Category Archives: Anticipated Books of 2016

Rebecca Morgan Frank’s Anticipated Books of 2016

Once again our poetry contributors will fill the year ahead with  wonderful new books, from debut collections to much-anticipated titles from those whose books we know and love. My anticipated books list for 2016 is dedicated to a baker’s dozen of our Memorious poetry contributors who have books on the way.

When I came across Derrick Austin’s poem “Effigy without a Body” in our submission system, I immediately wondered who would be smart enough to snatch up his first book. Thankfully, it wasn’t a long wait: this year Mary Szybist selected  his book Trouble the Water as the winner of the BOA Editions 2015 A. Poulin Jr Prize. The poems I’ve read so far are gorgeous poems: read this.


I’ve been following Paula Bohince’s work since I included two of her poems in our 5th issue, over ten years ago. Since then, her work has been championed in the form of such awards as an NEA fellowship, an Amy Lowell Traveling Fellowship, and residencies  from the Amy Clampitt House and the MacDowell Colony.  Thanks to Sarabande Books, who published her previous two collections, we will get Swallows and Waves this year. Bohince.SWALLOWS-AND-WAVES

2016 also brings a third book from contributor Lauren Camp, whose poem “Instead—Small, Rather Huddled and So On” appeared in one of our more recent issues. Her new collection, One Hundred Hungers, draws on her experience  as a first generation Arab-American, the daughter of Jewish-Iraqi parents. David Wojahn selected it as the winner of the 2014 Dorset Prize, and One Hundred Hungers will come out from Tupelo Press this year.


When you start a magazine, you ask friends and strangers for work, and you open up to submissions not knowing who will find you when you have got nothing to show them yet. I can remember the thrill we felt when Maggie Dietz’s poems arrived in our then email submission box; they were the first unsolicited submission that we fell in love with. Why I don’t Piss in the Ocean and Altos III were then the first poems we said yes to from a stranger, and they appeared in our first issue. And now, in 2016, University of Chicago is bringing out her second collection, That Kind of Happy.


Carolina Ebeid recently completed a Stadler Fellowship and has been granted a 2015 NEA Fellowship in Poetry. But we’ve been reading her poems since 2007 when she appeared in Issue 8 with two poems, including the memorable “Something Brighter than Pity.” I was delighted to see that her first book, You Ask Me to Talk About the Interior, has found a home with Noemi Press, and that we can all read more of her work in 2016.

Book Cover [draft 5] You Ask Me To Talk About The Interior-1

Megan Grumbling has been quietly publishing and winning awards for a while now. Back in 2007, A.E. Stallings, Joshua Mehigan, and Christian Wiman selected her as one of two winners of the Ruth Lilly Fellowship.  Her poem “Leaving the Room” from Issue 14 was our nomination to Best New Poets, for which she was selected by Claudia Emerson, and this year she received a St Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award.  Her transition from emerging writer to debut author happily occurs this year: Booker’s Point will be released from the  University of North Texas Press as the winner of the Vassar Miller Prize, selected by Morri Creech.


If you’ve never been to Martha’s Vineyard, or if you would like to revisit it from the view of someone who has been raised there, you’ll need to read Keith Leonard’s Ramshackle Ode, which will be released from Houghton Mifflin in Spring 2016. YesYes Books  published a chapbook of his, Still, the Shore, but it was time for a full-length from this young poet, who brings us lively and personable odes and lovely lyrics. Read the blurbs for this book and you’ll see that they speak to the spirit of this poet’s work: it’s a book you want to love before you even get your hands on it. (This is the one book on this list I’ve got an advanced copy of.)  You can sample some of the poems in our twentieth issue.


Amit Majmudar’s latest book, Dothead, is out from Knopf this March. You may be familiar with him as fiction writer from issue 17 of Memorious, or from his well-received novels, but this is his third collection of poetry: the first was a finalist for the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award, and the second won the Donald Justice Prize. You can read the title poem of Dothead in the New Yorker. Oh, and did I forget to mention that he’s also a diagnostic nuclear radiologist?


Full disclosure: Gail Mazur is my former teacher. But you don’t have to be a friend to notice the richness and significance of the latest work from this National Book Award finalist who has appeared in four of our issues over the last decade, including with a series of drafts of “The Mission” she revealed to us all in Issue 4 and four striking new poems in our latest issue. You can read–or listen to–the title poem of her forthcoming collection, Forbidden City, due out from the University of Chicago Phoenix Poets series this Spring here.


