Book cover for Every Writer Has a Thousand Faces: For writers, artists, musicians, dancers, and anyone else who leads a creative life By David Biespiel

A Place of Exodus: Home, Memory, and Texas

By David Biespiel

 

Acclaimed poet and essayist David Biespiel tells the story of  the rise and fall of a Jewish boyhood in Texas, and his search for the answer to his life’s central riddle: Are we ever done leaving home?

Written in the years that followed the devastation of Houston wrought by three 500-year floods in three years, including the worst flood in Texas history, Biespiel’s account is by turns personal and philosophical, a meditation on time’s inevitable losses and a writer’s hard-won gains.

A Place of Exodus is not only a memoir, but an essential companion for anyone who has journeyed farand equally those who have stayed close to the unresolvable paradoxes of home, the aches of time and heart none of us can escape.

 

More Praise for A Place of Exodus:

“In the great American tradition of improvised cultural makings and unmakings, migration and recurrence, David Biespiel unfolds our national quest onto an unexpected terrain: a decidedly Texan and traditionally Jewish neighborhood of Houston. A surprising, heartbreaking and inspiring story.”

 

— Robert Pinsky

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“In his prose, as in his poetry, David Biespiel heeds the highest calling: he assumes responsibility for life’s desire to witness its progress. He opens himself completely and becomes a conduit for language to address language, for the self, whatever it may be, to know the self. A meditation on Judaism, a surprising history of Texas, a memoir of a unique and enriching childhood, A Place of Exodus finally becomes a testament to the honest imagination, a sort of sacred text.”

 

— Tracy Daugherty

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“In A Place of Exodus, David Biespiel embarks on a search not for resolution, reprieve, or spiritual repatriation but for the very scent of an era, its ancient and communal dramas, its generational and theological forces. Because Biespiel is Jewish (though admittedly “retired”) he is compelled to remember.  Because he is a storyteller, he caresses the complex characters and places of his past. And finally, because he is a poet, he makes it all sing – gorgeously.”

 

— Lia Purpura

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“David Biespiel vividly recreates his unlikely Jewish upbringing in Houston, Texas, and movingly tells the story of how he moved away from the dictates and certainties of his childhood religion. He raises large questions about the meaning of home and the nature of exile, which is why A Place of Exodus is such a keen reckoning. It is even a sort of homecoming.”

 

— Edward Hirsch

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ISBN 978-0-9827838-5-6

(September 2020)

Advance copies for sale now from publisher, to be shipped after August 15, 2020.

Book cover for Every Writer Has a Thousand Faces: For writers, artists, musicians, dancers, and anyone else who leads a creative life By David Biespiel

Every Writer Has a Thousand Faces:

For writers, artists, musicians, dancers, and anyone else who leads a creative life

By David Biespiel

 

Here is the classic book, re-issued for its tenth anniversary with a new Foreword by novelist Chuck Palahniuk.

This book cracks open the creative process and invites readers to take a fresh look at the mysterious pathways of the imagination. Acclaimed poet and critic David Biespiel candidly tracks his own development as a writer and challenges traditional assumptions about writing that can stifle creativity. The liberating message:

Working past the brink of failure—being free to try and discard and try again—is what allows the creative process to playfully flourish, keeping the spirit open to unexpected discoveries.

Every Writer Has a Thousand Faces will revolutionize the way readers look at their own creative process. It is a rich and rewarding book, a captivating glimpse into the inner life of writers and painters—and above all, a guide to a lifetime of discovery.

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ISBN 978-0-9827838-4-9

(March 2020)

Book cover for Every Writer Has a Thousand Faces: For writers, artists, musicians, dancers, and anyone else who leads a creative life By David Biespiel

A Way Home: Oregon Essays

Scott F. Parker
Drawings by Alex Hirsch

If the Japanese poet Basho took a walk on a West Coast beach… If Lao Tzu were your hiking buddy… This book might be the result. What is it that draws us to love our places, our moments? What is this longing, what is this beauty? Is it real? Or is it just a trick of nostalgia?

