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Sarah Gerard’s THE BUTTER HOUSE coming in 2023!

Coming in 2023 from Conium Press

The Butter House, by Sarah Gerard

Launch party at AWP Seattle in March, 2023.

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In early 2023, Conium Press is releasing The Butter House, a new chapbook from Sarah Gerard. This story follows a woman who moves from New York to a Florida bungalow with her boyfriend. She navigates contradictory landscapes of love and possession, nature and built-environment, empathy and sympathy. She becomes a surrogate caretaker for a colony of feral cats. She grows a garden. She interrogates what it means to care for somebody or something. This is a delicate story, but it chooses deliberate moments to scratch and bite with the ferocity of a territorial alley cat.

Sarah Gerard is the author of the novels True Love and Binary Star and the essay collection Sunshine State. They are the recipient of a 2021 Lambda Literary Dr. James Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize. Sarah’s short stories, essays, and interviews have appeared in The New York Times, T Magazine, Granta, McSweeney’s, The Believer, Vice, Electric Literature, and the anthologies We Can’t Help It If We’re From Florida, One Small Blow Against Encroaching Totalitarianism, Tampa Bay Noir, Erase the Patriarchy, and I Know What’s Best For You: Stories on Reproductive Freedom. Learn more about Sarah Gerard’s work on their website.

Photograph of author Sarah Gerard

Advance Praise for The Butter House

“A couple moves into the titular Butter House, and soon find themselves mired in the project of cat care. Sarah Gerard writes beautifully and precisely about the visceral, secretive feline landscape, and the possibilities that emerge when this world intersects with the human realm—challenging the couple at the center of The Butter House to renegotiate their relationship to care and what it means to feel at home.”

—Laura van den Berg, author of The Third Hotel and I Hold a Wolf by the Ears

The Butter House is like a lithe and seductive feline, sinking its uncut claws into you. Sarah Gerard’s prose is quiet and contemplative and then chaotic in bursts, also not unlike a cat. The Butter House incisively considers the simultaneous care and cruelty of pet ownership, and Gerard is masterful in writing into all the nooks and crannies of a relationship. It’s the tale cat people deserve.”

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, author of Helen House

Interested in a Review Copy?

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Conium is on break (but we’ve got exciting plans ahead)

CONIUM is taking a break.

But this isn’t the end. Here’s a peak at what comes next.

Dear Readers & Writers,

Conium is taking a break. The ebb and flow of a regularly published periodical is grueling. As managing editor, I haven’t had a real break in a while. But this isn’t the end. After a decade of publishing, it’s time to breathe, reflect, and take Conium to new places.

Looking ahead, I want to dedicate Conium to more standalone, single-author titles. I also want to spend time workshopping and interrogating those titles, moving through richer editorial conversations on every project. This is what I love most about editing, and I want to be more hands-on with each book Conium produces. Of course, that takes time. In our normal submission cycle, time is a luxury. A hiatus lets me catch up and plan ahead.

While there will not be a new issue of The Conium Review in 2022, there are other projects in the pipeline. I’m working on editorial notes for some potential chapbooks, including one from a Lambda Award winning author. I’m also rereading the entire back catalog of The Conium Review with the goal of curating a retrospective anthology. These projects aren’t finalized yet, but it provides a glimpse into some possibilities.

I see 2022 as a year without many new Conium Press titles—maybe even zero. However, this is the quiet before the storm. This year gives time and space for me to recommit to the work. I’m excited to plan the next phase of Conium, and I hope to announce a couple new books for 2023 soon. To stay informed about future projects, please subscribe to the newsletter. In the meantime, thanks for reading, writing, and supporting small presses.

Sincerely,
James R. Gapinski
Managing Editor

“All the Things I Do Not Fear,” by Hattie Jean Hayes

All The Things I Do Not Fear

Hattie Jean Hayes

Carnival food

Elephant ear ferns

Characters from the book/film Matilda

Ghosts

Sharks

Clowns

Snakes

Heights

Train rides

7/11 roller grill food

Having a baby

Green beans

String beans (are these different?)

