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Finding the World’s Fullness
On Poetry, Metaphor, and Mystery

by Robert Cording

Forty years as a poet has kept Robert Cording looking at the details of everyday experience. That long labor has brought him face-to-face with the inescapable complexity of a world that is full of suffering and injustice. And grace.

This journey has convinced him that, as Czeslaw Milosz puts it, “poetry
embodies the double life of our common human circumstance as beings in between the dust that we are and the divinity to which we would aspire.” Cording’s task has therefore been to evoke what he calls “the primordial intuitions of Christianity”: that we live in a world we did not create; that God’s immanent presence is capable of breaking in on us at every moment; that most of the time we cannot “taste and see” that presence because we live in a world of mirrors; that only by attention can we live in the world but outside of our existing conceptions of it.

The reflections in Finding the World’s Fullness—comprising not only thoughts on metaphor but also close readings of poets ancient and modern, including George Herbert, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Bishop, and Stanley Kunitz—suggest that, as Richard Wilbur puts it, “The world’s fullness is not made but found.”


”Robert Cording is not only one of the most gifted poets of our time but also a clear-eyed thinker about the art of poetry. The essays collected in Finding the World’s Fullness, which explore how poetry and prayer ‘reside at this borderline boundary of the inarticulate,’ articulate profound truths about the nature of our walk in the sun, discovering new ways of attending to the world around us, which always brims with meaning.”
—Christopher Merrill, author of Self-Portrait with Dogwood

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Long after Lauds: Poems


by Jeanine Hathaway

Long after Lauds is an exploration of a woman’s spirituality in poems characterized by awe, ambivalence, and curiosity.
In monastic life, the first hour of daily prayers, Matins, roused the community to wake up. Wisely, the second hour was Lauds, which means praise—praise with that freshly-awakened consciousness. In this way, such an attitude toward the world, seen and unseen, could be absorbed before breakfast. In a new context, the poems in Long After Lauds continue that tradition of waking up, reflecting, and discerning what there is to praise. And how. And whom.
The collection constructs an introspective retrospective of a woman looking over a life marked by significant changes: ex-nun, ex-wife, grandmother, professor emerita, traveler. Hathaway acknowledges with gratitude her own daily shaping by students, grandchildren, rhinos, a public and private history full of saints and ain’ts. Beyond her earlier community chanting Lauds, she explores its resonance with wit and wistfulness and arrives at this truth: praise over time alters the one who gives it.

“With signature wit, word-wariness, and warmth, Jeanine Hathaway brings us a new song in the lineage of Dickinson, Moore, and Bishop—a brilliant, cool surface that offers, even so, a profound, subterranean heat, evincing her continuing faithfulness to the embodied spirit that wishes to save us all. May it be blessed.”
—Scott Cairns, author of Anaphora

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Throw

by Ruben Degollado

Award winning author Ruben Degollado’s book, Throw, was just selected by the Texas Library Association’s 2019 TAYSHAS Recommended High School Reading List.

Degollado’s protagonist, Güero, is in love with  Llorona, a wounded soul who has adopted the name of a ghost from Mexican folklore. True to her namesake, Llorona cast Güero away with the coldness of the apparition she has become. But Güero—though he would never admit it to his friends—still wants to get back together with her.

Güero spends time with his friends Ángel and Smiley—members of the HCP (Hispanics Causing Panic) gang—roaming the streets of the South Texas border towns they inhabit, trying to forget Llorona even as she seems to appear around every corner. 

Over three days Güero’s increasingly violent confrontations with Llorona’s current boyfriend will jeopardize the lives of Ángel and Smiley and the love he hopes to regain.

As events begin to accelerate toward their conclusion, Güero’s life will be irrevocably changed by violence and loss, but who will he lose, and will he—somewhere along the way—lose himself?

“In his unforgettable protagonist, Güero, Rubén Degollado beautifully depicts the many-layered beings we all are: vulnerable and tender-hearted beneath a hard exterior as we navigate a world of love, family, and friendships—all in hopes of finding a place to belong.”
—Natalia Sylvester, author of Everyone Knows You Go Home and Chasing the Sun

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Death Comes for the Deconstructionist
A Jon Mote Mystery

by Daniel Taylor

In Death Comes For the Deconstructionist, winner of the 2016 Christianity Today Book Award, Jon Mote–grad school dropout and serial failure–has been hired to investigate the murder of his erstwhile mentor, Richard Pratt, a star in the firmament of literary theory. Feeling unequal to the task, Mote skitters on the edge of madness, trying to stifle the increasingly threatening voices in his head. His only source of hope is the dogged love of his developmentally disabled sister, Judy, who serves as cheerleader, critic, and moral compass.