The next book technically came out in November 2015, but I’ve always hated the way end of the year books can fall between the years. And if you’ve just read the New York Times review of Ed Pavlic’s Let’s Let That Are Not Yet : INFERNO (Fence), selected by John Keene for the National Poetry Series, you probably already have it on order. I have been a fan of his work since he sent us work for Issue 6 in 2006, and  if you haven’t read the opening poem of his last book Visiting Hours at the Colorline (Milkweed 2013), another winner of the National Poetry Series, take some time to read it in issue 19, here.


If you were disappointed by the recent movie In the Heart of the Sea, take heart: Melville spreads his influence in another new work in 2016, Rachel Richardson’s second collection, Hundred-Year Wave (Carnegie Mellon University Press).  The poems move among the worlds of Melville, with forays into whale fishery, and motherhood and everyday life. You can sample more poems in Issue 21. (Richardson very recently joined us as a contributing editor, and you may have seen her own Anticipated Books of 2016 list last week. But we encountered her first as a contributor in 2008, before her first book was published.)


I want to start out with a shout out to this next collection’s fantastic cover, designed by Michaela Sullivan. And yes, I’m betting that you can judge a book by its cover– Rivard has an unmatchable voice and style that is sure to carry us eagerly through this newest collection, Standoff,  from Graywolf Press. He is one of the poets who was generous enough to share his work with us way back in Issue 4, when we were still  just getting started, and he returned to us with three standout poems in Issue 23.


We’ve got another gorgeous cover coming our way with Tess Taylor’s second collection of poems from Red Hen Press, Work and Days, which emerged from her time spent interning at an organic farm while a fellow at the Amy Clampitt House.  She first appeared in Memorious in Issue 8 back in 2007, well before her debut collection The Forage House, which received much attention and was shortlisted for The Believer Poetry Award. (You also may know Tess Taylor from hearing her work as a poetry critic on NPR.)


Just in case that’s not enough of a taste of our talented poetry contributors, the sprinkle on top of our baker’s dozen goes to poets to watch out for in 2016: contributors Diana Khoi Nhuyen, Phoebe Reeves, Hafizah Geter, Michael Peterson, and Tara Skurtu. The best part of this job is discovering new poets and watching their first books find good homes.  Let’s see what 2016 brings! Happy New Year, dear readers!

Rebecca Morgan Frank is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Memorious. Her second collection of poems, The Spokes of Venus, is forthcoming from Carnegie Mellon University Press in 2016.



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Barrett Bowlin’s Most Anticipated Books of 2016


Charlie Jane Anders, All the Birds in the Sky (Tor Books, January 26)
Starting the year off with one hell of a swing, heavy-hitter Anders is probably best known for her work as the editor-in-chief of, but she’s also a genre-bending literary & sci-fi author, with stories appearing in such diverse places as Tin HouseZYZZYVAAsimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, and Strange Horizons. (Oh, and she also won a Hugo Award for her novelette, “Six Months, Three Days.”) The premise of her new novel, concerning the reconnection of two childhood friends in their newly respective circles of engineering and magic, sounds as intriguing and faceted as she is.


Jonathan Lee, High Dive (Knopf, March 8)
Built around the events of the 1984 bombing of the Grand Hotel, in Brighton, England, Lee’s third novel tracks the events that led up to the death of five people and the almost-assassination of Margaret Thatcher and members of her cabinet. While mapping the horrors of The Troubles during this period is a complex and difficult task, Jonathan Lee, editor of A Public Space and a contributing editor to Guernica, is a wholly gifted writer and is more than capable of meeting the challenge.


Jack Pendarvis, Movie Stars: Stories (Dzanc, April 12)
His credits include writing for Adventure Time, publishing three books of fiction thus far, along with a book of creative non-fiction, winning a Pushcart, and contributing heavily to The Believer and Oxford American, but the top gem in the pile of jewels that is Jack Pendarvis is his short-story writing. His forthcoming collection showcases the relationship his down-and-out characters have with the Hollywood pantheon, and if Movie Stars is anywhere near as good as his previous collection, Your Body Is Changing, the wait will be more than worth it.


