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A Small Room with Trouble on My Mind/Brown Bottle/ Drone String: Poems/Voices from the Appalachian Coalfields/ Abandoned Homeland/ Far Country/ Salvatore and Maria/ Wanted: Good Family/ Jack's Memoirs: Off the Road/ Daughters of the Grasslands/Gifted and Talented/ Lake Winds/ And Your Bird Can Sing/ Waiting at the Dead End Diner/ Story Hour/ Stolen Child: A Novel/ On the Flyleaf: Poems/ The Harmonist at Nightfall/ Sky Under the Roof: Poems/ Kenneth Patchen/ Green-Silver and Silent/ Smoke: Poems/ Maggot: A Novel/ American Poet: A Novel/ The Free Farm/ Sinners of Sanction County: Stories
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A Small Room with Trouble on My Mind
and Other Stories
by Michael Henson
"Michael Henson is the Philip Levine of the urban Appalachian working class. His writing is so immediate that you feel the vibrations of guitar strings and sirens, smell beer and sweat, and hear broken glass crunch under your feet. Nothing is pretty in this world, but much is beautiful, seen through Henson’s compassion for his characters and his clarity about generations wrecked by capitalism without conscience. It is our shame as a society that A Small Room with Trouble on My Mind speaks even louder in 2016 than it did when it was first published over thirty years ago. We need this book." ~George Ella Lyon, author of Many-Storied House,
"Mike Henson’s A Small Room With Trouble On My Mind, with its gritty realism and almost utopian faith in the transformative power of art, it provides a compelling voice for yet another disenfranchised, marginalized, and still misunderstood group in American society. Originally published in 1983, Henson’s book continues to resonate. It’s great to have it back in print." ~Norman Finkelstein, Xavier University
Author Michael Henson
by Sheldon Lee Compton
Wade “Brown Bottle” Taylor is an alcoholic uncle trying to protect his nephew Nick from the hardness of their region, Eastern Kentucky, and the world in general. To end Nick's involvement with drugs and drug dealers in the area, Brown must first save himself, overcoming a lifetime spent convinced he is unworthy. Brown Bottle's journey is one of selflessness and love, redemption and sacrifice, if only for a time.
~ Donald Ray Pollock, author of The Devil All the Time…..
"Sheldon Lee Compton is one of the new young breed of Kentucky writers--talented, fearless, and strong--bringing us word from the hills."
~ Chris Offutt, author of Kentucky Straight
Author Sheldon Lee Compton
Voices from the
Mike and Ruth Yarrow
Photographs by Douglas Yarrow
As I write this, the death knell of Appalachian coal is being sounded. Not today, not tomorrow, but soon, coal mining will only support a few people in the region. Mike and Ruth Yarrow have performed a great service. In Voices From the Appalachian Coalfields they have preserved the voices of the men and women who performed the dangerous work of mining in order to power the nation through the 20th century. Coal miners have received little thanks for their sacrifice. Perhaps these voices will remind us that the remaining miners deserve support as they face an uncertain future. ~Denise Giardina, author of Storming Heaven and The Unquiet Earth
This is an important contribution to Appalachian and Working Class studies. Grounded in the lives of Appalachian coal miners and their wives facing harsh economic times, these poems offer a vivid picture of their thoughts, emotions, fears, anger, struggles and courage. Hear their voices. Learn from them. Be inspired by them. ~Steve Fisher, co-editor of Transforming Places: Lessons from Appalachia
Sherry Cook Stanforth
“In this fully mature first book, Sherry Cook Stanforth braids together place, family, and music in imagery that ranges from homey as “hominy and banjos” to taut as a dulcimer’s string. Drone String re-members the familial past, and imagines how, through the integrative
power of tradition and memory, that past is part of now, insistent and intact.
Vivid portraits and telling anecdotes remind us that all our lives are worthy, full
of stories and meaning. A professor-musician, and part of a family band for decades, Stanforth has an ear for how people really sound, and for how poetry dances language into song.” ~Dick Hague, author of Where Drunk Men Go
92 pgs. $16.00
Author Sherry Cook Stanforth
Salvatore and Maria
Paul L. Gentile
Paul Gentile takes you along on Salvatore’s journey as he leaves Italy in 1902, works in the mines of Colorado, falls in love with Maria and moves to the Pittsburgh area to work in the mills. Like so many of that time, Salvatore rarely complains and takes his greatest joy in his family. The story that Gentile weaves here will ring true to nearly everyone in America. This book is for historians as well as those who enjoy a good family story. ~Kathleen Ganster
Through fine writing and a remarkable level of research, Paul L. Gentile’s book is a compelling read, a powerful reminder of our shared history as American immigrants. ~Karen Kotrba
270 pgs. $18.00
Author, Paul L. Gentile
Daughters of the Grasslands
Mary Woster Haug
A Midwest Gem
Here is a beautifully written book of family and life woven into the author's life in South Dakota and in Korea.
