November Reconsidered

November Reconsidered

“There are adjustments now
To the November rain
To the November expectation
To the November settlement
Schedules and scoldings
Homework and housework
They adjust to me and I adjust to them.”

Part rant, part meditation, part acerbic commentary, November Reconsidered is a gritty and darkly funny collection of November poems that transports us from site to site, back and forth through time. Marc Janssen’s satire takes a lyric yet steely look at a market’s cereal aisle, an eighth grade English class, a Toyota dealership, a California mall on Black Friday, a Happy Hour at Charlie Browns. Although he never flinches from the dark realities of life, Janssen also gives us moments of assuaging respite. On a solitary walk taken to escape the family hubbub of Thanksgiving Day, he notes this: The cold damp air made exhalation look full and white and alive, / White breath in a reverent day.

—Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita, author of One Small Sun and Understory… Read More

Callie Comes of Age

Callie’s indomitable spirit corrals everything she does. Self-reliant, quirky, intelligent, sensual and untamed, she throws herself wholeheartedly into every new experience. For full effect, read Callie Comes of Age as you would a novel. The overall trajectory is best considered as a single narrative. In Callie’s search, each poem leads to the next discovery, her voice and personality irresistible as we follow her from childhood loss to adult resolution. Callie doesn’t question the grit required to get through her daily chores on the cattle ranch. An arid landscape dictates her hardscrabble existence. Ultimately, there’s a mystery for Callie to unravel.

—George Champlin

Callie Comes of Age is pretty darn masterful. The magic of Dale Champlin’s exuberant narrative, like Callie herself, is impossible to tie down. Beyond a braided story that will buckle you, the cascade of poems reveals a sensuous and hard, lonely and austere landscape. The sharp characters and sure-handed narrative pull us, while in a rhythm that alternates between shuffle, gallop, and gusty breeze, the poems with their details of snake belly, scar, and bone won’t let us go.

—John Morrison, author of Monkey Island

Ringing with an exquisite lyricism, Dale Champlin’s amazing Callie Comes of Age—a novel in the form of poetry—holds me in thrall. Set in the harsh ranch country of the American West, which shapes her life, Callie’s story evolves from an early childhood filled with tenderness and a strong sense of belonging into a grim tale of a sexually precocious and fiercely independent adolescence, in which glimmers of a dark secret begin to emerge. The deftly nuanced narrative kept me on the edge of my seat all the way to the end, throbbed by wonder.

—Ingrid Wendt, Oregon Book Award winner in poetry, author of Evensong… Read More

Baby Abe

Baby Abe: A Lullaby for Lincoln
This lullaby imagines scenes from Abraham Lincoln’s life, from his 1809 winter arrival in the world to his third birthday (1812). Period objects, foods, verbal expressions and manners are twined into the text. Scenes described are typical of life on the Kaintuck (Kentucky) and Indiana frontiers. Research began with Carl Sandburg’s two-volume biography; and, some years later, embraced the details of Sidney Blumenthal’s A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1849 (2016).

Characters are generally true to history with the exception of the preacher, the tinsmith, the shoemaker, the Yarb Woman and the Widder. Although fictional, these characters are typical of individuals who would regularly visit remote homesteads.

66 Pages

ISBN: 979-8721903939

Circles by Cirque Press
Announcing Circles, a new imprint of Cirque Press designed for illustrated books. Look to these engaging books for image and light, fun and fantasy, mystery and music. Circles focuses on the singing of the spheres, the clock of the seasons, the mirth of the hyena, and the renewal of legend and myth.… Read More

One Headlight by Matt Caprioli

One Headlight: An Alaskan Memoir

“Quirky humor, bright language, and sharp emotional insight.” — Joe Okonkwo, author of Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction winner Jazz Moon

“Like no other book I have read. It will entertain you as it crushes you.” — Martha Amore, Editor of Lambda Literary Nominated Building Fires in the Snow

Matt Caprioli never belonged in Alaska: too gay, too bookish, a faltering vegetarian. As a spiritual and sensitive young boy, he’s raised by the exuberant and radiant but deeply impractical Abby Henry, who doesn’t view his baptism in a horse trough or machete marks on their new apartment door as peculiar. Abby works as a baker in Anchorage, so the two leave Lazy Mountain each morning at 3:30am to drive through single-digit weather in a rickety, church-donated Mustang with no passenger window, no snow tires, and one headlight. Lacking money and direction, Caprioli nonetheless adores his mother and the world they share.

As a young man, Caprioli leaves Alaska to chase his dream of writing in Manhattan, along the way working as a journalist and sex worker. His bond with his mother is tested as Caprioli tries to forget where he comes from. But when Abby falls ill at 53, Caprioli returns to Anchorage to care for her, and is forced to reckon with the true meaning of home.

In telling his story, Caprioli captures the love and joy of our deepest bonds, of the myths and hopes surrounding America’s largest state, and the momentous power of a quiet drive with those we love.

