The Great 2015 Indie Press Preview
Electric Lit relies on contributions from our readers to help make literature more exciting, relevant, and inclusive. Please support our work by becoming a member today, or making a one-time donation here.
I find myself overwhelmed yet excited about the year ahead, one that is sure to be timestamped by an amazing offering from the world of indie press, and there’s this insane idea too, the one that’s about providing a space able to highlight as many of them as possible. The feature began originally as an idea born from a discussion online with a number of indie press editors, authors, and readers about the deluge of “best-of” and “most anticipated” features and how the majority of these articles continue to be disproportionately favorable to the larger publishing houses. A lot gets lost in transit among the smaller presses, and I wondered why this was the case; the question I asked had been, Why wasn’t there a comprehensive gathering of what the indie community has to offer? The response was overwhelming, culminating with the publication of the inaugural 2014 edition, which featured over 70 publishers and dozens of indie lit contributors chatting up their most-anticipated titles of the year. I’m proud to offer up the same space, once again with feeling: “The Great 2015 Indie Press Preview,” a compendium of some of the most exciting titles of this year and curated by an array of indie press authorities and it’s companion piece, “The Great 2015 Indie Press Cheat Sheet,” which functions as a comprehensive list of what indie publishing has to offer. Consider both it two parts of a singular whole; consider it an A-to-Z go-to reference for all of your indie book buying needs. With as little as a cursory glance, it’s clear that 2015 will burn bright with new books, and I can’t wait to see how the year unfolds.
Mort(e) by Robert Repino
Sebastian is a content housecat living with his humans and hanging out with his dog friend, Sheba, until the Queen of the Ants starts a war against mankind. Now he’s a walking, talking, giant cat named Mort(e), fighting the humans alongside other transformed animals. Mort(e) is against the war, but it enables him to search for Sheba, who got lost when all the fighting started. But Mort(e) worries that if the creatures beat man, they will simply replace them and repeat mankind’s mistakes. Will Mort(e) find his friend and help change the fate of the planet? Repino’s debut comes out swinging a machete and a flamethrower. This is Animal Farm on steroids.
Almost Crimson by Dasha Kelly
CeCe is a young girl struggling to overcome her situation: she lives in poverty with her single mother, who suffers from crippling depression. But she is also a young girl with incredible strength and determination. With amazing heart and depth, Kelly explores CeCe’s world and the people she encounters as she works to free herself from her surroundings and change her seeming destiny. Kelly’s debut is one of rare grace and honesty, and her words are beautiful and moving.
— Liberty Hardy is a bookseller at RiverRun Bookstore and a contributing editor for Book Riot. Reading is her favorite thing to do, and yes, she has cats.
The New Sorrow Is Less Than the Old Sorrow by Jenny Drai
I’m a fan of Jenny Drai’s work in general, but from the glimpses of this new book of poems, I still feel like I’m in for something unexpected, something special. Her sinewy twists of syntax, her exhilarating word associations, her thrilling slaps of imagery: “a number of options loiter on counters. sweet, time-bruised plums. not decisions but placeholders,” she writes in her teaser excerpt. “many, many times I answer to the succinct question how often have you?” her excerpt opens. It’s also how I plan to answer the question of how often I will read and reread her book.
The Guild of Saint Cooper by Shya Scanlon
If the upside-down Seattle Space Needle on Scanlon’s spare cover isn’t intriguing enough, there’s the revelation that the “Saint Cooper” of the title might, in fact, be a reference to everyone’s favorite coffee-swilling Agent from Twin Peaks. And then the tease gets really interesting: “an obscure author in a near-future post-evacuation Seattle who is drawn into writing a revisionist history that sets the book itself unspooling backward into its own alternate history . . .” The whole set-up sounds like some kind of grunge Phillip K. Dick, and if the writing is as distinctive and gripping as Scanlon’s previous work, this one seems destined to become a favorite.
Little Sister Death by William Gay
One of the greatest voices of the new Southern Gothic renaissance, working here with straight-up horror in a centuries-spanning novel about the Bell Witch of Tennessee: I cannot imagine any way for this book to be further in my wheelhouse even if I’d written it myself. I’m doing backflips for this and everything else Dzanc plans to release from Gay in the coming years. Their acquisition of some of his earliest as well as some of his final works is a boon to readers everywhere, and I’m eager to get my hands on all of it, but Little Sister Death is first on my list.
