“This is a love letter this is a lost journal this is a found journal this is an artifact a record a trace an accident a secret a promise. This is a finger across the skin, for a moment, and then gone.” – Stephen Graham Jones, The Least of My Scars
“In this moment” repeats as concert tickets, faded photographs, torn poems float between marginalia that begs for us to ‘hold on, hold on.’ For the Woman Alone is more than a book, it is an experience—it is the moment carefully carved out from the haunting past and daunting future. This collection reminds us that the moment is all that can truly belong to us—and the best of us is only found when we surrender it to another. These poems perpetually carry the scent of blueberries on a lover’s breath and softly places us in the ocean. If you have ever wondered where to locate love, it resides within these pages.” – Nicelle Davis, Becoming Judas
“Ashley Inguanta is the straight dope. The milk honey blood of the freshest body-heart-sex-human-fullness of song coming from one body. She is out there making picture cut-outs of her own heart to show us the viatic, the lustful, the emboldened embodied youth in surety of first vision and direct experience, the youth-knowing of rightness, the Blake-like expansive truth of poetry so perfect in pitch that it can save us all by showing us what it is to feel with new hands and new tongues and new mouths and hearts. The mouth is a heart, as Augustine showed us. This is a holy mouth.” – Luke Goebel, Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours
“For the Woman Alone is a raw and tender offering. Eat from its garden these words “soft as a cardinal,” then swim dreamlike through “the open window” of each image unfolding “the layers of your life” and blooming like “a hymn in the sky.” – Molly Gaudry, We Take Me Apart
We are very honoured to republish Molly Gaudry’s We Take Me Apart, this hauntingly beautiful verse novella originally released by defunct-but-not-forgotten MudLucious Press. For those of you who missed your chance the first time around, despair not! In fact, celebrate! This re-release is but the first of many books we are planning to publish in the coming years.
We Take Me Apart was shortlisted for the 2011 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry and named 2nd finalist for the Asian American Literary Award for Poetry. More importantly, though: this is one of our favourite books, and we’re excited to make it available again.
“There is no more perfect place to be than in Molly Gaudry’s tender, dirt-floored novella, We Take Me Apart. Oh cabbage leaves, oh roses, oh orange-slice childhood grins: this book broke my heart. Its sad memory-tropes come from fairy tales and childhood books. With language, Gaudry is as loving and careful as one is with a matchbook . . . when wishing to set the whole world on fire.
–Kate Bernheimer, author of The Complete Tales of Merry Gold
“Molly Gaudry’s debut evokes the spirit of iconic fairy tales that have transported readers for centuries. Her variations on these themes delineate the psychological journey from girlhood to womanhood. But We Take Me Apart is more than a retelling. In it, Gaudry reconstitutes the essence of what makes fairy tales compelling, and she does so imaginatively and with great attention to language, the earmarks of poetry.”
–Christopher Kennedy, author of Encouragement for a Man Falling to His Death
“In Molly Gaudry’s novella in verse, We Take Me Apart, the ordinary becomes mythical, what may be autobiographical becomes fable, and simple lines or sentences ring with ominous music. Even the empty space between the lines seems to resonate with invisible narrative. A stunning debut.”
–Richard Garcia, author of The Persistence of Objects
“Entwining the trance that is childhood around the hallucination that constitutes adulthood, Molly Gaudry’s We Take Me Apart is a bewitching and carefully barbed tale. A cross between silence and a fairy tale, Gaudry’s Beckettian narrative sews bright bits to near-faint whispers, slowly swaddling us in quiet and darkness.”
–Brian Evenson, author of Fugue State
“Molly Gaudry’s We Take Me Apart works “thread into lace” . . . especially vivid in this book-length work is the mother’s entrance and exit, where the ragged lines swell and turn sonnet-like with love.