Kirkus Review of One Headlight… Read More

Lily is Leaving

In Lily is Leaving: Poems by Leslie A. Fried, the reader travels by train across Texas flatlands with the poet as she grieves for her lost lover, inhales the “spicy scent of leaves smoldering” as she recalls her beloved mother, walks in late summer along Oregon cow paths to search for the “dangerous opulence” of blackberries, considers the intelligence of crows, makes a feeble attempt to explain the fragility of life to her granddaughter, and mourns the loss of those innocents beaten down by history. All of this she does in seven chapters with titles such as Laws of Attraction; How and Why; and Shipwreck and Resurrection — using language that curls the ear, wracks the heart and satisfies the mind.

Leslie Fried is an archeologist of the soul, digging through the fractured histories of ancestors, and her own past with parents, lovers and sons, to describe the forces that mold our characters and haunt our dreams. She uses her acute powers of observation, and vivid images and metaphors, to relate both the depths of trauma and the heights of delight. She is particularly adept at revealing the deceitfulness we all use to bind others to ourselves and to make sense of our histories. In Leslie’s poetic world, time is not linear, love covers a multitude of pains and disappointments, and grace is still possible.

—Tonja Woelber, author of the poetry collections Glacier Blue (2016) and Tundra Songs (2017).

In her debut collection, Lily is Leaving, Leslie Fried writes “on the train my shadow is my letter of introduction.” These poems are marked by their sensitivity to lives in transit, lives that need to journey in order to prosper, and, at times, to simply survive. When the speaker finds shelter, it’s often outwardly flimsy — “our house is tiny / a chicken coop once /a crazy quilt now /of wood and windows /under the great fir” — but Fried vividly shows us how familial bonds deepen and intimacy flourishes in such idiosyncratic spaces. Indeed, the author delights in all invitations, large or small, that the world extends. And her poems make us at home in that world, as if we, too, are invited to live fully. For instance, she accepts an “Invitation to an Intimate Dinner Room 43, Airport Way South,” and dines at “a small square table / covered in butcher paper /folded and taped” an experience that could have passed her by, had she let it. This is a narrator who takes her knocks at times because, fundamentally, she’s in cahoots with abundance. When Fried tells us “I am planted and sprouting /in luminous air,” we believe her.

—Deborah Woodard, author of Borrowed Tales

Leslie Fried’s debut collection offers an elegance in language illuminating carefully crafted poems that invite me to read and re-read lines, verses, and whole poems as I discover fresh angles, peepholes and circumstances to experience: ardor, family, history, loss, intimacy, death; to. . .know hard love as a trick of the trail. . .Here is a lively edginess of surprises along with Fried’s 100 descriptions of place, each so vivid you might remember them later as if you had physically been there. It is a gift. Her gift is extended by her own illustrations. Delicate and impish special treats. For my own pleasure, I read the poems aloud to myself, and discover more heart, more about being alive as. . .the earth is breathing stories. . .

—Carol Levin, author of Stunned by Velocity (2012), Confident Music Would Fly Us to Paradise (2014), and An Undercurrent of Jitters (2018).


Review of Lilly is Leaving by Frances McCue

 … Read More

The Fox Boy

In 1968, fresh from college, Gretchen Brinck became the lone child welfare worker serving a remote region the size of Oregon State. The Fox Boy recounts her work in rural Alaska, her encounters with abuse, injustices against Alaska Natives, controversial adoptions, and the tragic disappearance of Gabriel Fox.

Gretchen Brinck offers a searing and heartbreaking account of child abuse and bureaucratic incompetence in post-colonial SW Alaska, 1968-70. Her personal narrative reveals why the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 was desperately needed in the U.S. Alcohol brought by Russians, then the U.S., and the loss of indigenous autonomy, brought misery and chaos to Alaska Native families. Her brilliant and honest memoir reminds us we need to honor the cultural dimensions of a child’s need for identity and happiness.

—Kerry Dean Feldman, Professor Emeritus, Anthropology, University of Alaska Anchorage

In 1968, as the lone child welfare worker in a vast remote region roughly the size of Oregon, Gretchen Brinck shouldered daunting responsibilities. She struggled against entrenched practices that did not consider Native families appropriate for child placement. Ms. Brinck saw the importance of culture, the strengths evident in Yup’ik traditional values and the potential harm of removing Yup’ik children and placing them with faraway white families. The Fox Boy is a must-read for all intending to “help” in child welfare services.

—Joan P Dewey, LCSW, 24 years of service in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Region of Alaska

For the first time ever, in reading The Fox Boy, I am able to heal from the generational trauma that has affected my people for many years. Although it is set in the sixties, we still experience situations like this. This book can bring healing to our people to hear how a “child snatcher” fought so hard for children and who came to serve a population they would come to love.

—Starretta Abdiu-Lucas, foster parent, Asset Supervisor, Public Housing, Yukon-Kuskokwim DeltaMore praise for The Fox Boy

The Fox Boy is a gripping story of one person’s efforts to serve the families, especially the children, in a remote region of Alaska. A young child protection worker faces frustrating barriers as she struggles with some unfeeling administrators, lack of resources, and inhuman regulations before she can help those who need her. I was touched by her love of the people and her persistence in finding ways to overcome those barriers. This account is sensitively written, putting us into the homes of real people and helping us understand their lives.