— Samuel Snoek-Brown lives in Portland, OR, where he teaches writing and serves as production editor for Jersey Devil Press. Online, he lives at snoekbrown.com. His short fiction has appeared in dozens of journals, and he is the author of the flash fiction chapbook Box Cutters and of the novel Hagridden, for which he received a 2013 Oregon Literary Fellowship.
Sheldon Lee Compton
Metal Gear Solid by Ashley and Anthony Burch
Boss Fight Books and Michael Kimball teamed up last year to scorch my brain with Galaga. They had me from the first sentence, and I’ve never played that game, not that you have to enjoy it. Can you imagine the “mind-party” I’m having anticipating Metal Gear Solid by Ashley and Anthony Burch, considering I became beautifully obsessed with this game for about a full year of my life? Well, imagine it. Join the party.
Nothing But the Dead and Dying by Ryan W. Bradley
I’ve read pretty much everything Ryan W. Bradley has written since first discovering a short story
of his at Fictionaut several years ago. That first story, “Every Time a Fairy Gets Laid,” put me in instant fan mode. I can’t wait to continue my admiration and read Nothing But the Dead and Dying. Ryan has a quiet talent that eases from the page to become something powerful and lasting. I’m sure this new one will be no different.
— Sheldon Lee Compton is the author of the short story collections The Same Terrible Storm and Where Alligators Sleep. He is the founding editor of Revolution John and survives in Eastern Kentucky.
Nothing Crown by Michael Kazepis
Last year in the Great Indie Press Preview I covered Michael Kazepis’ Long Lost Dog of It in my list of most anticipated titles. Well, I read it, and it was everything I could have hoped for. He’s got an incredible vision and the skills to make it happen. Nothing Crown is a road story about a Palestinian woman making her way to France to become a rapper. Also, he’s turning it into a ‘mixtape’, which means that while he will write the majority of the book, there will be ‘featured artists’ writing short segments within the narrative. Say what? I’ve been sold from the beginning.
Jigsaw Youth by Tiffany Scandal
Tiffany Scandal’s first book, There’s No Happy Ending, was a sad, beautiful, wonderfully imagined apocalypse story. It was dark and grim and surreal. There is such a vivid attention to
detail to her work that you can’t possibly see everything she’s put into it. She’s a puzzler, and Jigsaw Youth sounds like it will continue and build upon the puzzle. It is one of two books marking the debut of the all-female imprint of Broken River Books: Ladybox Books. No doubt, this book will have plenty of raw punk angst, rich details and memorable characters. I’m excited.
— S.T. Cartledge is the bizarro author of House Hunter and Day of the Milkman. He also writes poetry. He enjoys reading bizarro, indie lit, poetry, and manga. He lives in Perth, Western Australia. He believes that the power of the human imagination is a beautiful thing.
Last Mass by Jamie Iredell
Jamie Iredell has always been a writer I’ve admired. I started reading little things of his here and there online a few years ago. I was instantly taken in by the honesty, humor, and straight-up
seriousness of what he was doing both in fiction and the essay. I read The Book of Freaks front-to-back in about two hours shortly after receiving it in the mail. That book is hilarious, but it’s hilarious on serious terms, which is a whole other funny I find hard to describe. I can’t. It’s just
plain original. I’ve heard Last Mass described as Markson-esque but I don’t know… I have this feeling. I think Jamie will do one better than that. Last Mass is a book I absolutely cannot wait to read.
— Troy James Weaver is the author of Witchita Stories (Future Tense Books) and Visions (Broken River Books), both due out in March. He was born, raised, and remains in Wichita, Kansas, and will probably die there, too.
