Wiseblood Books fosters works of fiction, poetry, and philosophy that wrestle us from the ruse of distraction; find redemption in uncanny places and people; articulate faith and doubt in their incarnate complexity; dare an unflinching gaze at human beings as "political animals"; and render well this world's sufferings without forfeiting hope—all of this with an unflinching gaze, wide-eyed. [read more HERE]
"Authentic, meaningful fiction [can] only be created by writers who love their characters — in all of their follies, paradoxes, and sins. Katy Carl loves her characters."
—Nick Ripatrazone, Culture Editor of Image Journal
In these stories, characters’ bodies trouble their souls, stirring questions about why we are here and how we are to live. Confronted by their own vulnerabilities, they must also contend with the weaknesses of those they want to love. Will they find their trust well placed; will they rise to moments of grace—or will their lives crack under pressure? These stories seek to do justice in art to the human condition’s real, though fleeting, gifts—to our much-explored, but only ever partially understood, potential for comic resolution, for tragic failure, and the substance of things hoped for between the two.
“Katy Carl’s stories expose the hardness of the human heart, as well as its terrible openness: to pain, yes, but also to love.”
—Abigail Favale, author of The Genesis of Gender
The Liquid Pour in which my Heart has Run
Poems by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz | Translated by Rhina P. Espaillat
Known as the “Phoenix of the Americas” and “The Tenth Muse,” Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz was a scholar, poet, and cloistered nun. Her poetry, like her singular life, is fired with intensity and intelligence. Neither life in a convent nor the strictures of time and place could bind Sor Juana’s thirst for knowledge or her creativity. As Sally Read notes in her introduction, when reading about Sor Juana and her work “one has the sense of a woman who pours out poetry as a tight faucet shoots out high-pressure water. The time in which Juana was born, and the culture of New Spain, were the constricting faucet; her writing was the irrepressible flood.”
“Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz’s verse exhibited a mastery of form, together with an abundance of serious wit, that made it impossible to deny the poet her rightful place in a culture dead set on denying it. Her gifts and skills continue to open minds and, to borrow one of her own images, to render them opulent by learning. Now the great Rhina P. Espaillat, a poet every bit as gifted and skilled as Sor Juana, has rendered the nun’s deathless poems in all their perfectly measured opulence. An encounter with these sparkling translations will leave readers doubly enriched.”
—BORIS DRALYUK, award-winning translator, critic, and author of My Hollywood and Other Poems
Seneca: The Madness of Hercules
Translation and Introduction by Dana Gioia
Dana Gioia’s new book provides two ways of approaching Seneca—the critical and the creative. The book begins with a compelling account of Seneca’s remarkable life in Imperial Rome. It interweaves the Stoic’s roles as philosopher, politician, and playwright. There is no better introduction to this influential and often misunderstood genius of Classical culture. Gioia then offers a vivid poetic translation of Seneca’s powerful tragedy, The Madness of Hercules. This violent and visionary play explores the utmost extremes of human suffering expressed in passionate language. It also contains a spellbinding descent into the Underworld, an account that haunted later poets from Dante to Eliot.
“Dana Gioia's Hercules Furens is a poetic and critical tour de force. By giving us a translation as graceful, vivid, and natural as the original must have been, he paradoxically brings out its essential strangeness to our sensibility. His poetry makes it a sort of dark existentialist Bunraku theater, an allegory of the horrors of Nero's Rome and perhaps a warning to us today. His coinage of the term ‘lyric tragedy,’ connecting the play with the birth of opera fifteen hundred years later, aptly notes that strangeness.”
—Frederick Turner, Founders Professor of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas, author of the epic poems Genesis and The New World
One Hundred Visions of War
Julien Vocance | Translated by Alfred Nicol | Preface by Dana Gioia
The “One Hundred Visions of War” of Julien Vocance (1878-1954) comprise some of the first haiku written in the West. Where classical Japanese haiku traditionally speaks of the beauty of Nature, Vocance uses the form to a very different purpose, depicting the horror and brutality of armed conflict, as seen from the trenches during the First World War. Readers get a ground-level view of unimaginable slaughter. The value of Vocance’s poetry lies in its witness to the experience of the human being caught up in a battle which, as Wendell Berry put it, “the machines won.” Only imagine: an obscure soldier-poet pits his human art against overwhelming military technology, and his art survives.
“Like Ungaretti and Apollinaire, Julien Vocance faced the instant karma of the First World War with outcries of visionary perception. Each flash of the battlefield, each haiku, is a compelling ode to what can go away in a second, and to what remains, even amid annihilation. One Hundred Visions of War is an essential addition to the history of modernist poetry. More importantly, it is an urgent and deeply moving read, each vision guided into English by the poet Alfred Nicol, who brings a keen eye, an exacting ear, and a consummate poetic intelligence to these pages.”
—Joseph Donahue, Professor of the Practice at Duke University; author of the ongoing poem Terra Lucida
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"The late James Laughlin’s publishing house, New Directions, is the standard at the moment for contemporary fiction. When you see ND on the spine, you know that you’re getting a solid work that is actively engaged with contemporary literary concerns. It is still too early to tell what will become of the upstart Wiseblood Books, but such a strong entry as this early on is a sign that it is heading in the right direction."
—From M.A. Peterson's review of Wiseblood Books'
A Waste of Shame and Other Sad Tales of the Appalachian Foothills