Patricia Engel, The Veins of the Ocean: a Novel (Grove, May 3) 
Five years ago, amid stunning reviews and praise from the likes of Michiko Kakutani and Junot Diaz, Patricia Engel’s Vida reinvigorated the literary world’s perceptions of the linked story collection, and she’s been writing and publishing just as intensely as when she debuted. Her second novel (after It’s Not Love, It’s Just Paris, also from Grove), The Veins of the Ocean, returns Engel to the forefront of our attention, deservedly so.


Chelsea Martin, Mickey (Curbside Splendor, July 12)
Visual artist and short story writer, Chelsea Martin is a longtime artist and collaborator with The Rumpus, care of her cartoon strip, Heavy-Handed. In addition to her work with the journal, Martin has also released several indie publishing house titles, including the outstanding Even Though I Don’t Miss You (from Short Flight/Long Drive), and her follow-up novella looks just as amazing.


Odie Lindsey, We Come to Our Senses: Stories (Norton, July 26)
Looking back at the previous years’ Most Anticipated lists I’ve collated, I notice now that I look very much forward to the fiction coming out of the years we’ve spent in the wars of the new millennium. This trend continues in 2016 with Odie Lindsey’s forthcoming collection, and with his unnamed novel due out shortly thereafter. A contributor to such places as The Iowa Review, Forty Stories, and 2014’s Best American Short Storiesanthology (for the brilliant “Evie M.”), Lindsey and his veteran fiction add to the unsettling and essential voices from war.

Barrett Bowlin teaches creative writing at Binghamton University. His fiction and essays have appeared (or are forthcoming) in places like Ninth Letter, Hobart, The Rumpus, Salt Hill, Meridian, Mid-American Review, and War, Literature, & the Arts, among others. He lives in upstate New York and writes inappropriate things sometimes on Twitter (@barrettbowlin).

For original poetry, fiction, art song, and more interviews, please visit our magazine at

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Laura van den Berg’s Most Anticipated Books of 2016

In 2016, I am especially excited for Han Kang’s The Vegetarian (Hogarth, February 2),



Álvaro Enrigue’s Sudden Death (Riverhead, February 9),



and Samantha Hunt’s Mr. Splitfoot (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, January 5).



These books all come out in early 2016 and they will make sure the year starts off brilliant and weird.

Laura van den Berg earned her M.F.A. at Emerson College. Her first collection of stories, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books, 2009), was a Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers” selection and shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Award. Her second collection of stories, The Isle of Youth (FSG, 2013) was named a “Best Book of 2013” by over a dozen venues. Her first novel, Find Me (FSG, February 2015) has received starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal. The recipient of a 2014 O. Henry Award and The Bard Fiction Prize, Laura is a Writer-in-Residence at Bard College.

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Joanna Luloff’s Most Anticipated Books of 2016

Putting together an anticipated books list always makes me look back on all of the novels and short stories I meant to read the previous year. It’s a teetering stack, and now I have more to add to it as I look forward to 2016’s exciting titles. My list this year begins with two upcoming contributors to Memorious, Becky Hagenston and Ranbir Sidhu. I’ve enjoyed teaching Becky’s mysterious and tense story “Midnight, Licorice, Shadow” in my fiction workshops, and now I’m eager to read her latest collection, Scavengers. Ranbir’s story “Cross-Eyes Thorpe Hits the Mark” will be in our next issue of Memorious. Its lively, chaotic use of language that combines farce and near-tragedy makes me excited for his forthcoming novel Deep Singh Blue.


Hagenston’s Scavengers is forthcoming from University of Alaska Press in March, 2016. Here’s a quick summary from the press: “A woman obsessed with reality TV encounters a sorority girl who has embarked on a very personal scavenger hunt. A man unexpectedly discovers that his father—a seemingly rational man—believes, seriously, in lake monsters. A woman whose husband has just survived a near-fatal accident flees to St. Petersburg, Russia, to wander through museums and palaces and simply try to forget. Hansel (yes, that Hansel), all grown up, tries to be a good father. A young girl begins to suspect that the séances being held in her basement just might not be as harmless as they seem.”


