A Valentine’s Day for the bookish!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re skipping the chocolate hearts and giving you 20% off a few of our loveliest books. Check out the few featured below. Or, for a list of all the discounted titles, visit the sale page on our website! Sale ends on February 20th.

  
For the lonely hearts – Single: Arguments for the Uncoupled, by Michael Cobbs
$21.00 / now $16.80  ♥

“Using the rhythms of banter, suggestion, and devilish claims, Cobb pits the brio, the grandeur of singleness against the deadening form of the couple… as beautiful as it is brilliant.”–Kathryn Bond Stockton, author of The Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century

For the non-traditionalists — Unhitched: Love, Marriage, and Family Values from West Hollywood to Western China, by Judith Stacey
$21.00 / now $16.80  ♥

“Clever and practical blend of research, history and anecdote.”–Kirkus Reviews

For the romantics Love Lyrics, by Ámaru and Bhartri·hari
$22.00 / now $17.60  ♥

“Anyone who loves the look and feel and heft of books will delight in these elegant little volumes.”–New Criterion

 

For the cynics – Modern Love: Romance, Intimacy, and the Marriage Crisisby David Shumway
$23.00 / now $18.40  ♥

“… illuminates the complexities of an important recent development in American marital ideals.”–Journal of American History

 

For the lit lovers – Lover, by Bertha Harris 
$23.00 / now $18.40  ♥

“[A] spellbinding, verbal sleight of hand as satisfying as it is serpentine.”–Washington Post Book World

 

Favorite Poem: David Freeland

My grandmother, Jean Gosse, wrote poems that reflected daily life and concerns in mid-20th century Newfoundland. At the time “The Little Boy who didn’t pass” was written (the early 1950s), Newfoundland had only recently become a province of Canada. Prior to Confederation in 1949, Newfoundlanders were British subjects; but, to hear my grandmother tell it, they had been largely self-sufficient, with their own currency. Like many of my grandmother’s poems, “The Little Boy who didn’t pass” was originally published in the Evening Telegram, the main newspaper in St. John’s, which is Newfoundland’s largest city. It was inspired by a family with 15 children who lived next door to my grandmother in Buchans, a mining town in the center of the province. This is one of my favorite of her poems because of the way in which she sees behind the veneer of this child and grasps the private humiliation he was going through, in being held back a grade at school. Our task as writers, I am reminded when I read these lines, is to get to the heart of things.
-David Freeland

The Little Boy who didn’t pass
by Jean Gosse

He had a belligerent manner, had he.
As if he were saying, “Antagonize me.
And you’ll surely end up in a peppery fight
And if I am tempted I certainly might
K.O. my opponent in any old brawl
For scrapping is something I don’t mind at all.”

He was stocky and short
And his manner was tough
The sort of a kid that a mother calls “rough.”
But his heart was as tender as any wee girl
And the bottom dropped out of his little world
And bitter his tears, walking home with his class–
This little boy wept ‘cause he didn’t pass.

[Selected by David Freeland, author of Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville: Excavating Manhattan's Lost Places of Leisure]

Favorite Poem: Phil Zuckerman

Thanatopsis
by William Cullen Bryant

To him who in the love of Nature holds
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks
A various language; for his gayer hours
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile
And eloquence of beauty, and she glides
Into his darker musings, with a mild
And healing sympathy, that steals away
Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts
Of the last bitter hour come like a blight
Over thy spirit, and sad images
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall,
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house,
Make thee to shudder and grow sick at heart;–
Go forth, under the open sky, and list
To Nature’s teachings, while from all around–
Earth and her waters, and the depths of air–
Comes a still voice–Yet a few days, and thee
The all-beholding sun shall see no more
In all his course; nor yet in the cold ground,
Where thy pale form was laid with many tears,
Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist
Thy image. Earth, that nourish’d thee, shall claim
Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again,
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up
Thine individual being, shalt thou go
To mix for ever with the elements,
To be a brother to the insensible rock,
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould.
  Continue reading

