Tag Archives: michael hemmingson

An All Around Fascinating Entity

In his recent review of Michael Hemmingson’s Pictures of Houses with Water Damage, Grady Harp praised not only the book, but the publisher. Here are some of our favorite sections from the review:

Pictures of Houses with Water Damage, is not only a zinger of a title for a collection of short stories, but the packaging includes a fine book design by Steven Seighman and points to Black Lawrence Press as a leader in the contemporary publishing business, making this new book an all around fascinating entity.

Some of these stories may be as short as two pages in length but everyone of them carries a punch, a hurt, a bruise, and a feeling that there are a lot of other people in the world who have moments of not fitting in as we do. Hemmingson understands human behavior and pours it into his stew pot until it comes out both strange and real. These are some of the finest vignettes about the human condition available today!

We’re blushing! Order your copy of Pictures of Houses With Water Damage today.

BLP Expands Its List

If you’ve been following the BLP blog, then you know of a few recent additions to the BLP family. In January, we announced that we’d accepted Killing the Murnion Dogs by Joe Wilkins and Instructions for Killing the Jackal by Erica Wright, two new collections of poetry due out in August and September of next year, respectively. In February, we announced that Carol Guess had become a part of our crew of poets; her collection Doll Studies: Forensics will be out in the beginning of 2012. Also in February we announced the acceptance of the novel/novel-in-stories/memoir/we don’t know what we’re calling it yet other than “rad” Pulled from the River by Jon Chopan.

There’s been lots of action since February and we are very pleased to announce that we’ve added a few more authors to the BLP family and also have new titles forthcoming from authors who have published with us in the past. Next fall we will publish Marginalia for a Natural History, a collection of poems by Keith Taylor.

We’ve also accepted two new books by Marcel Jolley, winner of the inaugural St. Lawrence Book Award and author of Neither Here Nor There. His short story collection, Priors, will come out in the spring of 2012, to be followed by his novel Milk Run in the spring of 2013. We’ve also got some new blood in our stable of fiction writers. Loving You the Way I Do, short stories by Ron Savage will be published in the summer of 2012.

We’re also very pleased to announce that our translation list is expanding as well. Daniele Pantano, author of the poetry collection The Oldest Hands In The World and the translation The Possible is Monstrous has two more translations coming out from BLP in the next few years: Oppressive Light: Selected Poems by Robert Walser (Spring, 2012) and The Complete Works of Georg Trakl (Spring, 2014). We’ve also got Dream Weed, a translation of Yvan Goll poems, by Nan Watkins coming out in July, 2012.

Those of you who are fans of T.J. Beitelman (Pilgrims: A Love Story) and David Rigsbee (winner of the Spring, 2009 Black River Chapbook Competition) will be happy to know that we have full-length collections from both poets coming out in mid-2012.

And, just so you know what you have to look forward to, BLP will release the following titles before the end of 2010: Every Bitter Thing by Hardy Jones, Perishables by Tina Egnoski, Pictures of Houses with Water Damage by Michael Hemmingson, The Consequence of Skating by Steven Gillis, Triggermoon Triggermoon by JuliaCohen, Speech Acts by Laura McCullough, and The Pilot House by David Rigsbee.

We’ve currently closed submissions until August 15th while we catch up on submissions. We’re hoping to have more good news by the end of the summer once we read all of the manuscripts in our queue. As always, thanks for reading!

-Diane Goettel
Executive Editor, Black Lawrence Press

P.S. Don’t forget that the deadline for the St. Lawrence Book Award is August 31st!

National Poetry Month Wrap-Up

As April draws to a close, we’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the Black Lawrence Press authors who participated in our National Poetry Month feature:

David Rigsbee, “Pilot House
Marcela Sulak, “Pomelo With Fallen Angel
Shelley Puhak, “War
T.J. Beitelman, “The Inciting Incident
Laura McCullough, “The Ellisionist
Jason Tandon, “Work
Abayomi Animashaun, “A New Religion
Carol Guess, “Kicks
Joe Wilkins, “A Roadside Diner in Iowa
Lisa Fay Coutley, “In the Carnival of Breathing
Matthew Gavin Frank, “After Il Sergente Serbo e Sua Moglie
Michele Battiste, “Nobody Leaves
Katharine Rauk, “How Many Weeks are in a Day and How Many Years in a Month?
Brent Goodman, “Another Prayer
Stefi Weisburd, “Behind My Ear is a Little Palace in Broad Daylight
Larry Matsuda, “Arc de Triomphe, 2003 Invasion of Iraq
Sandra Kolankiewicz, “Winter Sonata
Frank Matagrano, “Waiting with Alexandria for Her Mom
Hayden Saunier, “Beach
Kevin Pilkington, “Milk
Michael Hemmingson, “Sedona
Erica Wright, “Reservoir
Keith Taylor, “At the Living Creche
James Reidel, “Ave Maria afarensis
Helen Marie Casey, “Mary Dyer’s Courtship
Brad Ricca, “Workshop
Daniele Pantano, “The Oldest Hands in the World
Julia Cohen, “Panic at My Wilderness
Rachel Galvin, “In Cambium Lucida

And most importantly, thank you to everyone who read, shared, and commented on these poems — you’ve made this event a big success!

