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Archive for the ‘Augury Books’ Category

A photo from “Landscape and marine views of Norway,” courtesy of the Public Domain Review

 

Craters of ash,
Lost nouns naming and
Renaming themselves,
Unwinding the black ribbon
Around your lonely neck.
You had one finger to the wind.
You had shoes without laces.
You boiled away tea water
Until the pot scorched
Craters into unfathomable
Ash. You stuck your hand
In it. You stuck your fist in.
You scooped something out,
Something hollowed out now,
And unfathomable.

 

 

 

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Ruth Danon lives and writes in New York City where she directs Creative and Expository Writing for NYU’s McGhee Division, the undergraduate college for non-traditional students. She is the author of Living With the Fireman (a chapbook), Triangulation from a Known Point (published by Barney Rosset’s North Star Line), and Work in the English Novel. She has published in numerous magazines in the US and abroad, including Mead, Versal, Grey Sparrow Journal, BOMB, Fence, 3rd Bed, The Paris Review, Spazio Humana, and others. A new chapbook, The Echoes, will be published by Traffic Street Press in 2015. Her work appeared in Best American Poetry 2002, edited by Robert Creeley.

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Image from Shin-Bijutsukai, courtesy of The Public Domain Review

Image from Shin-Bijutsukai, courtesy of The Public Domain Review

Maureen Alsop’s Mantic (Augury Books, 2013) has recently been reviewed in the University of Salzburg’s biannual Poetry Salzburg Review, based in Austria. British-American poet Robert Peake calls Alsop’s collection a “bewitching book of divinations.” Though the magazine is only available in print, subscriptions and individual issues, including issue 26, are available for purchase over at PSR’s site.

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An image from "The Flowers Personified" by J.J Grandville, courtesy of The Public Domain Review

An image from “The Flowers Personified” by J.J Grandville, courtesy of The Public Domain Review

Poet Carey McHugh was recently published in Tin House’s latest issue. Her poem, “Diagram of Select Cuts,” is featured amongst poets such as Dorothea Lasky, Richard Siken, and Deborah Landau. McHugh will be publishing her new manuscript, American Gramophone, with Augury in the spring.

For more information on Tin House’s latest issue, head over to their site!

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An image from "Flowers and  Pictures of the Holy Land" by Boulos Meo, courtesy of The Public Domain Review

An image from “Flowers and Pictures of the Holy Land” by Boulos Meo, courtesy of The Public Domain Review

 

We are excited to acknowledge the recent review of Frances Justine Post (BEAST, Augury Books, 2014) on Sabotage Review. The review, written by Cecelia Bennet, discusses the ‘multifaceted self,’ focusing on the sense of danger and power struggles within BEAST.

“These features are integral to the collection as a whole, and serve only to emphasise the wildly fragmented self that it portrays. In Beast, Frances Justine Post’s poems tell a story from every conceivable angle. To do this, she presents us with a series of surprising self-portraits: ‘Self-Portrait as a Witch’ exists alongside ‘Self-Portrait as Maelstorm’, ‘Self-Portrait in the Shadow of a Volcano’, ‘Self-Portrait in the Body of a Whale’, and even ‘Self-Portrait as the Crumbs You Dropped’. The face of the narrative changes constantly. Read together the poems create a sense of a wider story of torn hearts, conflicting reactions, bitter struggle. In this sense, the collection is very well put together: by encouraging us to fill in the gaps and interact with the book as a whole, Post draws her readers through an intensely intimate journey.”
Read the whole review here.
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Find it new from seller Augury Books

 

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How good it is to be fat! How good to be a member of the corpulent class, smelling just baked rolls and fried blood sausages wafting from the open windows on Park Avenue, and not one of the whip thin hoards confined to lower Manhattan with the stench of raw sewage always in the nose.

Except, they aren’t confined down there. Who do you think is doubling all those Park Avenue chins? Each brownstone has an alien busy at its center. Sleeves rolled up on meaty foreign arms, foreign palms pressing into the family dough. You see that house there, the one with the gay yellow curtains fluttering at the kitchen window? Little does that gloriously tubby family know that along with the rich smells of breakfast, that’s typhoid smeared all over the curtains, typhoid glazing those yeasty rolls.