Deep Singh Blue is forthcoming from Unnamed Press and HarperCollins India in March, 2016. Here is an excerpt from a recent review:
“The Indian American narrator of Ranbir Singh Sidhu’s breathtaking debut, Deep Singh Blue, is troubled, unlikable, and out of control. In flawless, terse prose, Sidhu gives us the tale of a suffocating and often unhinged family, and leads us to the kind of authentic sympathy that only tragedy provides.” — Titi Nguyen


I’m also looking forward to a bunch of new fiction by writers less familiar to me. A. Igoni Barrett’s novel Blackass, due out in March from Graywolf, sounds like a compellingly surreal and satirical investigation into race and identity in contemporary Nigeria. Both Teju Cole and Marlon James heap loads of praise on Barrett’s novel and here’s a summary from Graywolf: “Furo Wariboko, a young Nigerian, awakes the morning before a job interview to find that he’s been transformed into a white man. In this condition he plunges into the bustle of Lagos to make his fortune. With his red hair, green eyes, and pale skin, it seems he’s been completely changed. Well, almost. There is the matter of his family, his accent, his name. Oh, and his black ass. Furo must quickly learn to navigate a world made unfamiliar, and deal with those who would use him for their own purposes. Taken in by a young woman called Syreeta and pursued by a writer named Igoni, Furo lands his first-ever job, adopts a new name, and soon finds himself evolving in unanticipated ways.”


Also from Graywolf comes Sara Majka’s collection of stories Cities I’ve Never Lived In with a publication date of February 16th. Majka’s narratives are concerned with storytelling, dream-realities, and the fraught relationship between her characters and their sense of home and belonging (or lack thereof).  Here is what Graywolf has to say about the collection: “ An astonishing debut collection of sharp psychological portraits of characters trying to rebuild shattered lives. Fearlessly riding the line between imagination and experience, fact and fiction, the linked stories in Sara Majka’s debut collection offer intimate glimpses of a young New England woman whose life must begin afresh after a divorce. Traveling the roads of Maine and the train tracks of Grand Central Station, moving from vast shorelines to the unmade beds of strangers, these fourteen stories circle the dreams of a narrator who finds herself turning to storytelling as a means of working through the world and of understanding herself. A book that upends our ideas of love and belonging, and which asks how much of ourselves we leave behind with each departure we make, Cities I’ve Never Lived In exposes, with great sadness and great humor, the ways in which we are most of all citizens of the places where we cannot stay.”


Another forthcoming short story collection that looks pretty fantastic is Fiona McFarlane’s The High Places (FSG, May 2016). McFarlane’s stories explore varied landscapes and situate us in the lives of men and women, the old and young. Here is a brief summary from FSG: “Her stories skip across continents, eras, and genres to chartthe borderlands of emotional life. In “Mycenae,” she describes a middle-aged couple’s disastrous vacation with old friends. In “Good News for Modern Man,” a scientist lives on a small island with only a colossal squid and the ghost of Charles Darwin for company. And in the title story, an Australian farmer turns to Old Testament methods to relieve a fatal drought. Each story explores what Flannery O’Connor called “mystery and manners.” The collection dissects the feelings–longing, contempt, love, fear–that animate our existence and hints at a reality beyond the smallness of our lives.”


Europa Editions is publishing Fariba Hachtroudi’s novel The Man Who Snapped His Fingers in February, 2016. Translated by Alison Anderson, this is the first time Hachtroudi’s novel will be available in English. Hachtroudi left Iran after the 1979 Revolution and has published nonfiction and journalism, much of which focuses on Iran, religion, secularism, and women’s rights. Her novel explores the effects of totalitarianism on love and friendship. Here is what Europa has to say about the book: “She was known as “Bait 455,” the most famous prisoner in a ruthless theological republic. He was one of the colonels closest to the Supreme Commander. When they meet, years later, far from their country of birth, a strange, equivocal relationship develops between them. The Man Who Snapped His Fingers is a novel of ideas, exploring power and memory by an important female writer from a part of the world where female voices are routinely silenced.”


Walter Benjamin is one of my favorite writers and thinkers. His essays, which take on subjects as varied as Baudelaire, photography, and translations, are ruminative, mysterious, and politically sharp. Verso will be releasing a collection of his fiction, The Storyteller: Tales out of Loneliness, in April, 2016. Verso describes this book as a gathering of Benjamin’s  “experiments in fiction with forms including novellas, fables, histories, aphorisms, parables, and riddles. As well as highlighting the themes that run throughout his work, the collection demonstrates that his singular style could create extraor-dinary imaginative worlds that will delight those who are fascinated by his thinking, as well as readers of literary fiction such as Franz Kafka and Stefan Zweig and the uncanny tales of E.T.A. Hoffmann.” I’m really looking forward to this collection.


