Mailbox Monday #304

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1.  Revival by Stephen King for Christmas from my parents.

In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs — including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.

2.  One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart, a happy surprise!

Set in Florence, Italy, One Thing Stolen follows Nadia Cara as she mysteriously begins to change. She’s become a thief, she has secrets she can’t tell, and when she tries to speak, the words seem far away.


3.  Wet by Toni Stern from Saichek Publicity for review.

Toni Stern enjoyed a highly productive collaboration with the singer-songwriter Carole King. Stern wrote the lyrics for several of King’s songs, most notably “It’s Too Late” for the album Tapestry. Now, through the expansive medium of poetry, she continues her spirited exploration of contemporary life.

4.  Paradise Drive by Rebecca Foust from the author for review.

5.  River House by Sally Keith from Milkweed Editions for review.

These are poems of absence. Written in the wake of the loss of her mother, River House follows Sally Keith as she makes her way through the depths of grief, navigating a world newly transfigured. Incorporating her travels abroad, her experience studying the neutral mask technique developed by Jacques Lecoq, and her return to the river house she and her mother often visited, the poet assembles a guide to survival in the face of seemingly insurmountable pain. Even in the dark, Keith finds the ways we can be “filled with this unexpected feeling of living.”

6. The Red List by Stephen Cushman from Louisiana State University Press for review.

The “red list” of Stephen Cushman’s new volume of poetry is the endangered species register, and the book begins and ends with the bald eagle, a bird that bounded back from the verge of extinction. The volume marks the inevitability of such changes, from danger to safety, from certainty to uncertainty, from joy to sadness and back again. In a single poem that advances through wordplay and association, Cushman meditates on subjects as vast as the earth’s fragile ecosystem and as small as the poet’s own deflated fantasy of self-importance: “There aren’t any jobs for more Jeremiahs.” Simultaneously teasing the present and eulogizing what has been lost, Cushman speaks like a Shakespearean jester, freely and foolishly, but with penetrating insight.

7.  The Heroes’ Welcome by Louisa Young from Harper for review.

The Heroes’ Welcome is the incandescent sequel to the bestselling R&J pick My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You. Its evocation of a time deeply wounded by the pain of WW1 will capture and beguile readers fresh to Louisa Young’s wonderful writing, and those previously enthralled by the stories of Nadine and Riley, Rose, Peter and Julia.



8.  Intermezzo: A Pride & Prejudice Variation by Abigail Reynolds from the author.

“Intermezzo” is a short story and is available in an expanded version along with 4 other short stories in A Pemberley Medley by Abigail Reynolds.



9. A Sudden Light by Garth Stein from Anna and her family.

When a boy tries to save his parents’ marriage, he uncovers a legacy of family secrets in a coming-of-age ghost story by the author of the internationally bestselling phenomenon, The Art of Racing in the Rain.

In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant, whole trees, and is set on a huge estate overlooking Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch Grandpa Samuel—who is flickering in and out of dementia—to a graduated living facility, sell off the house and property for development into “tract housing for millionaires,” divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.

What did you receive?

Interview With Poet Stephen Cushman

Poet Stephen Cushman

Poet Stephen Cushman

This week at the Poetry Blog of 32 Poems Magazine my interview with poet Stephen Cushman was posted. He’s a contributor to the magazine and was a delight to interview. His answers are very short and to the point, but I’m intrigued by those who play Frisbee golf.

First, let me tantalize you with a bit from the interview, and then you can go on over and check the rest out for yourself.

Without further ado, here’s the interview.

How would you introduce yourself to a crowded room eager to hang on your every word? Are you just a poet? What else should people know about you?

People should know I play a mean game of Frisbee golf, am fluent in Maineglish (ayuh), am told I can make anything naughty with the lift of one eyebrow, and am the go-to person for old school drinking songs.

Do you see spoken word, performance, or written poetry as more powerful or powerful in different ways and why? Also, do you believe that writing can be an equalizer to help humanity become more tolerant or collaborative? Why or why not?

If I am elected Miss America, I vow to work for world peace, mostly on the written page, although I’m happy to perform or do spoken word, if I can wear my overalls. Poetry is 4,300 years old; if it could help humanity become more tolerant and collaborative, it would have done so by now. And perhaps it has. Who knows? If it weren’t for poetry, we might be even worse than we are.

In terms of friendships, have your friendships changed since you began focusing on writing? Are there more writers among your friends or have your relationships remained the same?

As a writer I fly least turbulently below the radar. Luckily, therefore, my friendships are not related to or dependent on my writing life.

How do you stay fit and healthy as a writer?

I’m currently co-editing the new edition of the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, so hoisting the page proofs of that around keep me pretty buff.

He also included a poem, originally published in 32 Poems, for readers to check out:

Supposing Him to Be the Gardener

Supposing this to be the sun
And this to be the rain,
Supposing clouds to be caviar
And wind to be champagne,
How can one tell divinity
From a tree turned red
Or Do not hold me from what else
Its leaves might well have said?

About the Poet:

Stephen Cushman is Robert C. Taylor Professor of English at the University of Virginia. He has published four collections of poetry, Riffraff (LSU, 2011), Heart Island (David Robert Books, 2006), Cussing Lesson (LSU, 2002), and Blue Pajamas (LSU, 1998). He is also the author of Bloody Promenade: Reflections on a Civil War Battle (University Press of Virginia, 1999) and two books of criticism, Fictions of Form in American Poetry (Princeton University Press, 1993) and William Carlos Williams and the Meanings of Measure (Yale University Press, 1985).

Also find him at Public Poetry, The Writer’s Almanac, Drunken Boat, interLitQ.org, The Cortland Review, University of Virginia Department of English, Amazon.com, and Archipelago.

Please check out the rest of the interview on 32 Poems Blog.