Another Crescent Moon
Another Crescent Moon
a novel by Josh Cook
Publication Date: October 1, 2023
The story of Cliff Emerson, a man with cerebral palsy and a big heart but no voice, and his friendship with Ayo, a new caregiver who listens differently — and takes big risks to help him feel more human.
Cliff’s unheard narrative, told from his perspective, traces the history of his care, from his time in the state hospital to his move into the group home where he has lived for twenty years. Though it was designed to help him grow his independence, his group home program often fails him. His staff are lazy and complacent and their superiors aloof and unobservant. It seems like Cliff’s the only one who sees this — until the day that Ayo starts.
Ayo is new not only to Cliff’s home but to America. Where he came from and why he left are mysteries. He doesn’t like to talk about it much. But his optimism, like his smile, is infectious, and Cliff soon learns to trust him. For Cliff, it is a revelation, being understood by someone without having said a word. All that was required was willingness and patience, things staff haven’t given him in a long time. As Cliff begins to see himself through Ayo’s caring gaze, he starts believing that he deserves and is able to live a life as full as anyone’s. The challenge is convincing those in power of this truth.
Reminiscent of Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, this novel is unflinching in its portrayal of disability care and also, more broadly, of life in America. It is touching and darkly comic, at times bordering on the absurd. But at its core, it is the story of a man in search of something meaningful in a time and place opposed to his whole being, and yet who, with Ayo’s help, manages to maintain his sense of dignity and personhood — and, for the first time, to taste real freedom.
The Beautiful Losses
The Beutiful Losses
by Frederick Pollack
Publication Date: September 1, 2023
The Beautiful Losses is an unusually beautiful book, telling with wit, irony and occasional satire, stories that feel lived, advancing thematically towards a kind of goal. The stories are informed by a complex of loves — ‘Our fridge, the size of love’ is a generous fridge. The voices are often those of older people in conversation. Moving through the world they have memory, resentment, anger, but integrity, too, so they hang on to the possibility of rapport. They keep talking, and the end — even at the very end of the book — is not silence. Old age has a very different sensuality from what the young enjoy, and it is wonderful to find it here so intensely evoked, so that the reader lives it.
— Michael Schmidt, editor of Carcanet and PN Review..
Frederick Pollack is an American poetry treasure. He has written a huge amount, with an almost unparalleled dedication to poetry; The Beautiful Losses compiles poems from several collections. The world of Pollack’s witnessing is often urban and somewhat sinister. Something or someone that may or may not be named is always lurking, even in the shadows of plain sight. It is a world where “An unmarked plane is an inside joke,” and the point is neither pain nor information; “The point, ultimately, is procedure . . .” Pollack is an incomparable examiner of the procedures that govern human life, that make it at once beautiful and horrible. Walking through any cityscape with this American Original is itself a poetic act; and his work, I think, will outlive that of many more honored contemporaries.
— Robert McDowell, editor, publisher, author, and poet.
The Beautiful Losses is a delight to read — the poems are brilliant, often wry and ironic, or humorous, with portrayals that are fearless and unforgiving. Pollack presents us with a complex world. He explores the personal and the public spheres, the emotional and the intellectual, and a prodigious range of themes: the culture wars and aesthetic values, power, international bureaucracies and their position papers, vaccines and infrastructure, “focus groups that never quite focus,” time machines, love. He masters lofty themes, yet we get concrete details: of specks on an old mirror, he writes, “here an insect/ secreted or died, there a passing drink spattered.” Pollack will infect you with his insatiable curiosity: where else will you find poems where you'll meet Zeno, Sophocles, Corelli, Viera da Silva, the Beat poets, William Corbett, Harold Bloom and his School of Resentment, Godzilla & King Kong, and engage intellectually with someone who says “my aim/ is to own and emasculate/ all gods.”? The Beautiful Losses is poetry worth a second and third reading.
