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Off Message, along with our other Fall 2016 titles, is now available from Four Way Books!

An excerpt from Joel Brouwer’s Off Message:

from "Observations in a Port City"


"...Of bodies
changed to other forms I sing. The palazzos
of the oligarchs are now the palazzos
of the oligarchs: Paribas, DB, Credit Suisse.
Marco Polo dictated his travels
in the prison of the Casa delle Compere
di San Giorgio, Europe’s oldest bank,
so both interest and China were invented there.
It’s the port authority now, of course.
A young woman helped a blind man
navigate the piazza. It was either kindness
or her job. Everything is changed; nothing
ceases. The dead woman who ran for it.
The dead woman who got too old. The dead woman
weeping at the gangplank to the Tunis ferry
with a dirty peony of Euros but no passport.
I cannot recommend the tour of Columbus’s house.
The price of admission is extortionate
and also he never lived there. He’s crossing
borders drawn in the air. He speaks
every language. Everything is translated;
nothing signifies. ..."

"Observations in a Port City" from Off Message 
(c) 2016 by Joel Brouwer. 
Appears with permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.

Praise for Joel Brouwer

“Joel Brouwer’s itinerant and moral mind is always online, seeking to aggregate our surfeit store of information into some kind of meaningful ore, and to measure the distance between civilian and collective, between action’s rhetoric and action itself. Off Message’s disquieting prognosis for our era of surveillance should make us all more alert, more aware. It’s a thrilling and masterful book.” 

— Cathy Park Hong

“Lacerating. Skewering. Anything you can do with a blade Joel Brouwer does in Off Message, in poems attuned to hypocrisies large and small, where ‘after intense / lobbying the transparency committee / approves a series of closed door hearings,’ where seabirds ‘cloaked in oil’ can be considered rich. ‘They must have marveled at distance’s power / to deceive and to wake deception’s twin, oblivion,’ he writes in ‘Lines on Distance,’ a poem that opens up the book with a bang. We need a book like this, to sound through all the fiddling in burning Rome; they should hand it out to every voter at the polls.”

 — Dana Levin

Off Message beautifully disproves the reductive cliché that politics makes bad poetry. Instead of proclamation, Joel Brouwer pursues complication, distressing a quiet free verse tradition. Nothing in these poems is easy. It’s a vexed world, and Brouwer is writing equally vexed, yet stunning poems about and for it.”

 — Juliana Spahr

Click here to buy your copy of Off Message!

Upcoming Readings for Joel Brouwer

  • Wednesday, Oct. 5, 7 PM -  Four Way Books Fall Launch with Joel Brouwer, Karen Brennan, Henry Israeli, and Jen Levitt at Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop on 141 Front St.
  • Thursday, Oct. 6th, 6 PM - Four Way Books Fall Launch with Joel Brouwer, Henry Israeli, and Megan Staffel at the NYU Book Store on 726 Broadway, NYC

For more information about readings with Joel Brouwer and other Four Way Books authors, visit our website

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Monsters, along with our other Fall 2016 titles, is now available from Four Way Books!

An excerpt from Karen Brennan’s Monsters:

from "Monsters"


"…At The Dollar Store, which is going out of business so that everything is 
now only fifty cents, they purchase a little figurine of a dwarf that looks 
as if it’s made of mucus and spit. The dwarf has a very wide face and a 
tiny grimace which reveals just a sliver of tooth. It is so resolutely 
hideous that they cannot stop themselves from laughing right in the store 
in front of the sales clerk. Good Lord! says the daughter. When she laughs 
she gets very red-faced and she clenches her one good fist. She is one of
those who wheezes when she laughs and now she is wheezing and wheezing 
at the ugly figurine. Something to remember me by, says her father, 
who is also laughing…"

"Monsters" from Monsters 
(c) 2016 by Karen Brennan. 
Appears with permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.

Praise for Karen Brennan

“Structurally ambitious flash fiction that examines all the ways—great and small—in which characters can be haunted…. An impressive mixture of emotional exploration and formal experiment.” — Kirkus Reviews 

“…Brennan introduces fantastical elements that dramatically transform relatable characters and familiar settings into something new, like a family adopting a talking cat. Brennan’s collection of compassionate and intelligent fiction is a showcase for a very skilled author.” — Publishers Weekly

“…Karen Brennan here evokes a fairy-tale world that is just like this world, only sadder and stranger…”— Kate Bernheimer

Watch the Book Trailer

Click here to buy your copy of Monsters!

