New release: Wanna Peek Into My Notebook?

Wanna Peek Into My Notebook? Notes on Pinay Liminality
Essays

BARBARA JANE REYES

ISBN: 9781734496581
Library of Congress Control Number: 2021937400
Cover Art: Mel Vera Cruz
Book Design: C. Sophia Ibardaloza
Paper | 6 x 9 | 162 pages
Publication Date: March 16, 2022
Distributors: Bookshop.org, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books Inc., Paloma Press, and select bookstores
Price: $18

PALOMA PRESS RELEASES WANNA PEEK INTO MY NOTEBOOK? NOTES ON PINAY LIMINALITY

San Mateo, March 16, 2022 — Paloma Press is pleased to announce the release of Wanna Peek Into My Notebook? Notes on Pinay Liminality, a collection of lyric essays by Barbara Jane Reyes, author of the poetry collections, Letters to a Young Brown Girl (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2020), Invocation to Daughters (City Lights Publishers, 2017), To Love as Aswang (Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc., 2015), Diwata (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2010), Poeta en San Francisco (TinFish Press, 2005), and Gravities of Center (Arkipelago Books Publishing, 2003).

Wanna Peek Into My Notebook? rigorously explores diasporic Pinay poetics and its reclaimed spaces, where the author firmly situates her work within a new literary genre of immigrant literature. Dr. Jean Vengua, mixed media artist and writer, notes, “What I admire most in Barbara Jane Reyes’ writing is her insistent, critical inquiry into the nature of the Pinay experience and writing. Wanna Peek into My Notebook? Notes on Pinay Liminality invites you into the author’s process, her willingness to “write through the ugliness and horror,” to examine and disrupt perceived notions about Pinays and WOC—whether in family, society, world literature, even in language itself. We learn about the contexts and history, the influence of family and community on her poetry. Reyes’ literary explorations have always ventured along multiple routes, yet she has developed a consistent path of questioning that becomes the writing itself—which, by the way, is not always in the form of poems, but also blog posts, memes, spoken word, journal excerpts, and essays. One somehow becomes a participant in her journey—one of struggle and joy, and complexity. This process has created a significant body of multifaceted work addressing the times, lives, and struggles of Pinays in the diaspora…”

The collection’s release date is also significant in that the Philippines was supposedly “discovered” on this day over 500 years ago, after Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan claimed the islands for Spain in 1521. Spectroscopic analysis, however, indicates that the earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines is at least 709,000 years old, “pushing back the proven period of colonization by hundreds of thousands of years.” In this new collection, Barbara Jane Reyes continues her work of reclamation, fusing precolonial mythologies, traditions and beliefs with the liminality of immigrant poetics. Wanna Peek Into My Notebook? breaks new ground to welcome everyone, especially poets wishing to position or relocate their work outside of known literary canons.

Wanna Peek Into My Notebook? Notes on Pinay Liminality is available through Bookshop.org, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books Inc., and select bookstores.

Advance words:

These critical and East Bay tender third world feminist lyrics model for us what it means to commit to the unglorified “work of arriving,” to care rigorously about craft, and to craft religiously a genuine care for community. Poet-teacher-kasama Barbara Jane Reyes defetishizes the creative politics of poetic life. Through a decade’s worth of intimate autohistoria-teoría, Reyes documents the interiority of her previous books, chronicles the day of her father’s passing, humbly mourns and uplifts mentors such as our beloved Al Robles, insistently questions who gets to tell the Pinay’s story, invites us into a deep genealogy of Pinay literature, and manifests a feminist poetics of dailiness, revision, rethinking, and reckoning. A memoir, a bridge, a lyric, a liminality, this book is a gift from that cool rebellious poet friend who never stops reading, learning, writing, reflecting, and sharing, who sees in us our multitudes, and wants for us nothing short of pure self-determination and possibility. ~ Jason Magabo Perez, author of this is for the mosTless

