April 2017

Loplop in a Red City, by Kenneth Pobo

loplop_cover_frontLoplop‘s release date of May 16 approaches!

To celebrate the release, Circling Rivers will publish (free) on-line several poems from Loplop, illustrated with reproductions of the artworks that inspired them, along with Kenneth’s thoughts on why that artwork, why that poem. We’ll send the link to you in May, and announce it on-line as well.

James Esch, in Turk’s Head Review, writes a thought-provoking essay on Kenneth’s book, and on the inspiration that visual art can carry to literature.

“It is a mark of artistic success when an ekphrastic poem makes you want to see the artwork for yourself. These poems will lead you to the search engines looking for his original sources. [See above!] This is how Ken Pobo sees art, and you can’t help but wonder, will I see the same things he sees? Yes and no. His is an intense, personal vision. But what he does make you realize is that when you look at art, you CAN and SHOULD see for yourself. Loplop in a Red City is a testament to the power of art’s ability to inspire.”

Read the complete essay

American Tumbleweeds, by Marta Elva

AT_cover_RGBAmerican Tumbleweeds is a finalist for the Sarton Women’s Book Award. The awards are sponsored by the Story Circle Network, an international nonprofit community of women writers. The program is named in honor of May Sarton, who is remembered for her outstanding contributions to women’s literature as a memoirist, novelist, and poet.

Friends of Circling Rivers

Michele Poulis’s documentary film A Late Style of Fire  continues to gather acclaim.  Drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews, A Late Style of Fire portrays Larry Levis, one of America’s great poets, and captures the life of poetry and the passion that drives its creators.

Gerry Hausman’s anthology Guns includes Michael Gibbons’ poem “The Hunt” along with works by Scott Momaday, Jane Lindskold, Bill Worrell, and others. Michael is Marta Elva’s incredibly supportive spouse; he’s helped immensely in the launch and promotion of her book. At Amazon

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February 2017

American Tumbleweeds, by Marta Elva

Marta Elva, American TumbleweedsWe’re proud and happy to announce that Marta Elva’s American Tumbleweeds has been shortlisted for the 2016 Sarton Women’s Book Award. The awards are sponsored by the Story Circle Network, an international nonprofit community of women writers. The program is named in honor of May Sarton, who is remembered for her outstanding contributions to women’s literature as a memoirist, novelist, and poet. See the rest of the shortlist here.

Loplop in a Red City, by Kenneth Pobo

loplop_cover_frontIn case you didn’t notice on our (slightly redesigned) home page, Kenneth Pobo’s Loplop in a Red City has a cover! The central image is a 1930 painting by Max Ernst, Loplop Introduces Loplop. I’d like to say we chose the bird to coincide with this year’s Chinese calendar animal, the Fire Rooster, but it’s just an auspicious coincidence!

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Barbara Newman, Professor of English, Religious Studies, and Classics at Northwestern University sent Jean the following note. Barbara’s book From Virile Woman to WomanChrist was a primary source and inspiration for Bones.

“Just a quick note to say how much I love your novel!  It’s a great read. I still remember how excited I was, when staying at Bellagio in the fall of 2004, to discover the painting of St. Guglielma at Brunate. Having just finished an article on the Guglielmites, I set myself to solve the historical mystery of how the cult came to be revived 150 years later—and of course the tarot card was one key to that mystery. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the advantage of visionary time travel! Your riveting account suggests the amazing charisma that both Guglielma and Maifreda must have had to attract such devotion, and at such a cost. In any case, I’m honored to have been the muse of your novel, and will certainly recommend it to my friends.”

To buy The Bones You Have Cast Down, visit The Bones You Have Cast Down at gertrude m books/Circling Rivers.


We’re proud to announce that American Tumbleweeds has been included in the curriculum for Chicano Studies at University of Texas, El Paso. One of the highlights of Marta’s Southwest book tour was speaking at the University, where she found students eager to hear her story, connecting it to their own stories even over the decades that have passed since the 1960s, when American Tumbleweeds takes place.

To buy American Tumbleweeds, visit American Tumbleweeds at Circling Rivers.

LOPLOP IN A RED CITY, by Kenneth Pobo

Praise for Kenneth Pobo’s forthcoming poetry collection Loplop in a Red City comes from Robert Cooperman, author of In the Colorado Gold Fever Mountains, winner of the Colorado Book Award for Poetry: “These wonderful poems go way beyond mere ekphrasis. They’re little masterpieces in their own right, bursting with exuberant life from the page and into our memories without our having to know anything about the paintings that inspired them. Indeed, change the titles and we’d still have gorgeous works of literary art.”

We’ll be unveiling Loplop‘s cover soon; LIKE our Facebook page to get the first look.

As always, thank you for your support!

