This month we release our latest chapbook—the final manuscript from our very first reading period—The Vanity House by Alexander York! Here’s a bit of advance praise to satiate your (ch)appetite until then!
The Vanity House is a container of beautiful darkness and of every-dimensional environment. Tight, terse, unforgiving phrasings propel this thing forward into a forest of phantoms and unlit rooms. The lines in this chapbook have a thick atmospheric tonal quality that reminds me of Yusef Komunyakaa’s most memorable lines; they carry a thick, molasses-sweet tone that matches the book’s focus. “I think of the other path, / peeled and without its trees // bare of all the dead / relatives whose names // I cannot remember.” As environment changes, so too does memory. The two are tied together so tightly that they cannot be separated at all; they have fused into one being. There exists here a certain clouding also between skin and trees, person and environment, and in that blurring and conversation there is a dark and quiet tension in which family and nature exist between layers of body and nature and ghost. “I’m reminded / that trees don’t dream.” There is confusion here — a productive one which allows you the right light to let your own room and dreams become one thing. To read these poems is to put yourself in a haunted greenhouse in which your skin might turn to smoke. Alexander York’s crafted something of a ghost-house with trees and bones and white shadow; to picture this you need to read this.
—C.J. Opperthauser, Threadcount Magazine
Advance praise for our forthcoming chapbook, The Vanity House by Alexander York.