Favorite Poem: Mark Chiang

HOW TO GET THERE
by Shessu Foster

HOW TO GET THERE: downhill from the jail where deputies in training formation, stragglers staggering up past the school where we played football on the lawn, down the avenue behind Plaza Market, “The Wall That Cracked Open”-Willie Herron painted faces of the afflicted breaking through the walls of oppression after Johnny (his brother, in my class) was beaten by gangbangers-to the intersection where, years later, I crashed Priscilla’s car into a truck that ran the red light, the little Honda jumping into the air like a poodle, spraying out an arc of glass, rubber stripping, and chrome fittings; there, years before the library was turned into a laundromat, years earlier, past the gas station (burnt down, bulldozed), apartments & dusty narrow shops, in the old days when people went to the “Farmer’s Market” (replaced by St. Lucy’s), then across the freeway overpass where the motorcycle cop hides out in the morning; a right past the on-ramp, down into the factory district where I walked the railroad tracks with my bloody hand wrapped up in my t-shirt, 12 years old and I wanted revenge for everything they were doing to us, smashing out all the windows I could in the envelope factory, smashing out every window I could until my fist was lacerated to the bone, and I wrapped it up and walked, 12 years old, bleeding through my shirt through the heat waves on the railroad tracks in the flat hot smoggy sun of all those years: AND WHERE ARE YOU?

[Selected by Mark Chiang, author of The Cultural Capital of Asian American Studies: Autonomy and Representation in the University. "It only gives a small indication of the extraordinary range and astonishing juxtapositions of Foster's language, not to mention that it incites some intense LA nostalgia for me." From City Terrace: Field Manual.]

Favorite Poem: Andrew Ross

The Day Lady Died
by Frank O’Hara

It is 12:20 in New York a Friday
three days after Bastille day, yes
it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine
because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton
at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner
and I don’t know the people who will feed me

I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun
and have a hamburger and a malted and buy
an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets
in Ghana are doing these days
I go on to the bank
and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard)
doesn’t even look up my balance for once in her life
and in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlaine
for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I do
think of Hesiod, trans. Richmond Lattimore or
Brendan Behan’s new play or Le Balcon or Les Nègres
of Genet, but I don’t, I stick with Verlaine
after practically going to sleep with quandariness

and for Mike I just stroll into the PARK LANE
Liquor Store and ask for a bottle of Strega and
then I go back where I came from to 6th Avenue
and the tobacconist in the Ziegfeld Theatre and
casually ask for a carton of Gauloises and a carton
of Picayunes, and a NEW YORK POST with her face on it

and I am sweating a lot by now and thinking of
leaning on the john door in the 5 SPOT
while she whispered a song along the keyboard
to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing

[Selected by Andrew Ross, author of Nice Work If You Can Get It: Life and Labor in Precarious Times. "In his own breathless way, O'Hara recounts how business as usual (and it really is his business) can be brought to a standstill. " From Lunch Poems (City Lights Pocket Poets Series) by Frank O'Hara.]

Favorite Poem: Arnaldo Testi

Don’t ask me for words
by Eugenio Montale
(Genoa, 1896 – Milan, 1981; Nobel Prize for Literature, 1975)

Don’t ask me for words that might define
our formless soul, publish it
in letters of fire, and set it shining,
lost crocus in a dusty field.

Ah, that man so confidently striding,
friend to others and himself, careless
that the dog day’s sun might stamp
his shadow on a crumbling wall!

Don’t ask me for formulas to open worlds
for you: all I have are gnarled syllables,

branch-dry. All I can tell you now is this:

what we are not, what we do not want.


[Selected by Arnaldo Testi, author of Capture the Flag: The Stars and Stripes in American History. Poem from Cuttlefish Bones, 1920-1927, trans. by William Arrowsmith, W. W. Norton, New York, 1994, p. 41.]

