Red Hen Press

Red Hen Press
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Red Hen Press, one of the few literary presses in the Los Angeles area, was founded in 1994 by Kate Gale and Mark E. Cull with the intention of keeping creative literature alive. Our focus as a literary press is to publish poetry, literary fiction, and nonfiction.
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press10 days ago
In this bold debut collection, Nikki Moustaki explores femininity in contexts that grapple with violence, mental illness, loss, love, and relationships. She investigates these themes through a variety of provocative narratives, settings, and forms: from a prose poem about a gun shop owner ranting about the Second Amendment, to more intimate lyrical poems, to the intense stamina of three long poems that anchor the book in three striking and imaginative settings—the disintegration of an abusive relationship in a backdrop of often-surreally connected narratives; diary-like entries featuring three generations of superstitious women living without men in a strange world of their own creation; and a dressmaker trying to make sense of his changing world while dealing with his ill wife. This nuanced work is intense and articulate, crafted largely by shattering traditional poetic elements, creating new forms, and driving language that never surrenders.
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Attic boxes full of shards. Family stories full of secrets. A grandchild wondering what to save and what to throw away seeks to make sense of what it means to inherit anything at all. In The Forage House, the speaker unravels a rich and troubling history. Some of her ancestors were the Randolph Jeffersons, one of Virginia’s most prominent slaveholding families. Some were New England missionaries. Some were dirt-poor Appalachians. And one was the brilliant, controversial Thomas Jefferson. Shuttling between legend and story, history and family tale, these poems visit cluttered attics, torn wills, and marked and unmarked graves. Working alongside historians and archaeologists, Taylor unearths buttons, pipes, and the accidental rubble of a busy state building its new freeway. Based in years of research and travel, these poems form a kind of lyric journalism, collaged from tantalizing fragments. Moving between past and present, East and West, they reveal an uneasy genealogist struggling with ambiguous legacies. The poems ask how fragments exert force now. They dance between inheritance and loss, reimagining \u201cilluminating lies.\u201d In their hunger to assemble and remember, they also forge a new record of struggle and love: \u201chow much I wish for will not be recorded.\u201d
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press4 months ago
As a small child, Josiah believed that his father’s absence could be explained by the simple fact that he was a high ranking alien official on the planet Parnuckle. It explained so much else, too, like why Josiah should eat nothing but chocolate (Parnucklians eat nothing but chocolate), and why he should be proud of and idolize his father, the Keymaster of Gozer, even though they’d never met.But as time goes on and the gaps in this mythology widen, Josiah is faced with two possibilities: either it’s all very real or it’s all very pretend. This betrayal comes into sharper focus when, three weeks before his sixteenth birthday, Josiah is released back into his mother’s care after two years in a group home. His mother is about to marry Johnson Davis, and when Josiah, his mother, Johnson Davis, and his daughter Bree Davis—a prematurely mature girl with her own history of parental betrayal—attempt to live together as an all-American nuclear family, the myths underpinning all of their lives come chaotically and absurdly unspooled.This startling, stylish, hilarious debut novel explores what it means to grow up an alien in your own family and your own life. It’s a story about the secret, solitary lives of kids held hostage by the caprices of their caretakers. In Parnucklian for Chocolate, B.H. James has taken the alien heart of family life and made it recognizable and relatable to all—extraterrestrial or otherwise.
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press4 months ago
Struggle and triumph in a remote, desolate and hauntingly beautiful valley in northern New Mexico during the desperate years of the 1930's: Written with such clarity and detail that the reader is transported to the cattle drive, the dust storms, snow storms, and flash floods, feeling the cold of the high mesas, and sharing in the hopes, dreams, and passions of the people.
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press4 months ago
Illuminating Fiction contains nineteen interviews with fiction-writing luminaries including Edward P. Jones, Julia Glass, Amy Bloom, Jill McCorkle, Margot Livesy, Ron Carlson and Steve Almond.  The interviews contain questions about narrative, voice, character, place, point of view, arc of the story/novel plot, and revision; questions about the writing process; questions about the trajectory of the writer’s career; questions about the role and importance of writing courses and mentoring; and also questions that Ellis has drawn from the text of the authors’ work.  Authors describe the challenges they have faced.  The reader is able to gain an intimate and specific understanding of the authors works, and the authors thought process as they created their novels and short stories.
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press4 months ago
Genevieve Kaplan’s In the ice house offers an innovative meditation on domestic life and the physical world that surrounds it, chronicling “at least the beginnings of some disaster” taking place in a landscape that “had no symmetry.” Deftly channeling poets like Wallace Stevens and John Ashbery, as well as invoking Kaplan’s own distinct poetic sensibility, these poems reveal an atmospheric and wondrous world filled with odd and compelling images. Readers confront the menace of the ordinary, “the whale-faced spout of the drainpipe, the cluck / of the chicken-bird” and how “the light attacks / the window and the stress of the shining / does not ease.” The poet’s insistent evocation of elemental images—the birds, the ice, the water—becomes almost incantatory, as the speaker seeks escape from “the frantic outside” she’s trapped within. Kaplan’s sky “has the depth / of an ocean,” and this book deeply articulates how “silence is the only word that can replace loss.” Moving artfully between internal desires and incisive observations of the external, these stunning poems radiate with both heat and ice.
