Milkweed Editions

Milkweed Books
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Milkweed Editions is an independent book publisher based in Minneapolis. We publish 18-20 books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry annually. Our mission is to identify, nurture and publish transformative literature, and build an engaged community around it.
    Milkweed Booksadded a book to the bookshelfMilkweed Editions 13 days ago
    From Arra Lynn Ross, a tender, generous, and generative extended poem centered on the experience of parenthood.“What is learned? I’ll return for my son; / at school, at three thirty-eight, bells will ring & run / days over years.” Using unpredictable syllabics, rhyme, and syntax, Day of the Child captures the sensation of altered time that accompanies a child’s growth. Seasons come and go. A schoolboy becomes a dreaming infant becomes a five-year-old exploring metaphor for the first time becomes an ultrasound image, “a frieze on screen.” A mother cycles through her own often dissonant identities: “soother, watcher, blame-taker.” And both mother and child assume another, significant role: artistic collaborators.For Day of the Child is a poem co-created by child and mother, offering a space in which each’s stories, thoughts, words—“unbound / by Time & time’s delineations”—tangle together. In which apartness—“Oh indivisible divisible,” the presence of another heart beating inside the mother’s own body—is continually negotiated. And in which the mother considers her place as intermediary between the child and the world: her protection, her complicity, her joy. Its octave pairs ebb and flow, expand and contract, producing a portrait of raising another human as refracted as it is circular, just as a river “breaks into many suns, the sun.” For, as the child asserts, “love is a circl[e] round / as a Ball.”Challenging the notion that parenthood is not itself a poetic endeavor, Day of the Child makes of childrearing “a refrain I reframed each day with new words.”
  • Milkweed Booksadded a book to the bookshelfMilkweed Editions 2 months ago
    From Michael Bazzett, poet and translator of The Popol Vuh, a collection that explores the myth of Echo and Narcissus, offering a reboot, a remix, a reimagining.“Narcissus was never one to see himself // in moving water. // He liked his image / still.” In The Echo Chamber, myth is refracted into our current moment. A time traveler teaches a needleworker the pleasures of social media gratification. A man goes looking for his face and is first offered a latex mask. A book reveals eerie transmutations of a simple story. And the myth itself is retold, probing its most provocative qualities—how reflective waters enable self-absorption, the tragic rightness of Echo and Narcissus as a couple.The Echo Chamber examines our endlessly self-referential age of selfies and televised wars and manufactured celebrity, gazing lingeringly into the many kinds of damage it produces, and the truths obscured beneath its polished surface. In the process, Bazzett cements his status as one of our great poetic fools—the comedian who delivers uncomfortable silence, who sheds layers of disguises to reveal light underneath, who smuggles wisdom within “rage-mothered laughter.” Late-stage capitalism, history, death itself: all are subject to his wry, tender gaze.By turns searing, compassionate, and darkly humorous, The Echo Chamber creates an echo through time, holding up the broken mirror of myth to our present-day selves.
  • Milkweed Booksadded a book to the bookshelfMilkweed Editions 3 months ago
    Depicting with humor and insight the pressure to be outwardly perfect, this novel for ages 10–13 shows how one girl develops compassion for her own and others’ imperfections.For 13-year-old Isabelle Lee, whose father has recently died, everything's normal on the outside. Isabelle describes the scene at school with bemused accuracy--the self-important (but really not bad) English teacher, the boy that is constantly fixated on Ashley Barnum, the prettiest girl in class, and the dynamics of the lunchroom, where tables are turf in a all-eyes-open awareness of everybody's relative social position.But everything is not normal, really. Since the dealth of her father, Isabelle's family has only functioned on the surface. Her mother, who used to take care of herself, now wears only lumpy, ill-fitting clothes, cries all night, and has taken every picture of her dead husband and put them under her bed. Isabelle tries to make light of this, but the underlying tension is expressed in overeating and then binging. As the novel opens, Isabelle's little sister, April, has told their mother about Isabelle's problem. Isabelle is enrolled in group therapy. Who should show up there, too, but Ashley Barnum, the prettiest, most together girl in class.
