In Maya Jewell Zeller’s first book, Rust Fish, a young woman has a conversation with the succulent natural world. They speak of the endless summers of youth, the sober winters of the Pacific Northwest, the violence of children, and the benign neglect that nature offers even its acolytes. Throughout the book, fish are this speaker’s consorts. Fish, both real and imagined, stream through these poems, past the various totems of working class poverty to the inevitable sea. Zeller asks many big questions in quiet, sly ways in this wonder-full book. How can a person live in such a gorgeous and difficult world? How can the sensual redeem us? Which is the bruise that heals? Which is the one that stays?
Maya Jewell Zeller grew up in the Pacific Northwest. Born at home in the upstairs apartment of her parents’ gas station on the Oregon coast, Maya has been a high school teacher, cross country and track coach, an editor, a college professor, and most recently, a mother. Her poetry has won awards from The Florida Review and Crab Orchard Review, and appears widely. She currently lives in Spokane with her husband and daughter, and teaches English at Gonzaga University.
Caleb Barber’s Beasts and Violins is a collection of American narrative poetry addressing themes of life and work in the western United States. The poems read like broken country songs sung from a paved farm: dead deer and train trips, a dog at the edge of the fire. Beasts and Violins begins with a dark birth and finishes at peace on the water, with the necessary stops in between.
Bellingham poet, Caleb Barber, earned an English/Creative Writing BA from WWU, and an MFA in poetry from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. He currently works days at an aerospace machine shop. He has been widely published in literary magazines, most notably with a feature in Poet Lore. He also has a poem in Best American Poetry 2009.
Village Books is pleased to carry Caleb Barber's book Beasts & Violins, and will soon have copies of Maya Jewell Zeller's Rust Fish. Call 360-671-2626 to obtain copies.