The passion and prolificacy of Barbara Jane Reyes blooms from, to crib Prof. N.V.M. Gonzalez, the “rhizomatous nature” of the Filipino voice. She is a chronicler whose words bear the watermark of their own specific place and time, while her imagination stretches across history, heritage, and memory. As history is reflective, she evokes our own passage(s) through time, how ways of seeing inform ways of living. If heritage is the sum of cultural treasures, we find memories of our own families and personal moments in the nuances, chemistry, and music of her language. As interstellar black holes bend time and light, she demonstrates how poets, as forces of gravity, bend or re-make the “rules” of language. Her unstoppable catalogue is a defiance against silence and marginalization, while a compassionate light for others, most especially Filipinos of the world who, beyond place and time, grow from a common root: an identity undeniably our own, which we’re all responsible for nourishing. ~ Allan G. Aquino, poet and professor of Asian American Studies at California State University, Northridge

Those of us who have caught on early to Barbara Jane Reyes have been fortunate to follow her slow, strong, and steady evolution coupled with a rhyming evolution within culture and society, every step of the way. Those just tuning in, you’re at the threshold of giant steps. If I may cross a “t” to that – for the past five or so decades, I’ve been silently but keenly following the unfolding of one of the great open secrets of our times: voices in general society hithertofore underground or too unheard now becoming known and coming into their own. Within that broad perspective, IMHO, Barbara Jane Reyes is a vital ark sailing forwards on the tidal surge of our human ancestors and descents. My life and work is ennobled by her presence and power in our midst, all ways. ~ Gary Gach, author of Pause Breathe Smile – Awakening Mindfulness When Meditation Is Not Enough

About the author:

Photo by Peter Dressel

Barbara Jane Reyes is a longtime Bay Area poet, author, and educator. She is the author of Letters to a Young Brown Girl (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2020), Invocation to Daughters (City Lights Publishers, 2017), To Love as Aswang (Philippine American Writers and Artists, Inc., 2015), Diwata (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2010), Poeta en San Francisco (TinFish Press, 2005), and Gravities of Center (Arkipelago Books Publishing, 2003). She teaches Pinay Literature, and Diasporic Filipina/o/x Literature in the Yuchengco Philippine Studies Program at the University of San Francisco. She lives with her husband, poet and educator Oscar Bermeo, in Oakland. @bjanepr


Congratulations, Barbara Jane Reyes!

Congratulations to Paloma Press author Barbara Jane Reyes on being named the 2022 Winner of Meridians Journal’s Elizabeth Alexander Creative Writing Award! “The Elizabeth Alexander Creative Writing Award celebrates an…

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The Ruin of Everything

THE RUIN OF EVERYTHING
Stories

LARA STAPLETON

ISBN: 9781734496550
Library of Congress Control Number: 2021932139
Pages: 123
Release Date: October 19, 2021
Distributors: Ingram, Paloma Press, Bookshop, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books Inc. & select book stores
Price: $18

PALOMA PRESS RELEASES THE RUIN OF EVERYTHING

San Mateo, October 19, 2021 — Paloma Press is pleased to announce the release of The Ruin of Everything, a short story collection by Lara Stapleton, author of the critically acclaimed, The Lowest Blue Flame Before Nothing.

The Ruin of Everything tells tales of abandoned children living in adult bodies. Bastards, bi-racial half-siblings, and orphans raised by aunts, they lose their last best love through brokenness like “the impossible loop in a stress dream.” Racial ambiguity abounds and confounds US color lines. Tones stretch from lugubrious sorrow to wicked dramedy. Obstinately fluid in architecture and identity, stories range from slick Hollywood glam to essayistic musings, from traditional immigrant realism, to rehearsals of autofiction that grow more metatextual as the book goes along. Just as we think we’ve learned how to read Stapleton’s stories, they shapeshift. And yet, the pieces reflect each other, a sad-clown funhouse hall of mirrors. Through wanton experiments with character, The Ruin of Everything asks us what is important to a tale and what it means to be American in country and continents. Lovers of Clarice Lispector and Luisa Valenzuela will find much to admire here.

