Join us Saturday, February 25, at 4 p.m. for the launch of Lisa Fishman's new collection of stories, World Naked Bike Ride (Gaspereau, 2022). The author will read select stories from her debut fiction collection and sign copies of the book, which will be available for purchase in store.
About Lisa Fishman
Lisa Fishman is a dual U. S./Canadian writer whose debut fiction collection, World Naked Bike Ride, has just been released on Gaspereau Press, one of Canada’s most innovative literary publishers. Her seven books of poetry include Mad World, Mad Kings, Mad Composition (Wave Books, 2020), 24 Pages and other poems (Wave, 2015), F L O W E R C A R T and The Happiness Experiment, both on Ahsahta Press. She has new work in Granta and is anthologized in Best American Experimental Poetry and elsewhere. A PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize nominee and Pushcart nominee, Fishman currently directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago. She grew up in Detroit with frequent crossings to Montreal, earned an MFA at Western Michigan University, and now divides her time between Wisconsin and Eastern Canada.
About the book
World Naked Bike Ride unsettles clearly defined boundaries between genres, countries, persons, and the selves within a self. Drawing on elements of fable, tale, poem, epistle, riddle and record, the book probes the possibilities and limitations of narrative. Several linked stories wrestle with memory and time in an unconventionally Jewish context; others explore the strangeness of identity and desire. At the center of the collection is a deep interest in history and the construction of borders, such as between the United States and Canada, childhood and the fiction of what comes after, the observed reality of the ordinary and “the long hair of dreaming.” Authors and artists whose creations are woven into Fishman’s own include Edna O’Brien, Loren Eiseley, Bella Chagall, Egon Schiele, Shakespeare and Sid Caesar. Begun in strict quarantine in a Halifax hotel room before being finished on the island of Cape Breton, World Naked Bike Ride explores where nakedness ends and disguise begins.
About the press
Founded in 1997 by Gary Dunfield & Andrew Steeves, Gaspereau Press is one of Canada’s most innovative and tenacious literary publishers. The award-winning press is known for the originality of its authors, the beauty of its books and the quality of its productions. Its books—Smyth-sewn trade paperbacks, cloth-bound hardcovers and letterpress-printed limited edition—are produced in Gaspereau’s own printing works, located in the sleepy shiretown of Kentville, Nova Scotia. The press employs an unusual mixture of techniques & technologies in its book production, ranging from traditional letterpress printing using metal type and photopolymer plates to modern offset lithographic printing using customized digital type. Trade paperbacks are Smyth-sewn for strength and flexibility and often sport handprinted jackets on handmade paper; hardcovers are case-bound by hand. From editing, typesetting and production to sales and promotion, this hands-on approach carries through every aspect of a book’s creation, resulting in a process which is as culturally enriching as the books it fosters.
Blurbs and review excerpts for previous books:
“[Her] exquisite poems are not outside the common world. Rather they are found entirely within it, in the sounds, smells, feel of a life, [. . .] of what we can know of one another. Lisa Fishman writes with an impeccable sense of cadence, of words as sounds, of physical fact becoming thought and then recurring as poetry.” ––Robert Creeley
“The effect of condensing space/time presents a new kind of poetic geometry [. . .] This is a world in the midst of creation, an Ars Poetica of everything.” ––Publishers Weekly, 2015 https://www.publishersweekly.com/9781934103210
“If there is, as I believe, a distinctly American tradition of exploratory lyric, then Lisa Fishman must now be counted among its most promising practitioners. The Emersonian eye, the ear and wit of Niedecker, the distantly echoing spirit of Shelley all contribute to the resonance [. . .]. Fishman’s poems, elliptical, spiraling, sound the mystery of ordinary things, a torn screen door, a torn paper hat, windrows of straw, to test the undisclosed meanings of both language and landscape. Their dense musicality propels those into the air.” ––Michael Palmer
“Lisa Fishman’s minimalism creates uncanny space between lines, in which more is given than seems told, as in Chinese classical paintings . . . Her syntax, sometimes quite broken, is harmonized by concrete evocative texture. She conducts finely tuned words and lets them echo each other.” ––Bei Dao, Nobel Laureate nominee
“[Fishman’s] spare, delicately paced lyrics call up the traditions of Dickinson, Niedecker, and Riding, and join the varieties of women’s experimental writing of the last two decades; Fishman turns pages into doorways for 21st-century investigative poetry. Perceptively accurate, informed by contemporary philosophy, these intimate poems bring to mind the sort of riddle the answer to which is always another question. Despite their delicacy they are tensile and powerful, allowing the space on the page to resonate with the life of an individual seeker in a collective enterprise.” ––Brenda Hillman, Judge, Ahsahta Press Poetry Prize
“One major consideration in reading Lisa Fishman’s poetry is the ways in which her words shape themselves into a story, the permutation of sound into meaning [. . . .] The idea of listening to the poem on the levels of the sonic, conceptual, [and] semantic is perhaps not new, but the attention Fishman pays, her adept recognition of intuitive etymological genetic structures is unique.” ––Denver Quarterly, 2018
“Part of what makes Fishman's work so pleasurable to read is the feeling of pure motion in the sounds and images [. . .], at once angular and wild, precise and hurtling." ––Indiana Review
“Also implicit in Fishman’s work is the idea that words are physical or material, that they come through sound from the body, are in fact, part of the body. [. . .] [T]he way words arrange themselves, through sound, through association, through relation to the origin of the body, is something that is beyond any definition we might try to impose on them. [. . .]” ––How2 Journal https://www.asu.edu/pipercwcenter/how2journal/archive/online_archive/v2_4_2006/current/alerts/rexilius.html
“[Her] lyrics carry the reader into a realm of immense, immediate, and surreal activity. [. . . .] Within Fishman's moving work of observation and recollection, the world of ordinary things seems itself to think, to mind itself; things gather, watch, prepare, betray, forget, explore, give names or keep silent. Throughout, the poet's mercurial intelligence is alert to the play of echo and the surprises of memory, in which the simplest verbs reveal their capacity to haunt. Her book's experiment is always linked to experience, its happiness to hap or chance." ––Kenneth Gross, author of Shakespeare’s Noise (University of Chicago Press)
Like Clare, Fishman yearns ‘to hear past words of the self,’ to bring other people’s voices into her poems [. . .].” ––Stephen Burt, “John Clare’s Heirs,” The Boston Review, 10/16/15 http://bostonreview.net/poetry/stephen-burt-john-clare
About Christine Hume
Christine Hume’s collection of essays on sex offenders and women’s bodies, Everything I Never Wanted to Know, is forthcoming from Ohio State University Press (21st Century Essays Series) in 2023. She is also the author of a lyric portrait of girlhood, Saturation Project (Solid Objects, 2021), which The New York Times says, “arrives with the force of a hurricane,” as well as several books of poetry. Recent prose appears in Harper’s, The Boston Review, Architecture and Culture, Conjunctions, Disabilities Studies Quarterly, Ninth Letter, Journal of Narrative Theory, Seneca Review and other venues. Since 2001, she has been faculty in the Creative Writing program at Eastern Michigan University.
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