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press5 months ago
Avocations collects the best of Sam Hamill's prose on poetry over the  last 18 years, presenting insightful readings of Kenneth Rexroth, Denise  Levertov, Odysseas Elytis, Matsuo Basho, Kobayashi Issa, John Logan and  many others together with critical commentary on poetry in translation  and the practice of poetry in general.
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press5 months ago
Cecile Rossant's About Face is an eclectic jumble of short fiction, ranging in length from three and a half lines to 23 pages, sucks you in under the pretence of being short stories and before you know it, lo-and-behold, you realise you're reading a poem. It may not always look like a poem, or even sound like one, but Rossant's writing is so beautiful, so lyrical that by the end of the collection there is no doubt: poetry it must be.
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press5 months ago
The running theme through the collection Wave as If You Can See Me is the progression of illnesses resulting in the death of the poet’s husband, fiction writer Scott Ely, from the effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam. Interspersed with these poems are her own explorations—in part distraction from the pain of watching her husband’s decline, in part a long-held desire—into painting.
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press5 months ago
Language and landscape come alive in this remarkably colorful story of immigrants in southern Colorado. Among them are Greeks, Italians, Mexicans, Scots. Their struggle to survive is personal, yet they are caught up in larger events of American history in the second decade of the twentieth century, leading to the defining moment of the Ludlow Massacre in April 1914. David Mason’s novel also steps back from the story, questioning whether we can know the truth about it, asking us why we want to know. Ultimately, in its charged and headlong verse, enriched by dialect and dream, Ludlow is about how we say the world, how we speak ourselves into being. Its characters, both fictional and historical figures, are intensely alive even as they are lost. Mason proves what the ancients knew—that verse remains a remarkable medium for the telling of the tale.
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press5 months ago
From a writer Steve Almond calls “the master of the down and out that just got worse” comes a collection of stories that live vividly in the reader’s memory long after the final page has been turned. Taking place in a world of desperate people who cling to hope, but have few expectations, Roberge introduces us to a motley crew of cripples, drug addicts, former child actors, chimpanzee boxers, exterminators, and assorted criminals. These desperate, boldly original stories are distinguished by a stark prose reminiscent of Denis Johnson or Lorrie Moore, but are, ultimately, all their own—powerful, riveting, deeply felt, and darkly funny.
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press5 months ago
These stories take the reader on journeys realist and absurd, meta-fictional and post-modern. MotelGirl is peopled by the colorful, the transcendent, the sane and insane—by egoists, self-deprecators, demons and drunks, by the well-meaning, and by monsters. From a Muscovite torn between the affections of her live-in bear and her boyfriend to a corporate bureaucrat who discovers the secret to immortality in a decrepit art museum, from a vengeful adolescent motel clerk to a legal proofreader poisoned on a subway platform, these short stories play by rules that might seem unorthodox to some, refreshing to others. This collection is proof that the form is alive and well—and breaking new ground—in the first decade of the 21st century.Motel Girl amounts to an exploration of the contemporary laws of romance, longing and sex, of how the computerized, branded universe is now fully integrated into the fabric of our thought and behavior. Join in the journey, a frenetic and disarming joy ride. Taken as a whole, these stories create a new paradigm for the American short story, an expansion in narrative reach, creative power, and experimentation.
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press5 months ago
Letters To Guns represents a collection of poems that examine the para-physical natures of love and history, at times re-imagining both. As the poems progress, eight letters arrive written by non-human addressees (a nightgown, a grove of trees, a wooden spoon, others) at random points over the last 2,200 years. They are messages from home and pleas for understanding, warnings and promises of change. These in turn ignite other poems and themes which anticipate the next arrival. Taken together, the letters form an armature, a living skeleton fleshed by real and metaphenomenal experience. Throughout, a variety of styles appear and no single approach to poetry pervades. Singly, these poems should challenge and entertain. As a group they must transform and evolve our experience of sitting down with a book of poems.
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press5 months ago
High Skies recounts the collision of devastating weather, Cold War suspicion, tense race relations, and the unintended consequences of good intentions in a small West Texas town in the 1950s, changing the futures of the families there and altering their perceptions of America. At the center of this perfect storm is Raymond “Flyboy” Seaker, a respected military veteran, now the vice principal of a school in which Troy, who tells the story, and his disabled friend Stevie will have their lives upended forever. Through a combination of his own well-meaning ambitions and the political maneuverings of others, Flyboy and the families he serves come to grasp the meaning of community and of individual fortitude. Written with a vivid economy recalling Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams and painting as indelible a portrait of small town life as Larry McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show, High Skies is a perfectly distilled American epic.