“An Anaïs Nin of late capitalism’s bohemia, Lara Stapleton writes like an oracle of an underworld—of miscegenated loves and translocated broken souls—of characters unaware or ruinously conscious—and she inscribes that world in us with lust and wit and always that deep joy that encompasses sorrows bred in the bone, the race, the colors of one’s skin, the heart, and of course the tongue: the word.”
Gina Apostol, author of Insurrecto

“With a keen eye for human ambitions and human frailties, Stapleton brings us the comic turmoil of characters steeped in the sorrows and absurdities of modern life; reaching for connection and erring, reaching for home and missing. Brimming with hard-edged loneliness, these stories reach into the underbellies of our deepest hopes and fears.”
Laurel Flores Fantauzzo, author of My Heart Underwater

“If you could read only one of the nine short stories, “New” makes the release of the entire book worthwhile. And “Flesh and Blood” also passed my key test as not just a reader but a writer: the story made me want to run to my own pen or keyboard to write. The stories are engaging but the writing is also a writer’s writer’s delight: the characterizations are not just deep but sumptuous, structures are not just innovative but fresh, and narratives are both finely detailed but interspersed with psychological caesuras for maximizing the reader’s inhabitance.”
Eileen Tabios, author of DoveLion

“Stapleton often eschews the traditional arc of storytelling. Some read like expanded character sketches, though the story is IN the characters. This is not to say the narratives lack emotions — they are embedded in each character, affirmed or denied by their respective coteries. After all, aren’t we the sum of all lives we touched and denied?”
Victor Velasco, poet & fiction writer

“Stapleton appears to have set out to navigate crisscrossing lives by simply allowing the characters, especially the I-persona, to adjudicate between everyday instances of hope and anguish… The navigation is skillfully conducted through shifting maps of loneliness, angst, and the occasional ruin of everything. The inherent intricacies develop a matrix of resultant debris that keeps the story-telling in the throes of deep engagement.”
Alfred Yuson, literary critic and author of The Music Child

“The real pleasure of this book lies in Stapleton’s irrepressible approach to narrative structure. Long, loose chains of events culminate in volta-like swerves…. these endings refashion early meanderings in thrilling flashes.”
The New York Times

About the author:

Lara photo by Renee Rogoff

LARA STAPLETON is the author of the short story collection, The Lowest Blue Flame Before Nothing (Aunt Lute), an Independent Booksellers’ Selection and a Pen Open Book Committee Selection. She is the recipient of a Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation Grant for Writers, a two-time winner of the University of Michigan’s Hopwood Award for Fiction and winner of the Columbia Journal Fiction Prize.

Virtual book release party, Oct 19 at 5pm PST/8pm EST. 

The Flesh and Blood book party, Oct 22, 7pm EST, 3 Bleecker St NYC. 

For more information, please email editor[at]palomapress.net.


Congratulations, Lara Stapleton!

Congratulations to Lara Stapleton who has just been accepted to La Chispa’s International Artist in Residency Program in Medellin! LARA STAPLETON is the author of the short story collection, The Lowest Blue Flame Before Nothing (Aunt Lute), an Independent Booksellers’ Selection and a Pen Open Book Committee Selection. She is the recipient of a Ludwig Vogelstein FoundationContinue reading “Congratulations, Lara Stapleton!”

Paloma books in libraries

You can check these out today! Library of CongressClose Apart by Robert Cowan (poetry)Shellback by Jeanne-Marie Osterman (poetry)*Seven Skirts by Jacki Rigoni (poetry)The Good Mother of Marseille by Christopher X. Shade (novel)Shield the Joyous by Christopher X. Shade (poetry)The Ruin of Everything by Lara Stapleton (short stories)Pagpag: The Dictator’s Aftermath in the Diaspora by EileenContinue reading “Paloma books in libraries”

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Seven Skirts

Paloma Press is pleased to announce the release of Seven Skirts, a debut poetry collection by Jacki Rigoni.

ISBN: 9781734496512
Library of Congress Control Number: 2020932229
Official release date: April 28, 2021
Pages: 72
Price: $16.00
Available now on Bookshop.org, Barnes and Noble, and select bookstores.

Following a journey of coming apart and stitching together a new life after domestic abuse, this debut poetry collection weaves in skirts as a metaphor for both women’s vulnerability and their power. Though steeped in the milieu of #metoo, divorce court, and the ubiquity of violence against women, the tender poems in Seven Skirts center women, mothers, children, wilderness, and the common healing power of women showing up for each other “on a Tuesday.”  