–Terese Svoboda, author of Weapons Grade
In 2011, Molly Gaudry was shortlisted for the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, and her verse novel, We Take Me Apart, was named 2nd finalist for the Asian American Literary Award for Poetry. In 2012, YesYes Books released the 3-author volume Frequencies, which includes her short fiction collection “Lost July.” In 2014, The Cupboard released “Wild Thing,” a collection of essays and poems about recovery after brain injury, and Ampersand Books reprinted We Take Me Apart in anticipation of the release of its sequel Desire: A Haunting and its prequel Remember Us. Molly is a core faculty member of the Yale Writers’ Conference and is the Creative Director at The Lit Pub. Find her on Twitter,Facebook, Pinterest, or Goodreads.
I Don’t Know Do You gives us 102 new ways to be brilliant in our failure. We also get love poems–to daytime fireworks, several feet of snow, and astonished frontiersmen. Montes’s poems unfold into unknowing, proving again and again that we can only underestimate our capacity for love and reinvention.
What I did just now was a trick to get people to love each other and eventually me.
It’s working even now.
March, 2014 102 pages $14.95
“One way to do something is to invent an infinite way to do it. Montes takes identity and multiplies it by multiplicity, then divides it by the power of one. Readers get to experience much more than wordplay or ordinary verse-reversals; rather we ride the book like a centaur, a pegasus. Montes has a high-flying new style and a rock-solid intelligence, and so much gorgeous sky in between those two qualities. All of which imbue his ontological quandaries, queries and quaking with such wild and vertiginous pleasure.” -Brenda Shaughnessy, Our Andromeda
“Roberto Montes is thoroughly keen for and vexed by bodies in the world, and how we are forever figuring out how to get to touch them. It seems a wonder that he can fit his giant matrix of feelings about bodies-not just discrete human ones, but governments, water, knowledge-into this container you’re holding. The ways he makes them fit might break your heart a little (“sadness is capable of great acts of beauty”). I Don’t Know Do You investigates great beauties and smaller ones too-all moving, necessary, and real.” – Mark Bibbins, The Dance of No Hard Feelings
“The not knowing of I Don’t Know Do You is the affirmative uncertainty of a book whose joyous looking is bound to a glowing pain. I like all the ways I can be a person in Roberto Montes’s poems, how funny and vulnerable and defiant their measurements of identity and sexuality and language are. ‘If after all this you still have capital what the fuck. Explain it to me.’ What a pleasure to read a book that makes these kind of demands.” – Nick Sturm, How We Light
<"Playful and direct, Montes's debut collection engages readers without sacrificing intellectual concerns...In a collection that demands answers to difficult queries, Montes merges beauty with sadness, reminding readers that 'every exit is an emergency.'"- Publishers Weekly
“Montes offers us poems that at once challenge and invite, adopting the lens of the big-budget Hollywood romance to reinscribe the banal in the language of apostrophe. Montes’ beloved, though, is not so much absent as ubiquitous. […] For Montes, it seems, the whole world is available, and he avails himself of it with aplomb.” – Chris Emslie, Black Warrior Review
“…a debut collection that is perfect for fans and the uninitiated alike. By turns bracingly funny and deadly serious, Montes imbues his poems with wit, candor, and compassion.” – Entertainment Weekly
“But buy it. Read it. Read it aloud on a balcony in the rain. Get drunk and read one very important poem long-distance to someone whose old phone number you just found in the pocket of a coat you never wear any more.” – Billie Duncan, American Micro Reviews.
“In the few poems where the reader is kept at bay, where anxiety and criticism are more in focus, Roberto continues to level a steady gaze at the reader. As if to say: of course this is how it is. As if to say: I Don’t Know Do You.” – Jessica Smith, Thursday Review.
“Both playful and deadly serious, Roberto Montes stakes a serious claim.” – Michael Dennis
“I am obsessed with the concept of sincerity and genuinely believe it to be one of the most interesting and difficult constructs in contemporary poetry circles,” with Alissa Fleck, Huffington Post‘
“Mostly I believe that poetry serves to teach us about being a person by moving us beyond our person-hood. If you run screaming down the street the first thing people do is look for what you’re running from; a kind of drawing-attention by drawing-away I think poetry is uniquely suited for,” at Vouched Books.