Favorite Poem: Michael Bérubé

Byzantium
by W. B. Yeats

The unpurged images of day recede;
The Emperor’s drunken soldiery are abed;
Night resonance recedes, night-walkers’ song
After great cathedral gong;
A starlit or a moonlit dome disdains
All that man is,
All mere complexities,
The fury and the mire of human veins.

Before me floats an image, man or shade,
Shade more than man, more image than a shade;
For Hades’ bobbin bound in mummy-cloth
May unwind the winding path;
A mouth that has no moisture and no breath
Breathless mouths may summon;
I hail the superhuman;
I call it death-in-life and life-in-death.

Miracle, bird or golden handiwork,
More miracle than bird or handiwork,
Planted on the starlit golden bough,
Can like the cocks of Hades crow,
Or, by the moon embittered, scorn aloud
In glory of changeless metal
Common bird or petal
And all complexities of mire or blood.

At midnight on the Emperor’s pavement flit
Flames that no faggot feeds, nor steel has lit,
Nor storm disturbs, flames begotten of flame,
Where blood-begotten spirits come
And all complexities of fury leave,
Dying into a dance,
An agony of trance,
An agony of flame that cannot singe a sleeve.

Astraddle on the dolphin’s mire and blood,
Spirit after spirit! The smithies break the flood,
The golden smithies of the Emperor!
Marbles of the dancing floor
Break bitter furies of complexity,
Those images that yet
Fresh images beget,
That dolphin-torn, that gong-tormented sea.

[Selected by Michael Bérubé, author of The Left at War. Read his thoughts on the poem on his blog, American Airspace.]

Lorca’s Sleepless City (Brooklyn Bridge Nocturne)

“Sleepless City (Brooklyn Bridge Nocturne)”
[1940]
by Federico García Lorca, Greg Simon and Steven F. White, trans., 1998
from Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn

Out in the sky, no one sleeps. No one, no one.
No one sleeps.
Lunar creatures sniff and circle the dwellings.
Live iguanas will come to bite the men who don’t dream,
and the brokenhearted fugitive will meet on street corners
an incredible crocodile resting beneath the tender protest of the
stars.

Out in the world, no one sleeps. No one, no one.
No one sleeps.
There is a corpse in the farthest graveyard
complaining for three years
because of an arid landscape in his knee;
and a boy who was buried this morning cried so much
they had to call the dogs to quiet him.

Life is no dream. Watch out! Watch out! Watch out!
We fall down stairs and eat the moist earth,
or we climb to the snow’s edge with the choir of dead dahlias.
But there is no oblivion, no dream:
raw flesh. Kisses tie mouths
in a tangle of new veins
and those who are hurt will hurt without rest
and those who are frightened by death will carry it on their
shoulders.

One day
horses will live in the taverns
and furious ants
will attack the yellow skies that take refuge in the eyes of cattle.
Another day
we’ll witness the resurrection of dead butterflies,
and still walking in a landscape of gray sponges and silent ships,
we’ll see our ring shine and rose spill from our tongues.

Watch out! Watch out! Watch out!
Those still marked by claws and cloudburst,
that boy who cries because he doesn’t know about the invention
of bridges,
or that corpse that has nothing more than its head and one
shoe—
they all must be led to the wall where iguanas and serpents wait,
where the bear’s teeth wait,
where the mummified hand of a child waits
and the camel’s fur bristles with a violent blue chill.
Out in the sky, no one sleeps. No one, no one.
No one sleeps.
But if someone closes his eyes,
whip him, my children, whip him!
Let there be a panorama of open eyes
and bitter inflamed wounds.

Out in the world, no one sleeps. No one. No one.
I’ve said it before.
No one sleeps.
But at night, if someone has too much moss on his temples,
open the trap doors so he can see in moonlight
the fake goblets, the venom, and the skull of the theaters.