Tag Archives: books

Temporary People: A Trip Into The Backlist


Dear Black Lawrence Press Friends, Family, and Fans,

In 1946, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot opened and closed in London in less than two months.  Worse, a year later, ‘Godot’  ran for less than 40 performances on Broadway.  60 years later, ‘Godot’ is recognized as one of the greatest plays in the English language.

Joeseph Heller’s Catch 22 was rejected by 32 publishers before being published in 1961, and becoming one of the literary landmarks of our time.

Between 1953-1954, Nabokov’s Lolita went unpublished and rejected for over 14 months, before it, too, found its way into the pantheon of American literature and was published in 1955.

Who knows if Steven Gillis’ novel, Temporary People, deserves to be mentioned in the same breath.  What we do know is that in April of 2008, Temporary People received glowing reviews by the few sources which read the novel.  Wary of the material, the majority of major reviewers shied away.  Stores were unsure as well what to do with the novel which, since its release, has proven prescient in its commentary on the state of the world and human nature at its best and worst.  A love story and political satire, Temporary People is a book which like many of its predecessors is initially misunderstood and neglected, but – we hope – through your readership destined for greater things.

Here’s an excerpt from the first page of the novel:

The babies’ heads are fat as fruit grown ripe beyond all natural measure. I remember the first time I saw one, her woebegone look and swollen scale, with hair stretched out in gossamer patches, as ill-proportioned as an artist’s lampoon. Startled, I couldn’t help but stare and wonder what had happened. Three months later, as the numbers rose and hinted of an epidemic, the truth came out and to no surprise gave us Teddy Lamb, a.k.a. the General…

You can order a copy from Black Lawrence Press or from Amazon.

Happy reading!


Diane Goettel

The “collected-ness” of Morrison’s Said and Done

MorrisonWe’re pleased as punch with the most recent review of James Morrison’s Said and Done. Published in the current issue of Quarterly Conversation, the review was written by Barrett Hathcock who, incidentally, was a finalist for the 2009 Hudson Prize.

Here are some of our favorite bits:

I was struck reading James Morrison’s new story collection Said and Done by its consistent inconsistency, its very collected-ness…

…Reading this book and enjoying the stories, each as free agents of prose rather than members of some cohesive aesthetic team, makes me hope that despite our age of a la carte song selection—no doubt only presaging some age of choose-your-own story collection—we will still be provided occasionally with a true sampler, highlighting variety over conformity, highlighting stories we didn’t select ourselves.

Thanks, Barrett!

The entire review is available here. If this sounds like your kind of collection, you can get your copy of Said and Done from the Black Lawrence Press website or from Amazon.

Happy Reading!

A Fascinating and Enthralling Book of Poetry

Battiste_CoverIt’s short and–most importantly–sweet: a new review of Ink for an Odd Cartography by Michele Battiste in the August issue of Midwest Book Review.

The world possesses some strange geography, and not all of it is the environment. “Ink for an Odd Cartography” is Michele Battiste’s analysis of the landscape of life through poetry, hoping to map the needs and desires of people to better understand them. A fascinating and enthralling book of poetry, “Ink for Odd Cartography” is a great pick. “Sunday, March 14”: I have something to tell you./I went to your place to water your plants and found the toilet running./I fixed it, folded towels, washed a cup, picked away dead leaves./Still, your water bill is going to be phenomenal.

You can get your copy here.

Stefi Weisburd: Wild, Dense, and Cerebral

Weisburd Front CoverWe are thrilled to report yet another glowing review of one of our poetry titles. In the current issue of Pleiades, Amy Beeder reviewed The Wind-Up Gods by Stefi Weisburd. Here are just a few of the wonderful things that she had to say:

“(T)his is no poet of the muddy mainstream.”


“For those…who like their poems wild, dense, and cerebral, those of  us who like their language (as Roger Weingarten put it) ‘worked like Rodin worked clay,’ it is unreservedly and enthusiastically recommended.”


“Another thing to recommend this poet is the range and often sheer loopiness of her subject matter and tone.”
If you are looking for something wild, dense, cerebral, and delightfully loopy, get your copy of The Wind-Up Gods here.

Happy Reading!

Michele Battiste “knows the latitudes and longitudes of love in the twenty-first century.”

Battiste_CoverBlack Lawrence Press is very pleased to announce that Michele Battiste’s Ink For an Odd Cartography has been reviewed in the July/August issue of American Book Review. In Walter Hess’s review of this scrumdiddlyumptious poetry collection, he wrote:

“The book is wise and, surprisingly, for a book of poetry in 2009, reading it provides for a great deal of fun.”


“Battiste’s range is large. Her map is vast. She knows the latitudes and longitudes of love in the twenty-first century. To travel among the sites she points out is to know that they are accurate.”

To read the entire astute and glowing review, pick up a copy of American Book Review. Also, if you have not done so yet, you can get your own copy of Ink For an Odd Cartography here.

Happy Reading!

The Unemployed Man Who Became A Tree

Pilkington PhotoBlack Lawrence Press is very pleased to announce the recent acquisition of The Unemployed Man Who Became A Tree, a poetry collection by Kevin Pilkington. This title will be available from BLP in 2011.

Kevin Pilkington is a member of the writing faculty at Sarah Lawrence College and teaches a workshop in the graduate department at Manhattanville College.  He is the author of six collections: his collection Spare Changewas the La Jolla Poets Press National Book Award winner and his chapbook won the Ledge Poetry Prize. His collection entitled Ready to Eat the Sky was published by River City Publishing as part of their new poetry series and was a finalist for an Independent Publishers Books Award. Another collection entitled In the Eyes of a Dog was published by New York Quarterly Books.  His poetry has appeared in many anthologies including Birthday Poems: A Celebration, Western Wind, and Contemporary Poetry of New England.  Over the years, he has been nominated for four Pushcarts and has appeared in Verse Daily.  His poems and reviews have appeared in numerous magazines including: Poetry, Ploughshares, Iowa Review, Boston Review, Yankee, Hayden’s Ferry, Columbia, Greensboro Review, North American Review, Gulf Coast, Valparaiso Review.

Steven Gillis reads from TEMPORARY PEOPLE (Video)

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Black Lawrence New York

This is old news we are transferring from our website, but nonetheless, it happened one summer…

Black Lawrence has moved! We are now located in New York City, but will always be grateful for the peaceful upstate surroundings that made the founding of a literary press especially wonderful. We are growing faster than we ever thought possible in such a short time, so moving to New York City, center of the publishing world, was just the right idea.