Death Comes for the Deconstructionist follows Mote and his sister through the streets and neighborhoods of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota–from crime scenes to the halls of academe. Mote’s investigation uncovers a series of suspects–including the victim’s wife, mistress, and intellectual rivals. Along the way he stumbles onto Pratt’s terrible secret, one that prompts the discovery of an equally dark mystery from his own past.
These revelations hasten Mote’s descent into darkness, putting both him and Judy at grave risk. Death Comes for the Deconstructionist is a tragicomic mystery, a detective story that is at once suspenseful, provocative, and emotionally resonant. It asks not only “whodunit” but whether truth is ultimately something we create rather than discover.

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Do We Not Bleed?
A Jon Mote Mystery

by Daniel Taylor

A young woman is dead. A man with diminished capacity is accused. His friends, also wounded, try to help him. In the process, they teach Jon Mote a thing or two he desperately needs to learn.

Jon no longer hears voices, but he’s not convinced a silent universe is much better than a haunted one. He’s returned his sister Judy to her group home and taken a staff job there that puts him in the company of six folks who, a bit rebelliously, he calls Specials.

Jon thinks his job is to teach these people basic life skills like telling time, making change, and riding the bus. The world says they are to be pitied, perhaps even eliminated. At best taken care of. But he finds that Judy, Ralph, Bonita, Jimmy, Billy the Skywatcher, and J.P. possess something that he and the world badly need.

The accused, J.P., is a gentle man who can’t tell time or temperature, but wants you to be happy. Is he also a killer? The bureaucracy judges him so and sends him to an institution for the criminally insane. His friends know that if they do not get him back he will wither and die.

Meanwhile, Jon has his own problems. He finds himself threatened not so much by disintegration as by normality–the meaningless of the mundane. Alive but trivial.

While searching for something to fill the emptiness and for a way to rescue his client and friend, Jon unexpectedly reconnects with his estranged wife, Zillah, and he has an unsettling encounter with an unusual nun who presents him a way of seeing the world that puzzles and intrigues him.

Meanwhile, Jon has his own problems. He finds himself threatened not so much by disintegration as by normality–the meaningless of the mundane. Alive but trivial.

While searching for something to fill the emptiness and for a way to rescue his client and friend, Jon unexpectedly reconnects with his estranged wife, Zillah, and he has an unsettling encounter with an unusual nun who presents him a way of seeing the world that puzzles and intrigues him.

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A Land Without Sin

by Paula Huston

As revolutionary forces gather in the Lacandon jungle of southern Mexico in the fall of 1993, an idealistic American priest vanishes from his post in San Cristobal de Las Casas. The Church, immersed in trying to negotiate a peaceful solution to the escalating conflict between wealthy landowners and poverty-stricken indigenas, remains strangely silent in the face of his disappearance. When his sister, Eva, only thirty-four but already a hardened battlefield photojournalist, finds out what’s going on, she flies to Central America to find him, taking a job assisting a taciturn Dutch Mayanist in order to provide herself with a cover. But as it turns out, he, too, is on a secret quest. From the great pyramids of Tikal and the graceful palaces of Palenque to the shadowy guerrilla camps of the vast Lacandon, A Land Without Sin is a modern-day journey into the heart of darkness.

“Huston treads where few writers dare, jumping fearlessly into the roiling cauldron of factious Central American politics, class, culture, and religions. No doubt it would have been easier to write a mere gloss, a panoramic report describing the horror of war, revolution, grinding poverty, and the inevitable human carnage. However, the lens through which Huston sees penetrates far deeper than a perusal of these surface wounds to examine the limits of family loyalty, faith, and the causes and cure of hatred. A Land Without Sin is a compelling narrative that leaves me both haunted and hungry for more.”
—Gina Ochsner, Author of People I Wanted to Be and The Russian Dreambook of Color and Flight

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Down in the River

by Ryan Blacketter

After the death of his sixteen-year-old twin sister, Lyle Rettew moves from the mountains of Idaho to Eugene, Oregon. His religious, well-intentioned older brother has forbidden any mention of her name. But Lyle, fighting to keep his memory of her alive, has quit taking the lithium that numbs his mind, and openly rebels against his mother and brother for the first time. Taking his mourning out of the house, he embarks upon a fraught pilgrimage that is at once heartbreaking and macabre. Dark though it may be, Lyle’s fevered journey along the margins of youth culture is ultimately driven by fierce love and a deep, instinctive need to find a liturgy for loss and grief.

