“Dirt Songs” by Kari Gunter-Seymour

In Dirt Songs (Eastover Press 2024), Kari Gunter-Seymour proves she is at the top of her game by evoking both the wild energy and lustful passion of youth and the regrets such indulgences oft engender later in life. Other poems in the collection beautifully capture the natural world of Appalachia through precise language and fresh […]

“Hell Put to Shame, the 1921 Murder Farm Massacre and the Horror of America’s Second Slavery” by Earl Swift

If you’re noticing the 1921 date in the subtitle of Hell Put to Shame (Mariner Books 2024) and thinking debt “peonage” is a past atrocity, forget it. Also known as debt slavery, the practice lives on, often targeting poor, unemployed, and homeless people. Today, it’s often immigrants. In 2010, a federal grand jury, author Earl […]

 “Because I Loved You” by Donnaldson Brown

In some ways, the broad scope of Because I Loved You (She Writes Press 2023) by Donnaldson Brown never fully transcends its opening chapters about the impact of a first love. The novel spans several decades in a relationship between a couple who first fall in love as adolescents. The novel’s early sections which involve […]

“Night Watch” by Jayne Anne Phillips wins Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia, stands at the center of Jayne Anne Phillips’ latest novel, Night Watch (Knopf 2023). It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, is long-listed for the National Book Award in Fiction, and is a New Yorker Best Book of the Year. The Civil War’s aftermath of wounded men and […]

 “Glass Cabin” by Tina Mozelle Braziel and James Braziel

Glass Cabin (Pulley Press April 2024) is a singularly beautiful book, radiant with life-affirming prose and poetry from husband-and-wife team Tina Mozelle Braziel and James Braziel.  In alternating voices, Jim and Tina tell a vivid, engaging story of how they built a house. Not just any house, mind you, but a cabin constructed in the […]

May Read of the Month: “Treatment Plan” by Darryl Bollinger

Gripping—because the story is expertly crafted to grab you by the neck and not let go. Horrifying—because the very people who should be helping drug-addicted patients are instead motivated to make sure they stay addicted. Important—because even though Treatment Plan, by Darryl Bollinger, is fictional, similar events are happening to real families. Yes, Treatment Plan […]