Writing That Risks: New Work from Beyond the Mainstream
Writing That Risks features writers from around the world who delight in exploring the boundaries of content and style. These new and award-winning authors take inspiration from the likes of Italo Calvino, Margaret Atwood, Anne Carson, and Junot Díaz, mashing-up genres to bring us vibrant characters, unforgettable images, and off-beat perspectives that reveal the gamut of human experience with humor and insight.
The collection ranges from a ghost story set to blues chords to a love story set in a museum that may or may not be under attack by an angry mob; from a found poem that begins with a grocery receipt to a multi-part exploration of motherhood in verse. It also includes creative nonfiction that breathes new life into the memoir form. Each piece is gorgeously crafted, and these writers' unique voices will linger with you long after you've finished reading.
Authors: aJbishop, Catie Jarvis, Christina Olson, Dan Sklar, David Ellis Dickerson, Edmund Zagorin, Erin Fitzgerald, Jenny Bitner, Joanne M. Clarkson, John Newman, Jønathan Lyons, Jordan Reynolds, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Libby Hart, Mariev Finnegan, Michelle S. Lee, Molly English, Norman Lock, Olga Zilberbourg, Patrick Cole, Rachel Yoder, Robert Neilson, Sharif Shakhshir, Soren Gauger, Steve Castro, Thia Li Colvin, Wendy Patrice Williams, xTx, Zach Powers.
What people are saying about Writing That Risks:
I had a wonderful time reading this anthology of unusual stories, poems, and occasional forays into essays and memoir. [...] Patrick Cole’s "It Happened to Paul Sescau" [...] is incredibly, incredibly funny. It’s deftly written as well, and a narrative turn that could end really badly instead becomes a surprisingly successful narrative win. [...] Thia Li Colvin’s “Tennessee” [...] reminds me of the brusque simplicity of e. e. cummings' "buffalo bill." This anthology has many other pieces that deserve mention [...] "The Myth of the Mother and Child" by Michelle S. Lee, a multi-part poem that recreates the myths of motherhood and occasionally reminds me of Mei-mei Berssenbrugge. Screenwriter John Newman’s "Love in Vain," a classically structured love triangle redolent of the best of Southern literature, is also highly impressive.This is a testament to the incredibly competent editorial choices of Holmberg and Steinberg as well as the general competence, if not brilliance, of these authors’ works. [...] this anthology is a text that should and will be around for years to come. - Hannah Rodabaugh, PANK
Writing That Risks is a testament to what can result from escaping that familiarity [of mainstream realism]. The pieces featured exhibit their writers’ obvious glee at being encouraged to ignore common complaints regarding feasibility or believability. [...] These writers--some of whom are being published here for the first time--all approach risk differently. Many of the stories and poems have a supernatural tint; there are ghosts, aliens, time-travelers, shape-shifters, and various futures and alternate pasts. A familiar humanity, though, sits at the heart of most every piece in this collection. [...] Part of the excitement of reading this collection comes from seeing how the various weirdnesses will be directed back toward the recognizable. [...] Reading any one selection from Writing That Risks is like reading two pieces. At first, something jars us; we learn that we have only two sentences with which to work, or that the protagonist meets an alien, or that we will need a mirror. Once we get to the meat of the piece, however, the strangeness can be seen as a necessity rather than a conceit. [...] WritingThat Risks features writers with vast imaginations but also, more importantly, talents for parsing human problems. The collection is filled not with gimmickry but with true experimentation, the kind that works toward a goal other than novelty. We live in a strange world; it needs strange writing. - Robert O'Connell, Switchback
Writing that Risks: New Work from Beyond the Mainstream [...] promises to startle, captivate, and maybe even alienate its readers. Like the cover image of a dancer’s en pointe feet balancing impossibly on the edge of a tipped chair, the work within this anthology could go either way: Balanced gravity-defiance or kersplat fall. All involved in the project seem just fine with this. It’s the purpose of experimentation. [In “One Flesh in Floruit” by Molly English,] a husband and wife undergo a macabre, clinical, yet oddly gothic surgery that lets them feel what the other person’s body is experiencing, but not their own. [...] English textually illustrates this suffocating removal of boundaries by including lines where all the spaces between words are removed. This was an instance where text art really worked for me as a reader, when it often doesn’t. The lack of self and distinguishable sensations was aptly illustrated by the smooshed italicized words. [On poems by Christina Olson and Jordan Reynolds:] The verdict is in: Mixing the Internet the way a DJ mixes song samples and beats produces a melted Dadaist mix of the mundane, the surprisingly poignant, and the intimate. [...] One prominent strength of the anthology is its curation and flow. If this were a mix CD, the segues would be nearly flawless. [...] I think most creative writing students will find this anthology helpful in their pursuit of new angles, forms, genres. [...] My hope for this anthology is that it inspires those writers who are just beginning to hone their craft to reach further into the experimental and the oddity. [...] What does it mean to risk, and what is being risked? Loss of readership? Alienation? Revulsion? Getting lost in translation? I would argue that the twenty-nine writers of Writing That Risks go straight towards those precise edges, and I would argue still that some hope to careen off of them. The result is a fresh, sometimes exhilarating view. -Lauren Eggert-Crowe, Trop Magazine
I've been waiting all year for Writing That Risks ... "minnows" by Jønathan Lyons is one of the weirdest and most compelling mashups of formally self-conscious fiction and emotionally wrenching story I've ever read. -Steve Massover
And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I love the small presses. What a treat to dive into this anthology that is so rich with diversity of style, depth and detail. ... This book is the real deal, and the writing is often raw, sometimes tender, and always on the edge. -Kelley
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