Mary Woster Haug offers a lovely, ruminative book transcending usual boundaries of memoir and travel writing. Set in modern, bustling Korea during a teaching year abroad, but forever grounded within implicating memories from South Dakota's stark landscape, Haug's writing evokes the intoxications of boiled silkworm, blood sausage, and Korean kimchi. These appear amid wafting tugs of childhood illness, a sometimes overanxious mother, and the magic of a childhood in Lakota country....Such intricate artistry, dating back some twenty-two centuries in Korea, fashions Haug's own book where knots of writer observation and memory grow all the stronger for our efforts to unravel them. ~Daniel W. Lehman, Co-Editor of River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative
978-1-933964-92-8 200 pgs. $18.00
Author Mary Woster Haug
Stories from Abroad and Other Places
ISBN 978-1-933967-87-4 152 pgs. $17
Far Country: Stories from Abroad and Other Places
Harmony Memoir Series
"Timothy Kenny’s Far Country moves from Kabul to Detroit, Azerbaijan to Kosovo, and the connecting thread is not the obvious adventure but human relationships. Each essay is a story we fall into, story after story connected through relationship and observation, from darkness to the next darkness. Kenny’s essays are not just reports from the front but a fascinating set of hard-won observations on any front, any complex of situations, that any of us might encounter." ~Trish Harris, editor Pea River Journal
“War reporting from foreign lands is an exciting business, but the drama is as likely to involve hostile passport officers and feral dogs as whizzing bullets. In Far Country, Tim Kenny shares his memorable adventures, separated from the events and characters that dominated the headlines of the day. From Berlin to Prague to Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Sarajevo, these stories tell what it was really like to be there at the time.” ~Tom Gjelten, National Public Radio correspondent and author
152 pgs. $17.00
Author Timothy Kenny
Jack's Memoirs: Off the Road
by Kurt Landefeld
If Jack Kerouac had lived, what might he have done and written? Kurt Landefeld opens the doors on this for us in his remarkable novel.
"This is a moving tribute to Kerouac, whom Kurt Landefeld brilliantly resurrects in this imaginative triumph. He gives Kerouac a new lease on life (in more ways than one) in this finely executed novel. It’s a 'must read' for anyone who values Kerouac, the Sixties, and the created worlds of those whose eyes see what might have been. Bravo.” ~Dennis Baumwoll, professor emeritus Bucknell University
"Against all odds, Kurt Landefeld has located another fold within Jack Kerouac's watery heart. This road loa à gogo jolts us one more time toward a deep, intentional, and moral narrative, which is the perennial kernel speaking simultaneously through Landefeld and all the great American angels that memory honors". ~Kenneth Warren, author of Captain Poetry's Sucker Punch
290 pgs. $20
Author Kurt Landefeld
Reviewed by Peter M. Fitzpatrick in US Review of Books
The author has provided close to six hundred pages of an extended meditation on Kerouac, America in 1970, and the role and function of literature. This is in concert with Kerouac's own Buddhist leanings and methodologies. He has invented a patchwork of historical introspection, poetic flourish, and psychological investigation reminiscent of Dostoyevsky's "Underground Man." Both are sick men, first person interlocutors who ruthless analyze their moral failings. The character arc is long and engagingly ornate. The language ranges from prosaic to poetic in seductive evocation that drives the reader forward seeking redemption along with the novel's narrator. Like a Kerouac novel, the plot is secondary, but that does not mean drama and interest are absent. This Kerouac is perhaps more friendly, more honest, more accessible than the one so distant in time. The author clearly loves his subject, and his creative effort shows intelligence combined with a gentle handling that justifies the effort. It is courageous, not cavalier. US Review...complete review link
Gifted and Talented: A Novel
Rachel sends her son Crispin to honors magnet elementary school. Here they meet a variety of academically and socially pushy parents and their children. During their adventures of one school year, the bias of a system that categorizes instead of teaches and accepts is exposed. Racial, economic, and intellectual bigotry are all encountered--sometimes with laughter, sometimes with tears, but always with insight.