And Other Stories is one of the most innovative and exciting independent presses I’ve encountered. They are committed to publishing works in translation that often challenge traditional modes of narrative. They have just released The Folly by Ivan Vladislavic. Technically, this book came out in 2015, but I’m just now getting my hands on it, so I’m cheating a little bit. This is also my opportunity to encourage everyone to check out And Other Stories’ lineup for the upcoming year. Their publishing model is based on subscriptions, which means you get a surprise treat of a book every few months in the mail. Here is what And Other Stories has to say about The Folly:

“Mr. and Mrs. Malgas are going quietly about their lives when a mysterious squatter appears on the vacant plot next to their home. Arriving with portmanteau in hand and a head full of extraordinary ideas, the stranger at once begins to fashion tools and cutlery from old iron and rubbish. Soon he enlists Mr Malgas’s help: drawn in by the stranger’s conviction, Mr Malgas clears the land, all the while struggling to catch sight of the grand mansion that is supposedly springing up around them. His vision, however, continues to fail him – until, one day, it doesn’t. When The Folly appeared in South Africa in 1993, with its story of the seductive and dangerous illusions language can breed, it was read as an evocative allegory of the rise and fall of apartheid.”


Last but not least is New York Review of Books publication of Nobel Prize winner Patrick Modiano’s novel In the Café of Lost Youth, translated from the French by Chris Clark. Modiano has often been compared with W.G. Sebald (one of my favorite writers), particularly because of his explorations of memory and history and the way his writing can feel equal parts detective story and elegy. Here is what NYRB has to say about this novel: “In the Café of Lost Youth is an an absorbing evocation of a particular Paris of the 1950s, shadowy and shady, a secret world of writers, criminals, drinkers, and drifters. The novel, which includes vignettes of a number of historical figures and is inspired in part by the circle (depicted in the photographs of Ed van der Elsken) of the notorious and charismatic Guy Debord, centers on the enigmatic, waiflike figure of Louki, who catches everyone’s attention even as she eludes possession or comprehension. Through the eyes of four very different narrators, we contemplate Louki’s character and her fate, while Modiano explores the themes of identity, memory, time, and forgetting that are at the heart of his hypnotic and deeply moving art.”


Okay, one more!  I’m intrigued by the forthcoming The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay (Melville House, May 2016). Reviewers compare Seay to Nabokov, David Mitchell, and Umberto Eco, and his novel is being described as an audacious puzzle that traverses different genres, time periods, and geographies. Here’s what Melville House has to say: “The core story is set in Venice in the sixteenth century, when the famed makers of Venetian glass were perfecting one of the old world’s most wondrous inventions: the mirror. An object of glittering yet fearful fascination — was it reflecting simple reality, or something more spiritually revealing? — the Venetian mirrors were state of the art technology, and subject to industrial espionage by desirous sultans and royals world-wide. But for any of the development team to leave the island was a crime punishable by death. One man, however — a world-weary war hero with nothing to lose — has a scheme he thinks will allow him to outwit the city’s terrifying enforcers of the edict, the ominous Council of Ten …Meanwhile, in two other iterations of Venice — Venice Beach, California, circa 1958, and the Venice casino in Las Vegas, circa today — two other schemers launch similarly dangerous plans to get away with a secret.”

Be sure to look for Becky Hagenston and Ranbir Sidhu’s stories in our upcoming issues. And Happy 2016!

Joanna Luloff received her MFA from Emerson College and her PhD from the University of Missouri. Before all of those years of graduate school, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Baddegama, Sri Lanka. Her short stories have appeared in The Missouri Review, Confrontation, Memorious, and New South, and her collection The Beach at Galle Road was published by Algonquin Books in October, 2012. She is an Assistant Professor of English at University of Colorado, Denver.

For original poetry, fiction, art song, and more interviews, please visit our magazine at

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Sara Lewis’s Most Anticipated Books of 2016

Hot Little Hands by Abigail Ulman (Spiegel & Grau, May 31st)
This short story collection, which was released earlier this year in Australia, will finally see its US debut late next spring. It’s about young men and young women and trips to San Francisco and that blurriness between adulthood and adolescence where so many young writers find their groove. This is my first planned beach read.

The Girls by Emma Cline (Penguin Random House, June 14th)
This novel has been hyped since its rumored multi-million dollar acquisition in 2014. The movie rights for this fictional account of the Manson girls were even purchased at the same time the book was sold. It’s  being billed as something between Visit From the Goon Squad and The Virgin Suicides–pretty big shoes to fill for any debut. But if Cline’s work in Tin House and The Paris Review is any indication, she’s got chops.

