Join us, alongside our friends at Four Way Books, for an evening celebrating the launch of their Fall 2023 list, with four acclaimed writers across genre and medium. Four Way Books is a Nonprofit Literary Publisher based in New York.
In the long limbo of post-viral syndrome, Julia Guez aptly frames the recursive paralysis of pandemic rhetoric, whose seeming transitions always arrive at the same uncertainty: “and then what / and then / what, what / then.” The Certain Body captures life with illness—how the body moves through disease and rests in the liminal space of otherness. Following the speaker through a harrowing and disorienting SARS-Cov-2 infection, readers witness the poet’s gradual refortification as Guez traverses all facets of sickness: its mercies, its pleasures, its gratitudes, its reliefs, its gorgeousnesses. Probing, sharp poems centering an awareness of human ephemerality answer the words of Viktor Shklovsky: “And art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony.” In “If Indeed I Am Ill,” Guez writes, “These sonatas, these scores, tell me / what of them will last when everything falls away—” Through these lyric expressions, Guez shows us not just how art can heal but how healing is art, a modality of acceptance, the meaning in the process, a mosaic of imperfections that creates and embraces what is.
Julia Guez is a writer and translator based in the city of New York. Her essays, interviews, fiction, poetry and translations have appeared in Guernica, POETRY, The Guardian, BOMB, The Brooklyn Rail, and Kenyon Review. She has been awarded the Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize, a Fulbright Fellowship and The John Frederick Nims Memorial Prize in Translation as well as a translation fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. For the last decade, Guez has worked with Teach For America New York; she’s currently the senior managing director of design and implementation. She teaches creative writing at NYU and Rutgers. You can find more of her work online at www.juliaguez.net.
In his daring sophomore collection, Nathan McClain interrogates his speaker’s American heritage, history, and responsibility. Investigating myth, popular culture, governance and more, Previously Owned connects a villanelle cataloging Sisyphus’s circular workflow to a Die Hard persona poem critiquing police brutality and joins complex pastorals to the stunning sequence entitled “They said I was an alternate,” which recounts the author’s experience serving on jury duty. Though McClain’s muscular lyric explores a wide range of topics, the intensity of his attention and the profundity of his care remain constant — the final page describes a young girl in a diner, ringing the bell at the host stand, “just to hear it sing, the same / song, the only song // it knows.” Insofar as this collection scrutinizes one’s own culpability and responsibility in this country, interested in the natural world and beauty, as well as what beauty distracts us from, it does so in the hopes of reimagining inheritance, of leaving our children a different song.
Nathan McClain was born and raised in the lower desert of Southern California. He is the author of Scale (Four Way Books, 2017), a recipient of fellowships from The Frost Place, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and a graduate of the M.F.A. Program for Writers at Warren Wilson. A Cave Canem fellow, his poems and prose have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Green Mountains Review, Guesthouse, The Common, and The Critical Flame, among others. He is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing and African American Literary Arts at Hampshire College and serves as poetry editor of the Massachusetts Review.
In Doug Anderson’s newest collection, Undress, She Said, we accompany a speaker undaunted by the complex reckonings of history, evolving relationships, and an aging body, a speaker that, besieged by a storm, resolves to “set out into it, the wind / playing the rigging like a harp.” Over and over in these pages, Anderson makes music of the gales and rain and turbulent sea. These poems voyage from the subtle violences of a religious upbringing to complex remembrances of time served in the Vietnam War to contemporary emergencies of real and political plagues. Yet, no matter the subject, compassion rudders these lyrics as they turn always and at last to myriad beloveds — the enigmatic Angel of Death, literary and mythological influences, kind strangers, the constantly elusive and elusively constant moon. These words reach out to its readers the way the poet addresses frozen joy from the confines of winter: “Red berry trapped in ice, / let me touch you.”
Doug Anderson’s first book of poetry, The Moon Reflected Fire, won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award in 1995, and Blues for Unemployed Secret Police received a grant from the Eric Mathieu King Fund of the Academy of American Poets. His memoir Keep Your Head Down: Vietnam, the Sixties, and a Journey of Self-Discovery was published by W. W. Norton in 2009. His work has appeared in many literary journals including Asheville Poetry Review, Field, Nine Mile, Ploughshares, Poetry, Southern Review, Massachusetts Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. He has received fellowships and grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and other funding organizations. In addition to poetry and creative nonfiction he has written plays, screenplays, and journalism. His most recent book of poems is Horse Medicine (Barrow Street Press, 2015). He has taught in the Pacific University of Oregon and Bennington College MFA programs, and he is a teaching affiliate of the Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Its Social Consequences at UMASS Boston. He has written critical work for the Boston Globe, Counterpunch, the New York Times Book Review, and the Times Literary Supplement (London).
What do global combat and property ownership have to do with sex and sea turtles? According to Daniel Wolff—as it turns out, everything. More Poems about Money looks at the economic times we live in, from boom to bust, from the suburbs to the warzone, in a voice that ranges from humorous to desperate. Grappling with monetary value and how it infringes on self worth, Wolff asks simultaneously timeless and timely questions—Who has capital, who doesn’t, and does that ever change?—in a style both humorous and unflinching, sparing not even himself. “‘The market runs on credit,” Wolff reminds us, “which romantics call yearning. / A flame. Or a sonnet.” Yes, art also participates in capitalism as our lyrics stoke the fire of want, fueling this system and getting snuffed by it. Pivoting from the Great Recession toward today’s crisis, this undaunted book illuminates the transactions we aren’t supposed to talk about, beckoning us toward the future we can’t imagine… yet.
Daniel Wolff, as poet, has published three previous collections and a chapbook, made appearances in many
literary magazines, been anthologized, collaborated with dancers, sculptors, and print-makers, mailed fictitious letter-poems, done performance pieces, printed broadsides, tacked poems up illegally in subway cars and installed them in peep-shows. He’s read across the country as well as on air. He’s also published a number of award-winning books as a non-poet.
In the long limbo of post-viral syndrome, Julia Guez aptly frames the recursive paralysis of pandemic rhetoric, whose seeming transitions always arrive at the same uncertainty: "and then what / and then / what, what / then." The Certain Body captures life with illness-how the body moves through disease and rests in the liminal space of otherness.
In his daring sophomore collection, Nathan McClain interrogates his speaker's American heritage, history, and responsibility.
In Doug Anderson's newest collection, Undress, She Said, we accompany a speaker undaunted by the complex reckonings of history, evolving relationships, and an aging body, a speaker that, besieged by a storm, resolves to "set out into it, the wind / playing the rigging like a harp." Over and over in these pages, Anderson makes music of the gales and rain and turbulent sea.
What do global combat and property ownership have to do with sex and sea turtles? According to Daniel Wolff-as it turns out, everything. More Poems about Money looks at the economic times we live in, from boom to bust, from the suburbs to the warzone, in a voice that ranges from humorous to desperate.