GIFTED AND TALENTED slyly considers the definition of sanity in the context of gifted education for children. Cheerfully irreverent and broadly empathetic, this page turner is an extraordinary combination of brilliant comedy and cautionary tale. Characters are too rich, thin, poor, smart, New Age, religious, and driven, yet it's the steady alternative families who exhibit wisdom and live life so lustily it creates envy in the reader. Should third graders be asked to perform to such impossible standards? Anyone who has been there and done that will nod in recognition while appreciating the devilishly good prose of the very gifted and talented Ms. Watts. ~Lynn Pruett, author of Ruby River
In our Appalachian Writing Series...204 pages...$18
Larry Smith writes of life's constant and precious things--sunrises, birds, gardens, breakfasts, dogs, front porches and back yards. Teachers and poets. Parents and children. Those things that do not go away. Here is the conscious realization of all of them together as one in a personal matrix as simple and pure as the music of the moon. - mark s. kuhar, author of mercury in retrograde
Seasoned poems by veteran writer.
218 pages $18
Waiting at the
Dead End Diner
A Book of Poems that Reads Like a Novel
With a spot-on ear for dialogue and a solid feel for gestural nuance, Rebecca Schumejda sweeps us swiftly into the late-night chatter and dish clanking of the Dead End Diner. In this collection, we meet a memorable cast of prickly though resilient characters who simultaneously shrink and expand under the high-pressure cooker of life. Cinematic in its conception, I can't help but think of Robert Altman's Short Cuts, or some of Raymond Carver's best for that matter. Waiting at the Dead End Diner is a deft exploration of the complicated forces embodied in gender, unreciprocated love, ethnic and religious stereotype, and economic class, where participants dream big and live hard in the face of unflinching obstacles. If I could purchase one meal at any hour, it would undoubtedly be Rebecca Schumejda's latest. --Manuel Paul López, author of The Yearning Feed
Further Review in Poet Hound with Sample Poems
204 pgs. $18.00
Author Rebecca Schumejda
And Your Bird Can Sing
by Robert Miltner
Like the magician in one of his stories, Robert Miltner makes things appear and disappear, amusing and unsettling us at once. These are provocative narratives of working people with all the punch of wit and all the lyricism of poetry…. If you’re looking for plot twists and engaging ambiguity, here they are. If you're looking for open endings, characters you may live next door to, or may have had a drink with, or an affair with, or may have heard tell of, here they are. If you’re looking for poignant and wry situations cast as sudden fictions and prose poems, you’ll want to read And Your Bird Can Sing. ~ Richard Hague
Review in Ohioana Newsletter: "The short stories in this collection reflect Miltner’s background in poetry; they have been described as “playful, inventive, and rhythmic,” and portray working people with realistic poignancy and ambiguity."
Review in Nomadic Press: "With every story, Miltner exercises incredible descriptive foresight and leaves nothing on the table. There is no way to know what to expect from page to page—the author has created a collection of short stories that rivals nearly any that I’ve read." -James Bonner
In our Working Lives Series
120 pgs. $16
Author Robert Miltner
& Other Stories
10 new stories by the award winning writer
In Story Hour, Robert Flanagan tells masterfully rendered, hard-edged tales of the tough lives of men and women struggling to get by on the edges of America's heartland. Not a word rings false in this unsparingly honest collection. These stories bring to mind those wonderful, spare Springsteen songs about characters who make the wrong decisions and pay the price.
~Ronald K. Fried, author of Corner Men
There is violence here, and courage and caring, the intense sorrows and joys, the victories and defeats that define the human condition. These stories will entertain you and enrich your understanding of life in the American heartland.
~Annabel Thomas, author of Stone Mountain Man
Author Robert Flanagan
On the Flyleaf
Herbert Woodward Martin
The ingenious conversational mode of On the Flyleaf yields many variations of style and mood, yet Herb Martin’s wit and wonder shine through them all. Martin is as generous as any poet I know, and this book is exacting, troubling, and exhilarating in its tracings of the human predicaments that force us to “believe in the catastrophe of love.” ~Jeff Gundy author of Spoken Among the Trees
It isn't easy to write with a gentle voice that's also stiletto sharp, but Herb Martin has done it here. He is a national treasure. On the Flyleaf is filled with gems, ones you'll want to share with loved ones.
