Late Night Library

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Tyehimba Jess – Olio

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The scope of Olio, the latest poetry collection from Tyehimba Jess (Wave Books) is sweeping, excavating the stories of Black performers and musicians from the last decades of slavery, through the Civil War, Reconstruction, and up through the First World War and its aftermath. With stories ranging from minstrel shows to ragtime to church arson,

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August 1, 2016

Alexis M. Smith – Marrow Island

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Marrow Island, by Alexis M. Smith (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), takes place in a haunting alternate present in which parts of the Northwest have been destroyed by an enormous earthquake. Ten years later, a journalist named Lucie seeks out a secret, quasi-religious group that appears to be living in the midst the quake-caused toxic devastation on

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July 11, 2016

Colin Winnette – Haints Stay

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Colin Winnette’s Haints Stay  (Two Dollar Radio) is a western like you’ve never read before. The book follows Brooke and Sugar, who we meet at the start of the book in a manner that will seem familiar to anyone who’s encountered the genre before. “They had finished a job,” Winnette writes. “They were empties of

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May 23, 2016

Lisa Birnbaum – Worthy

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Our lives are single-perspective. How then have we ever understood anything outside our immediate realm? Stories are one way. In Lisa Birnbaum’s Worthy (Dzanc Books), we see the power of stories, how they can help us understand those around us, and perhaps even more importantly, to perceive different and new versions of ourselves. Narrated in

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May 9, 2016

Paul Lisicky – The Narrow Door

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Paul Lisicky’s second memoir The Narrow Door: A Memoir of Friendship (Graywolf Press) follows two relationships coming to an end: the death of his friend, the novelist Denise Gess, and the dissolution of his marriage to a poet, identified as M. in the book. The memoir weaves these two losses together, exploring friendship, love, loss,

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May 2, 2016

Aracelis Girmay – the black maria

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How does one write a book of poems that deals with the unspeakable suffering that history, its people and its events, have brought onto innocent lives, without perpetuating that trauma? the black maria, by Aracelis Girmay (BOA Editions) doesn’t evade tragedy. There is suffering here: that of the thousands who have attempted the journey to

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April 25, 2016

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