The Life and Legend of Wallace Wood by Bhob Stewart
Literary fandom has a long history of idolizing brilliant madmen. Unfortunately, literary fandom doesn’t have a great history of idolizing comic book auteurs, but hopefully Bhob Stewart’s forthcoming biography of Wallace Wood will bridge that gap. Wallace Wood is best known for his work in Mad Magazine, Daredevil, and the landmark indie comic book series Witzend. Wood’s life was filled with all-nighters, alcoholism, and ultimately suicide, all balanced out by his undeniably strong work. The Life and Legend of Wallace Wood will not only offer an engaging biography of a fascinating, tortured artist, but it will be chock full of Wood’s art (which is meticulous and stunning), ephemera, and recollections from Wood’s friends and colleagues. It’s set to be a must-have for comic nerds and a great intro for lit fans that are ready to be engrossed in the work of an unfamiliar virtuoso.
Manic Pixie Dream Poems by Trevor L. Sensor
Bottlecap Press has been putting out some amazing chapbooks lately like Manic Pixie Dream Poems by Trevor L. Sensor. He puts his heart on his sleeve in these anguished love poems. This chapbook is a perfect encapsulation of the aftermath of a relationship that is no more, as the speaker in this cycle repeats elements and memories (phrases like “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” and
references towards Garden State) like a penitent monk feverishly chanting the same prayer. It’s familiar and relatable in a frightening way.
Cave by Zachary Cosby
Melissa Broder’s Scarecrone was last year’s best gore-filled, morbid, cosmically mystic collection of poetry. This year, Zachary Cosby’s Cave is poised to take on that mantle. These are poems about “…cum / and bile // and blood.” They’re poems that both revel and mourn the transience of youth and love. They’re unsettling and unpretentious as the art of Robert Duncan Gray. They’re as beautiful as a cave swallowing light.
— Quincy Rhoads is a contributing editor for Entropy. His writing has appeared in Ploughshares, Rain Taxi, and Indie Cardboard.
Fat Kid by Jamie Iredell
Jamie Iredell’s fiction and nonfiction can be brutal, confessional, and heartbreaking. If his previous work, including Prose. Poems. A Novel. and I Was a Fat Drunk Catholic School Insomniac is any indication, his novel Fat Kid (which Iredell told me took its inspiration from a series of dreams set in the Western U.S.) should be one to watch out for.
On the Edges of Vision by Helen McClory
The stories I’ve encountered by Helen McClory have delved into the surreal and the supernatural,
but rarely in ways that you would expect. This collection is her debut; she has written that it initially took shape around the idea of monsters, which sounds very promising.
See You in the Morning by Mairead Case
Mairead Case’s nonfiction and criticism, which have appeared in places like The New Inquiry and Bookslut, are regularly incisive, drawing unexpected connections across artistic lines. Her fiction makes compelling narratives out of ambiguities large and small. Her debut novel–-one of the first books released by the revitalized Featherproof since Tim Kinsella took over that press’s editorial reins–is one I’ve been excited about since the day it was announced.
— Tobias Carroll writes fiction and nonfiction. He’s the managing editor of Vol.1 Brooklyn, and his work has recently appeared in Tin House, Midnight Breakfast, The Collapsar, The Collagist, Joyland, Necessary Fiction, and Underwater New York. His collection Transitory will be released by Civil Coping Mechanisms in 2016.
Glass Half Full with Burning People by Bob Schofield
If this book is anything like any of Bob’s previous work it will be a dream labyrinth that pulls you quickly through itself and back out into the real world when all you want to do is stay within its dark sugary walls. That’s not hyperbole; it’s just impossible to describe Bob’s creative output without slipping into the surreal language that he himself uses. Each of Bob’s works have shown huge growth from what came before them so here’s hoping this one will continue that trend and be something entirely new. No matter what, I want it inside of me. Plus, burning people falling from the sky you know?
The Three Sunrises by Edward Mullany
The final installment in Edward’s trilogy from Publishing Genius, the first book was a poetry collection, which I loved. The second one was a story collection, which I loved. Edward told me
that this one’s a novel, but then I read the publisher call it a trio of novellas. When I first heard about it, it was called Legion, and then I saw it referred to as The Book of Numbers and finally I saw a proof copy with the words The Three Sunrises on the cover. This book seems to be in constant flux, so who knows what form it will take in the end. All I know is that I read an excerpt from it and loved it and am excited to return to the world Edward built in the first two books.