A Way Home is a love letter to Oregon and an ode to living in the present moment. Living for several years in Minnesota, Scott Parker finds himself longing for the Oregon of his youth. He explores this longing by returning to his home state both over the course several visits and through the unfolding of memory, to find out what he is capable of understanding about time, home, and himself. The temptation of nostalgia is regarded from many angles – rueful, ironic, yet always still beckoning. Its antidote: being present in the actual moment, with its paradoxes and mixed blessings. Parker’s passion for his subject is apparent, and his meditations prove him to be a nimble and penetrating thinker on absence and presence.

Advance praise for A Way Home

“Captivating”! 

 

“Parker writes with consuming intelligence, but beauty takes precedence. . .”

 

— Kirkus (Starred Review)

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“Scott Parker has done something wonderfully fresh in this memoir/essay. . . . reminiscent of the great searching essayists.”

 

“A deft and valuable journey, not ‘nostalgic’ (he takes on that literary sin with élan) but gripping in a fully contemporary voice.”

 

— Patricia Hampl, author of The Art of the Wasted Day

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“By turns exuberant, philosophical, and optimistic, Parker writes lyrically about place. Braided closely together are his probes of humankind in nature and his own drive to find himself. Who says you can’t come home again? Of course you can.”

 

— Robin Cody, author of Ricochet River and Voyage of a Summer Sun

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ISBN 978-0-9827838-3-2

$18.00 / 186 pages

Distributor: SPD Small Press Distribution

Book cover for Every Writer Has a Thousand Faces: For writers, artists, musicians, dancers, and anyone else who leads a creative life By David Biespiel

Come Shining: Essays and Poems on Writing in a Dark Time

Jill Elliott (Editor), Alison Towle Moore (Editor)

Advance praise for Come Shining: Essays and Poems on Writing in a Dark Time

“This book gives citizens of a dark time a glittering crown of light—testimony, resonant questions, stories of engagement with confusion, and songs of restoration. Following an introduction by David Oates setting the book’s offerings in the tradition of deep thinkers from Hannah Arendt to Adrienne Rich, Come Shining delivers one articulate companion after another in our mutual pilgrimage toward a new way to be a community, a nation, and a world. These are not feel-good reassurances; they are sustaining reports of struggle, inquiry, and vision—a book for the backpack of a traveler toward our better destiny.”

 

— Kim Stafford, author of The Flavor of Unity: Post-Election Poems

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Come Shining lays bare all that we have felt but not often spoken since fall of 2016. It’s as if the lid was lifted off the deepest well and all the griefs came rushing out—political, civic, literary, familial, spiritual. What gratitude I feel toward these writers who have the stamina and presence of mind to call out to us as we wander this dark and uncertain path. It reminds us we are not so alone.

 

Wendy Willis, Executive Director, Deliberative Democracy Consortium, Author of A Long Late Pledge (Bear Star Press)  

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“We write in hope” proclaims David Oates, publisher and contributor to this soulful collection of poetry and prose that seeks to reclaim public space and citizenship through the “commons” of reading and writing. The authors write words that are raw and true to emotion and pain – but also to life, hope, and beauty. In times of despair, Come Shining affirms the “true word” as an act of resistance.

 

— Lois Ann Lorentzen, Academic Director, Master in Migration Studies Professor, Theology and Religious Studies, University of San Francisco Editorial Advisory Board, Journal of the American Academy of Religion Associate Editor, Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice

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ISBN 978-0-9827838-2-5

$12.00 / 135 pages

Distributor: SPD Small Press Distribution

Book cover for Every Writer Has a Thousand Faces: For writers, artists, musicians, dancers, and anyone else who leads a creative life By David Biespiel

A Natural History of Now: Reports from the Edge of Nature

Edited by Sara J. Call and Jennifer Li-Yen Douglas

A collection of new nature writing that challenges the genre — edgy, humane, deeply implicated in the dying world that is renewing itself around us daily. From the University of Montana’s Environmental Writing Program and writers from all over the US.