“[Blacketter] has a marvelous eye for the emotional textures of the most commonplace experience, the kind that familiarity makes almost subliminal.”
—Marilynne Robinson, author of Gilead

”A strange, haunting journey across the shadowy landscape of grief and longing. To our good fortune, Ryan Blacketter is a heroic guide into this exploration of the mysterious workings of the human heart. Down in the River will grip you by the collar and not let go. This is a brave first novel from a writer to be watched.”
—Mitch Wieland, author of God’s Dogs


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Better Food for a Better World

by Erin McGraw

Ideals and reality collide when six college friends band together to start an ice cream store, promising “Better Food for a Better World,” but finding a worse world than they had expected.

It seems like a great idea: six friends from college pool their money and energy to start an ice cream store. Natural High Ice Cream: Better Food for a Better World. It’s high-minded, with a wink, like the marital self-help group they all belong to. The store finds a ready clientele in its northern California college town filled with amiable ex-hippies who are happy to contribute to a better world, even if all they have to contribute is the price of an ice cream cone.

But the store, like the marriage group, turns out to be work, not fun, and rifts start to appear between the friends. Nancy, who had seemed so easygoing and sweetly sexy when they started, turns stern. Cecilia, who had wanted to be a musician, is openly bored. And flighty, excitable Vivy is crawling out of her skin. She yearns for the old days, before Natural High, when she and her husband Sam traveled around the country with countercultural musicians and dancers. She’d give anything to have those days back again.

And so quietly, without telling the partners, she starts to rev up the old company, contacting her old acts–the fat contortionist, the muscle-bound juggler. She’s going to save them all, and Natural High, too. But saving turns out to be harder than it looks, and Vivy isn’t the only one with secrets.

“With soaring grace and sizzling humor, Erin McGraw fuses the piercing irony of Jane Austen with the subversive, satiric charm of Miguel de Cervantes. Here is a writer who loves her people enough to expose their outrageous flaws and celebrate their wild failings. Here is a visionary who offers delight as the first gift and hilarity as a path to transcendence.”
—Melanie Rae Thon, author of First, Body and The Voice of the River

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Here at Last is Love

by Dunstan Thompson

Dunstan Thompson was an American poet of great promise who burst onto the Anglo-American literary scene during World War II. In the words of one contemporary, Thompson was one of the rising “stars of modern poetry,” a writer who might one day join the pantheon of poets like Hart Crane, W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender, and Dylan Thomas.

And yet Thompson more or less disappeared from public view by the early 1950s. After publishing two volumes of poetry, a travel book, and a novel, Thompson had only a few scattered magazine publications until his death. A posthumous volume was privately printed in England, but the circulation was small.

Here at Last is Love: Selected Poems is the definitive, authorized selection of Thompson’s best work, revealing to a wider public the literary vision of a “lost master.” The introduction by editor Gregory Wolfe offers the first extended narrative in print relating Thompson’s complex personal story. The afterword by distinguished poet and critic Dana Gioia provides a thorough–and just–assessment of his poetic achievement.

Thompson’s early poetry was not only technically innovative, but saturated with the language and the drama of gay experience during World War II. Yet just a few years after the war, Thompson returned to the Catholic faith of his childhood, only to find that his new poetic voice was out of sync with the times.

In spite of the difficulties he faced in his later years, Thompson did not give up writing poetry, continuing to produce quality work. After his reconversion, the poetry shifted in tone and form from a lush romanticism to an urbane classicism. The later work covers a wide range of subjects, from studies of historical figures to devotional lyrics.

This volume will not only stir up the debate about Thompson’s sexual and religious passions, but also help complete the history of twentieth-century Anglo-American poetry, finally making his work available to scholars and lovers of poetry everywhere.

“Dunstan Thompson is an immortal diamond too long lost to poetry readers. Here are poems that show the workings of a complex interiority in touch with history’s quirks, the world at war, personal relationships, and struggles of the human heart.”
—Jerry Harp, author of Creature, Gatherings, and Urban Flowers, Concrete Plains

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