Advance words:

In one of the poems of this aptly titled Seven Skirts poetry collection by Jacki Rigoni, I come across a beautiful word: handwork. It applies to the domestic work of women, from birthing and mothering children to sewing and mending clothes and offering solidarity to each other. It also relates to the work of stitching, through language, a life back together again after rupture. One of the narrative threads has to do with a story of divorce and custody, but it is worn lightly in this collection. The poems that stand out more brightly against this backdrop are those that celebrate women breaking silence after abuse, reclaiming their history, helping each other, learning to let go. The speaker in these poems considers how in the delicate balance of things, it is often the banal and mundane that rescue us: the ordinary ritual of making breakfast, learning to inhabit the space behind the “rented window / …to amaze at grace, again.”
~ Luisa A. Igloria, author of Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (2020), Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia 2020-22

In this powerful debut collection, Jacki Rigoni navigates the topic of domestic violence with honesty and bravery. Survival, mending, and how “we bend again toward light,” compels these profound poems that emerge from “a marriage decomposed / with the oak leaves.” What is balm for such loss and disillusionment? Children, mothers, gardenias, and the speaker’s own will of a salmon who moves “herself upstream against every force.” Ultimately, Seven Skirts is a collection rooted in healing. This is a necessary and stunning book.
~ Tayve Neese, author of Blood to Fruit, Co-founder of Trio House Press

Jacki Rigoni lives with her three children in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she serves as Poet Laureate of Belmont, California. She has a master’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a credentialed teacher. A finalist for the 2018 Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers, her poems appear in Nimrod International Journal, Moon City Review, anthologies, and permanent public art installations. Jacki writes on her site WomanUprising.com and facilitates courses for women at WomanU.com.

For review copies, please email editor (at) palomapress.net


Pushcart & Best of the Net Nominees

Congratulations to this year’s Pushcart & Best of the Net nominees! Jeanne-Marie Osterman, Jacki Rigoni, Lara Stapleton (Paloma Press) Cole Eubanks, Eugene Gloria, Veronica Kornberg, Jenna Le, Esteban Rodriguez, James J. Siegel (MiGoZine, Pushcart) Tamiko Beyer, Karla Brundage, Clara Hsu, Hilary King, Mia Ayumi Malhotra, Timothy Liu (MiGoZine, Best of the Net)

Forthcoming: Seven Skirts

In honor of Women’s History Month and National Poetry Month, Paloma Press is pleased to announce the forthcoming release of Seven Skirts by Jacki Rigoni. In one of the poems of this aptly titled Seven Skirts poetry collection by Jacki Rigoni, I come across a beautiful word: handwork. It applies to the domestic work of women, from birthing andContinue reading “Forthcoming: Seven Skirts”

Shellback

SHELLBACK
poems

JEANNE-MARIE OSTERMAN

ISBN 978-1-7344965-3-6
Library of Congress Control Number: 2020935102
Pages: 82
Price: $16.00
Distributors: Ingram (wholesale), Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, and other select bookstores

Thank you so much to everyone who already bought a copy of Shellback! Please consider posting a review here and here.


Paloma Press is pleased to announce the release of Jeanne-Marie Osterman’s second poetry collection, Shellback.

“Courageous, insightful, and unsettling poems about war and family ties.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A not-untroubled tribute and a difficult elegy, Shellback traces the attachment of a daughter to her father from her childhood days of trying “to be his boy” to the grown-up’s task to be his caregiver in his last years. Including horrific details from the father’s WWII Navy service in the Pacific, which the poet memorializes in blunt, terse lines, alongside the harrowing specifics of his decline, Osterman limns a portrait of a complex relationship. Marked by candor and clear-sightedness, these poems resist soothing resolutions and easy solace, which is why they are sure to ring true to readers.”
—Jeanne Marie Beaumont, Letters from Limbo

Shellback is an elegy for a man who taught his youngest daughter how to “stretch a buck, drive a truck, / anchor a screw, win at gin rummy.” Jeanne-Marie Osterman toggles between nightmarish scenes her father witnessed during World War II and the smaller but no less affecting traumas of his final months in a nursing home. Her language is spare and colloquial, with moments of irony and deadpan wit that illuminate every detail. The arduous work of losing and grieving is beautifully preserved in these poems, which in their vividness function like a series of photographs. Or a time capsule. Or amber—something tough, primordial, and nearly clear. Osterman conveys, impeccably and with unflappable grace, the hard-earned knowledge that “no one is only / their sins.”
—Mark Bibbins, 13th Balloon