Advance praise for A Natural History of Now

“An underwater Christ, how to lasso a kittiwake, Egyptian flies, bugling elk, a man who shoots poachers, vegetarians dismantling pigs … Welcome to a book far removed from the orthodox bucolic, mannered, and self-absorbed Nature Essay. These pieces are startling, funny, piercing, and often unforgettable. My advice: buy this book, eat it over the weekend, and then give it to someone who will dig it. Which will be everyone.”

 

— Brian Doyle, author of Mink River

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ISBN 978-0-9827838-1-8

$10 / 141 pages

Distributor: Ingram

Book cover for Every Writer Has a Thousand Faces: For writers, artists, musicians, dancers, and anyone else who leads a creative life By David Biespiel

And from nationally-recognized poet and columnist David Biespiel

Every Writer Has a Thousand Faces: for writers, artists, musicians, dancers, & anyone else who leads a creative life

David Biespiel

 

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ISBN 978-0-9827838-0-1

$9.95 / 113 pages

Distributor: SPD Small Press Distribution

What We Love Will Save Us

What We Love Will Save Us

David Oates

 

What We Love Will Save Us offers moments of transcendence and hope, told in personal essays that are tender and funny, searching and human. This book is about keeping faith and experiencing darkness: There’s a random dangerous rightness abroad in this wide shining world. It’s a rightness, not a correctness.  We don’t need so much to counter other people’s errors as to bring the light and joy of that right and beautiful world:  what we desire for our planet and ourselves. What we are doing instead of hating and denying and bombing. Our job is to work on what we love. Daily. With precision and determination. David Oates finds wildness and grace breaking out in unexpected places – from city streets to mountain peaks – offering a crucial balance to his dramatically personal account of what it has been like to be a “citizen of the regime” during eight years of unprecedented propaganda, torture, waste, and war. What is the right response, when the government that belongs to us goes seriously off course? How does a person’s private and creative life relate to the life we share in common? Brief and beautifully intense lyrical essays explore hope, pleasure, and creativity (and the outrage that must never be allowed to eclipse them).  Readable, memorable, smart but straight from the heart – these essays give voice to our shared experience of a dark and frustrating time in the nation’s life. They should find a wide audience.

Advance praise for What We Love Will Save Us

“An underwater Christ, how to lasso a kittiwake, Egyptian flies, bugling elk, a man who shoots poachers, vegetarians dismantling pigs … Welcome to a book far removed from the orthodox bucolic, mannered, and self-absorbed Nature Essay. These pieces are startling, funny, piercing, and often unforgettable. My advice: buy this book, eat it over the weekend, and then give it to someone who will dig it. Which will be everyone.”

 

— Ana Maria Spagna, author of Test Ride on the Sunnyland Bus: a Daughter’s Civil Rights Journey and Now Go Home: Wilderness, Belonging, and the Crosscut Saw

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“Personal honesty, humor, zinger endings. . . This is a stirring, creative collection of essays stoked with ideas, some of them urgently of our time and place, some timeless. People with regard for language will reread passages for their genuinely beautiful writing. I got a lump in my throat (and had to take a walk) after I read the final six words: ‘Brief lists, perseverance, and long vistas.’ AMEN. A mantra for our century.”

 

— Jeff Gersh,  founder and principal of NarrativeLab Communications

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“There is a tightly wound lyricism to these very American essays, crafted out of bumps and bruises and sheer joys.  David Oates is a writer companion you’ll want to have as you hike across this beleaguered planet – testy on the switchbacks but more than congenial around the fire; at the end of the day, he always chooses the best campsite.”

 

— Paul J. Willis, author of Bright Shoots of Everlastingness: Essays on Faith and the American Wild

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ISBN 978-0-615-31419-8

$11.95 / 191 pages

Distributor: SPD Small Press Distribution