Press Release for INTO THE CRACKS

 

 

 

Into the Cracks

Holly Day

Golden Antelope Press

ISBN 978-1-936135-69-1; 64 pp; $14.95; released May 6, 2019

Poetry

 

Synopsis:

 

In 53 tightly-crafted poems, Holly Day creates tiny moments of pain edged with hope--or, if hope is too large a concept, then edged with honesty. Into the Cracks speaks to the dreams, fears, cravings, duties, and disappointments we share. It speaks with the voice of a mother, daughter, lover, housewife, victim, or rebel--in images of concrete boots and dying butterflies, clouds of squid ink and smudged glass in a dusty picture frame. Its language is exquisite.

 

In "Bloodlines," for example, the impulse to create and protect offspring is shared by the narrator and the maple tree which "sends its helicopter seeds across the yard." Does the tree hate the narrator/gardener who clips its seedlings--or does it resign itself to sterility? Will it retaliate, tossing branches at the narrator's children during some future storm? The questions behind such questions are rich, the metaphors inventive, sometimes alarming, often humorous.

 

Other poems re-create the touchy tones of people who can't quite live up to some not-quite-articulated standard. In "Three Screwdriver Hello," we're warned that "I get like a razor when you say/ [you] 'understand.'" In "Bleeding the Brakes Dry," the memory of hearing waves crash on a distant shore can become loud enough to drown out the mutterings of a husband working on a car that will never make it back to that beach.

 

In other poems, we learn to read cracks in pavements and in paintings, cracks made by fingernails running ragged across human skin, cracks in the facade of sanity or sobriety. The book's cover is one of the author's needlepoints--done by carefully, even meditatively, pushing and pulling threads through the interstices of a piece of canvas--using needles made of steel. Holly Day captures chaos in tiny spaces and holds it there for us to see. And hear. And taste and touch and smell.

 

Biography:

 

Holly Day has worked as a freelance writer, indexer, needlepoint artist and editor for more than 25 years. She has had more than a dozen books of fiction and nonfiction published. Into the Cracks is her fifth book of poetry. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she currently develops and teaches courses for writers at The Loft Literary Center.

 

 

Please Fall INTO THE CRACKS with Holly Day

 

I have always found comfort in clutter and chaos, especially when it comes to the natural world and its battles with the order imposed by civilization. I delight in seeing spiders run out from underneath the sofa of a perfectly cleaned house, or watching ivy crack its way into a building's facade. For me, the pretense of order, in whatever form it takes, acts as a shield against the unpredictability and lurking chaos of the outside world.

 

That's what Holly Day said to us back in August, 2018, when she first sent samples of her poetry to Golden Antelope.  Since then, we've become more and more impressed with this brave and exacting writer, the one who finds ways to articulate chaos--and order too, when necessary--in poems which cover most all the cracks we humans, especially women, grow out of, fall into. . . .  

 

We're proud to announce that Into the Cracks was released on May 6.  For more, check out the press release under "Authors," or go to Barnes & Noble or Amazon.  And meanwhile, join in this bit of fantasy, the opening stanza of: 

 

"The Needle"

    

if you could play your fingerprints

with a phonograph needle

what do you think your song would be?

is there an SOS of pops and snaps

in the ridges of your thumbs

or is there an overture waiting to be heard

buried in the whorls of your index finger?

 

 

 

Jack Powers Interviewed for National Poetry Month

Congratulations to Jack Powers on this wonderful celebration of his new collection, Everybody's Vaguely Familiar.  He was interviewed on National Writing Project, launching National Poetry Month. He's interviewed by Tanya Baker and Bryan Ripley Crandall about his work with young poets, especially those involved in the Connecticut Writing Project.    

https://content.blubrry.com/nwpradio/041119-nwp-radio-jack-powers-npm.mp3

If you're interested in writing, teaching, or Connecticut, check out this link:

https://lead.nwp.org/?s=connecticut

We're Uploading Holly Day's Book Today!

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These poems are sometimes terrifyingly raw, sometimes gentle.  Here's a sample from the middle of the book--after we've glimpsed insights into mothering, smothering, and awakening.

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The Daughter Who Left

 

Reconstruct that last day: her, standing in the doorway, suitcase in hand

straining to leave as though strapped to us, always tearful in her memories

reluctant gratitude behind closed eyes, but so anxious to get out.

 

She is everywhere in this house, frozen behind picture frames

trapped in a smile that changes every time the smudged glass is dusted

sometimes, she is happy. Mostly, she is barely tolerant.

 

There are conversations half-remembered that take on new meaning

each time they’re replayed, new depth: wisdom beyond the years

of an unhappy five-year-old, harbinger to the years of dead silence far ahead.

 

 

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Several pages later we find this--and include it here because it helps to explain the book's cover--an almost surreal needlepoint done by the author.  We leave it to you, dear reader, to figure out what degree of control and spontaneity come together in creating edgy poems and in needling a human figure onto canvas.  The thread is there.

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 On the Right Path

 

 In this room written entirely on paper

there is comfort in the nodding and agreeing of flowers; they

tell me that I am not just a crazy woman sitting alone

rambling about dark matter to an invisible audience

sketching out the history of myth in thread and canvas

 

tumbling inward into myself like a monk

quiet, at peace.

 

My daughter says she’s worried about me

being alone all the time, wants to know

what I’ve been writing but I won’t show her.

Someday, I will reveal the secrets

to the future of humanity to her, the origin of snails

the language of pills. But not now.

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 And still later, this tribute to a woman's strength

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The Things that Come in the Mail

 

the flowers come in the mail, with the cards, with the lovely notes

expressing sympathy for our loss. I don’t want to answer the door anymore

want to let the tiny wreaths pile up, wither away.

 

I smile, thank the delivery man for my mail, I smile at my husband

I smile

at everyone. I call relatives to let them know I’m fine, I don’t need

anything. I thank them for their kindness and for the flowers.

my husband compliments me on my strength, I reply with

another smile. my face hurts from smiling so much. at night

 

I find myself talking to the missing baby, holding

my hands over my stomach, protecting nothing. I shuffle through

these days, find comfort in repetitive tasks. I vacuum constantly.

I crochet mittens for everyone. I turn inside myself

 

hold back everything but this smile, the one I show my family

my husband—it’s all I’ve got left.

 

 

Coming soon: Jerry Burger's THE SHADOWS OF 1915

Golden Antelope is happy to announce that it will be publishing Jerry Burger's first novel, The Shadows of 1915, this summer.  Burger is best known for his social psychology expertise--his textbook, Personality, has gone through nine editions; his (milder and more ethical) replication of the Milgram Experiment on obedience to authority has also become something of a classic. In Returning Home, he explores the reasons adults return to the places where they grew up. 

In The Shadows of 1915 Burger uses insights gathered from a lifetime of humane and sensitive work, avoiding academic jargon and creating memorably individualized, characters--as real, charming, arrogant, and/or gently poetic as you'd ever want to meet.  What "shadows" their lives in the 1950s of this novel is a set of events now recognized as the "Armenian genocide."  Most of the young men and women in the novel (Arak, Serena, Mihran) were born into an Armenian community in Fresno, California years after the Turkish government brutalized their parents--but some of them seem to bear--and to treasure--the scars of that time and place. 

This is a deeply perceptive book, using its beautifully developed characters  to quietly raise questions about cultural resonance, gender roles, immigration policies, labor rights, religious rites, and even the "me too" movement.