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press6 months ago
As Elissa Washuta makes the transition from college kid to independent adult, she finds herself overwhelmed by the calamities piling up in her brain. When her mood-stabilizing medications aren’t threatening her life, they’re shoving her from depression to mania and back in the space of an hour. Her crisis of American Indian identity bleeds into other areas of self-doubt; mental illness, sexual trauma, ethnic identity, and independence become intertwined. Sifting through the scraps of her past in seventeen formally inventive chapters, Washuta aligns the strictures of her Catholic school education with Cosmopolitan’s mandates for womanhood, views memories through the distorting lens of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and contrasts her bipolar highs and lows with those of Britney Spears and Kurt Cobain. Built on the bones of fundamental identity questions as contorted by a distressed brain, My Body Is a Book of Rules pulls no punches in its self-deprecating and ferocious look at human fallibility.
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press6 months ago
“In villages where women bore most of the weight of a constricted life, witches flew by night on broomsticks,” said Italo Calvino of the way imagination bridges the gap between everyday existence and an idealized alternative. The fifteen stories of Animal Wife are unified by girls and women who cross this threshold seeking liberation from family responsibilities, from societal expectations, from their own minds. A girl born with feathers undertakes a quest for the mother who abandoned her. An indecisive woman drinks Foresight, only to become stymied by the futures branching before her. A proofreader cultivates a cage-fighting alter ego. A woman becomes psychologically trapped in her car. A girl acts on her desire for a childhood friend as a monster draws closer to the shore. A widow invites a bear to hibernate in her den. Animal Wife was selected as the winner of the Red Hen Fiction Award by New York Times bestselling author Ann Hood, who says, “From the first sentence Animal Wife grabbed me and never let go. Sensual and intelligent, with gorgeous prose, it made me dizzy with its exploration and illumination of the inner and outer lives of girls and women.”
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press6 months ago
At the heart of Joshua Rivkin’s debut collection Suitor is a profound wrestling with desire, history, and the big questions of how we make and perform a self in the world. In conversation with the confessional tradition, Suitor begins with a sequence of poems about a mother’s boyfriends and lovers, and how these relationships inform the speaker’s own understanding about eros and masculinity. At the center of the book is a lyric essay, “The Haber Problem,” that moves beyond the self and personal history to retell the story of the scientist Fritz Haber. Later sequences and poems reflect on the past with erotic directness, longing, and lyric intensity. With grace and honesty, the poems of Suitor ask what it means to be a suitor in the fullest sense—to follow, to pursue, to chase the inexplicable hunger at the heart of desire.
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press6 months ago
Sugar, Smoke, Song is a collection of ten linked stories set in the Bronx, California, India, and Brazil. Following the secrets and passions of young women, these stories and their narrators cross genres and rules to arrive at unforeseen lives. A subway rider remembers enacting the gods with her estranged twin, a concert usher discovers her tango-dancing boyfriend’s lover, and a literacy worker confesses the gambles she and others have lost through the bluesy singers she admires. Told through semi-experimental play with nonlinear plots, plural narrators, and hybrid prose, these stories embody the experiences of Asian American women carrying histories both unseen and cyclically lived.
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press6 months ago
In 2011, my family was in a major car accident. We were hit head-on by a man in the throes of a heart attack. It took three years to recover from our injuries, and a couple more to deal with the aftereffects of trauma. When I finally returned to the world—as father and husband, friend and brother, writer and citizen—it became clear that our society was in its own traumatized state—reeling from the string of police shootings of unarmed African Americans, stunned by yet one more mass shooting. The people around me were displaying all the signs of PTSD—jumpiness, irritability, numbness—and, concordantly, my interactions out in daily life were becoming more dysfunctional, at times downright hostile. Us against them. Red vs. blue. Black vs. white. Rich vs. poor. That we were living in a progressive town inside a conservative county in the Mountain South only made things more volatile. I decided that if we were all living in a fractured society no longer recognizable, then it was up to me to re-engage in it. I would enter into encounters with people as conscious as possible of the potential divides and misunderstandings between us. I started with my neighborhood and town, then moved out into the counties around us, then traveled further out into the country. My goal: to connect.
Red Hen Pressadded a book to the bookshelfRed Hen Press6 months ago
Summer of the Cicadas is about a West Virginian town where a brood of Magicicadas emerges for the first time in seventeen years. The cicadas damage crops and trees, and swarm locals. Jessica, a former cop whose entire family was killed in a car crash two years earlier, is deputized during the crisis. Throughout the book, Jessica must deal with her feelings for her sister’s best friend, Natasha, who is a town council member. After Fish and Wildlife removes the swarm, Jessica must also confront the two-year anniversary of her family’s death, Natasha’s budding romance with a local editor, as well as a sudden but devastating loss that changes everything.
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