Robots taking over the world

Scooby Doo, anymore

The Beach Boys

A pair of pale green pants with nobody inside them

Getting fat

Stubbing my toe on the sidewalk outside an art gallery

Stephen King or his books

Embarrassment

Regret

Wanting

Being late for my bus and having to run after it

Paper cuts

Cockroaches

Bees/wasps/hornets/fire ants

A broken arm

Public speaking

Karaoke

Kittens

Dogs Toronto International Film Festival

Somebody loving me who isn’t supposed to love me

Getting drunk on a weeknight

Bridges

The Domino’s delivery man, anymore

The graveyard (cemetery? are these different?) on 21st Street

The bird lady

Sitting up all night with you when you find out—

About the Author

Hattie Jean Hayes is originally from a small town in Missouri. Now, she lives in New York, where she is a comedian and writer.

“Eight Thousand Dollars in 1981,”by Gina Rose

Eight Thousand Dollars in 1981

Gina Rose

They came to my door and it was very late. They were knocking. But I had barely fallen asleep. They didn’t know this about me. They didn’t know I was a night owl. I don’t remember asking them to please come inside, but I might have. They flashed their badges in my face. They said:

Do you have a camera?

A camera. A…what?

Now they are flashing their lights outside the house. Through the double pane windows. I bought the house in 1981 for eight thousand dollars. Good house. Never gave me a lick of trouble. Only thing is the four way stop outside that people tend to glide through. I never had an accident myself, but I’ve lived through a few of them.

The Browns, I told them. The Browns. They have a camera.

The Browns live across the street. South side of the street. Kitty katty korner to me.

That’s the Browns…

Now they are writing in their notebooks. Tiny pads of paper made for a Barbie doll-sized human of a being. 

We need to check the tapes.

The what?

The footage. See if there’s any footage of the footage. The footage we’re looking for.

I just remember, I say. I just remembered. I do have a camera. I do, in fact, have a camera.

They want to know where and I tell them. Or show them.

Now it’s several days later and I’m sitting across a desk.

We want to thank you for your cooperation, Mr. White. Yours is the only home surveillance camera that caught the footage.

The footage of the footage?

Of the killing. The hit and run. Fifteen years old. That poor boy…

I crumple a little in my chair across the desk from the person. It has to be a sign, I think. It has to be a sign. Why me? Why my camera? Why couldn’t it have been the Browns? Now I must live with the memory of this moment forever. It will forever belong to my truth and it’s something I never asked for. It has to be a sign. Why me?

They came to my door and it was very late. They were knocking. But I had barely fallen asleep. They were knocking and knocking. They came to my door and it was very late. I don’t remember asking them inside. They were knocking and at first I didn’t hear them. Knocking and knocking and knocking. And I couldn’t hear them at first. I don’t remember asking them to please come inside, but maybe I did. They were knocking. And it was very late. They were knocking and knocking and knocking. And when I finally heard them in this life, they were gone.

About the Author

Gina Rose is an African American and Chinese American writer in Oakland, California. She attended Barnard College in New York City where she received the Howard M. Teichmann Writing Prize. Her work has been featured in Rigorous and Penultimate Peanut magazines.

Editorial Note

This piece was selected during a special “(Re)new” themed call for submissions. The theme was curated by our managing editor, James R. Gapinski. The theme celebrates The Conium Review‘s new website and James’s new title, Fruit Rot, released on July 15th from Etchings Press at the University of Indianapolis.

AWP Preview: ARCs of Emily Koon’s “We Are Still Here”

Emily Koon’s We Are Still Here drops this July. We’ll have Advance Review Copies (ARCs) on display at our booth. Reviewers can contact us to request a sample copy. If you’re not a reviewer, but you still want a sneak peak at this fantastic collection, you may be able to snag a free copy at “Books & Brass” or “Literary Masquerade.” These books and other freebies will only be available while supplies last, so get there early!

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