My friend Jennifer Pieroni's novella, Danceland, had just been released. The book draws from Stravinky's interpretation of the mythical Firebird. It is a beautiful book, and a fast read. Here is what I said about it:
“In her debut novella Danceland, Jennifer Pieroni has exquisitely captured an archaic loneliness we often associate with childhood. Danceland explores the blurred lines between the beauty of solitude and the deep ache of loneliness with grace and elegance. The emotional stuff of the book is powerful and lingering. It is a gorgeous accomplishment ”
—Claudia Smith, author of Quarry Light
Elizabeth Ellen's FAST MACHINE
Back when I had a blog, many moons ago, I used to talk about other people's books. I am going to start doing that again. Here is what I have to say on Goodreads about Elizabeth Ellen's FAST MACHINE.
I loved this book. I've been reading Elizabeth Ellen for years, but I was not prepared for scope of this collection. I can tell you my favorites - probably 1984 and Halfsies - but I read all these pieces interdependently, and the momentum they build is breathtaking. Really. I felt like the breath was knocked out of me when I had finished.
It's a sprawling book, and, structurally you would think it might not work. But it does. There are lengthy pieces that feel much like memoir, and there are short short pieces that can only be described as bites (as in someone biting into you), and long long stories. There are stories that take on an almost hallucinatory violence and there quieter pieces. Yet as a reader I had to connect them, and what I came away with when I had finished was the feeling of having known these characters, in dingy light, in daylight, poolside. Known them now and known their fat lonely sixteen year old selves.
Yet I would not call these coming of age stories, because time doesn't really feel linear in this collection. That comes, in part, from reading the pieces all together. There is the feeling that any one of her characters could slip again at any moment.
I also love the way Ellen writes stories set in the past - they capture the feel of the times, but I would not call them nostalgic. Her work has been called raw, vulnerable, fierce. It is all these things.
As long as this book is, I read it in just a few days. It's the kind of book you want to stay up all night reading.
Quarry Light Reviewed at The LitPub
"Always in Smith's stories we see how deeply she understands, and uses, the past as an illumination of the present. Stories can sometimes get bogged down in this way but Smith makes both past and present so alive, so compelling, that the shifts in time feel seamless and right." Kathy Fish, The LitPub
SmokeLong Quarterly Anthology
Very honored to be included in SmokeLong Quarterly 's anthology - ten years of a great publication. A short I wrote years ago, "The Sky Is A Well" is included.
first review of Quarry Light
Tom Taff's very thoughtful review of Quarry Light at The Small Press Book Review
"Quarry Light tells the stories of some women who have lived through the worst of it, have been mistreated by those they should trust the most, and failed by the rest. More importantly, it tells their stories after the worst of it. They haven’t necessarily moved on, or moved forward, or moved very far, but they are still moving, and that’s a story worth looking in on." Tom Taff, The Small Press Book Review
more readings in February
I will also be reading at a cool new bookstore in Austin, Texas called Malvern Books as part of the Everything Is Bigger reading series, with Dan Boehl and Laurel Hunt. I read with Dan years ago, and he is a terrific poet. I'm looking forward to meeting Laurel.
readings in February
Forthcoming - Texas readings!
at BookWoman in Austin, Texas. BookWoman is one of my favorite bookstores. Susan Post, the owner, has done so much to support my work and countless other Texas writers. As long as her bookstore is there, Austin will always feel like my own Austin.
QUARRY LIGHT release
I am very happy to announce that QUARRY LIGHT is now officially out. Pre-orders will be receiving their copies this week, and there will be more fun and hype to come.
Mike sent our donation to The Shafer Center for Crisis Intervention Monday—thank you so much for all your support! I am really honored that The Shafer Center agreed to be associated with this book. To quote Mike Young's post - " Stay tuned to hear more about QUARRY LIGHT (including interviews, reviews, and other features) as we roll it out this month.
And if you haven't snagged a copy yet, it's $14 at the Magic Helicopter website!"