Square Wave by Mark De Silva (Two Dollar Radio, February 9)
I can’t tell you what de Silva’s fiction debut is about. Publisher’s Weekly calls it a “twist on typical dystopian fare” and Amazon classifies it as Crime, Thriller, Sc-Fi, and Suspense. De Silva’s publisher bills this as a “grand novel of ideas.” I get the feeling this is like Ben Lerner writing a crime thriller. Whatever it is, I’m on board.

Willful Disregard by Lena Andersson (Other Press, February 2)
The Guardian calls Andersson’s novel (originally published in Swedish) about a woman who falls for a famous artist “succinct, raw, and unnerving.” The thing is, our heroine imagines a relationship that isn’t there–to a delusional and desperate degree. This promises to be a splendidly uncomfortable read.

Living Like a Runaway by Lita Ford (Dey Street, Feb 23)
I’m not going to feel guilty about this one. Joan Jett and Cherie Currie have each given their accounts of the iconic but short-lived band, The Runaways. The recent eponymously-titled film starring Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart gave Ford’s character very little screen time–perhaps two or three clinched-jaw retorts–portraying her instead as a throwaway. The movie producers reportedly offered Ford $250 for her version of the story. With a 75,000-copy first run, I’m guessing she found a better deal.

Montauk by Max Frisch (Tin House, March 31)
This one (originally published in German) is being billed as both fiction and memoir–depending on who you ask. Already well-received in Europe, Frisch’s meditation on life as triggered by a single holiday weekend in Long Island has been called “extremely interesting” and “original and admirable” by The New Yorker. So, it’s like Knausgård without that pesky word count.

Notable Mentions:

The Book of Harlan by Bernice L. Mcfadden (Akashic, May 3)
Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda (Copper Canyon, April 12)
So Much Synth by Brenda Shaughnessy (Copper Canyon, May 10)
Allegheny Front by Matthew Neill Null (Sarabande, May 10)
Georgia by Dawn Tripp (Random House, February 9)
My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (Random House, January 12)
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (Blue Rider, April 26)

Sara Lewis is a doctoral candidate in fiction at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers. She has been an Assistant Editor for the Mississippi Review, and is currently the Editorial Assistant for Memorious and Managing Editor of the Memorious blog. Her work can be found in FORTHBlack & White, and elsewhere.

For original poetry, fiction, art song, and more interviews, please visit our magazine at

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Rachel Richardson’s Most Anticipated Books of 2016

2016 is going to be a great year for poetry, it’s already clear. So much anticipated work from major poets is heading our way. I’m also looking forward to debuts and second books from emerging writers I’ve been getting to know more recently. Here’s a very partial list of books on my current radar:

Window Left Open, Jennifer Grotz (Graywolf, February 2) Jennifer Grotz writes such precise lyrics–I always learn from the way her lines and thinking swerve as they move down the page. The distance she navigates from individually-observed phenomena to the grand global scale is always impressive.

The Halo, C. Dale Young  (Four Way, March 1)
C. Dale Young’s fourth book seems a dramatically different kind of project from his previous, moving through the adolescence of a single central character–a man with wings–to his adulthood.


Border Towns, C. S. Giscombe (Dalkey Archive, June 10)
Giscombe’s new work, a book of essays, purports to be–maybe–a discussion of poetry. I am intrigued by his reticence to define his projects, or to assent to formal limits.


Shallcross, C. D. Wright (Copper Canyon, April 12)
I read everything C. D. Wright writes, so a new volume of hers is automatically on my list. This book takes on several poetic sequences, and I look forward to seeing how she will once again expand and challenge my thinking about the work of documenting the world.


Look, Solmaz Sharif (Graywolf, July 5)
I have been reading everything Solmaz Sharif publishes in eager anticipation of the poems being collected in a book. Her voice is a powerful addition to the conversation about war and Middle Eastern/U.S. politics, race and ethnicity, and terror. Every one of these poems keeps the clarity of the vulnerable human voice at the center, even while speaking forcefully to these outward injustices. I can’t wait to see how these poems read compiled in a book.


The Destroyer in the Glass, Noah Warren (Yale UP, March 29)
Warren’s first book, a Yale winner, takes on ambitious and intimate subjects–a close, unflinching look at the self, which is maybe the hardest thing of all to write well. I look forward to hearing this new voice.