Roberto wants to read you “A Love Poem in the Shape of Another Climbing Quietly Out” over at The Next Best Book Club.
Sundown. Bone River. A hatchet and a cassock. Where do we go when the spirit leaves us in the moonlight at the crossroads? How many steps before we realize that we cannot escape them, that we will carry the crossroads with us forever? When the waters rise and breach the levee; when the sun fills the land with blood; when your dreams are baptized in the current; when the chorus on the far bank sings out your name; when everything around you rises from the grave, Bone River will take us, as Bone River does.
“The adjective pertinent to the insistent wind-blown melancholy of this composition is ‘smoky,’ but the hard world of it is Smoke. Benjamin Lowenkorn tells it smoky and smoke trails through the jagged spaces of this beautiful epic.” -Andrei Codrescu, So Recently Rent A World: New and Selected Poems
“Benjamin Lowenkron’s book of poems, Bone River, flows with images of natural environments, the landscapes of relationships and the bones of mortality. These provocative poems bring you through post-Katrina New Orleans, through Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe, and through cemeteries, evoking ancestors and lost friends.” -Patrice Melnick, Po-Boy Contraband: From Diagnosis back to Life
“The kingdom of god is all around us, but we do not see it. We can only feel its edge, and only if we know how to reach out in the right ways.
Benjamin S. Lowenkron ‘s home is the river. Born and raised in Virginia by the Potomac, he moved beside the James and the York to attend the College of William and Mary, and now lives with the Mississippi in Louisiana where he received his MFA from LSU and currently teaches at Baton Rouge Community College.
Life in The Republic, a nation at once timeless and impossible, is a man lying in a road waiting to die, a scholar and a former death squad commander meeting at the crest of a high-rise office building, students disappearing into unmarked vans, and buses flying from cliffs. These seven stories bear the brand of a place that seems to operate according to its own laws of space and time, so different from the physics of our own world that simply to go there is to risk getting hopelessly lost, without a map to show the way out.
November, 2013 214 pages Paperback, 15.00 Preorder Now
“I hugely enjoyed this very realistic take on life in The Republic. These stories are fascinating – funny and tragic at the same time.” – Michael Coe, author of The Maya.
“Reynolds finds miracles not in Guatemala’s ancient pyramids but in the ‘brilliant ingenuities’ that allow the underclass to survive. He sees this dysfunctional neo-colony in America’s hinterland as ‘a playground of miracles.’ Weaving history and politics into the everyday life of the peasantry gives an unforgettable composite picture of life in the raw. Highly recommended.” – Eric Walberg, author of Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games.
“The stories of Ghosts of Ocelots are to be read for their layered richness of language and sensibilities… One is enveloped by the lushness of language and detail. The landscapes, city-scapes of poverty-and-violence-stricken Guatemala, and the persons that move in them, are drawn with an impressionist brush that provides the reader with a vivid feel for them. The narrator’s feeling for the people is clear – for their suffering, their sense of entrapment in hopeless poverty and squalor and a system of violence and genocide.” – Rafael Jesús Gonzalez, author of El Hacedor de Juegos/The Maker of Games.
Ear to the Wall captures the awe, terror, and tension of a metamorphosis underway. Carrying both a child-like love of place and family, as well as a deep curiosity toward the dark, its voices play on the other side of the wall–the realm of memory, dreams, and ecstatic travel. Intensely alone, observant, surrounded by the ghosts of family and personal lore, speakers cover their fear with imaginative power. A girl conjures up a woman and a woman conjures up a child; purgatories, superstitions and apocalyptic visions blend with familiar images of pin cushions and stairwells, bedroom mirrors and backyards.