— Vinod Busjeet, author of Silent Winds, Dry Seas.
Publication date: November 1, 2023
Voices from the Past
Voices from the Past
by Peter Mladinic
Publication Date: November 1, 2023
Voices from the Past is about memory. It’s about beauty, loss, destruction, despair, and joy.
It’s about things both local and universal, the individual and the community. Its words represent people, places, things of yesterday and today. It’s a book about reflecting on the past to live well in the present.
How something is said is equally as important as what is said. Poems in Voices from the Past are spoken in the poet’s voice and in the voices of others, characters who muddle through perplexities, who inhabit a world in which there are no easy answers.
It’s a book about the self alone and with others, and universal verities such as cowardice, courage, envy, pride, sacrifice, hope, fear, unconditional and imperfect love. It’s about suffering and joy, about what it means to remember and what it means to be human. The illogical coexists with the logical, the mundane with the profound. The extraordinary is found in the ordinary. It’s about looking back and going forward.
The poems aim to show the dignity of all people, and of all living things.
Being a book about lives at once ordinary and uncommon, special in varied ways, the poems reflect any one person’s moods at particular times, and any one person’s life’s journey at particular times. Religion, art, music, politics, gender, race and nature are some of the concerns in these poems. Language itself is a concern, language as a medium of communication from one individual to another, and from one individual to a group or a community. The poems are about tangible things and human situations, about relationships and about how individuals see themselves. The abiding notion is we live in a world with others who are both near and far.
What one does, or does not do impacts others. Words have consequences and words redeem. Poetry itself has the power of redemption. Some years ago a poet said that poetry brought him back to life. The poems in this book have that high aim, to give hope, to enhance the quality of a person’s life, to find out of despair joy, out of misery happiness, out of restlessness solace.
— Peter Mladinic
A Life Lived Differently
A Life Lived Differently
by Kathryn Jacobs and Rachel Jacobs
A poignant portrait of autism in verse and prose. The poet speaks in the voice of the autistic child, whose name is Dan. The prosaist speaks in the voice of the parent. This is a unique interpretation of the experience of living on the spectrum.
Although Dan is fictional, he is based on real people. Kathryn Jacobs, who identifies as autistic, writes his viewpoint in poetry which is both lyrical and down to earth. She is Dan, in writing and sometimes in emotional reality also. Rachel Jacobs writes as the mom and Dan’s primary caregiver. Dan has a brother. His father is absent from the narrative. Dan's parents seem to be divorced and the pressure of parenting a special-needs child was part of it.
Dan may be fictional but there is no question that the portrayal of autism is real. Readers with firsthand experience ‘feel seen’. Dan is loved. Perhaps this is why we are granted the privilege of entering his world.
This articulate portrayal of autism opens a door to the world and experiences of a child who faces the challenges we all do but sees and understands in a different way. At times amusing, sometimes wry, often surprising, this account offers an unparalleled view into living on the spectrum. This collection of poetry and prose is being enthusiastically welcomed by autists, their caregivers, families, friends, and by teachers.
You don’t have to have autism or have personal experience with it to enjoy the poetry and prose in this book. All you need is an interest in A Life Lived Differently. Understanding related behaviors such as masking, stimming, and being overwhelmed by sensory stimulation will uncover further layers in the book’s contents, but the poems and stories are also beautifully written from a literary perspective.
This book celebrates the strength and beauty of a unique individual living with neurodiversity/Autism and offers sometimes startling and often heartwarming insights into one such life.
Knives on a Table
Knives on a Table
A richly varied collection of 62 poems by Peter Mladinic
Cover art by Paul Klee
6” x 9” 99 pages
“I have been an admirer of Peter Mladinic’s poetry for forty years. The narrative elements appeal to me, and many of these poems are inherently dramatic. But what excites me even more is his beguiling language and imagery, the unpredictable nature of his fertile, mysterious imagination. This rich collection represents a first-rate poet at his absolute best. What a beautiful book.”
