Peach Picks: Poems, a Novel, and Short Fiction
by Marina Blitshteyn
sunnyoutside press | 2019 | poetry
Out this month is Sheet Music, the new chapbook of poems by Brooklyn-based, Buffalo-bred, Soviet Union-born and -fled poet Marina Blitshteyn. Drawing from the words and images of Coco Chanel, Igor Stravinsky, Gertrude Stein, Hermann Hesse, and more, Blitshteyn’s new chapbook examines solitude and relationships, domesticity and sexuality, and adult life and womanhood. In sharp and lean prose, the collection stands as a soundtrack not of coming to an understanding but of asking questions: Is there a distinction between work and love, art and artist, art and life? A sampling of lines that will break your heart: “Loving the line is loving the hand that bends it,” “How beautiful the woman looks next to silence,” and “You mean you don’t want to, she tells him. The wife or mother or lover or child of the man.” Bonus: The chapbook was put out by Buffalo’s own sunnyoutside press, a small press that designs and prints with thoughtfulness and care, evident from Sheet Music’s handbound spine and choice of an effervescent cover to the idiosyncratic note at the back of the book informing the reader of the typefaces and printing press.
MY YEAR OF REST AND RELAXATION
by Otessa Moshfegh
A Perigee Book/Penguin Group | 2018 | novel
“I’d be renewed, reborn. I would be a whole new person, every one of my cells regenerated enough times that the old cells were just distant, foggy memories. My past life would be but a dream, and I could start over without regrets, bolstered by the bliss and serenity that I would have accumulated in my year of rest and relaxation.”
Released last summer, Ostessa Moshefgh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a darkly comic look into the world of privilege and how unfilling wealth and beauty can be. Desperate to escape her life, the unnamed character in the novel embarks on a pharmaceutical hibernation where she plans to take prescription pills of all varieties to help her sleep for an entire year. The book is chock full of unlikable characters, including the narrator herself, her hack doctor who prescribes her boatloads of medications, her incredibly desperate friend Reva, her toxic ex-boyfriend Trevor, and the ridiculous artist Ping Xi who uses her experiment as the subject of his new art piece. This book is a must-read for those of us facing another bleak Buffalo February.
by Dylan Nice
Short Drive/Long Drive Books | 2012 | short fiction
Dylan Nice’s Other Kinds is a short fiction collection depicting the transitory moments of life that would fall by the wayside in the hands of another writer. Simple moments of indecision are allowed to take center stage here through Nice’s prose. A young enlistee anxiously staves off the possibility of war, romantic words are hesitantly discovered and considered for an engaged woman, and a lazy moment of summer afternoon violence reveals tenderness and patience. Nice uses simple language in a way that is surprising, mysterious, and above all, achingly sad: “I flipped the light switch and the room got soft from the candles and the steam. The shower was warmer than I thought she’d make it. She brought the soap to my chest. I leaned in but held the damaged part of myself outside the curtain, away from us.” Other Kinds is a collection for people who can acknowledge the way some stories in our own lives stall, struggle, and become something wholly unexpected, yet decidedly beautiful.
“Peach Picks” is a column of literary news and recommendations written by the editors of Peach Mag, an online literary magazine based in Buffalo, New York. For inquiries, contact the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org.