  • Milkweed Booksadded a book to the bookshelfMilkweed Editions 8 months ago
    The first collection in over a decade from a master of his craft, Skin reflects earnestly on the miraculous moments found in the daily experiences of human life.Time and time again, Robert VanderMolen’s poems illuminate the cycles of human interaction alongside the slow-moving patterns of nature: “bark just separating / after nine thousand summers.” A speaker asks, “Is everything too old or too new?” and the resounding answer throughout Skin is that it’s a bit of both. Colorless birds, “a deep sweep of wind,” and arrowheads found in a dying red oak all point to fragmented moments that make up what it means to stitch one’s life together. “Attentiveness is my best friend,” a speaker remarks off-handedly, but this affair with observation is earnest and real.Skin rewards the reader through a tacit understanding that everything in life is part of something larger that we can’t see: the endless “thoughts that slide / into notice” where “in the chill of privacy / one seeks promise.”
  • Milkweed Booksadded a book to the bookshelfMilkweed Editions 3 months ago
    Fifteen-year-old Calli has just about everything she could want in life—two loving moms, a good-looking boyfriend, and a best friend who has always been there for support. An only child, Calli is excited when her parents announce that they want to be foster parents. Unfortunately, being a foster sister to Cherish is not at all what Calli expected. First Cherish steals Calli’s boyfriend, then begins to pit Calli’s moms against one another, and she even steals Calli’s iPod. Tired of being pushed around and determined to get even, Calli steals one of Cherish’s necklaces. But this plan for revenge goes horribly awry, and Cherish ends up in juvenile detention.Isolating herself from her moms, her boyfriend, and even her best friend, Calli wrestles with her guilt and tries to figure out a way to undo the damage she’s caused. When her moms are asked to take on another foster child, Calli sees an opportunity to make amends for her past mistakes.Funny, moving, and emotionally rich, Calli is a portrait of an endearing young woman caught between adolescence and adulthood, striving to do the right thing even when all of her options seem wrong.
  • Milkweed Booksadded a book to the bookshelfMilkweed Editions 9 months ago
    A haunting novel spanning several generations, The Seed Keeper follows a Dakhóta family’s struggle to preserve their way of life, and their sacrifices to protect what matters most.Rosalie Iron Wing has grown up in the woods with her father, Ray, a former science teacher who tells her stories of plants, of the stars, of the origins of the Dakhóta people. Until, one morning, Ray doesn’t return from checking his traps. Told she has no family, Rosalie is sent to live with a foster family in nearby Mankato—where the reserved, bookish teenager meets rebellious Gaby Makespeace, in a friendship that transcends the damaged legacies they’ve inherited.On a winter’s day many years later, Rosalie returns to her childhood home. A widow and mother, she has spent the previous two decades on her white husband’s farm, finding solace in her garden even as the farm is threatened first by drought and then by a predatory chemical company. Now, grieving, Rosalie begins to confront the past, on a search for family, identity, and a community where she can finally belong. In the process, she learns what it means to be descended from women with souls of iron—women who have protected their families, their traditions, and a precious cache of seeds through generations of hardship and loss, through war and the insidious trauma of boarding schools.Weaving together the voices of four indelible women, The Seed Keeper is a beautifully told story of reawakening, of remembering our original relationship to the seeds and, through them, to our ancestors.
  • Milkweed Booksadded a book to the bookshelfMilkweed Editions 4 years ago
    It's 1942. Thirteen-year-old Korinna Rehme is an active member of her local Jungmadel, a Nazi youth group, along with many of her friends. She believes that Hitler is helping Germany by instituting a program to deal with what he calls the “Jewish problem,” a program that she witnesses as her Jewish neighbors are attacked and taken from their homes. Korinna's parents, however, are members of a secret underground group providing a means of escape to the Jews of their city. Korinna is shocked to discover that they are hiding a refugee family behind the wall of her bedroom. But as she comes to know the family, her sympathies begin to turn. When someone tips off the Gestapo, loyalties are put to the test and Korinna must decide what she really believes and whom she really trusts. Filled with adventure, Behind the Bedroom Wall helps readers understand the forces that drove so many to turn on their neighbors and the courage that allowed some to resist.