National Poetry Month Spotlight: Michael Hemmingson


When we drove from the Phoenix airport
and saw the first of the red rocks
and Bell Mountain standing like
an icon, a temple, from a different time,
I wanted to tell you that I had
been here before,
in a different time,
a life lost in my cells but on the edge
of my tongue. These things
are always hard to explain, you know.
I’d tell you later,
as you told me that at one of
the vortices you had a vision
of the past, American-Indians
peacefully gathering and
harvesting the land,
while my perception reached further
back: dinosaurs, slow and heavy,
devouring vegetation.
We were very happy at
that vortex, huddled together
in an alcove on a hill,
as a thin man with little
hair stood on top of
a high pile of rocks,
played a flute for a while,
and then moved his body
about—a dance, a meditation,
whatever he was doing
it was very interesting;
and I thought how neat it would be
to have a flute and play
it out here at the vortex, opening doors to
other dimensions, to lives
forgotten in the cells.
That night, in the motel room, you deeply
slept, but I was in and out of sleep,
I was in and out of memory;
I was visited by a group of people
I knew in some other time,
and they said to me welcome back,
we’re so glad you’re here, welcome back.
This was in 1997. I have gone back since,
alone, without you. You should have been
there with me. I hope you’ve gone
back. Next time I return to Sedona,
to a home I can never
call home, you won’t be there,
but you’ll be in
my cells, like always,
like everything else.

Q: Do you remember where you were and what you were doing on the day you wrote the above poem?

A: I don’t remember what I was doing the exact day, but it was a period of poetry writing in the spring of 2003, and I was thinking of places I had been, or wanted to return to, and Sedona was one. I don’t write poetry too often — two or three a year, my main focus is fiction and journalism. I think someday I will move to Sedona.

Q: What is the last book you’ve read that made you want to grab a pen and write?

A: Every book I read makes me want to write — but I’d say the last ones were Don Delillio’s Point Omega (Scriber, 2010) and Sharon Olds’ Strike Sparks: Selected Poems 1980-2002 (Knopf, 2004). And every time I pick up and read Carolyn Forché’s The Country Between Us (Harper and Row, 1981) I want to compose poems.

Q: What is the most sublime meal you’ve ever eaten?

A: Filet mignon at a restaurant in the Grand Canyon.

Michael Hemminsgon’s poetry collection Ourselves or Nothing was recently published by Olympia Press. His short story collection Pictures of Houses with Water Damage is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press this summer.

Michael Hemmingson’s First Full-Length Poetry Collection Now Out

Black Lawrence Press author Michael Hemmingson (Pictures of Houses with Water Damage, Summer 2010) now has a full-length (84 pages) collection of poetry out, Ourselves or Nothing, published by The Olympia Press as The New Traveller’s Companion #157 (perfect for National Poetry Month!).

To get from Amazon, wander here.

Short Essay in The Hemingway Review

The new Fall/Winter 2009 issue of The Hemingway Review , published by The Heminwgay Society and Univ of Idaho Press, contains a short research essay I wrote on the “Bimini” excerpt from Islands in the Stream that Esquire published in 1970.  Gordon Lish was fiction editor at the time, when Howard Hayes ran the men’s journal.

When I was researching Lish’s papers at Indiana Univ. last year on two Helm Fellowships, I found letters from Mary Welsh Hemingway to Lish — they spent much time together, and she was not happy with the cover photo of her deceased hubby, nor the situation with the excerpt (which the magazine had paid $30K for — probably $200K in 1970 money!).

Gordon Lish, of course, has again lately been the subject of much debate in the press now that Raymond Carver’s Beginners and a new biography is out, which is anti-Lish.

My Carver bio, which will be out in 2011 from McFarland and Company, will tend to be pro-Lish editing — for the most part.  I contend Carver would not be he institute he is without Lish’s help; he would have been a obscure but respected minor short story writer published by small and university presses, not McGraw-Hill and Knopf, which Lish had to go up to bat and do songs and dances to secure book contracts.

“Why Don’t You Use Your Parking Space?”

The 2009 issue of Gargoyle Magazine (more like anthology) contains my short story, “Why Don’t You Use Your Parking Space?” which is the lead story in my Black Lawrence Press collection, Pictures of Houses with Water Damage, out Summer 2010.

This is issue #55, cover image below.  I have been reading Richard Peabody’s Gargoyle since I was 16, contributing now and then since I was 18.  Long history here. I also had stories in Peabody’s books, Momdo Marilyn and Mondo James Dean (St. Martin’s Press).

Pictures of Houses with Water Damage Now Up on Amazon for Pre-Order!

Pictures of Houses with Water Damage (Black Lawrence Press, Summer 2010) is now up on Amazon here.

Water Damage final

Anthology: Morbid Curiosity Kills the Blues

I have an essay, “The Barbie Wrecking Yard,” in this new anthology from Scribner, Morbid Curiosity Kills the Blues.


Order from Simon & Schuster here.

Order from Amazon.com here.

Book trailer:

Bill: A Short Novel told in tweets

bill-2My short novel, BILL: A SHORT NOVEL, a novel told in tweets, has started @ Twitter here:


Sign up for the adventures of Bill, a doctor with a loose prescription pad in Hollywood, Calif.