Never fear, the porcine peace will be restored. Into this monied hush chugs and wahoogahs a new twentieth century ambulance automobile. Three police officers clatter behind on horseback in their long blue coats and soufflé-shaped helmets. They pull up to the curb in front of the Park Avenue brownstone with the yellow curtains. Out of the ambulance pops Dr. S. Josephine Baker.

Dr. Jo! A new woman! Fashionably plump, dressed in a man-tailored outfit of her own design, fitted jacket, white stiff-collared shirtwaist dress and tie, jaunty boater with a navy ribbon to top it off. She is the first woman doctor in the new hygiene bureau!

The possibly infected Irish cook in question has already refused to be tested for typhus, but this time Dr. Jo is determined to get a hold of a bit of her urine and blood, come hell or high water. The glass jar and the syringe jostle at the ready in her black leather doctor’s bag. The five, white coated, mustachioed interns, all in black pants creased and cuffed, wait by the ambulance, arms crossed, black boots scuffling and stamping, chatting in low voices amongst themselves. Dr. Jo posts one of the police officers at the front door, one at the back. Then, with the burliest officer by her side, she raps smartly, one-two-three, on the servants’ entrance at the side of the house. They wait, Jo tapping her own black-booted foot impatiently. It annoys her that the police officer, who is stippled with small pox scars on his forehead and cheeks, hums cheerfully under his breath, as if this isn’t an errand of grave importance. She goes to knock again.

The door jolts opens with such force it bangs against the side of the house. Dr. Jo jumps back a step. The cook leaps out on the landing, her cheeks aflame, brandishing a long cooking fork. Dr. Jo glances to the officer for help, but he’s lost his chin in his effort to lean away. “Don’t be foolish,” Dr. Jo says to the cook. “We only want—“

The cook stabs at Dr. Jo with the fork.

Dr. Jo and the policeman rear backwards, then topple together in a heavy tangle on the stone walkway below. The cook slams the door shut.

“Sorry, Doc.” The police officer removes his leg from her chest. “But, say, ain’t that a woman!”

Dr. Jo refuses his offer of help, wrestles herself to her feet. She can feel her own face boiling now. “Onward!” she shouts. They rush in after the cook. Breakfast is still on the stove—white fish in furious boil, stewed apricots and cereal and sausages starting to burn. The police officer stops to remove the pots. “That’s all potential poison,” Dr. Jo says. “Knuckle down, now.”

The lady of the house and her two daughters weep in the parlor. One of the girls is already complaining of a headache from hunger. “What shall we eat?” the girl whimpers. The other servants make their faces as featureless as rising dough, claim to have no idea where the cook is. No use to explain germ theory to them here and now. All they can see is the heavy, dark hair piled high on the back of cook’s head, her well-fed form, her food rich with butter and lard. They cannot imagine what stews inside Mary Mallon.

“Let’s get methodical,” Dr. Jo says. They start at the top of the house, the tidy, nearly empty fourth floor attic where Mary sleeps, and move room by room, floor by floor. But it seems she has disappeared.

Back at the kitchen, the police officer says, “Well, that’s that then,” and looks longingly at the food cooling in the kitchen.

Dr. Jo heaves up the pots and upends them one by one into the garbage bin that sits in the back hallway of the kitchen. She says, “This is a matter of life and death. What are we over-looking?”

And just then, at the end of that hallway, behind several piled up ash cans, Dr. Jo spies a small wedge of blue calico wagging from a closet door. Dr. Jo and the officer drag away the ash cans, evidence of class solidarity, and turn the black doorknob.

