New-Release Roundup | The Sun Magazine

New-Release Roundup

September 2023

September 12, 2023

As the weather cools and the days get shorter, curl up with one of these new books from Sun contributors. Below you’ll find descriptions from their publishers and links to some exclusive excerpts on The Sun’s website. Click the titles for more information, including purchase details.


The Flounder and Other Stories

“From inner-city pawnshops to high-powered law firms, from the desert of California to the coast of France, The Flounder paints a vivid portrait of how complex and poignant everyday life can be. . . . These moving, lyrical, and surprising stories teeter between desperation and hope, with Fulton showing us what lasts in an impermanent world.”

The collection includes “Saved,” which first appeared in The Sun in April 2022.

By John Fulton

How to Make Poems: Form and Technique

“Introducing general education students as well as English majors to creative writing, How to Make Poems: Form and Technique offers an inspiring, lively, and straightforward new book on how to write effective poems. . . . [It’s] designed to reel in students with its clear and casual approach, delicious new poems by global poets, and interesting, accessible, no-fail writing prompts.”

By Heather Sellers

Something I Might Say

“Stephanie Austin had a complicated father and a complicated relationship with him. His death, after a short battle with lung cancer, forced her to reckon with his always-threatened and now permanent absence from her life. Then the health of her grandmother, with whom she had always been close, began to fail, and she faced another looming loss, intensified by the bewildering early months of the pandemic. Something I Might Say sits us at the bedside inside the sickroom and reminds us that the histories of our loves — the kindnesses and the disappointments too — sit with us in that final room.”

Read Stephanie’s essay of the same title, published in The Sun’s February 2021 issue.

By Stephanie Austin

Contradiction Days: An Artist on the Verge of Motherhood

“Five months pregnant and struggling with a creative block. . . . JoAnna relapses into damaging old habits and thought patterns. When she confides in her doctor that she’s struggling with depression and suicidal ideation, he tells her she must stop being so selfish, given she has a baby on the way, and start taking antidepressants. . . . JoAnna instead turns to [abstract expressionist painter Agnes] Martin for guidance, adopting the artist’s doctrine of joyful solitude and isolation. . . . Out of a deep, solitary engagement with a remarkable artist’s body of work emerges an entirely new way for JoAnna to relate to the contradictions of her own body and face up to the joys and challenges of impending motherhood.”

An excerpt from Contradiction Days appeared on The Sun’s website in July.

By JoAnna Novak

Clear Creek: Toward a Natural Philosophy

“In this boundary-defying work, Erik Reece spends a year beside the stream in his rural Kentucky homeplace, tracking the movements of the seasons, the animals, and the thoughts passing through his mind. . . . Reece’s subjects range from solitude and solidarity to the intricacies of forest communities, and from the genius of songwriter Tom T. Hall to reforestation projects on abandoned strip mines. A work of close observation and carefully grounded insights, Clear Creek articulates a nature-based philosophy for pondering humanity’s current plight.”

By Erik Reece

Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go

“The electric, unsettling, and often surreal stories in Let’s Go Let’s Go Let’s Go explore the alienated, technology-mediated lives of restless Asian and Asian American women today. . . . Their compulsions tangle with unrequited longing and queer desire in their search for something ineffable across cities, countries, and virtual worlds. With precision and provocation, Cleo Qian’s immersive debut jolts us into the reality of lives fragmented by screens, relentless consumer culture, and the flattening pressures of modern society — and asks how we might hold on to tenderness against the impulses within us.”

You can read an excerpt from the collection, “Chicken. Film. Youth.,” on The Sun’s website.

By Cleo Qian


“All her life Susan’s loved ones have been hiding a terrible secret from her: If she thinks too hard, her head will explode. Luckily, her devoted boyfriend, anxious parents, and fierce best friend are prepared to do whatever it takes to keep Susan safe in ignorant, thoughtless bliss. . . . But what happens when reality creeps in and Susan’s perfectly curated world starts to crumble? Can we distract ourselves from the real world forever . . . and should we?”

By Lucie Britsch

Psalms of Unknowing

“How do we reconcile our love with our grief? Seek peace in a violent world? Find compassion for our right-wing neighbors? Psalms of Unknowing challenges the patriarchy with an eye on contemporary issues such as gun violence, household divisions of labor, and parenting in an uncertain world.”

Get a preview by reading Lanier’s poem “Two Weeks after a Silent Retreat,” first published in the May 2020 issue of The Sun.

By Heather Lanier

Something so Good It Can Never Be Enough

“Shuly Xóchitl Cawood’s powerful storytelling is alive and vibrant [in] this stunning new poetry collection. . . . Her signature themes run throughout, including: the journey through, to, and from desire and relationships; deep, abiding love for family and food; hunger; and the things that nourish and torment us. You can’t read this collection without traveling through a life lived with brilliant and startling observations . . . loss, joy, and yearning are all on full display in this potent work.”

By Shuly Xóchitl Cawood

Brutalities: A Love Story

“Quarantined in a southwestern desert city in the midst of her high-risk pregnancy, Margo Steines felt her life narrow around her growing body, compelling her to reckon with the violence entangled in its history. She was a professional dominatrix in New York City, a homestead farmer in a brutal relationship, a welder on a high-rise building crew, and a mixed martial arts enthusiast; each of her many lives brought a new perspective on how power and masculinity coalesce — and how far she could push her body toward the brink. With unflinching candor, Steines searches for the roots of her erstwhile attraction to pain while charting the complicated triumph of gentleness and love.”

By Margo Steines

Disease of Kings

“A vivid chronicle of friendship and loneliness amid the precarity of life in late capitalism, when every day is a fight for survival. In poems bursting with narrative power, Disease of Kings explores the tender yet volatile friendship between two young scammers living off the fat of society. . . . With plainspoken language and tremendous tonal range, Carlson-Wee leads us into the heart of one friendship’s uneasy domesticity — a purgatory where, in this poet’s vision, it is possible for loss to give way to hope, lack to fulfillment, shame to gratitude.”

The collection includes “I Feel Sorry for Aliens,” which appeared in the January 2023 issue of The Sun.

By Anders Carlson-Wee

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