March, 2013 40 pages $8
Praise for Carrie Causey:
“Carrie Causey’s Ear to the Wall introduces us to a refreshingly genuine lyrical intelligence that is sure-footed, sprinter-quick, and ready to bewitch. We are led through the dreamscapes of Causey’s childhood—the bayous and waterways of the Atchafalaya Swamp—and there encounter its many restless spirits, including women “spell-locked in walls, still trying to get out.” The collection’s cumulative power is due in no small part to Causey’s formidable empathic gifts. Even when one speaker becomes “bright with the terror of too many gods,” Causey still manages to take us to a place “that makes everything sacred” where we, her fortunate readers, become “the bemused witness[es] to grace/working its cold sacrament.” This is a stunning collection, immensely powerful, dream-haunted and river-wise.” – Rick Hiles, author of Brother Salvage and Map of the Lost World.
“Open that door just a crack, peek inside: trouble and enchantment await. You will find, I believe, Ms. Causey’s work is at once precise and expansive, meticulous and loose in the best possible way. The plain-spoken surrealism of her images strikes the balance one hopes for and so rarely finds. She’s one to be reckoned with.” — Daniel Lawless, editor of Plume Poetry.
“Causey manages to take her readers to a haunted place where walls are plagued by spirits, all terrifying and powerful. This contemporary southern-gothic spell the poet puts us under is a magnificent ode to the familiar and the familial, swamps and creeks, and a fascination with the after-life.” Gina Vaynshteyn, The Los Angeles Review.
Carrie Causey has appeared in Plume, Ploughshares, and Sycamore Review, and was named First Runner-Up for the 2011 Wabash Prize for Poetry. She is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she teaches Literature, Composition, and Humanities at Baton Rouge Community College. Currently, she is working on a full-length collection.
Diddy-Wah-Diddy: A Beale Street Suite is a crazy-quilt mosaic about a near-mythical place located, concretely, in Memphis, Tennessee, and abstractly somewhere on the road between Rapture and Perdition. The novel is a-historic, preferring the beautiful lie to the truth as plain as a mud fence. The novel, if we can call it a novel (and we can), is peopled with musicians, conmen, strippers, magi, foreigners, storytellers, ghosts, villains, heroes, fairy-tale sons of Adam like Elvis and Santa Claus, and the imps of the perverse. Told in myriad ways, including short stories, plays, poems, and song Diddy Wah Diddy moves from Creation to Revelation and, in the end, emerges from the smoke and circus mirrors, to stand naked under the bright, bluesy Beale Street sun.
“Diddy-wah-Diddy is an outlaw work, riffing connections faster than the eye can follow or the mind can see, a narrative shapeshifter at work and play, coming off like some literary Coltrane, dancing through waves of cascading metaphors and narrative riffs, voices and visions, startling conjunctions and intuitive revelations. Literature doing what it does best, forging a new way of seeing – a profound meditation on the human condition wrapped in a wild blue jazz solo. With Diddy-wah-Diddy, Corey Mesler’s unique voice has found its fruition in a narrative tour de force. Him and his work both stone cold literary outlaws. Memphis on the cutting edge. Representing.” —Arthur Flowers, author of Another Good Loving Blues and De Mojo Blues
“They say—they used to say—that anything can happen on Beale Street. Here it does.” —Greil Marcus, author of Lipstick Traces and Mystery Train: Images of American in Rock and Roll Music
“The fevered dream of a Beale Street that could have been…or maybe was. Club BingoBango is the center of the known universe, with celebrities and local toughs and beautiful, dangerous women. Mesler has spun a tale of intrigue and delight.” –Willie Bearden, author of Memphis Blues: Birthplace of a Tradition and writer/director of One Came Home
“Corey Mesler has cornered and captured the Memphis that has always interested me the most, the Memphis that’s inextricably tangled up in its own mythology. And he’s done it in such a way that we leave with the essential truth: Memphis is a phantasm, an accumulation of stories, most certainly a ghost town. As Michael Ondaatje gave us the New Orleans of Buddy Bolden, Mesler brings us to that other American city of song and throws us into its theater of strangeness, its lust and languor, its rage and bite. Not content to leave the mythic characters of Memphis under layers of sediment, Mesler brings them out, onto the streets, into the night again.” —Warren Zanes, author of Dusty in Memphis and former Vice-President of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