Micah Perks is the author of a novel, We Are Gathered Here, and a memoir, Pagan Time. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Epoch, Zyzzyva, Tin House, The Toast and The Rumpus, amongst many journals and anthologies. Her short memoir, Alone In The Woods: Cheryl Strayed, My Daughter and Me, came out from Shebooks in 2013. She has won an NEA, four Pushcart Prize nominations, and the New Guard Machigonne 2014 Fiction Prize. She lives with her family in Santa Cruz and co-directs the creative writing program at UCSC. More info and work at micahperks.com

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Mostly we walked. There was an uneven layer of snow on all the sidewalks that had never been shoveled loose, and the white was speckled with street gravel so that it all looked like graying chocolate chip ice cream. We wobbled along the surface from le Quartier Latin to le Plateau to Mile End. Somehow we had stopped talking. I think there had been nothing said since breakfast, when over strong coffee you stared out the window at the Dépanneur sign on another corner shop and wondered aloud why in Quebec the French word for repair was tied to convenience stores. And then quiet settling in, the two of us watching the sidewalks moving with people, bright in the sunlight.

After, we went nowhere in particular, stopping at places marked in our guidebook but with no idea of stringing them together in any narrative way; there were cafés, public squares, bagel shops, a headstone carver, a wide plate glass window fronting an oxygen bar. Montreal was not single-minded, not a theme park built just for us. Several places promised danseuses nues—nude dancers. And it reminded me of the idea of dance in stripping—the idea, maybe never realized, of women who were dancers first, the way the French language put it, and unclothed only secondarily. I could imagine a fierce and sure woman leaping and then coming to earth in a tight huddle with herself, her spine a knobbed arc in the low light, unburdened by the religion of covering. Here, in Montreal, these places flashed their lights in the middle of everything, between a bookstore and a Vietnamese restaurant, between a hotel and a shop selling soaps and bath salts.

Eventually we were moving through residential neighborhoods, houses with metal or stone staircases sweeping up in a curve from the street to front doors. It seemed like everything had been lifted, the basements all above ground here, windowed and available. Then we turned and crunched along the sidewalks with increasing confidence toward the main park. Several times we had seen the mountain, in moments when the houses and shops cleared out of the way. Now we went to it, though without talking about it first. We just moved that way.

In the park the snow was even deeper, though we couldn’t tell for sure where the ground really was. Once, my leg plunged through to the hip, and my knee struck something hard. I dug into the snow, and found the rim of a public trashcan down there, buried bottom to top. We stared at each other in surprise and pressed on, along broad thoroughfares shared by cross-country skiers and the springing twang of their poles, and sometimes on newly-forged paths between the thoroughfares. Always we moved upward. At one point we scrambled up a slope that threatened to throw us off with every step on the slick packed snow.

At the top of the mountain there was an old chateau with a lookout that allowed us to see the city from above. We thought of other cities we had seen from above, the phenomenon of seeing such places from above. The buildings here, even the tall ones, were not so tall, and it seemed to both of us we had come from such a place at one time or another. Still neither of us said a word.

What were we learning? When it started to snow, the cold making it a dry bright snow, crystalline, I was a person without footprints, a person moving unknown through a foreign place.

Getting down the mountain was more difficult, because the stairways leading toward the part of town that called out to us next were all closed for the winter, under repair or so packed with snow they had become ramps. We took a winding path that seemed promising at first. Then we found a place where the wooded slope dropped off sharply toward the bottom but where we thought we saw the tracks of people who had climbed this way before us. We looked at one another and that decided it.

I hung off the edge and touched the slope with my toes and tried to start backward, all hands and feet and knees. Then the snow dropped out from under me.

The world became motion, flipping me and sending me flying forward, sliding in a way that was flying.

I skidded to a stop near a tree, facing forward, my legs out like skis, still so full of movement that it took a second to realize I had stopped. I was only partway down, sitting in a bath of snow up to my waist. I could feel the cold in my pants, my gloves, my sleeves. And as I looked back up at you, feeling how fast I had been, I opened my quiet lungs and whooped sharp into the air. I saw you and the brightness of the realization. And I looked back to the falling slope, saw the trees and the rocks, thought about the possibility of all my clothes filling up with snow and that ice covering my skin, and felt how my hands and feet were holding me in place. Then, with the sound of you behind me, flying yourself, and ahead of me the speed and the whole natural length of the city, I let go again.

David Ebenbach is the author of two books of short stories—Into the Wilderness (Washington Writers’ Publishing House) and Between Camelots (University of Pittsburgh Press)—plus a chapbook of poetry called Autogeography (Finishing Line Press), and a non-fiction guide to creativity called The Artist’s Torah (Cascade Books). His first full-length collection of poetry, We Were the People Who Moved, won the Patricia Bibby Award, and will be published by Tebot Bach in 2015. With a PhD in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, Ebenbach teaches Creative Writing at Georgetown University. Find out more at www.davidebenbach.com.