Post Pussy by Gabby Bess
A lot has changed since Gabby’s first book came out a couple of years ago. We are now post-internet, post-alt. Thankfully, though she has been quiet recently, we are not living in a post-Gabby world. I’m excited to see how Gabby’s work has developed since the success of Alone With Other People. The title of this new book makes me think that she will be engaging with feminism in interesting, new ways. The fact that it’s being published by the always-impressive Coconut Books let’s me know that it will be quality.
Dear S by Rachel Hyman
Rachel Hyman has been one of my favorite poets for a long time now. Her online publications are consistently excellent and her work always feels contemporary without the need for the obligatory references to pop culture or the Internet. I’m excited to see her work collected in print for the first time. If the excerpts published in Illuminati Girl Gang and The Scrambler are anything to judge this chapbook by then it’s going to be one of my favorites this year.
— Jackson Nieuwland likes unicorns.
Calculating How Big of A Tip to Give Is The Easiest Thing Ever, Shout Out to My Family & Friends by Steve Roggenbuck
Poetry is a hard sell for me, but last year I accidentally found someone who writes poetry I can actually vibe with. I stumbled on this guy’s YouTube channel and the first video I watched felt mad dramatic but entertaining nonetheless. Next thing you know, I watched five more of his addictive videos and realized I needed one of his books. At the time, I couldn’t find anything available. However, he has a new book coming out this year and I’m sure it’ll blow my socks off.
The Pulse Between Dimensions and the Desert by Rios De La Luz
I was first introduced to Rio’s raw writing via her chapbook Stories & Thoughts distributed
through Ladybox Books an imprint of Broken River Books. The stories’ emotional edge stuck with me and I was hyped when I heard she was working on a surreal short story collection. Also, I’m tired of being able to count the number of POC in certain genres on one hand. So it’s uber dope to see a woman who is also a POC bringing some new flavor to the table.
— Grant Wamack is the author of A Lightbulb’s Lament and Notes from the Guts of a Hippo. He is a weird fiction writer, Navy journalist, and rapper extraordinaire. He’s been published in such places as Everyday Weirdness, 365 Tomorrows, The New Flesh, and other fine publications. You can find him dancing bachata with beautiful ghosts in the cobblestone streets of Spain or you can visit him here: http://grantwamack.com/
Wildlives by Sarah Jean Alexander
Sarah Jean Alexander’s poetry has that quality of stepping from her life with the appearance of being effortlessly beautiful. It makes you almost forget that she’s one of the hardest working poets around. From her tweets to her long-form works, Alexander puts craft and devotion to the service of a poetry that is honest, funny and generous. Wildlives will be a gift, the beautiful fruits of a long period of writing and living.
Asuras by Jayinee Basu
For 2015, Asuras is the book I’m counting on to lift up my perceptual faculties and set them down again slightly off-kilter. Basu has such a beautiful gift for choosing words, and such a wry sense of humor, it makes her poetry sparkle with light. I’ve been looking forward to seeing an extended work from her for a while, and have every reason to feel optimistic that Asuras will catch everyone off guard with its freshness and mastery.
Art Sick by Lara Glenum
The last book of Glenum’s that I read, Pop Corpse, scared the crap out of me in a way that was thrilling and edifying. I expect nothing less from Art Sick. Lara Glenum, one of the leading “gurlesque” voices, plays at uncharted limits to show us what those limits are. Her poetics will get into you like a corkscrew to the abdomen. She’ll undo your insides and bring out something terrifying and unexpected.
— Michael Hessel-Mial is a poet and scholar, and editor of Internet Poetry. He is author of the image macro series “mspaint and heartbreak” and the forthcoming ebook VITA NUOVA II.
The Infernal by Mark Doten
With that title and that cover, how can I not be curious? From the descriptions and reviews it sounds like an ominous and risky commentary on 21st century warfare, technology, and the international game of politics, all infernal in their own right.
— Berit Ellingsen is the author of the short story collection Beneath the Liquid Skin (firthFORTH Books) and the novel Une Ville Vide (PublieMonde). Her work has or will appear in W.W. Norton’s Flash Fiction International Anthology, SmokeLong Quarterly, Unstuck, Litro, and other places, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the British Science Fiction Award. Berit’s new novel Not Dark Yet will be published by Two Dollar Radio in late 2015. She divides her time between Norway and Svalbard in the Arctic. http://beritellingsen.com.
