How many have you read?!

5 Questions, 3 Facts

Arthur Powers' book A Hero for the People: Stories of the Brazilian Backlands takes the reader on a journey through the beautiful scenery and intriguing characters of Brazil; this month, you can get the eBook edition for only 99 cents! Get to know Arthur a little bit this Monday morning, as he talks to Press 53 about desert island books and the joys of writing, below.image

P53: When do you first remember wanting to be a writer?  

AP: When I was in junior high school, we had a “classics” shelf at our school library.  Jules Verne, Dumas, Sir Walter Scott—I read them one after another.  I began to think it would be fun to write.  Later I took a creative writing class in high school—and wrote a story I still think is pretty good (very influenced by John Steinbeck).  I got seriously into writing in college—especially poetry—but it took years to be really good at it.  

In one sense, though, I never really thought of myself as a writer.  I have always loved history, and have sought to be an active participant in the history of our times—a husband, father, grandfather, member of the community, community organizer, lawyer.  My writing flows out of and complements my life.  Part of that life is people—I love people.  I love to listen to them, hear their stories, see things from their point of view.  And (I hope) that love comes through in my stories.   

P53: Inspiration or perspiration?  

AP: Inspiration!  Almost all my best work starts with flashes of inspiration—poetry and stories that seem to flow through me.  Then comes the craftsmanship—which I truly enjoy—of finding the right approach, the precise words, the way of describing a scene, of portraying the inner essence of a character.  This is work, but such enjoyable work it is a pleasure.  If I really perspire too much over a poem or a story, it usually doesn’t work out well.  

P53: What’s your desert island book?

AP: I love G.K. Chesterton’s answer to this question: “a manual for building a boat.”  Such admirable practicality aside, I would take (in order)—1) a Jerusalem Bible, 2) my complete works of Shakespeare, 3) a large book of blank pages (with some pens) for writing, and 4) a big, fat anthology of short stories.  

P53: What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen lately?  

AP: The American political system.  We should ponder the work of Wendell Berry.   

P53: You can only eat one food for the rest of your life; what is it?  

AP: What a horrible thought!  The joy of eating—as in life—is diversity.  image

Three Facts About Arthur:  

1) My father and both grandfathers were professional musicians.

2) I greatly admire St. Theresa of Avila.

3) Our granddaughter, who lives with us, has a red-eared slider (which, to those not from the South, is a turtle) named alternately Scooter and Myrtle (we’re not quite sure whether our turtle’s a girl or a boy).

“I’ve been reading reviews of my stories for twenty-five years, and can’t remember a single useful point in any of them, or the slightest good advice.”
— Anton Chekhov (via writingquotes)

(via yeahwriters)

Poetry Wednesday

This week is flying by as we prep for our first ever winner of the Press 53 Award for Short Fiction, Wendy J. Fox, to visit us here in North Carolina and accept her cash advance and launch the book. But, we can always find a few moments for poetry! Here’s a poem from Hedy Habra's Tea in Heliopolis, which is on sale this month along with numerous other titles, in celebration of our anniversary.


Go every day a little deeper
into the woods, collect acorns,
twigs, thorns, fallen leaves,
pine needles, a fern’s curl,
a bird’s nest, a lost feather,
spring air, hot, humid air, a raindrop,
a touch of blue, a ripple,
and why not the hush
of your steps over moss,
the trembling of leaves
at dusk against black bark?

Put it all in a bag and shake it:
you will retrace your steps
within the clearing, hear frightened
flights, watch the rain darken the deck,
flatten oak leaves, answer the root’s mute prayer.

“I think we had known for a long time that we were different, we just didn’t know how much it mattered.”
— Wendy J. Fox, The Seven Stages of Anger

Flash Friday

It’s Friday! I’m off for one last hurrah at the beach this weekend (thank you, the South), but I’ve got a treat for you before I go: a story from James Claffey’s debut collection of flash fiction, Blood a Cold Blue! This month you can get the book for only nine dollars as part of our anniversary sale.


River water bubbles from my mouth, dirty gray liquid cascading over stones rough and smooth. I came to this place at the narrowing of the year, a hike through the slush-filled fields to clear my head and prepare for the year ahead. In the stream, a discarded tin can, and inside the jigsawed remains of a small trout. Its scales rainbow in the winter light, its jaws wordlessly mouthing for last week’s oxygen. From the top of the bluff the world unfolds, only the metal framework of a radio antenna corrupts the view. At its point, a red bulb pulses energy into sky, catching falling flakes in dangerous light. A bobcat plods hard soil far below. I am as quiet as the corpsed fish. The cat’s paw touches empty air, and all that hurts breaks the surface. I stumble, smooth soles failing on frozen ground. My head bangs the rock as my descent begins. Gritted teeth splinter into ice-shards. At the bottom, discarded hardware from a lost grocery store blooms from the ground. The metal trolley grid makes of my cheek a chessboard.






It’s that time of the year again, in which I’m looking for new people to follow! Reblog and I might just stalk your lifeblog

I fully intend on using the faves and reblogs from this post to expand my own personal stalker reading list.

Mmmmmm let the world of Publrs expand.

*whispers* Hiiiiiii.

(via fiction-magazine)

Poetry Wednesday

Here’s a little heat for an autumnal Wednesday: “Kindling,” a poem from Howie Faerstein’s collection Dreaming of the Rain in Brooklyn (available for only nine dollars this month, along with lots of other titles, as part of our anniversary sale!).


Eyeing ice cleaving to highway walls like oysters to a shipwreck.
Waiting for soft wood to ignite hardwood
like heat lightning striking the mesa.
Peering at December’s garden through circuitry of frost-stencilled windows.
Counting finches fox-trotting on husk-covered snow.
Following the wedge of scissoring geese heading to open water.
Scanning the backwoods for crow’s nests snug in bowed pines
like callouses cobbled on a farmer’s palms.

Thinking when I read your history in the tracery
of those crosshatched lines
how beautiful your crow’s feet are—
tracks of filigree
etched in powder
by sparrow and dove claw.