  • Milkweed Booksadded a book to the bookshelfMilkweed Editions 9 months ago
    A collection born of polyphony and the rhythms of our cosmos—intimate in its stakes, celestial in its dreams.Tethered to Stars inhabits the deductive tongue of astronomy, the oracular throat of astrology, and the living language of loss and desire. With an analytical eye and a lyrical heart, Fady Joudah shifts deftly between the microscope, the telescope, and sometimes even the horoscope. His gaze lingers on the interior space of a lung, on a butterfly poised on a filament, on the moon temple atop Huayna Picchu, on a dismembered live oak. In each lingering, Joudah shares with readers the palimpsest of what makes us human: “We are other worms / for other silk roads.” The solemn, the humorous, the erotic, the transcendent—all of it, in Joudah’s poems, steeped in the lexicon of the natural world. “When I say honey,” says one lover, “I’m asking you whose pollen you contain.” “And when I say honey,” replies another, “you grip my sweetness / on your life, stigma and anthophile.”Teeming with life but tinged with a sublime proximity to death, Tethered to Stars is a collection that flows “between nuance and essentialization,” from one of our most acclaimed poets.
  • Milkweed Booksadded a book to the bookshelfMilkweed Editions 9 months ago
    A boy asks his father what it means to die; a poet wonders whether we can truly know another’s thoughts; a man tries to understand how extreme violence and grace can occupy the same space. These are the questions Wayne Miller tackles in We the Jury: the hard ones, the impossible ones.From an academic dinner party disturbing in its crassness and disaffection to a family struggling to communicate gently the permanence of death, Miller situates these poems—taut and spare, yet rich in their images and full of unexpected turns—in dilemma. He faces moments of profound discomfort, grief, and even joy with a philosopher’s curiosity, a father’s compassion, and an overarching inquiry at the crossroads of ethics and art: what is the poet’s role in making sense of human behavior? A bomb crater–turned–lake “exploding with lilies,” a home lost during the late-aughts housing crash—these images and others, powerful and resonant, attempt to answer that question.Candid and vulnerable, Miller sits with us while we puzzle: we all wish we knew what to tell our children about death. But he also pushes past this and other uncertainties, vowing—and inviting us—to “expand our relationship / with Death,” and with every challenging, uncomfortable subject we meet. In the face of questions that seem impossible to answer, We the Jury offers not a shrug, but curiosity, transparency, an opening of the arms.
  • Milkweed Booksadded a book to the bookshelfMilkweed Editions 4 years ago
    Eleven-year-old Sebby has found the perfect escape from his crummy house and bickering family: The Hole in the Wall. It’s a pristine, beautiful glen in the midst of a devastated mining area behind Sebby’s home. But not long after he finds it his world starts falling apart: his family’s chickens disappear, colors start jumping off the wall and coming to life, and after sneaking a taste of raw cookie dough he finds himself with the mother of all stomachaches. When Sebby sets out to solve these mysteries, he and his twin sister, Barbie, get caught in a wild chase through the tunnels and caverns around The Hole in the Wall — all leading them to the mining activities of one Stanley Odum, the hometown astrophysicist who’s buying up all the land behind Sebby’s home. Exactly what is Mr. Odum mining in his secret facility, and does it have anything to do with the mystery of the lost chickens and Sebby’s stomachache? The answers to these questions go much further than the twins expect.
  • Milkweed Booksadded a book to the bookshelfMilkweed Editions 4 years ago
    Thirteen-year-old Lauren, a Korean American adoptee, is best friends with the prettiest — and tallest — girl in the school, Julie, who has an endless amount of confidence. Lauren, on the other hand, has been saving for years to pay for a special eye surgery that will deepen the crease of her eyelids. It's not that she wants to look like everyone else in her suburban Connecticut school; she'd just be happy if kids stopped calling her “slant” and “gook.” Up until now she's been able to ignore the insults, but when the cutest boy in her class calls her “slant,” she realizes she needs to do something about her “nickname.” When she convinces her reluctant father to consent to the eye operation, Lauren suddenly finds herself faced with a challenge: should she get the operation that might make her more confident and popular, or can she find that confidence within herself? Laura Williams' sensitive, beautifully written story offers a powerful lesson to young readers whose self-esteem depends too much on how they look.
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