W.K. Stratton continues his exploration of alter ego alleyways in his second book of poetry, Ranchero Ford/Dying in Red Dirt Country. Written in both verse and prose-poem form, the pieces in the book form a poetic concept album dealing much with time and place and family, both real and imagined. The poems draw images from a tough society populated by oilfield roughnecks, bootleggers, brawlers, and outlaws. Ranchero Ford/Dying in Red Dirt Country is bookended by long pieces exploring loss in the unforgiving territory.
Stratton, a past president of the Texas Institute of Letters, has written four books of nonfiction and co-edited another. He is currently at work on book about Sam Peckinpah and The Wild Bunch.
David Bowles, Border Lore, Folktales and Legends of South Texas
Award-winning translator and author David Bowles brings together twenty-five darkly memorable stories of the southern borderlands of Texas, retold in his unique voice. Ranging from the age-old folktales heard at his grandmother’s knee to urban legends collected down the years, each of these narratives is brought to stunning visual life by artist José Meléndez. An appendix classifies the pieces and enumerates motifs.
The Texas Gulf Historical and Biographical Record,
Lamar University Press joins the Texas Gulf Historical Society and the Lamar University History Department in publishing this special 50th Anniversary Edition of the journal. The volume brings together 18 articles that showcase the quality and diversity of scholarship published in the Record since its first number released in November 1965. The authors include nationally recognized scholars, veteran local historians, and former students. They write about the social, industrial, economic, ethnic, and military history of Southeast Texas and the Gulf Coast, covering major periods from the Texas Revolution to the late Civil Rights Era. The 50th Anniversary Edition will stand alone as a welcome resource of the history of a region.
Jim Sanderson, an award-winning writer of novels and short fiction, has for many years taught university courses in writing fiction. Recently he conducted a web-based course for those wanting to begin writing as well as those interested in improving their fiction writing. Sanderson’s Fiction Writing Manual presents the best of that course. The table of contents of the manual suggests the practical, sensible approach Sanderson takes in his classes and in this book:
Aristotle, Burroway, and others
Terms From Tragedy, plot, and character
Description and Narration
Figurative Language: its care and use
Image, symbol, metaphor
Showing, even in Telling
Wayne C. Booth
Examples of different uses of Voice
A bonus in the manual is an anthology of student stories.
Sanderson’s Fiction Writing Manual is a first-rate guide for writers learning and improving their art and craft of fiction.
In vintage Michelle Hartman style, her second book, Irony and Irreverence pokes fun at lawyers, politics, love, crazy family members and even writing poetry. Here you will find an unabashed look at the people and ideas many hate but are afraid to say so above a whisper. Spend some time with this book and you will be calling friends to read them a poem.
“There is no stocking too blue, no cow too sacred to escape Michelle’s own inimitable style.” —Ann Howells
Jonas Zdanys, editor, Pushing the Envelope: Epistolary Poems
This is a unique anthology of epistolary poetry—poems in the form of letters. The book consists of new work by more than fifty poets from the United States, Canada, Europe, and Israel. Poetry in this collection, most written for this specific anthology, continues a tradition more than two thousand years old in its combining of letter-writing with poetry. The poets published here explore concerns that so many personal letters often express: love and loss, hope and redemption, turmoil and joy, outward exploration and introspection. Each poem amounts to a literary envelope that readers can open to discover lyrical language offered in the form of an epistle.
The editor, Jonas Zdanys, has written over 40 books, most of them collections of poetry and volumes of translations of Lithuanian literature. Zdanys is Professor of English at Sacred Heart University.
Terry Dalrymple’s fine collection, Love Stories (Sort Of), requires a parenthetical explanation in the title because the kids in the stories do not understand the source of puppy love. The adolescents cannot distinguish between love and lust. And Dalrymple’s adult characters merely think they understand the nuances of the powerful forces of love and physical attraction. But they are helpless to follow rational behavior when afflicted by lust.
These stories are not chivalric romances. They vividly illustrate real people in love, real people like all of us. The characters in this assemblage get by as best they can in often humorous and always poignant ways. Among the characters are
—an idealistic eleven-year-old with a gift for pencil drawing and a crush on his teacher
—a forty-seven-year-old real estate agent looking for another ego-bolstering bedpost notch
—a beautiful, lonely young woman whose only knowledge of love comes from classical literature and her mother’s dire warnings about nasty things boys seek.
These (sort of) love stories will remind us of ourselves and many people we know, perhaps in ways we are reluctant to admit. Troy Reeves offers a peek at one story