The beautifully sequenced poems in Jeanne-Marie Osterman’s Shellback yield a searing portrait of the poet’s father as a Depression-era boy and a Navy World War II veteran, given to emotional coldness and barely repressed anger. Their poignancy resides in the poet’s filial devotion, her wish to understand him and care for him in his old age. As Osterman writes in “Forgive:” “I let memories I can’t erase / rest in peace, / knowing no one is only their sins.” With often haunting imagery and carefully clipped lines, she memorably portrays a man, his era, and a daughter’s unstinting love.
—Gardner McFall, On the Line

osterman

Jeanne-Marie Osterman is the author of There’s a Hum (Finishing Line Press). Her poems have appeared in Borderlands, Cathexis Northwest, 45th Parallel Magazine, The Madison Review, and elsewhere. A finalist for the 2018 Joy Harjo Poetry Award and 2017 Levis Prize in Poetry, she is poetry editor for Cagibi, a journal of prose and poetry.


Renowned Poet Visits NCCC

The Niagara County Community College, as part of its Poetry on the Edge Series, successfully hosted a reading featuring Jeanne-Marie Osterman on April 21 in the Dolce Valvo Art Gallery at the Sanborn Campus. Ms. Osterman read from her books Shellback (Kirkus Top 100 Indie Books of 2021) and All Animals Want the Same ThingContinue reading “Renowned Poet Visits NCCC”

Shellback is Kirkus’ #8!

Courageous, insightful, and unsettling poems about war and family ties. Kirkus Reviews Check out Kirkus’ Best Books of 2021, SHELLBACK is #8! Congratulations, Jeanne-Marie Osterman!

More accolades for Osterman’s Shellback!

After earning the coveted Kirkus star, Jeanne-Marie Osterman’s SHELLBACK is a Staff Pick at the New York Public Library! Congratulations, Jeanne-Marie! Fresh from the success of SHELLBACK, Osterman won the 2021 Slipstream Press Chapbook Competition and her most recent work appears in New Ohio Review.

Osterman reads Tabios!

More information about Eileen R. Tabios’ short story collection, Pagpag, here. More information about Jeanne-Marie Osterman’s poetry collection, Shellback, here.

10th Annual New York City Poetry Festival

Jeanne-Marie Osterman’s Shellback & Christopher X. Shade’s Shield the Joyous will be available at the 10th Annual New York City Poetry Festival, July 24 & 25, at Colonel’s Row, Governors Island, New York, New York. Check back for more info.

A KIRKUS STAR FOR SHELLBACK!

Not only is Jeanne-Marie Osterman‘s Shellback chosen by Kirkus‘ Indie Editors to be featured in Kirkus Reviews (June 15 issue), it also gets a Kirkus Star (only 2% of books reviewed get a star)! Huge congratulations, Jeanne-Marie! The Kirkus Star One of the most coveted designations in the book industry, the Kirkus Star marks booksContinue reading “A KIRKUS STAR FOR SHELLBACK!”

SHELLBACK, a Kirkus top indie press book!

Courageous, insightful, and unsettling poems about war and family ties. KIRKUS Kirkus reviews SHELLBACK by Jeanne-Marie Osterman, one of this year’s top indie press books! Read the full review here.

Writers Live: Everett Poetry Night with Steve K. Bertrand & Jeanne-Marie Osterman

Join the Everett Public Library for a celebration of poetry on April 20 at 5pm Pacific. Everett Poetry Night will feature two poets whose work is inspired by their lives and experiences in Everett.  Steve K. Bertrand and Jeanne-Marie Osterman will talk about poetry and each will read a selection of their Everett-inspired poems. SteveContinue reading “Writers Live: Everett Poetry Night with Steve K. Bertrand & Jeanne-Marie Osterman”

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Marcelina

Paloma Press is pleased to announce the release of its 20th book, MARCELINA: A meditation on the murder of Cecilia “Celing” Navarro, by Dr. Jean Vengua.

ISBN: 978-1-7344965-0-5
Official Release Date: September 2020
Pages: 34
Price: $16
Available now on Amazon.

*Jean Vengua reads from Marcelina here.