~Ralph Keyes, author of The Courage to Write
*Nominated for a Pushcart Prize
106 pages $15.00
Herbert Woodward Martin
Sky Under the Roof
Hilda Downer's poems in Sky Under The Roof affected me deeply. The poems are powerful expressions of hard truths of human life. They are beautiful, sophisticated, brave poems that do not flinch from the challenges of living and of writing. Grounded in details of Appalachian life and land, Hilda Downer's poems are products of a good heart, mature sensibility and developed talent. These poems have moved me and taught me about things I thought I knew but didn't. –Gurney Norman (former Poet Laureate of Kentucky)
Hilda Downer’s splendid new book of poems does just what its title promises. It magically melds the realm of the natural world – its mystery, its unbridled impulse toward the sacred – with the daily offices of domestic life deep in the mountains of Downer’s beloved Appalachia….Sky Under the Roof brings it all back, restored, and rarified in the preternatural light of Downer’s dazzling poetry. –Joseph Bathanti (Poet Laureate of North Carolina)
126 pages...$ 16.00 (special $15.00 and free shipping from Bottom Dog Press)
*Nominated for a Pushcart Prize
Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize
Green-Silver and Silent: Poems
"Marc Harshman knows these people, these places, and he has the wisdom of someone who knows when to be quiet, when to watch, and listen, so that he can come to us and tell these heart-felt stories. These poems earn their keep, weaving together the physical and spiritual worlds in a landscape that can both sustain us and break our hearts." -Jim Daniels, author of Show and Tell: Selected Poems
*Nominated for a Pushcart Prize
Author Marc Harshman
The poems in Jeanne Bryners Smoke reveal her to be an angel of mercy not only in her work with patients but also in her ability to create poems that comfort and guide us as we face universal fears: sickness, personal and societal abuse, family tragedy, physical pain and emotional longing. Her poems dig deep, reaching what Emily Dickinson called the zero at the bone. - Cortney Davis, author of The Hearts Truth: Essays on the Art of Nursing
"Much of Bryner's writing speaks of things she could not talk about before she became a writer. As she says in "Why the Nurse Retired Early," she needed time to go over her life, to come to understand the truths she was too busy to see in the thick of things, to go "to the altar of my desk asking for words to paint what's sacred." She tells the truth in the most exact and tough images. They have a spiritual rightness to them, even as they make you wince. " NYU Medicine and Humanities
96 pages $15Jeanne Bryner
"When it comes to novels written about boot camp life in the United States military, nothing compares to Robert Flanagan's revealing and wonderfully written classic, Maggot."
-Donald Ray Pollock
A thousand miles from the nearest war zone--in a foreign country call the U.S. Marine Corps, a few good men are finding out what living hell is all about. The place: Parris Island, S.C. The time: basic training. For Tom Adamczyk and Joe Waite--two of the seventy raw recruits of Platoon 197--it's a bizarre and violent journey into degradation, fear, and confusion under the onslaught of drill instructor Sgt. Maguire. Maguire is out to turn lowly maggots into Marines--and he'll use any means he can. But when Maguire crosses the line between cruelty and sadism, and an official investigation is launched, each man is forced to make a choice between the truth and a lie. And for Adamczyk and Waite the choice will shape the rest of their lives--not as maggots, or Marines, but as men.
Author Robert Flanagan
The Free Farm
A Novel by Larry Smith
In this sequel to his The Long River Home novel, the characters move on into the turbulence and idealism of the late 1960s and early 1970s on an Appalachian farm commune.
"Forbidden love. Counter-culture. The shadow of Vietnam. Sexual revolution. Social unrest. Marijuana and LSD. In this intriguing coming-of-age novel by Larry Smith, The Free Farm, we journey back to America’s turbulent late 60s and early 70s…. Smith provides a unique window into Lee’s young life that is driven by idealism, love of Emerson and Thoreau, and devotion to his beautiful partner, who practices Zen, meditates, and can fix cars….In this realistic yet often surprising and tender novel, a quoted line from 'The Waking' by Theodore Roethke serves as a guidepost: 'I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow/ I feel my fate in what I cannot fear/ I learn by going where I have to go.'" ~ Laura Treacy Bentley, author of Lake Effect
*Nominated for a Pushcart Prize 2011
Author Larry Smith