As the year draws in and, in northern latitudes, the days are chill and the nights long, please accept our wishes for all the joy and love that life can offer. And for extra warmth and cheer, try Marta’s recipe for the traditional Mexican hot drink Atole, featured on the back of the American Tumbleweeds Reading Guide. Download the PDF

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October 2016 – new book coming!

Bones You Have Cast Down, by Jean Huets Circling Rivers is pleased to announce The Bones You Have Cast Down, by Jean Huets, coming November 15, 2016 in paperback and ebook.
Inspired by a true story, The Bones You Have Cast Down will transport you to a medieval village and a lush Renaissance court, to long ago times not unlike our own, when the keepers of faith conspired against the faithful, and the rich and powerful embraced war and corruption even while fostering works of artistic brilliance revered to this day.
For more information and to pre-order at iTunes or Amazon/Kindle, visit Circling Rivers / The Bones You Have Cast Down


Just a few more days and Marta Elva begins her Southwest book tour! Click for dates and locations of Marta’s appearances.

LOPLOP IN A RED CITY, by Kenneth Pobo

Look for Kenneth Pobo’s poetry collection LOPLOP IN A RED CITY in 2017, from Circling Rivers.  | Recent publications by Kenneth include Jeff And Jerry Wake Up One Saturday, at Writers Against Prejudice, and Eye Exam, at Birch Gang Review


Congratulations to Annamaria Alfieri on publication day for The Idol of Mombasa, a murder mystery in which colonialism tangles with the African slave trade — in 1917. Visit Annamaria & The Idol of Mombasa

click to Tweet: News from @circlingrivers | #histfic #poetry #Latinolit @JeanHuets @KenPobo @AnnamariaAlfier http://wp.me/p2QZe2-cu

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Marta Elva’s 2016 Southwest Book Tour

American TumbleweedsJoin Marta Elva and American Tumbleweeds as they roll into the Southwest!

Saturday, Oct. 15 / 11 am
Amy’s Bookcase
2530 San Juan Blvd, Farmington, NM 87401

Sunday, Oct. 16 / 3pm
Book Works
4022 Rio Grande Blvd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107

Monday, Oct. 17 / 12pm
UNM Bookstore
2301 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque NM

Saturday, Oct. 22 / Reception at 9:30 a.m.
U of TX at El Paso
500 W. University Ave., El Paso, TX
Blumberg Auditorium, First Floor, University Library
Sponsored by Chicano Studies, the Tumblewords Project and the Department of Creative Writing
Contact: 915-747-5462.

Saturday, Oct. 22 / 1pm
Barnes & Noble, UNM, Las Cruces, NM
1400 E University Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88001

Sunday, Oct. 23 / 2pm
Barnes & Noble
705 Sunland Park Dr, El Paso, TX 79912

Thursday Oct. 27 / 5pm
Barnes & Noble / The Fountains at Farah
8889 Gateway Blvd West Ste 120, El Paso, Texas 79925

Saturday, Oct. 29 / 1pm
Barnes & Noble, San Antonio Northwoods
18030 Hwy. 281 North, Suite 140, San Antonio, TX  78232

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SEPTEMBER 2016 – forthcoming book & more!

We Love Booksellers — all kinds!

If you joined us via our BookBub promo, you know we support choice in booksellers. Unlike most BookBub BUY links, which take you straight to “you know who,” ours linked to our website, where you can choose your bookseller, including independent bookstores via Indiebound.org. Whether you arrived from BookBub or elsewhere – welcome and thanks for signing up!  * click to tweet *

LOPLOP IN A RED CITY, by Kenneth Pobo

We’re very pleased to announce that Circling Rivers will publish poet Kenneth Pobo’s collection LOPLOP IN A RED CITY, in 2017. The poems in LOPLOP IN A RED CITY spring from artworks old and new, figurative to abstract, Vincent Van Gogh to Leonora Carrington to Max Ernst. Like those works, the poems in LOPLOP are agonized and idyllic, uneasily at home in the surreal, animated and complex. Kenneth Pobo’s work has appeared in Hawaii Review, The Fiddlehead, Mudfish, Indiana Review, Madison Review, Caesura, Eclectica and more. His collection Bend of Quiet won the 2014 Blue Light Press Book Award. He teaches creative writing at Widener University, Pennsylvania. | Join Ken on Twitter @KenPobo | Take one last look back at August, with Ken’s Razor August in The Wild Word.


Letter from Marta:

Traveling through the land of the Hudson, the Catskills, the Delaware, Annisquam, and Navesink Rivers, we met new friends who introduced AMERICAN TUMBLEWEEDS to new readers. Thank you, old friends, new friends, and family who support this venture with love and friendship. Thank you also to our hosts:
Garrison, NY | Desmond Fish Library
New Paltz, NY & Saugerties, NY | Inquiring Minds Bookstore
Philadelphia, PA | Last Word Bookstore
Gloucester, MA | The Bookstore of Gloucester at the Gloucester Writer’s Center
Peabody, MA | Barnes & Noble
Red Bank, NJ | Red Bank Library
And thank you to my scheduling agent, Michael. This was the best business trip, ever.