“Corey Mesler writes riotous prose–fluid and lush and crazy. It’s verbally rich and witty–half literary, half hoodoo. Imagine James Joyce on Beale Street with Elvis. Or something like that. Wacky but poignant!” —Bobbie Ann Mason, author of The Girl in the Blue Beret and Shiloh and Other Stories
“With a playful, bebop narration, Corey Mesler transports the reader to the original Beale Street, where the heroes are musicians, bartenders, hustlers and strippers. Their dreams for a better life lead them to both love and betrayal, to angels and demons. And throughout, Mesler’s prose gives the stories such a distinct rhythm—a sense of drumming, melody, and passion—that you literally hear the music.” —Susan Henderson, author of Up from the Blue
“In Diddy-Wah-Diddy, Corey Mesler has tapped into a Mesler beyond Mesler. It’s got his signature virtuoso brand of linguistic pyrotechnics, of course, but the inspiration of place seems to have catapulted him right out of whatever limitations he may have had. And he had very few limitations. So the thing is some kind of heady elixir, a marvelous entertainment, a streamlined invention that soars despite its heavy cargo of bedrock emotion. Mesler is some original man of letters.” –Steve Stern, author of The Book of Mischief and the Jewish Book Award winner for The Wedding Jester
“Mesler has created a work of serious fun here, full of memorable images and worth revisiting for the sheer pleasure of its gymnastic wit.” — Maria Browning, Chapter 16
“These are not stories for children. Not even for some adults. But if they are stripped bare of Southern niceties and filters, they are artfully laced with humor and boundless imagination.” –Susan Cushman
“The tales, written in a raucous freestyle reminiscent of early Tom Robbins, roam a mythical Beale Street history that takes in Santa Claus, witches, the devil in many guises and, of course, Elvis.” –Peggy Burch, in The Memphis Commercial Appeal
Inertia is a force, a powerful force, but it’s not the only one. Courtney and Martin know all the words to all the songs on the mix tape of their lives. They have the cynical in-jokes down, the snide asides, the nonchalant pose. But beneath the practiced façade of self-satisfying ennui, these kids are staring down their futures, struggling in soured relationships with lovers and families, and finding out just what it takes to break out, if it’s even possible. Here is How it Happens
Dew captures the “violent ambivalence” of young people fearing their future, doubting their potential, and, as Martin describes, stylizing their “still-developing artifice”. His prose is simultaneously urgent and hesitant as his characters are desperate for connection but also terrified of what looms ahead.” — Publishers Weekly
A novel that is far from self-satisfied, it moves the reader without mercy.” — David Atkinson, American Book Review
But Dew is not a coward: he, like his protagonist, Martin, is a circumspect hunter out to bullseye the target on the dummy-deer in the Walmart sports-supply department, proving that it rests directly over an empty place that should contain a heart.” — LJ Moore, Xenofiles
Dew perfectly captures the desperation of his characters to stay true to their ideal selves even as they realize that they’re all doomed to become echoes of their parents.” — Marc Schuster, Small Press Reviews
Praise for Here is How it Happens
Spencer Dew writes like a quiet maniac who sees the violence under the façade of everyday things, and the beauty under the violence. With X-ray vision and fine-tuned prose, Dew discovers insights and absurdities in the Americana of box stores, elite colleges, poetry students, buffet restaurants, historic plaques, alternative radio, conspiracy theorists, installation artists, and lug-headed drug experimentalists. Here is How it Happens explores the place where the heartland meets the rust belt meets the precarious bubble of academia, and finds redemption in the purity of longing and the shit coffee of an Amish country diner.” — Karen Lillis, author of Watch the Doors as They Close
The romantic dysfunction that fills this book is as stomach-turning as it is riveting. Only Spencer Dew could unfold a story of the slurred mess that is college life with such precision.”-- Jac Jemc, author of My Only Wife
An Attack by the Literary Establishment
SPENCER DEW is the author of the short story collection Songs of Insurgency, the critical study Learning for Revolution: the Work of Kathy Acker, and the chapbook Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres. Dew is staff book reviewer for decomP magazine and a regular reviewer for Rain Taxi Review of Books.
