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Diane Glancy, Stories of the Driven World (Mammoth Publications) Glancy’s latest work of poetry brings her list of works on Amazon to three pages, and I think some are actually missing from that. She writes poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, novels, plays, and screenplays, and she’s won major awards in all those genres. Glancy has published so many books, had so many plays produced, and won so many awards that she hardly needs any attempt from me to bring her more attention—except for the fact, that many people outside the world of writers of color are not familiar with her name or her work. This always astonishes me. She’s a writer of rare abilities and excels in pulling the reader into her world that has one foot in today, one foot in the past before Europeans imposed their culture on those they found when they arrived on this continent (Glancy is Cherokee/Irish), and a third foot, for she does not believe in dichotomies, in the spirit world, which, for Glancy, includes both the spirits of her Native ancestors and Jesus with whom she has a close relationship. My favorite of her novels is Pushing the Bear, A Novel of the 1838-39 Cherokee Trail of Tears, truly a poet’s novel, my favorite of her books of short fiction is Firesticks, my favorite of her books of poetry is Lone Dog’s Winter Count, and my favorite of her essays is Claiming Breath. But the truth is you can pick up just about anything by her and lose yourself in it. Her latest move is into the field of filmmaking. A Renaissance Indigenous woman.
Here is a link to the website of her latest book’s publisher.
Carlos Cúmpian, 14 Abriles: Poems (March Abrazo Press) This chapbook is Cúmpian’s latest offering in a long career as writer, editor, and activist. Cúmpian has been publishing Latino and Native American writers for over thirty years as editor of March Abrazo Press in Chicago. A poet of protest with a distinctive, fiery style, a great sense of humor, and a strong, entertaining style at readings, he should be better known than he is. My favorite of his books is Armadillo Charm. Any of his books, though, will send you looking for others.
Here’s a link to the March Abrazo Press website. Check out all the great writers they’ve published through the years.
Ching-In Chen, The Heart’s Traffic: a novel in poems (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press) This first book by a young writer who is a member of both the Kundiman and Macondo writing communities is a fierce, sensual work that can also bring tears to your eyes. It tells the story of and immigrant girl coming to grips with her sexuality and the long-lasting results of her best friend’s death at a young age. Chen uses a variety of forms—narrative, epistolary, even riddles—to tell this story in poetry, but she writes with great control and at the same time without holding back. She is a writer of great promise.
Here’s a link to Arktoi Books.
More fine writers to come. See you next time.