Says filmmaker and MacArthur Fellow John Sayles: “With AMERICAN TUMBLEWEEDS Marta Elva pulls us into the minds of a half-dozen members of a border family in crisis, dramatizing the state of living ni aqui, ni alla—neither here nor there geographically and emotionally. A moving first novel.” | Visit American Tumbleweeds at Circling Rivers


My blog post The Civil War Dead, for Real examines the Civil War dead, via photo and memoir, and dispatches the “beautiful corpse.”

Walt Whitman called Washington, D.C. a city of “romance,” “of things begun.” My blog post Walt Whitman’s Washington DC provides links to the way DC was in his time. Politics remain, and so does the BS, but not the herds of cattle that once grazed around the Washington Monument. Included in the links is a Whitman tour of DC.


Monica Babcock guest-posted on my blog with a fascinating, up close (as in, her own ancestor) account of PTSD in the Civil War. Read Maloney’s Irritable Heart. Monica Babcock is a poet, novelist, and Tinker Mountain Writers Workshop alumnus. Her poetry collection Heartscape probes the enigmatic, perplexing moments of ordinary life. Goodreads link

Thanks to Authorbuzz.com for a smooth BookBub and BookMovement AMERICAN TUMBLEWEEDS campaign!
* click to tweet *

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JULY 2016 / Book giveaway, Whitman & more

Our Goodreads giveaway of American Tumbleweeds ends this Monday July 4! ENTER BOOK GIVEAWAY


With Walt Whitman: Himself, by Jean Huets, is available on iTunes as an interactive digital book. Ed Folsom, Editor of Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and the Whitman Series, and Co-Director of The Walt Whitman Archive, says:

“Jean Huets’ With Walt Whitman: Himself is a true Whitmanian feast—for the intellect as well as for the eyes. It is hard to put this remarkably interactive book down once you’ve opened its riches—beautifully reproduced illustrations of Whitman’s various places, friends, family, disciples, contemporaries—his cities and his rural retreats. The descriptions of his life and times are concise and smart. The book keeps opening up to new facets of Whitman, his work, and his era. Every time I open my iPad, I’m tempted to enter into it again, and I find myself often giving in to the temptation.”

Ed Folsom and Christopher Merrill will lead the upcoming free on-line course Whitman’s Civil War: Writing and Imaging Loss, Death, and Disaster. Sign up soon—the course starts July 18. I’ll see you there!


This summer author Marta Elva will tour New England, reading from American Tumbleweeds and meeting her readers. Join her if you’re in the neighborhood!

Visit American Tumbleweeds at Circling Rivers.


Jim Minick’s novel Fire Is Your Water is forthcoming Spring 2017 (Ohio UP). I read a draft of the first chapter when Jim workshopped it with Fred Leebron at Tinker Mountain Writer’s Workshop. I can’t wait to read the rest. Visit Jim

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JUNE 2016


Some beautiful reviews have come in for Marta’s book on Goodreads, Amazon — and on Latin-e, an English-language Latino media outlet. See Latin-e review  “Elva’s novel…is a story of bravery, family, and humanity, one that everyone should know.”

Thanks very, very much to those of you who have posted reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and other outlets. Amazon & Goodreads customer reviews in particular are absolutely essential to the success of the book. If you’d like to receive a free copy in exchange for posting an unbiased review, please contact me: jeanh [at] circlingrivers [dot] com.

Even if you don’t review books, you can vote for reviews you find helpful (or not). You’ll see the buttons after each review. On Amazon, the reviews (good or bad) that get the most YES votes for “helpful” will be the first reviews readers see. Visit Amazon book page

Be sure to enter our Goodreads Giveaway, running until July 4. Even if you’ve already snapped up your own copy, surely you know someone who would love to have a copy as a gift. Enter Goodreads giveaway

Thanks to Teddy Rose, Canadian booklover and reviewer, for her spotlight and giveaway of American Tumbleweeds. We had over 1200 entries! Visit Teddy Rose 


Prize-winning poet Steve Scafidi wrote a wonderful endorsement for With Walt Whitman: Himself:

“Here is a beautiful book of windows onto the life of Walt Whitman. From the clear ringing prose to the fascinating photographs and colored illustrations of the great poet’s life we find the man anew—standing in his time and looking straight at us. With Walt Whitman: Himself is perfectly titled, for to read of him so closely is to feel his eyes upon you, to sense his company as real as your own. It is good company and that is Huets’ accomplishment. She has made a book of marvels and I can’t put it down.”