Congratulations on finding your way to Ampersand Mart, your one-stop destination for whatever you’re lookin for. If you ain’t a cop you’re welcome, just slip the girl at the door a fiver and we’ll help you find what you need. Enjoy lookin around and don’t be bashful – if you don’t see what you’re lookin for, just ask. And be careful who youse tell about the place. We don’t need the wrong kinda attention, if you catch da drift.
Gathered here together are 22 of Garrett Socol’s finely crafted stories, by turns darkly humorous and light and zany, and often both at once. The characters populating these stories march slightly out-of-step with the world around them: a dentist, his hygienist, and their illicit flossing , a writer who publishes her own suicide handbook, a woman selling baked goods for electroshock therapy. In this collection, Socol brings his wry insight and sensitivity to bear on the madness of contemporary culture, the silliness of everyday life, and illustrates the many ways people, against all odds, keep themselves afloat.
“Death, suicide, and dental work have never been this funny. Garrett Socol creates characters on the edge–often with one foot in the great beyond–and finds their humanity and quirky appeal, writing about them with devastatingly witty bemusement. His stories are a great reason to stay alive.” — Michael Musto, The Village Voice.
“Brilliantly created characters and masterful prose. There’s no fluff here. Just finely crafted fiction that brings in the reader and doesn’t let go until well after the last story is told.” — Nathaniel Tower, Bartleby Snopes.
“Garrett Socol looks benignly on our mucky world and conveys the dark humour of everyday madness.” — Val Stevenson, Nth Position
Garrett Socol marries the tragic with the comedic by twisting his characters, who all happen to be in the midst of their respective catastrophes, into off-kilter spotlights that often double as funhouse mirrors.” — Mel Bosworth, Outsider Writer’s Collective
At times, it was unsettling, but it always caused the gears in my head to start turning—the evidence that a piece of writing has done its job.” — Kirsten McIlvenna, Newpages
In Gathered Here Together, Garrett Socol offers an hallucinatory vision of contemporary American culture with prose that ricochets madly from the tragic to the comical and nearly always lands squarely in the realm of the bizarre.” — Marc Schuster, Small Press Reviews
Truman Capote wishes he could have pulled this kind of wit off while he was alive.” — David Atkinson, PANK
Most of us have one of these tales tucked in our back pocket, ready to up one another with our version of crazy. I have a few. Desperately funny. Outrageously sad. Ridiculously broken” –Eliza Fogel, Columbia Review Lab
Connie Martinson Talks Books
GARRETT SOCOL, a native New Yorker, currently resides in Los Angeles. His first life was lived as Gary Socol, and he was a television producer. Gary created and produced “Talk Soup” (host, Greg Kinnear) and “The Gossip Show” among other series for E!. The specials he wrote and produced were hosted by Joan Collins, Jenny McCarthy, Jerry Springer, Molly Ringwald & Ally Sheedy, Carnie Wilson, Pamela Anderson, Jaime Pressly, Tori Spelling and others. His first play The Shadow of Greatness premiered at the Berkshire Theatre Festival in 2000 in a production that starred Richard Chamberlain. His second play, Bicoastal Woman, enjoyed a successful run at the Pasadena Playhouse.
His second life began in 2007 when he left television and began writing fiction. His short stories have been published in dozens of literary journals including PANK, Perigee, Pear Noir,The Barcelona Review, The Dublin Quarterly, Underground Voices, > kill author, 3:AM Magazine, Hobart, Drunken Boat, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.
Visit Garrett’s website to check out his other books and newest stories.