ADVANCE WORDS

You must sit down to read Jean Vengua’s “Marcelina”—an epic poem for our times. Bringing to light the lived experience of a young Filipina American immigrant woman in the 1920s and 1930s Central California, she captures a powerful event that can no longer remain buried. Vengua’s passionate writing braids history, geography, gender, ethnicity and race to illumine why we must now dig up those discarded in the levees of our past. The silencing forces of history are undone by Jean Vengua’s writing. Through her, we can finally know about and feel Celine Navarro’s life.
Celine Parreñas Shimizu, director of THE CELINE ARCHIVE (2020)

It is an honor to revisit Jean Vengua’s long poem, “Marcelina,” two decades after it was first published in the anthology Babaylan. “Marcelina” is jarring in its quiet, meditative moments, contrasted against voices and acts of historical violence. Vengua asks us to join her, to unearth our buried history and herstory, look hard at the violences we have inflicted upon our own. Vengua resists the insularity, the suffocation of that history, pays back this violence with witness, with gentle words. She pays respect to the woman, Marcelina, by honoring the earth in which she was interred.
Barbara Jane Reyes, author of Invocation to Daughters and Letters to a Young Brown Girl

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jean Vengua is a Filipinx American poet and visual artist, author of Corporeal (Black Radish Books), Prau (Meritage Press), and The Aching Vicinities (Otoliths Press. Chapbook). With Mark Young, Vengua co-edited the First Hay(na)ku Anthology, and The Hay(na)ku Anthology Vol. II. As co-publisher of Tulitos Press with Elizabeth H. Pisares, she published/edited the Debut: The Making of a Filipino American Film by Gene Cajayon and John Manal Castro, and The Flipside, by Rod Pulido. Jean was born in San Francisco, raised in Santa Cruz, and lives in Monterey, CA. Her art and writing can be viewed at jeanvengua.com

ABOUT PALOMA PRESS
Established in 2016, Paloma Press is a San Francisco Bay Area-based independent literary press publishing poetry, prose, and limited edition books. Paloma Press believes in the power of the literary arts, how it can create empathy, bridge divides, change the world. We actively engage in “bayanihan”—a term which encompasses community strengthening and cooperation, and nourishing connections and shared identities. To this end, we have released fundraising chapbooks such as MARAWI, in support of relief efforts in the Southern Philippines; and AFTER IRMA AFTER HARVEY, in support of hurricane-displaced animals in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. As part of the San Francisco Litquake Festival, we proudly curated the wildly successful literary reading, “THREE SHEETS TO THE WIND,” and raised money for the Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund. In 2018, the fundraising anthology, HUMANITY, was released in support of UNICEF’s Emergency Relief campaigns on the borders of the United States and in Syria. Paloma Press continues to donate a portion of its proceeds to non-profits committed to working for racial justice, animal rights, marginalized communities, and climate change.


Jean Vengua in HALO-HALO

What is your most recent book? Marcelina: A meditation on the murder of Cecilia “Celing” Navarro. This is a slightly revised reprint, in chapbook form, of the long poem first published in 2000, in Babaylan: An Anthology of Filipina and Filipina American Writers, and co-edited by Nick Carbo and Eileen Tabios. Continue reading here.

Maileen Hamto reviews MARCELINA

From THE HALO-HALO REVIEW: Whispers of hauntings always bring back stories of near-forgotten suffering, trauma buried deep into a community’s collective memory. Jean Vengua’s chapbook, Marcelina: A Meditation on the Murder of Cecilia “Celing” Navarro,” is the vessel of remembering for a new generation of Filipino-Americans to revisit an agonizing chapter in our history. ContinueContinue reading “Maileen Hamto reviews MARCELINA”

Pushcart Prize Nominees

We’re very pleased to announce our 2021 PUSHCART PRIZE nominees! MARCELINAFrom Marcelina by Jean Vengua (September 2020) WHILE YOU RESTFrom Shield the Joyous by Christopher X. Shade (April 2020) THE LAWNMOWERFrom Shield the Joyous by Christopher X. Shade (April 2020) IN THE ALABAMA TOWN WHERE I GREW UP, THE TOWN SQUARE WASN’T A SQUARE. From Shield theContinue reading “Pushcart Prize Nominees”

Shield the Joyous

SHIELD THE JOYOUS
poems

CHRISTOPHER X. SHADE

ISBN 978-1-7323025-9-4
Library of Congress Control Number: 2020930703

Release Date: April 2, 2020
Pages: 80
Price: $16.00
Distributors: Bookshop, Amazon, B&N, Ingram (wholesale)

PALOMA PRESS RELEASES SHIELD THE JOYOUS

San Mateo, 2 April 2020 — Paloma Press is pleased to announce the release of Shield the Joyous, a first poetry collection by Christopher X. Shade, author of the critically acclaimed novel, The Good Mother of Marseille.