Steve Scafidi is author of poetry collections To the Bramble and the Briar and The Cabinetmaker’s Window, and recipient of James Boatwright Prize, Larry Levis Reading Prize, Miller Williams Prize, and Library of Virginia Literary Award for Poetry.

With Walt Whitman: Himself is available on iTunes as an interactive book. If you have a Mac or iPad, check it out. It’s a lot of fun, even if it’s me saying so.


Congratulations to Pam Webber, whose debut novel Wiregrass was selected as Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society. Visit Pam Webber

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APRIL 2016

American Tumbleweeds

The release date for American Tumbleweeds is coming: May 10, 2016!
Marta Elva, American TumbleweedsMarta Elva’s novel American Tumbleweeds is destined to touch the hearts of many people. We only need to get the word out and this wonderful story will do the rest.

American Tumbleweeds is now available to pre-order! Visit the book page on Circling Rivers for links to booksellers. You can also order the book at your favorite “brick and mortar” bookstore.

If you would like a chance to receive a free copy of American Tumbleweeds in exchange for an unbiased review on Goodreads, Amazon or other online retailers, and/or on a blog or website dedicated mostly to book reviews, please read on…

  • Ideal length for review: 75 to 500 words
  • When to post: GOOD: Any time from now to a couple of months after the release date. BETTER: From now to about two weeks after the release date. BEST: On the release date: May 10. Note that Amazon and some others sites do not permit customer reviews until release date. Goodreads allows reviews as soon as the book is on their site (ie, now)
  • Required: Include the following sentence (or similar) in your review: I received a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

General tips on reviewing:

  • No puff, please: Readers sense (and discard) “puff” reviews—reviews written just to promote the book. Share your honest opinion and reading experience.
  • Include the “why”: Let people know why you liked or disliked the book. How did it make you feel? Did the characters seem real? Did you empathize with them? Did the story open your eyes to something you may not have known before?
  • Caution: Amazon is wary of friends and family posting reviews, which may fall under their category of “promotional.” To avoid having your review taken down, tell readers how you feel about the book, not about the author or the publisher.
  • Author & cover image: Available for download at our website: http://circlingrivers.com/home/american-tumbleweeds/

Get your free copy of AMERICAN TUMBLEWEEDS
To get your free copy, respond to this email with your mailing address. The quantity of advance paperback copies is limited, so please note it’s “first come, first served.” (Those of you who responded to the offer back in January are already among the “first come” group!)

Alternatively, you can download the ebook from NetGalley, a service that provides free ebooks to reviewers, including educators, media professionals, librarians and bloggers: https://s2.netgalley.com/catalog/book/80393.

Thanks for your interest and support!

Best to you,

Jean Huets
Circling Rivers

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American Tumbleweeds

Advance review copies of American Tumbleweeds, by Marta Elva, are already drawing testimony on this compelling and timely story:

Remember Maria from Sesame Street? Actress Sonia Manzano, who describes the role in her acclaimed memoir Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx, says: “The aptly named American Tumbleweeds depicts the balancing act some bi-cultural families must undertake to live in America. The characters indeed “tumble” back and forth over our southernmost border, forced to live in two worlds at once. This is an experience all Americans should know about.”

John Sayles, film maker, author, and MacArthur fellow, sent us word: “With American Tumbleweeds Marta Elva pulls us into the minds of a half-dozen members of a border family in crisis, dramatizing the state of living ni aqui, ni alla—neither here nor there geographically and emotionally.  A moving first novel.”

Would you like to help spread the word on American Tumbleweeds by reviewing it on Amazon, Goodreads, or other outlets? Contact me and I’ll add you to a special list to receive free e-galleys as we draw closer to the launch date.

We give thanks for advice on genre from Cary Meltzer Frostick, former Youth Services librarian in Fairfax, Virginia, and Utica, NY, and reviewer for School Library Journal, and from Deanna Evans, Youth Services associate at the Pine Island Public Library, Florida. Thanks also to A.B. Westrick, author of Brotherhood, who helped develop the book club discussion guide for American Tumbleweeds. Visit A.B. Westrick.

Visit American Tumbleweeds at Circling Rivers

With Walt Whitman: Himself

A print version of With Walt Whitman: Himself, by Jean Huets, is in the works! Lovers of Walt’s poetry and readers intrigued by the United States as it was in the 19th century will discover in With Walt Whitman: Himself a tumultuous life, a  nation whose growing pains nearly tore it apart, and a man who struggled over decades to frame it all in prose and poetry. Publication of the print version will be in late 2016. If you have an iPad or Mac, you can purchase the ebook now on iTunes.

Friends of Circling Rivers

Thanks to Eric Reynolds of Hadley Rille Books for sharing his insights on independent publishing.

Congratulations to Lenore Gay, whose novel Shelter of Leaves is forthcoming from She Writes Press later this year. Visit Lenore Gay.

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