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Announcing the 2016 Conium Press publication lineup

The Conium Review has expanded over the past year, and we’re excited to make books and chapbooks a regular part of our publishing platform. In 2016, Conium Press will be releasing two standalone titles: Girl & Flame, by Melissa Reddish and Souvenirs and Other Stories, by Matt Tompkins.

We’ll post incremental updates about both of these releases as the 2016 publication calendar moves forward. Thanks for reading, writing, and supporting our small press.

Melissa Reddish author photoGirl & Flame is a novella told in a series of innovative flash vignettes. The protagonist bonds with a piece of flame leftover from an inferno that consumed her brother, father, and lover. Through this relationship, the protagonist explores her complicated family history and her place in the world. Melissa’s novella pairs experimental syntax with magical realist and surrealist snapshots into the lives of the girl, the flame, and the ghosts and ashes left behind.

Melissa Reddish’s short story collection, My Father is an Angry Storm Cloud, was published by Tailwinds Press earlier this year. Her flash fiction chapbook, The Distance Between Us, was published by Red Bird Chapbooks in 2013. Her work has appeared in decomP, Prick of the Spindle, and Northwind, among others. Melissa teaches English and directs the Honors Program at Wor-Wic Community College.

Follow Melissa on Twitter @MelissaReddish, or visit or website at MelissaReddish.com.

Matt Tompkins author photoSouvenirs and Other Stories is a collection of six absurd and surreal stories, each presented as a first-person monologue. Throughout the collection, a father evaporates, items mysteriously appear and fill an apartment, an eye surgery causes optical hallucinations, and more. These strange occurrences are often paired with touches of earnest humor, but they also probe authentic emotional responses when the levity fades.

Matt Tompkins is the author of Studies in Hybrid Morphology, forthcoming from tNY Press in 2016. His stories have been published in H_NGM_NAtticus ReviewCheap PopPost RoadGigantic Sequins, and elsewhere. Matt works in a library and lives in upstate New York with his wife, daughter, and cat.

Visit Matt’s website at NeedsRevision.com.

Book Review: Home Burial

Home Burial

Written by Michael McGriff

Copper Canyon Press, 2012

ISBN 9781556593840

Home Burial coverHome Burial (Copper Canyon Press,  2012) exposes the Pacific Northwest poet Michael McGriff knows inside out with a stunning forensic lyricism. His knowledge of the backwoods, the quarries, the bay “shaped like a rabbit / hanging limp / from the jaws of the landscape” is downright chthonic, haunted by spirits of place, the departed, and the old junkers they left behind. His poems track movement shapeshifting through his rural routes/roots, personifying Midwinter as a woman who “lets the darkness / sit down beside her” here, pointing to glimpses of reeds–or is it human hair– waving from the bottom of the pond in another abandoned wreck there. His unflinching reports are detailed with a poetic grace that does not betray the bleak realities of life, as, say, a four-legged predator, an obese dead man removed by a crane through a shattered chimney,  his grandfather’s will found on the back of an invoice in the shed, a woman about to die on the job at the mill.

McGriff presents the hardscrabble vignettes in forms as natural as weather, in language at once harsh and beautiful, shitkicking and prayerful, but never off pitch. This, his second full-length collection, is a Lannan Literary Selection. In its thirty-one poems, the poet’s response to the natural world and the ultimate fragility of all its inhabitants hardened by necessity ties these cautionary tales, remembrances and elegies together like #50 Heavy Cougar Genuine Leather Logger Laces. Imagining McGriff creating his poetry in the tough guy settings of his titles: the break room, the Oyster Bar, or sitting – like Midwinter – at the kitchen table, is grainy, cinematic. Anyone who knows this heartbreaking country knows Home Burial  nails it; anyone unfamiliar is shown its beating heart, the lay of the land, and what lies beneath.

Review by Susan Lynch

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