Notes from the Field: Hold On Everybody
This March we’re in a flurry of excited preparation for the six (six!) books publishing in the next two weeks, which means lots of new poetry in time for AWP 2019 in Portland! The paperback edition of Elizabeth Rush’s Rising—named a best book of 2018 by the Guardian—also arrived from the printer last week, and we can hardly believe how much has happened since that special book first hit shelves. But that got us thinking. Our staff is constantly deep in the weeds of all the news about our books—what’s new or coming soon, new conversations about books published years ago—and if you aren’t constantly on the lookout, it might be easy to miss what’s happening in all corners of the literary internet. Enter this new series, in which our staff rounds up the latest not-to-be-missed Milkweed highlights.
- News from the big screen! Diane Lane and Kevin Costner are reuniting for a film adaptation of Larry Watson’s Let Him Go. The duo will play a married couple (Costner as a retired sheriff) in this suspense thriller. After the loss of their son, they leave their Montana ranch to rescue their grandson from the clutches of a family living off the grid in the Dakotas, headed by matriarch Blanche Weboy. When they arrive, they discover the family has no intention of letting the child go. Production is expected to begin this spring.
- Feb. 22 marked 76 years since Sophie Scholl was executed by the Nazi regime at age 21 for distributing her now-famous anti-Nazi White Rose leaflets. Her story forms the basis of James DeVita’s The Silenced, a timely and heartbreaking affirmation of the power of words and art to act as forms of resistance. Milkweed reissued The Silenced (which had long gone out of print by its previous publisher) after receiving a package of 100+ letters authored by local 8th graders, who had formed their own letter-writing campaign in hopes of helping the book find a new publisher. One of those students happened to be Louise Erdrich’s daughter, and Louise had a lot to say about why we should publish the book, too. We’re glad we did.
“Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.” —Sophie Scholl
- The Guardian gave a rave review to Ada Limon’s The Carrying, which was recently released (along with Bright Dead Things) in the UK by Corsair. “Merciful and beautiful … [Limon] never hides behind words but reveals herself through them—even when the risk is overexposure… . This is as-the-crow flies poetry—it goes straight to the heart.” —Guardian
- “Feed a fever, starve a cold, but what do we do for cancer?” We love when momentum builds around a book as special as Karen Babine’s All the Wild Hungers, about the intimate connections between food, family, and illness. A few highlights: Karen has appeared on a number of podcasts lately, including the Heritage Radio Network’s Eat Your Words show back in January, and the book received a touching review from the Star Tribune that we wish we could quote in its entirety for you here.
- So many reprints!! You all keep buying books, which means we get to keep reprinting them. The latest going back to press are:
Behind the Bedroom Wall: A Novel of Nazi Germany by Laura E. Williams, thirteenth printing
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer, twelfth printing
feeld—which was just longlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Award—by Jos Charles, third printing
Four Reincarnations by Max Ritvo, fourth printing
The Popol Vuh translated by Michael Bazzett, second printing
Wilder—currently a MN Book Award Finalist!—by Claire Wahmanholm, second printing
Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit by Alison Hawthorne Deming, third printing
- Lastly, we had to share that the Academy of American Poets featured Parneshia Jones’s poem “What Would Gwendolyn Brooks Do” because we want to leave you with this excerpt:
We are a world of lesions.
Human has become hindrance.
We must be stamped and have papers,
and still, it’s not enough.
Ignorance has become powerful.
The dice that rolls our futures is platinum
but hollow inide.
Hold On, she says, two million light years away.
Hold On everybody.
Hold On because the poets are still alive—and writing.
Hold On to the last of the disappearing bees
and that Great Barrier Reef.
Hold On to the one sitting next to you,
not masked behind some keyboard.
The one right next to you.
The ones who live and love right next to you.
Hold On to them.