Established in 2016, PALOMA PRESS is a San Francisco Bay Area-based independent literary press publishing poetry, prose, and limited edition books. Paloma believes in the power of the literary arts, how it can create empathy, bridge divides, change the world. To this end, Paloma has released fundraising books such as Marawi, After Irma After Harvey, and Humanity.

A portion of the proceeds from Shield the Joyous will go to a nonprofit residential treatment program at a women’s center in Pomona, California, called Prototypes. The program aids and supports women, and single moms with their children, in recovery from addiction. It is a lifeline to women who are struggling with addiction and other serious issues.

On Christmas Day in 2017, author Christopher X. Shade’s younger brother was found nonresponsive in rural Alabama, and died that night. With this book of poems, Shade’s journey to better understand addiction and the loss of loved ones draws from both the world of his imagination and, in poignant poetic memoir, from his Alabama roots. This follows his 2019 debut novel The Good Mother of Marseille, its search for belonging through turbulent Marseille streets to a better understanding of ourselves. Shield the Joyous is deeply touching in its vulnerability and often entertaining. Mary and Joseph give 5-year-old Jesus an enormous pair of eyeglasses. Rice Krispies speak of death and resurrection. In North Alabama bottomlands, tall grasses long to protect ducks from hunters. And while paramedics wait in their parked ambulance for the next call, they try on each other’s sunglasses. The book continues the thread of coming to understand ourselves by working to understand others. And a strong message of love and hope transcends what is happening in our families where the disease of addiction pulls us apart and kills our loved ones.

“Meditative as the monastery he temporarily yet frequently inhabited in the writing of this book, Christopher X. Shade’s Shield the Joyous contemplates not only the loss of a brother through addiction but the search for deeper understanding. These poems mourn. They engage in magical thinking, exuding wonderment toward death. They traverse the gulf of detachment to find solace and wisdom in the earth. Eventually the poet is ‘led … to the I, to that inner self to which [he’d] been working [his] way toward all along’.”
Joseph O. Legaspi, cofounder of Kundiman, and author of Threshold

Shield the Joyous is a work of great wonderment and love, amidst “the ghostly whirl” of the author’s own grief and loss. His baby brother has died of addiction and there is much to think about — so into the deep quiet of a monastery he goes, where the gloom and majesty of memory and trouble surge and mix alongside the Hudson River and the swirl is able to illuminate, settle, calm. “I was elsewhere \ when my brother died” — but the writer is fully present now, to honor his sibling with rich care and tender thinking and writing that will help anyone who has ever lost anyone, now and forever, amen.”
Naomi Shihab Nye, the Young People’s Poet Laureate, and author or editor of over 30 volumes, most recently The Tiny Journalist

Shield the Joyous is a powerful memoir of a man’s journey in coming to terms with his brother’s drug addiction and subsequent death. It is a deeply spiritual book, conceived in a monastery where the author goes on retreats to recover from loss and save himself. It is also a survival guide, lifting us all out of despair. In the sublime manner of W. H. Auden, Shade builds his work on the canonical hours, beautifully combining prose and poetry to express intense emotion.”
Grace Schulman, author most recently Without a Claim

Christopher X. Shade by Beowulf Sheehan

Christopher X. Shade is author of the novel The Good Mother of Marseille. His stories, poems, and book reviews have appeared widely. He is also co-founder and co-editor of Cagibi, a journal of poetry and prose at cagibilit.com. He teaches poetry and prose writing at The Writers Studio. Raised in the South, he now lives and works in New York City. (Photo by Beowulf Sheehan)

Shield the Joyous is available now through Ingram Book Group’s distribution partners: Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and wherever books are sold.