Happy to announce that we’ll be publicizing two forthcoming books from Spuyten Duyvil Press: How To Walk Away, by Lisa Birman; and Talking To The Dead, by Rachel Hadas. More about the books and their writers below:
About How To Walk Away:
After three years in Afghanistan, Otis is adjusting to life back home. Struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, he obsessively replays the traumas of war, cataloging the names of the dead. Cat, his wife, is a genealogist who makes maps of families in an attempt to understand her world. When a car accident takes Otis’s left arm, he’s grateful to bear a physical loss that makes his damaged emotional self visible. As he recovers, he and Cat confront the silences upon which their marriage is built.
Lisa Birman is the author of How To Walk Away, forthcoming from Spuyten Duyvil Press; For That Return Passage—a Valentine for the United States of America (Hollowdeck Press, 2008); and co-editor of Civil Disobediences: Poetics and Politics in Action (Coffee House Press, 2004). She has published several chapbooks of poetry, and her work has appeared in Floor Journal, Milk Poetry Magazine, Revolver, and not enough night. She teaches for Naropa University’s MFA in Creative Writing.
About Talking to the Dead:
All the essays in Talking to the Dead not only use language but are about language, each one collapsing time in different ways. One piece finds Rachel Hadas searching through her long-dead father’s books to learn his thoughts about teaching. In other essays, Walt Whitman’s or Pindar’s words come unbidden to help express and humanize Hadas struggles, whether bathing her demented and aphasic husband, or watching him sleep. In another, she moderates a fictive round-table discussion about reading, writing, and teaching, whose participants include Willa Cather, Charles Dickens, Colm Toibin, Andrew Delbanco, E.M. Forster, Nicholas Murray Butler, and others. The extended, rhapsodic essays are punctuated by shorter pieces, which tend to focus on a single personality, like Alan Ansen; or experience, like translating a poem by Sylvia Plath into Modern Greek. Talking to the Dead is a poet’s prose, prose located at the crossroads where memoir, literary journalism, belles-lettres, and poetry meet, endeavoring to apply literature to experience in such as a way as to illuminate both the life lived and the words on the page.
Rachel Hadas studied classics at Harvard, poetry at Johns Hopkins, and comparative literature at Princeton. Between college and graduate school she spent four years in Greece, an experience that surfaces variously in much of her work. Since 1981 she has taught in the English Department of the Newark (NJ) campus of Rutgers University, and has also taught courses in literature and writing at Columbia and Princeton, as well as serving on the poetry faculty of the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and the West Chester Poetry Conference. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, an Ingram Merrill Foundation grant in poetry, and an award in literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Hadas is the author of many books of poetry, prose, and translations. A memoir about her husband’s illness, Strange Relation, was published by Paul Dry Books in 2011. A new book of poems, “The Golden Road,” was published by Northwestern University Press in the fall of 2012.