 16, 2020.

Girls Like Us by Elizabeth Hazen (May-July 2020)

GIRLS-LIKE-US-COVERJoin us for our Spring 2020 tour for Elizabeth Hazen’s Girls Like Us, published in March 2020.

Girls Like Us is packed with fierce, eloquent, and deeply intelligent poetry focused on female identity and the contradictory personas women are expected to embody. The women in these poems sometimes fear and sometimes knowingly provoke the male gaze. At times, they try to reconcile themselves to the violence that such attentions may bring; at others, they actively defy it. Hazen’s insights into the conflict between desire and wholeness, between self and self-destruction, are harrowing and wise. The predicaments confronted in Girls Like Us are age-old and universal—but in our current era, Hazen’s work has a particular weight, power, and value.

From the book launch at Atomic Books in Baltimore, Md.:

About the Author:

Liz-HeadhotElizabeth Hazen is a poet, essayist, and teacher. A Maryland native, she came of age in a suburb of Washington, D.C. in the pre-internet, grunge-tinted 1990s, when women were riding the third wave of feminism and fighting the accompanying backlash. She began writing poems when she was in middle school, after a kind-hearted librarian handed her Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind. She has been reading and writing poems ever since.

Hazen’s work explores issues of addiction, mental health, and sexual trauma, as well as the restorative power of love and forgiveness. Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, American Literary Review, Shenandoah, Southwest Review, The Threepenny Review, The Normal School, and other journals. Alan Squire Publishing released her first book, Chaos Theories, in 2016. Girls Like Us is her second collection. She lives in Baltimore with her family.

Add to GoodReads:

Girls Like Us

Available on Amazon.

Blog Tour Schedule:

May 4: Musings of a Bookish Kitty (Review)
May 15: Allie Reads (Review)
May 19: the bookworm (Guest Post)
May 26: The Book Lover’s Boudoir (Review)
May 28: Impressions in Ink (Review)
June 9: Everything Distils Into Reading (Review)
June 9: Vidhya Thakkar (Review)
June 12: Read, Write and Life Around It (Review)
June 26: Anthony Avina Blog (Review)
June 26: Anthony Avina Blog (Guest Post)
June 30: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (Review)
July 7: CelticLady’s Reviews (Spotlight/video)
July 9: The Book Connection (Review)
July 14: Diary of an Eccentric (Guest Post)
July 22: Diary of an Eccentric (Review)
TBD: Readaholic Zone (Review)

Sept. Bonus: Review Tales by Jeyran Main (review)

Follow the blog tour with the hashtag #GirlsLikeUs #MeToo #ElizabethHazen

ENTER the Giveaway

Giveaway runs May 4 Through July 24 and you must be 18 or older and have a U.S. Mailing Address to qualify.