Leverage by Eric Nelson
Gritty and without posturing. Leverage chronicles the good and bad that comes with living away from the light pollution of the city scape. Reminds me of Steinbeck, but if he’d been around to learn to speak my generation’s ‘internet weird’.
— Bud Smith works heavy construction. He’s from NJ, but currently lives in NYC. His latest novel is called F-250. www.budsmithwrites.com
The Only Ones by Carola Dibbell
Set in the near future, the feminist dystopian model laid out for The Only Ones seems like a well-worn path as of late; but with Dibbell’s rock critic tone honed over years at the Village Voice, I expect this novel’s soundtrack to be more Le Butcherettes than Lorde.
In a 2013 interview with Black Clock, rock critic and now fiction author Carola Dibbell said that, “There is a lot of chicken and egg in the influence question — and we haven’t even talked about cartoons and movies — but it’s possible my love of Dickens affected my taste for cockney punks.”
For The Only Ones, this metaphor goes one step further. Two Dollar Radio has been publishing earnest and bruising books that read with the same intensity of a passionate critic reviewing their least favorite acts; as such, Dibbell’s no-holds-barred voice will surely pack a punch. Here’s hoping my guts can take it.
Haints Stay by Colin Winnette
This will be Winnette’s second novel to debut this year, and his first ever with Two Dollar Radio. I’m convinced that combination will be powerful. Having previously published the granddaddy of Acid Westerns, Rudolph Wurlitzer, Eric and Eliza Obenauf are well suited to capturing Winnette’s
voice in this wild, forever-shape-shifting style.
Winnette’s ability to keep readers rooted in the story without really giving any solid foundation is impressive. He knows just the right time to open the sinkhole and let the desert sands collapse beneath our feet.
Winnette is most powerful when his words are reflecting the vast nothing we all possess, measuring out the weights and means of how our individually constructed worlds possess us instead; even if only for a few hours, I look forward to the world of Haints Stay completely possessing me.
— Andrew Miller is the author of the upcoming book If Only the Names Were Changed (CCM 2016), has been published in several short form print and online collections. He works as an analyst and a journalist in Columbus, OH where he lives with his partner and his daughter. Find him at andrew-miller.com.
Mozos: A Decade Running with the Bulls of Spain by Bill Hillmann
I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of The Old Neighborhood. I didn’t know much about Bill Hillmann, but I knew I dug his book. Then he made headlines because he’d previously co-authored a book called Fiesta: How To Survive The Bulls Of Pamplona and had just gotten gored during the 2014 run. Then I find out he’s written a memoir about his life, from a wasted ex-golden glove through decades of running with the bulls. There’s no way this book isn’t going to be interesting.
The Pleasure Merchant by Molly Tanzer
18th century England. An apprentice wigmaker is wrongfully disgraced and then taken in by a mysterious benefactor. His star begins to rise, but so does his greed. Do people even write books like this anymore? Somebody obviously is, and I have to see it. However it turns out to be, it’s going to be wildly different from all the other books out right now. That alone has a pull I can’t ignore.
F-250 by Bud Smith
Anyone who read Tollbooth by Bud Smith is probably already looking forward to F-250. Those of us who are in that club know what Bud Smith can do with the destruction inherent in a person
trying to find their place in the world. A rocker trying to make it, a friend OD’ing, a three-way relationship, this one seems even harder core than Tollbooth. I keep having Iron Maiden’s Running Free run through my head when I think about it.
— David S. Atkinson is the author of Bones Buried in the Dirt (2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist, First Novel <80K) and The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes (EAB Publishing, spring 2014). His writing appears in Bartleby Snopes, Grey Sparrow Journal, Interrobang?! Magazine, Atticus Review, and others. His writing website is http://davidsatkinsonwriting.com/ and he spends his non-literary time working as a patent attorney in Denver.
