Those Evenings When All of God's Conundrums
from Letters from a Stranger Winner of the Colorado Book Award by James Tipton Those evenings when all of God’s conundrums arrive at once, I look for something solid, like the cook, caught in the lick of thyme, when she looks into her red soup, pondering the interminable tomatoes of the past, or like the old man in the cathedral in Cuzco, muttering under his breath, “Jesus be...
from Memory’s Rooms a forthcoming collection by Eleanor Swanson releasing June 2013 Clusters of bright yellow dandelions have sprung up in the already-verdant grass. The branches of apple trees are lavish with white flowers. A girl throws her arms around her father’s waist as he rakes thatch into tidy piles light as shorn hair. A shirtless man strides down the sidewalk whistling. ...
from Some of These Days a forthcoming collection by Robert King releasing June 2013 At the first hard shock, a first love overturned in the instant of a letter, I was burned by the hurt, if not in the heart, that tight affectionate knot, then in the chest, an ache swelling up. That night I lay in bed watching the rain burst over our small troubled trees and cried, mostly from pain but partly,...
from Thread of the Real by Joseph Hutchison Your chest’s like a grave at a crossroads, and the dead within it shiver: their spirits rush … make your backbone bend and dip like a hazel wand. You touched your breast, told the curious: “Here. Sink your well here.” The timid refused. But one labored to split you open—worked with teeth gritted against even your own...
From Wire Song by Mark Todd Tires chew into the soft, April earth, drop easily into ruts that sluice the passages of spring through country roads. The fields still linger with five months’ snowwash, stock trails crisscrossing the meadow-white. No longer content with aging bales, the horses search, paw at the crust thaw, hungering for the shootgreen grass that surely lies beneath. Across...
A Screwball Rispetto
Your target—his hands clenching the bat. Grip the ball with a falcon’s claw and roll over the top as you release, snapping that red seam down into the plate’s black hole. Heat it hard so the pitch comes fast and a bit wild, inside middle so it breaks in toward tender knuckles as he takes a stuttering stride and swings right past. Click here to pre-order your copy for 10% off.
If You Had Such Wings
from Language for the Living and the Dead new poems by Chris Ransick If you had such wings, then where? Soar, circle, dive, hover, come back down to Earth from the air. Does a body dream better up there? Imagine the wind as your lover. If you had such wings, then where? Fly away and until you’re aware the horizon is all we discover. Come back down to Earth from the air. Come back to the...
from Crazy Chicana in Catholic City by Juliana Aragon Fatula Poverty eats up souls. Terror lies in children’s hearts. She plays with gringos on the streets, sits at the river, and wonders how long it would take to sink to the black bottom like la Llorona’s babies. Mexican dirt drips down her face. She prays on the edge of the current flowing east; the amber sphere vanishing in the...
These Awkward Efforts to Be Alive
from Letters from a Stranger Winner of the Colorado Book Award by James Tipton These awkward efforts to be alive, to wade through our own debris, toward shore, toward other people, we take too seriously. Our ships wreck, and we survive; our hearts, stolen by pirates, are not ransomed; but we cannot weep forever for these lost things. The sea, not the ship, is our mother. The waves are never...
Learning to Read Poetry
Most of the poetry I’ve read in the past has been mandatory. Only recently, because of Conundrum Press, have I started to pursue poetry recreationally. However, that doesn’t suddenly make me an expert. I haven’t had a stroke of genius. I struggle quite a lot with poetry, and though I’m trying to ‘expand my horizons’ in my reading choices, I still find poetry quite hard to understand. I’m only...
What we've been doing at Conundrum this summer
You may have seen our Facebook updates as the warm spring turned into hot summer, and if so, you know we’ve been busy behind the scenes preparing our spring and summer books. We’ve also been reading ahead and are in the process of choosing the next lineup of books, so if you haven’t heard from us about your pending manuscript, you will, soon. Thanks for your patience. What we have published so...
by Zsolt from Living, Loving, and Other Heresies When he wrote the essays in Living, Loving, and Other Heresies, Zsolt was suffering from a progressive, debilitating neuropathy that eventually killed him. The essays began as letters to loved ones, but slowly evolved into group emails not only about his disease, but also about life in general. They functioned as a kind of blog—with the...
by Bruce Berger The Geography of Hope: Poets of Colorado’s Western Slope Think of those naturals who started right off blowing horn Like mad, who were born with terrific prose styles, Who made principled campaigns for public office Too soon. They cleared the ground so fast you thought They’d turn you into someone who knew them back when, And just kept shrinking into...
They Also Serve
by Burton Raffel from Beethoven in Denver and Other Poems (in which Beethoven returns from the dead and moves in with Raffel for extended conversations on music, politics, women, history, chocolate, mountains, love, and God) “They pay you so much—for teaching?” Beethoven asked. “Universities are a big business, these days,” I assured him after...
Poem for a Cold Walk Home
by Chris Ransick from Never Summer: Poems From Thin Air If I told my story, you might doubt how high snow piled along the street, how smooth the ice lay all about low places in a glassy sheet, green and black as dusk came down, late January freeze complete. I measured steps, a little clown, with songs and jokes, the squirrels and birds the only audience around. I think they knew the tunes and...
A New Year's Poem For You
A Horse Named Habit by Mark Todd (from Wire Song) You bet a Habit Is hard to break, You tall-standing Son of a bitch. I still gimp From your knee-bust Stomp and bronc ways, A hit-hard lesson. And to see you still Too-grained full Of yourself While I feel only The punched-breath Crunch of flat Pack and trail. But I’ll find the cool Of your blood yet Between my knees, The settle-down Of...
Backlist highlight: Living, Loving and Other...
“If this is heresy, we need more of it! A timeless book of compelling prose and poetry.”—Bill Moyers In 1999, Zsolt, a writer, musician, dancer, and teacher suffered from a progressive neuropathy, and when he was no longer able to write, began a group e-mail list to which he sent out regular essays about how the disease was affecting his life. As the illness progressed and he lost the ability...
The Non-traditional Traditionalist
by Robert Garner McBrearty My stories usually start right where the time of calm ends. I place my characters right at the moment of change, when they find themselves in new, precarious situations. For instance, four men find themselves on a life raft when their fishing boat goes down and they make awkward stabs at spirituality as they attempt to survive. A private investigator has a crisis of...
Our first new publication
For the past few weeks we’ve been working with Colorado author Robert Garner McBrearty on his new collection of short stories, Let the Birds Drink in Peace. The stories feature a variety of characters, from reluctant private investigators to worried brothers to kidnapped kids, and the stories’ styles range from contemplative to comedic. At the heart of them all, though, are characters...