Love and treachery in the old southwest
by Anne Muccino
Red Bricks, the debut novel by Kansas City writer, Anne Muccino, is set in the desert southwest circa 1930. JT Swain is just seventeen when he loses everything that matters to him, his father and the ranch he grew up on. The young man sets out on horseback to find the connectedness suddenly gone from his life. He meets Dalia Jackson, the fifteen-year-old, half-Nahua Indian, half-white daughter of a wealthy New Mexico rancher, and quickly discovers that the rebellious young woman sees her place in the world as equal to that of any man. Strangely drawn to Dalia, when JT learns that she has disappeared, he sets out to find her, challenging the law when he must, tracking her into the barrios of Juárez, Mexico, where he witnesses firsthand the cruelty of human trafficking.
In prose reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy, at once savage and tender, Red Bricks by Anne Muccino offers no easy outs, instead asking us to contemplate the paradoxical nature of loss and redemption, of the razor’s edge between life and death. Muccino’s stunning debut explores both what it means to be harmed beyond recognition and what it means, finally, to recognize one’s own strength. This is a riveting and deeply moving novel, one of the best I’ve read in a long while. Anne Muccino is a talent to be reckoned with.
—Abigail Dewitt, author of
News of Our Loved Ones
Anne Muccino’s debut novel is a literary gem. It is rich in detail and remarkably authentic. Catch up on your sleep. The time and place in Red Bricks are so vivid, with characters so real, so poignant, you will not want to put this book down. This is a beautiful, moving, absorbing experience, destined to become a classic.
—Dawn Shamp, author of
On Account of Conspicuous Women
From Amazon Customer: Excellent read. I received this moving book as a Christmas gift, and what a gift it is, indeed. The story kept me engrossed and the characters stayed with me long after I finished the last page. I immediately lent it to my sister whose response after reading it was to recommend it to her writing group. I can only hope this is the first of many such novels by Anne Muccino.
New and Selected Poems from Land and Water
by the author of the award winning chapbook Bottom Right Corner.
“As he looks at corpses of muskrats – ‘puts some thought on porcupines,’ – or pauses while dragging out a deer on snow, thinks about how ticks wait out their prey, Justin Watkins’ poems take us into the heart of the Midwest as lived through its language.” —Jim Johnson is the former Poet Laureate of Duluth. His latest book, Text For Our Nomadic Future, came out in August 2018.
I’ve always been a fan of the work of Justin Watkins. By Dan Frasier
His blog, Fishing and Thinking, where he writes under the pen name “Wendy Berrell”, is a truly special place to read the ruminations of a scientist who sees a value in living life close to the land. Beyond his blog, Justin’s book of poetry Bottom-Right Corner from Red Dragonfly Press is a brilliant work of outdoor poetry about life as an outdoorsman in South Eastern Minnesota. So I’ve been a fanboy for a long time.
In his newest book A Mark of Permanence published by Shipwreckt books, Justin takes his work to a new level; integrating poetry and his uniquely stark factual prose, Justin has created a series of vignettes into life being lived in modern Minnesota as it was lived centuries ago. His deep respect for the quarry in his tales along with the land and water they live in shines through like rays of sun through a dark grey cloudy ceiling. Yet Justin achieves this feat without flowery language or high-minded soliloquies. Instead, he tells you the facts like they are and lets the overwhelming reality of just how interconnected we are with the world around us speak for itself.
I think nothing better exemplifies this amazing talent of Justin’s than 2 stanzas in the poem
“The Hidden Flat”
Paleozoic Seas have come and gone here
Flooding and receding
Leaving shelved limestone
That our boot cleats bite and hold
We study the ceaseless hefting of water
For there is no other signature
Water rock two hunters and the fish:
Dark shapes deliberate in the shallows
K. Bartlett: “Thoughtful stuff by Justin Watkins. My copy arrived and I thought, “I will just read the first poem.” Then I sat down and read the entire book in one sitting. Fantastic writing for anyone who has an appreciation of life and the outdoors.”
the award-winning author of Eros in Autumn
When the poems in Steven Schild’s new collection are at their best (and his batting average is pretty darned good), they tackle our primary work: ‘being human,’ something that too often these days seems to be regarded as a sort of silliness. He writes, We kiss and commiserate / we cling without question to even our oddest others, / we comfort like angels, / like lower-case gods. These poems celebrate at least as often as they mourn, soothe more than they fume. That the reader is allowed to participate in the journey is no small gift.—John Reinhard is the author of On the Road to Patsy Cline and Burning the Prairie.
These Humans is a symphonic presentation of us as a species. In parts 1-1V Schild examines us under the magnifying glass of the journalist he was and teacher he is—the images are clear, the language is crisp, and the lyricism is deft. There is a tone of disdain appropriate to the times in which we live; Schild presents the empirical evidence as he has witnessed it. In parts V and VI the voice of the poet takes over: the poems go much deeper to the soul of who we are. The responsible and articulate public witness becomes more personal, sharing (our) fears and vulnerabilities, our moments of joy and quiet delight. There is a balance in this book—of citizen and next-door-neighbor, of husband, son, grandson and father, of fellow traveler, of journalist and poet. And always the poetry exhibits an unerring ear. Thank you, Steve Schild for composing and sharing this orchestration!—Ken McCullough, Poet Laureate of Winona, Minnesota, is the author of Dark Stars and Broken Gates.