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Lon Otto and Sharon Chmielarz


“These are lovely poems.  I have come to think of ‘widowness’ as transpersonal almost—it will strike those who are reckless enough to become wives and can recall so intensely the feeling of being in the hospital-vigil with an ending not yet known.”—Joyce Carol Oates, author of A Widow‘s Story

“I love this book! It’s very moving and complex both. A fearless journey into the mystery of grief and love and loss. Her powers of observation are so accurate and careful . . . and tough.”—Jonis Agee, author ofThe Bones of Paradise

“She knows how to take risks, how to deliver sharp pathos. . . . This eloquent book is her obligation to her beloved. She remembers. ‘Listen,’ she writes, ‘I am never lonely when I can imagine you.’ Perhaps this brave book saves her life.”—Michael Dennis Browne, author of The Voices

“This honest and unflinching collection does not leave the reader without hope: ‘Right at the worst time of your life someone/helps you in some way,’ she writes. ‘You must take the least shred of it in,’ and she does.”—Joyce Sutphen, Minnesota Poet Laureate, author of Modern Love and Other M

SHARON CHMIELARZ  is the author of Different Arrangements, But I Won’t Go Out in a Boat, The Other Mozart, Visibility: Ten Miles, and other books. Her work has been featured on American Life in Poetry.  She’s the recipient of a Jane Kenyon Award from the Water~Stone Review.  Her work has been published in many magazines, including The Notre Dame Review, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, The Hudson Review, The North American Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Commonweal, Salmagundi, Margie, Salmagundi, The Seneca Review, Louisiana Literature, Ontario Review, and CutBank.



“A subtly, intimately linked collection of stories. Lon Otto's thought- provoking characters navigate issues of culture, race, masculinity, parenthood, illness and love—the richest and thorniest problems of the self. This is a moving and lovely book.”—Julie Schumacher. author of Dear Committee Members

“The characters in Otto’s stories inhabit a neighborhood of sorts, and indeed, they could well live across our own street, or down our block: they’re hiding secrets, nursing losses, yearning, as we all are, for purpose and meaning. Otto’s ability to create these voices—as he also provides the unexpected phrase, creates the vivid description, and keeps us turning pages—are just a few reasons to dive into this fine collection.”—Sands Hall, author of Catching Heaven

“From Victorian home crawl spaces, to near-calamitous fishing ventures, to inner city foot-chases, Lon Otto explores the flash points in families, in friendships, and in the dynamics of a racially mixed community. This is a moving collection of stories that deftly explores the boundaries of trust and compassion—and it is a book many readers have been waiting for.  I loved it.  It was well worth the wait.

—Jim Heynen, author of Ordinary Sins

LON OTTO is the author of A Nest of Hooks (U. of Iowa Press), winner of the Iowa School of Letters Award for Short Fiction, and Cover Me (Coffee House Press)—and the craft chapbook Grit (Writers Workshop Press). His work is widely anthologized. He regularly teaches in the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival and is professor emeritus at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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