— Steve Yarbrough, author of The Unmade World, winner of the 2019 Massachusetts Book Award for Fiction.
“The title says it all. This is a book of poems by a poet who is a skilled storyteller, but where the poet takes us in the poetry of this book is not necessarily where we expected to go. Knives and tables are commonplace facts of daily life and Mladinic takes us into the lives of ordinary people who become extraordinary in moments and happenings. Just as knives on a table are rife with metaphor and edgy multi-connotations, so too are the narratives Mladnic has crafted into the fine poems of this substantial volume.”
— Glen Sorestad, Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan 2000-2004, and author of over twenty volumes of poetry.
“In this richly varied collection, Peter Mladinic’s myriad voices reveal his extraordinary gift for lyric storytelling. The speakers in his fresh and unexpected dramatic monologues populate a universe of recognizably American experience, telling of joys and horrors, childhood memories, murders committed, lovers desired and lost, lives fractured, heartbreak endured and survived (or not). An always believable surrealism of the everyday sometimes takes us into the dream life of families, births and deaths, moments full of illumination and love, sorrow and exhilaration. Mladinic’s poems are all about the inescapable reality of others whom he fully imagines in all their unforgettable poignance and irrepressible vitality. His disciplined, energetic, highly pressured free verse and brilliant attention to local detail celebrate life — its tragedy, its comedy, its romance and abundance — all the while taking into account, with the deepest compassion, the relentless passage of time.”
— Elizabeth Frank, Pulitzer Prize winner in 1986 for her biography Louise Bogan: A Portrait.
Peter Mladinic lives in Hobbs, New Mexico. He was born and raised in New Jersey and has lived in the Midwest and in the South. He enlisted in the United States Navy and served for four years. He received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas in 1985, and taught English for thirty years at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs. He has edited two books: Love, Death, and the Plains; and Ethnic Lea: Southeast New Mexico Stories, which are available from the Lea County Museum Press, as are his three volumes of poetry: Lost in Lea, Dressed for Winter, and his most recent book, co-authored with Charles Behlen, Falling Awake in Lovington. He is a past board member of the Lea County Museum and a former president of the Lea County Humane Society. An animal activist, he supports numerous animal rescue groups. Two of his main concerns are to bring an end to the euthanizing of animals in shelters and to help get animals in shelters adopted into caring homes. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga, listening to music, reading, and spending time with his six dogs. Recently, his poems have been published in numerous online journals in the US, Canada, England, Ireland, and Australia.
Law of the Jungle
Rowena Aldus is a British scientist living in the Amazonian jungle of Venezuela where she is studying spider venom which may prove a cure for ED. She meets an angel investor and falls in love, only to have her dreams and her life shattered.
The secrets of the South American jungle are worth millions to the right person. Christina Hoag’s riveting, atmospheric narrative reveals a twisty tale of betrayal reminding us where the seeds of greed are sown, revenge grows. A thrilling, captivating read.
— James L’Etoile, author of Black Label, At What Cost, and Bury the Past.
A sweet tale of revenge, set in the jungle, and served up like a tropical drink. Rowena Aldus is everything you could want in a heroine — smart, bold, and coming into her own. Readers will root for her as she takes on start-ups, junk science, and a villain slimier than an Amazonian slug.
— Jenny Milchman, Mary Higgins Clark award winning author of Cover of Snow and The Second Mother.
A brilliant, flawed protagonist, exotic locations, and a compelling plotline, Law of the Jungle will crawl under your skin and set up camp until an ending that you won’t see coming.
— Elena Taylor, author of All We Buried and the Eddie Shoes Mystery Series.
This gripping tale of betrayal set in the Amazon jungle of Venezuela features a British scientist, an American venture capitalist, cocaine production, and natural remedies The protagonist's journey will keep you on the edge of your seat..
6” x 9” 114 pages
Perfect bound paperback $12.00