Rachel Richardson is a contributing editor for Memorious. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and Wallace Stegner Program at Stanford. She is the author of two poetry collections, Copperhead and Hundred-Year Wave (forthcoming). She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.

 For original poetry, fiction, art song, and more interviews, please visit our magazine at

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Brian Trapp’s Anticipated Books of 2016

Since 2010, Editors and Contributors to Memorious have been compiling anticipated books of the New Year, and we love to brag “I told you so” when those books take off. Last year’s lists included some contributors’ books that are making the news:  Rick Barot’s Chord, now longlisted for the Pen Open Book Award, and  Jennifer Tseng’s Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness, longlisted for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. Our lists also anticipated  National Book Award finalist Tracy K. Smith’s Ordinary Light, and several books that have made best-of lists, like Boy With Thorn by Rickey Laurentiis and  Patty Park’s Re: Jane. 

In other words, why wait for those endless “best of” lists when you can get a peek at what to read in 2016? One of our fiction editors, Brian Trapp, kicks off this year’s round with his list.

Chris Bachelder, The Throwback Special (W.W. Norton) 

WhethBachelderer he’s writing heady political satire (2001’s Bear v. Shark or 2006’s U.S.!)  or comic yet tender-hearted realism about fatherhood (2011’s Abbot Awaits), Chris Bachelder is emotionally precise, whip-smart, and, for my money, one of the best and funniest writers we’ve got. His next novel, The Throwback Special, is out this spring from Norton, and is currently being serialized in the Paris Review. Bachelder returns to his more conceit-driven novels, as he tells the story of twenty-two men who gather every fall to reenact what ESPN calls “the most shocking play in NFL history”: the 1985 play in which Lawrence Taylor shatters Joe Theisman’s leg on national television. Written in an interior and tonally nimble style, the novel is a dark yet big-hearted meditation on manhood, middle age, and mortality, exploring how we try to protect the things we love most.

Deb Olin Unferth, Wait Till You See Me Dance (Graywolf Press)

Deb Olin Unferth’s 2007 novel, Vacation, is a personal favorite of mine. She is the lost love-child of Samuel Beckett and Renata Adler, writing in a desperately comic mode that explores the depths of our strange psyches. And she has a poet’s ear: no one can turn a line quite like her.  Also the author of a memoir, Revolution, and a collection of short-shorts, Minor Robberies, Unferth’s new collection contains stories that have appeared in Harper’s, Paris Review, McSweeney’s, and NOON. I’m excited to read a full-length collection from this immensely talented writer.

Greg Jackson, Prodigals (FSG and Granta Books)

JacksonI read Jackson’s short story “Wagner in the Desert” in a 2014 summer issue of the New Yorker, which was his first published story (bastard). Lucky for him, he deserves it. “Wagner in the Desert” follows a group of privileged thirty-somethings who meet up in Palm Springs for one last drug-fueled lost week before settling into their adult lives. Jackson has the cutting self-consciousness and verbal brilliance of David Foster Wallace with an emotional acuity that makes him his own man.


Anne Valente, Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down (William Morrow/HarperCollins):

Anne Valente has been on fire for quite some time now. Her first story collection, By Light We Knew Our Names, won the 2014 Dzanc Books Short Story Prize, and she’s had work published in the Believer, One Story, and the Southern Review, among lots of other places. However, we like to trace the beginning of her success to Memorious 18, where she published “Mollusk, Membrane, Human Heart.” You’ve never read an octopus story quite like that one. Valente often mixes realism and fabulism to write about loss with lyrical precision and beauty. Next November, Valente will publish her debut novel, Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down. Set in St. Louis, the novel follows four yearbook staff members in the wake of a mass high school shooting, as they try to piece together a record of what happened, and as a series of mysterious house fires begins to erupt in the community. Not to be missed.

And a brief list of other intriguing titles: Movie Stars by Jack Pendarvis (Dzanc), Triangle Ray by John Holman (Dzanc), The Making of the American Essay by John D’Agata (Graywolf), and You Should Pity Us Instead by Amy Gustine (Sarabande).

Brian Trapp is one of Memorious’s two current fiction editors. His short stories and essays have appeared in Narrative, Ninth Letter, Black Warrior Review, New Ohio Review, and Meridian, among other places. He is currently a faculty fellow at the University of Oregon.

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