Courageous, insightful, and unsettling poems about war and family ties.KIRKUS
Kirkus reviews SHELLBACK by Jeanne-Marie Osterman, one of this year’s top indie press books! Read the full review here.
Paloma Press is delighted to announce the forthcoming fall release of The Ruin of Everything, a short story collection by acclaimed Filipino American author Lara Stapleton! Ruin is now available for pre-order from Bookshop.org, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
The Ruin of Everything tells tales of abandoned children living in adult bodies. Bastards, bi-racial half-siblings, and orphans raised by aunts, they lose their last best love through brokenness like “the impossible loop in a stress dream.” Racial ambiguity abounds and confounds US color lines. Tones stretch from lugubrious sorrow to wicked dramedy. Obstinately fluid in architecture and identity, stories range from slick Hollywood glam to essayistic musings, from traditional immigrant realism, to rehearsals of autofiction that grow more metatextual as the book goes along. Just as we think we’ve learned how to read Stapleton’s stories, they shapeshift. And yet, the pieces reflect each other, a sad-clown funhouse hall of mirrors. Through wanton experiments with character, The Ruin of Everything asks us what is important to a tale and what it means to be American in country and continents. Lovers of Clarice Lispector and Luisa Valenzuela will find much to admire here.
“An Anaïs Nin of late capitalism’s bohemia, Lara Stapleton writes like an oracle of an underworld—of miscegenated loves and translocated broken souls—of characters unaware or ruinously conscious—and she inscribes that world in us with lust and wit and always that deep joy that encompasses sorrows bred in the bone, the race, the colors of one’s skin, the heart, and of course the tongue: the word.”
—Gina Apostol, author of Insurrecto
“With a keen eye for human ambitions and human frailties, Stapleton brings us the comic turmoil of characters steeped in the sorrows and absurdities of modern life; reaching for connection and erring, reaching for home and missing. Brimming with hard-edged loneliness, these stories reach into the underbellies of our deepest hopes and fears.”
—Laurel Flores Fantauzzo, author of My Heart Underwater
About the author:
LARA STAPLETON is the author of the short story collection, The Lowest Blue Flame Before Nothing (Aunt Lute), an Independent Booksellers’ Selection and a Pen Open Book Committee Selection. She is the recipient of a Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation Grant for Writers, a two-time winner of the University of Michigan’s Hopwood Award for Fiction and winner of the Columbia Journal Fiction Prize.
Paloma Press is pleased to announce the release of Seven Skirts, a debut poetry collection by Jacki Rigoni.
Following a journey of coming apart and stitching together a new life after domestic abuse, this debut poetry collection weaves in skirts as a metaphor for both women’s vulnerability and their power. Though steeped in the milieu of #metoo, divorce court, and the ubiquity of violence against women, the tender poems in Seven Skirts center women, mothers, children, wilderness, and the common healing power of women showing up for each other “on a Tuesday.”
In one of the poems of this aptly titled Seven Skirts poetry collection by Jacki Rigoni, I come across a beautiful word: handwork. It applies to the domestic work of women, from birthing and mothering children to sewing and mending clothes and offering solidarity to each other. It also relates to the work of stitching, through language, a life back together again after rupture. One of the narrative threads has to do with a story of divorce and custody, but it is worn lightly in this collection. The poems that stand out more brightly against this backdrop are those that celebrate women breaking silence after abuse, reclaiming their history, helping each other, learning to let go. The speaker in these poems considers how in the delicate balance of things, it is often the banal and mundane that rescue us: the ordinary ritual of making breakfast, learning to inhabit the space behind the “rented window / …to amaze at grace, again.”
~ Luisa A. Igloria, author of Maps for Migrants and Ghosts (2020), Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia 2020-22
In this powerful debut collection, Jacki Rigoni navigates the topic of domestic violence with honesty and bravery. Survival, mending, and how “we bend again toward light,” compels these profound poems that emerge from “a marriage decomposed / with the oak leaves.” What is balm for such loss and disillusionment? Children, mothers, gardenias, and the speaker’s own will of a salmon who moves “herself upstream against every force.” Ultimately, Seven Skirts is a collection rooted in healing. This is a necessary and stunning book.
~ Tayve Neese, author of Blood to Fruit, Co-founder of Trio House Press
Jacki Rigoni lives with her three children in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she serves as Poet Laureate of Belmont, California. She has a master’s degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and is a credentialed teacher. A finalist for the 2018 Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers, her poems appear in Nimrod International Journal, Moon City Review, anthologies, and permanent public art installations. Jacki writes on her site WomanUprising.com and facilitates courses for women at WomanU.com.
For review copies, please email editor (at) palomapress.net
“[Marcelina] is a 31-page sequence weaving [Jean] Vengua’s own visits to Stockton and the Jersey Island delta, with rumors of the crime, ghost stories circulating in the community, and fragments of news reports from 1933 that also capture the economic and social tensions seething under the surface…
What strikes me most in this reading of Marcelina, however, is the careful way Vengua gathers inchoate bits of story like someone panning for clearer residue.” (Luisa A. Igloria)
Read the full review here.
An Everett native pays a poetic tribute to her father
“Shellback” is a collection of narrative poems honoring John D. Osterman, a lifelong Everett resident and WWII veteran.
In “Shellback,” Osterman remembers her father from her mid-century childhood to his death at 98 in 2017. The book is set in her Pacific Northwest hometown and the Pacific theater of World War II. Her poems speak of love, forgiveness, tragedy and grief.
“Shellback” — the title is slang for a veteran sailor — is a plainspoken portrait of a World War II naval combat veteran.
Osterman, 68, writes about the nostalgia of her childhood days trying “to be his boy,” followed by the nightmares her father witnessed during World War II. With a daughter’s devotion, she then writes about wishing to understand him and caring for him in his last years.
The Everett Public Library presents “Writers Live: Everett Poetry Night” at 5 p.m. April 20 via Crowdcast. Jeanne-Marie Osterman and Steve K. Bertrand are the two featured poets. Register at http://www.crowdcast.io/e/everettpoetry. A link to the event will be emailed after registration. Call 425-257-8000 or go to http://www.epls.org for more information.
From the Academy of American Poets, “This year, to help celebrate the 25th annual occasion of National Poetry Month, we encourage you to check out these new poetry titles from our National Poetry Month partners, sponsors, and advertisers. Poems continue to offer us a sense of connection, and buying poetry books is one of the best ways to directly support poets and poetry publishers.” Full list here.