Brian Alan Ellis
The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic by Jessica Hopper
Jessica Hopper’s acerbic wit and knowledge of music/pop-culture particulars has gotten her jobs writing for Pitchfork, GQ, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, and the Chicago Tribune, but I best remember her from the ’90s, when she published her indie-reverent, taste-making zine Hit It Or Quit It; was a columnist for the late-great Punk Planet; and ran Hyper PR, a public-relations company which catered to small, independently-minded bands. I even spoke to Hopper on the phone once, when I was seventeen and doing my own music zine. I asked her if she could get me on the list for a Dismemberment Plan show, and possibly set up an interview with them “or something,” which she kindly obliged. I remember, she had a very nice voice. Hell of a writer, too.
The Perforated Nothingness by Mark Cronin
Mark Cronin is the kind of poet whose madness and how he exorcises that madness is a thing of brilliance one can admire from afar but if you ever let him crash at your house for a few days he would scare the living shit out of you. He’s that guy. He’s a genius. If he were a song he’d be “Live Wire,” or maybe “The Boy with The Thorn in His Side.” He basically has a bone to pick with
beauty. I fuckin’ love him.
Zero Saints by Gabino Iglesias
The author of Gutmouth is back, and he’s pissed! Just kidding, I think, but he has written a book that promises to fry up some eggs in your ol’ brain pan. I hear there will be junkies, really bad-ass dudes who hurt people in various ways, a Mexican woman in distress, illegal aliens, perhaps extraterrestrial aliens, some dogs, and a few saints (even though the book’s title suggests no saints). Gabino himself told me, “I wanted to write about religions, immigrants, pinche gringos, racism, guns, and praying.” If anything, I hope Zero Saints will explain what the hell a “pinche” gringo is.
How to Pose for Hustler by Andrea Kneeland
Andrea Kneeland seems like a perfectly happy family woman, which she probably is, but when she writes, oh boy, she writes like she’s a broken faucet gushing out blood and poetry and mental illness. She writes like she wants to dissect humanity’s heart of a darkness with a rusty cleaver and then kill everyone. Her writing is tense, powerful, fearless, and dark-dark-dark funny. Basically, it’s beautiful.
— Brian Alan Ellis lives in Tallahassee, Florida, and is the author of The Mustache He’s Always Wanted but Could Never Grow, 33 Fragments of Sick-Sad Living, King Shit (with Waylon Thornton), and Something Good, Something Bad, Something Dirty. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Juked, Crossed Out, Zygote in My Coffee, Monkeybicycle, DOGZPLOT, Sundog Lit, Connotation Press, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, HTMLGIANT, That Lit Site, Diverse Voices Quarterly, flashquake, Out of the Gutter, Spry, NAP, The Next Best Book Blog, Entropy, The Round Up Writer’s Zine, Gravel, and Atticus Review, among other places.
LIVEBLOG by Megan Boyle
Megan Boyle’s short stories have always done a wonderful job at reflecting the fragile elements of human life. Whether it’s driving to Little Rock to see a boy or a poem about her anxiety. The best features of her writing are what she chooses to focus on, the small glimpses into her mind, rather
than the notable events that dominates other fiction. LIVEBLOG is exciting because it is another example of how literature is evolving into the 21st Century, allowing the reader to follow her life and her unique perspective. This combined with the rising power of publishing house Tyrant books is no doubt going to be a sensation.
Hospice by Gregory Howard
Howard is my creative writing teacher. Three times a week he gives me amazing writing advice and knowledge that shows that not only has he been taught the craft but that he understands it to a talented level. The extracts that are available online disclose that this is going to be a contemporary gem, written by somebody who is a master in their field.
Bipolar Cowboy by Noah Cicero
It’s hard to not be excited about a new release from Noah Cicero. Even though every book of his has some kind of fluidity that makes the prose read like poetry, this collection, defined as poetry, is bound to show Cicero at his best. Cicero is a romantic, writes about love, and maybe not in the kind a general audience is used too. But, every emotion is sincere, wrapped in moment of the sublime that the English romantics could aspire too, making us wish that we lived in a western of bipolar cowboys.
Exigencies edited by Richard Thomas
When I try to think who works as hard and supports others as much as Richard Thomas, it’s difficult to think of other names that come to mind. This isn’t only a generous act though, because it means that Richard knows the best writers in the community. Which means that not only does it mean that Exigencies will be a fantastic read, but that Thomas will raise the bar of what is to be expected in an anthology, once again. Bound to be taught in classrooms across the world.