—Elaine Jordan, author of Mrs. Ogg Played the Harp… Read More

Praise for Cirque Press

Praise for Cirque Press Cirque Press has been so good to work with. I appreciate Sandra Kleven’s encouragement, her optimism, and her communication throughout the publishing process and her unselfish advocacy for writers. Michael Burwell possesses extensive knowledge when it … Read More


CIRQUE PRESS proudly announces The Dream That is Childhood: A Memoir in Verse by Sandra Wassilie.

The Dream That Is Childhood: A Memoir in Verse introduces a young girl growing into awareness of an uncertain world through an apprenticeship with the wilderness of territorial Alaska. Set during the years of the Cold War, it recalls a particular place, dominated by a lake, on the north side of the Alaska Range. It is a glimpse into the middle of the twentieth century from a child whose scant knowledge of the outside world comes mainly from overhearing the talk of adults and from books. Her daily life involves dog teams, boats, and planes. The outside world is different.

Wassilie writes in a narrative style that leaps into the lyrical and into depths of mystery whether of waterweeds or parental behavior or her own changing body. Her childhood is a negotiation between loneness and a growing family in a hybrid community of woodsmen and government workers, between being lost in books and immersed in the forest, if not the changing moods of the sky and lake. She confronts the harsh beauty of her life equally with sorrow and humor. She comes to accept it as a series of arrivals and departures with hard choices to be made along the way. And in that acceptance, she finds she can forgive.

Wassilie’s poems are a wellspring of keen observations, written purely from the heart, with a sense of deep time and connection to place.

— Kathleen Tarr, author of We Are All Poets Here

Like a prospector, Sandra Wassilie has tunneled, sifted and arranged the specks and nuggets of her Alaska childhood into a collection worthy of the art of poetry.

— Doug Capra, author of The Spaces Between: Stories from the Kenai Mountains to the Kenai Fjords… Read More


Hundreds of thousands visit Seward, Alaska, each summer, wondering what it would be like to live there. A woman wresting with a return to her hometown, a man studying the play of light, and daily snapshots of citizens, their art and their stunning yet fitful environment bring a year in the mountain-rimmed port city to life.

There is a certain intimacy about Alaska—one that requires patience and endurance to truly appreciate and understand. In Sean Ulman’s Seward Soundboard, he does what few are capable of doing by appreciating the delicate and minute details of the Last Frontier’s harsh and wondrous life and then setting it in motion to the ebb and flow of a small, Alaskan town.

—Rickey Gates, author of Cross Country

In Sean Ulman’s Seward Soundboard, Seward, Alaska, is where the sky spinning a fleece of mist is as much a character as a tsunami siren echoing off the mountains, a hymn of noon bells, tourists gawking at sun-licked Exit Glacier, a Mt. Marathon racer dirtied with blood and sap and locals such as the beachcombing Lightseeker playing with parallelogram prisms and studying the sun through a shoebox. Ulman’s style is unique with skillfully crafted language — both poetic and lyrical, creating a quirky and recognizable small-town Alaskan community.

—Vivian Faith Prescott, author of The Dead Go to Seattle

With a playful, acrobatic use of language, Sean Ulman shines an intimate spotlight into every corner of this small harbor town, where the elements of weather–from sustained winds to perpetual rain to the much sought after sun — hold starring roles in the lives of the eclectic community of folks that visit or call Seward home.

—Christy Everett, author of the blog Following Elias… Read More

Loggers Don't Make Love

Loggers Don’t Make Love is a tricky deftly written mystery with a narrator that could coax you into a barrel above Niagra falls. Author Dave Rowan paints a true picture of the rough and tumble life in a logging camp on the Olympic Peninsula. The mystery isn’t over when the story ends. Reading the prologue reveals the cleverness the author had when penning this thriller.

—James Sweeney, author of A Thousand Prayers: Alaska Climbing Expedition, Marine Life Solidarity and The List

It’s the waning days of old growth logging on the Olympic Peninsula, and Dave Rowan’s Knucklehead is one of a group of raucous loggers. Knucklehead relates a fast-paced tale in a strong voice of friendship, love, death, and murder amongst the big trees. No one escapes unscathed, and in the end, Knucklehead concludes “perhaps just recognizing our karma during one lifetime will help us get rid of it in the next one.”

—Doug Pope, Author of The Way to Gaamaak Cove

Loggers Don’t Make Love, a stunning debut novella by a former NW logger, Dave Rowan, defies a literary pigeon-hole. Glorious first-growth NW forests—wild and free and lovely—seep their wildness and more into the loggers who harvest them in the US ’70s, and the women who love them. Throw in a murder mystery and you have a feast that is good-to-the-last-surprising-drop.

—Kerry Dean Feldman, author of Alice’s Trading Post: A Novel of the West and Drunk on Love: Twelve Stories to Savor Responsibly


Also Available on IngramSpark… Read More

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