This story, “Danseuses Nues,” was originally published in The Greensboro Review.

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In the sequel, things get bloody. Suspense mutates to horror; body counts escalate. The start of Halloween II recaps the climax of Halloween I: Jamie Lee Curtis stabbing her brother Michael Myers with a knitting needle in the neck, wire hanger through the eye. Donald Pleasence, playing the psychiatrist Sam Loomis, shoots Michael six times. He falls backwards off the second story balcony,only for the camera to reveal the imprint of his body on the flattened grass.

Once it starts moving forward, the sequel allows us to witness the illusion of change over time. Despite the promise of closure, events rarely decloud. The neighbors, hearing gunshots, emerge from their suburban homes; terrycloth bathrobes, cordless phone. The father says: “It sounds like the death out here.” Gravely, without a hint of kitsch, Loomis replies: “You don’t know what death is.”

The conclusion of the previous story: my father, desperate for his mother’s whispery absolution, had forcibly removed me from her deathbed. I was furious (on my way out, I ripped a healthy leaf off the ficus in the foyer), but something in me had softened. My father was, for once, human, vulnerable. Despite his conviction that each of life’s mysteries would, if discovered, submit to structuring principles, his heart still held. As grandma died, I sat in the back of Dad’s car, my knees folded up against the passenger seat’s magazine pocket. I popped honeyed peanuts, kept myself busy with a graduate seminar paper due the next week: why, in Night of the Living Dead, George Romero placed so much weight on the zombies’ orgiastic consumption of the flesh they tore from the living.

At some point, I noticed that one of Dad’s onyx cufflinks lay on the floor mat; probably he didn’t know it had fallen. This resparked my resentment. I hated his mad professor routine. Even then, the man ran into doors.

Whatever benediction he received from my grandma didn’t open him. To his credit, he didn’t videotape grandma’s funeral (as he had taped my twin brother’s funeral). Otherwise, he made no further effort to close the gap between us. When I married Yukiko, our gift came right off the registry. He was skeptical, he said, of inter-species relationships. He sneezed at her relatives from Osaka without covering his nose.

As this sequel gets going, some fifteen years after the original, I am resetting the rubber seal inside my coffee maker, which this morning had leaked sizzling black drops onto the stove coils.

My father, I would guess, is sitting on the rollout couch in my sister Linci’s home office, pouring reduced-fat milk out of his tennis shoe.

The behaviors we once called neurotic or flighty now alchemized into disease.

I take my Gaia Organic Blend coffee onto the front porch. I pick up a snail, set it on my palm. It moves a millimeter forward, then stops. It’s dead, killed by the salt of my sweat. Wait: its slimy head just popped out. Thank goodness it’s still alive.

I set it on the ground. Then I step on it.

In the sequel, I am an associate professor at UC Berkeley. Tenured. I am also, until this afternoon, the pre-eminent zombie specialist on the planet. The one who, at the café, substitutes the word “brains” for “beans” in photo-journalistic captions describing the coffee production process. “Once the brains are checked in and graded, they are spread by hand onto drying patios. The brains are baked periodically to ensure even and complete drying.”

And my father? He’s the man who, mealy-eyed, holds court with some form of invasive and irreversible dementia. He’s the one in the McDonald’s, cutting open and emptying packets of mustard onto the tray while I order for him a Diet Fanta and a Quarter Pounder. Which he doesn’t know to unwrap, and, once unwrapped, can’t bring to his mouth.

 

Robert Glick is Assistant Professor of English at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the Senior Prose Editor of Versal. His work can be found in The Gettysburg Review, Denver Quarterly, Black Warrior Review, and The Normal School. In 2013-14, he has won the Summer Literary Seminars Center for Fiction Prize, the New Ohio Review Fiction contest and the Diagram Essay Contest.
The story this excerpt comes from, “Hotel Grand Abyss,” has been previously published in Copper Nickel 15.

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