— Jay Slayton-Joslin is a writer from the London suburb of Beaconsfield, England. His work has appeared online and in print in journals such as Solarcide, Short, Fast and Deadly, Leodegraunce, Bizarro Central and Blink Ink. He has also appeared in the anthologies In Search Of A City: Los Angeles In 1,000 Words and Nova Parade. He is currently pursuing his undergraduate degree in American Literature and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. His first book, a poetry collection titled Kicking Prose is published by KUBOA Press. He can be found on his website: http://www.jayslaytonjoslinforever.com.
Edward J Rathke
The Doors You Mark Are Your Own by Okla Elliott and Raul Clement
I don’t actually know a lot about this book, partly by design, but I know Okla Elliott and Raul Clement are two of the smartest people on the internet. From what I do know about it, it sounds absolutely fantastic. It’s a huge post-apocalyptic nightmare that seems to be both political, philosophical, and full of excitement. If it lives up to what’s in my head, it might be the best thing to ever come out of indie lit.
The Zoo, A Going by JA Tyler
JA Tyler’s first book in a couple of years and I’ve been waiting a long time to read it. Or at least it feels that way. JA Tyler is one of the best stylists around and I’m a huge fan of just about anything that comes from his brain, so I’m expecting to love this, though I’ve no idea what its pages will hold. He’s one of the most underrated and underappreciated voices in indie lit despite being one of the most important writers, editors, and publishers in the community. It’s criminal, really, that he’s not loved more, especially given how enormously awesome his work is.
Binary Star by Sarah Gerard
This was just published last week and I’ve not gotten to it yet, but it’s from Two Dollar Radio, so I already know it’s a new work of genius by an unfamiliar writer. Another book I’m buying blind because I trust Two Dollar Radio that much. They’ve yet to lead me astray and I’m sure this won’t disappoint. It’s already getting all kinds of attention from everywhere and all of it’s positive. But that’s what we’ve come to expect from Two Dollar Radio.
Lemon Yellow Poison by Brian Allen Carr
Brian Allen Carr is the reason I’m buying this. There’s not really anyone who writes the way he does. He’ll take a normal sentence but then twist it in such a peculiar way that it becomes fantastic. Like, I could write a sentence and he’ll use the exact same words, but he’ll throw them in a new order and it’ll make it a thousand times better. He has impeccable style while also filling his work with narrative movement, brilliant characters, and all kinds of horrors and emotions. He’s one of my favorite writers publishing right now and I’ve never been disappointed by his work, which, thankfully, comes out pretty regularly these days. Absolutely can’t wait.
— Edward J Rathke is the writer of Ash Cinema (KUBOA Press, 2012), Twilight of the Wolves (Perfect Edge Books, 2014), and Noir: A Love Story (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2014). He is an editor at The Lit Pub and Monkeybicycle.
Companion Animal by Magdalena Zurawski
Magdalena Zurawski’s Companion Animal (Litmus Press) is really, really sharp: on the money
sometimes literally and always figuratively. Hsve you been alive and in love and deeply engaged with the world during late capitalism? Then you too will bask in these poems.
Fat Daisies by Carrie Murphy
Carrie Murphy’s Fat Daisies (Big Lucks) is another sharp eye on late capitalism, on having relationships to things and wanting things and understanding or not understaing things. Carrie’s poems are more honest than most things in the world; she is in the pinprick center of all this shit trying to work it out. She’s also totally funny and urgent and uncannily right on.
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson
I just finished Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts (Graywolf) and am thinking about reading it again right away. This is a queer book in it’s softest heart, totally defiant and simultaneously full of love and a desire to connect with the world. This might all sound esoteric but the book is solid as a fucking rock: you’ll devour it and feel it sitting beside you in a great, comforting way.
— Gina Abelkop lives in Athens, GA with her sweetheart & too funny dogs. She’s the author of I Eat Cannibals (co.im.press, 2014) and Darling Beastlettes (Apostrophe Books, 2012). She edits the DIY feminist press Birds of Lace.