Upcoming Readings for Karen Brennan

  • Thursday, Sept. 29, 7 PM - Four Way Launch Reading with Karen Brennan, Grace Bonner, Henry Israeli, and Jen Levitt at KGB on 85 E 4th St, NYC.
  • Sunday, Oct. 2, 7 PM - Four Way Books Fall ‘16 Fiction Launch with Karen Brennan and Megan Staffel at KGB Bar on 85 E 4th St, NYC.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 5, 7 PM -  Four Way Books Fall Launch with Karen Brennan, Joel Brouwer, Henry Israeli, and Jen Levitt at Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop on 141 Front St.
  • Thursday, Oct. 6, Time TBA - Karen Brennan Reading at Sacred Heart University on 5151 Park Ave, Fairfield, CT.
  • Friday, Oct. 28, 7 PM - Karen Brennan Reading at the King’s English Bookstore in 1511 S 1500 E, Salt Lake City, UT.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 10, 7 PM - Why There Are Words with Karen Brennan and Elizabeth T. Gray at Studio 333 on 333 Caledonia St, Sausalito, CA.

For more information about readings with Karen Brennan and other Four Way Books authors, visit our website! And for a complete list of Karen Brennan’s events, visit karenbrennan.org/ .

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The Off-Season, along with our other Fall 2016 titles, is now available from Four Way Books!

An excerpt from Jen Levitt’s The Off-Season:

from "Self-Portrait as Peggy Olson from Mad Men"


I’ve tried to be a man.

It doesn’t work & anyway 
I don’t know I want to.

I see how they make 
themselves go home at night,

eyes light—blank as glass.

I’ve strained to be impersonal, 
smile through my teeth.

I don’t like cigarettes 
& I work weekends

just because. Come over.
I know it’s late. Yes, I need

you, I always do.


"Self-Portrait as Peggy Olson from Mad Men" from The Off-Season 
(c) 2016 by Jen Levitt. 
Appears with permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.

Praise for Jen Levitt

“…Levitt offers the kind of unabashed vulnerability and intelligence that makes readers feel a little less alone and awkward in the world.” — Publishers Weekly 

“…Can a poem make you smile because it’s so heartbreaking and cry because it’s so sharp? Can it be bracingly particular and achingly universal? In The Off-Season, Jen Levitt says yes, and her yes sounds like no one else’s…. Anyone who has ever struggled to come of age, as an artist, as a human, will find themselves in this book.” — Kathleen Ossip 

“In Jen Levitt’s wonderful debut, The Off- Season, the objects of the everyday become luminous guides to a deepening understanding of the self…. This is a book for this moment in that this moment keeps happening again and again. Which makes it timeless and utterly necessary.” — Gabrielle Calvocoressi

Watch the Book Trailer

Click here to buy your copy of The Off-Season!

Upcoming Readings for Jen Levitt

  • Tuesday, Sept. 13, 7 PM - Four Way Books & Friends Fall ‘16 Launch with Jen Levitt, Grace Bonner, Megan Staffel, and Ginger Murchison at Book Culture on 450 Columbus Ave, NYC. 
  • Friday, Sept. 29, 7 PM - Four Way Books Fall ‘16 Launch Reading with Jen Levitt, Grace Bonner, Karen Brennan, and Henry Israeli at KGB Bar on 85 E 4th St, NYC.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 5, 7 PM - Four Way Books Fall Release with Jen Levitt, Karen Brennan, Joel Brouwer, and Henry Israeli at Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop on 141 Front St, Brooklyn, NY.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 30, 7 PM - Reading at the Cornelia Street Cafe with Jen Levitt, Grace Bonner, and Megan Staffel on 29 Cornelia St, NYC.

For more information about readings with Jen Levitt and other Four Way Books authors, visit our website!

Lighting the Shadow is here! April 2015! Available for preorder! Sending gratitude to the universe and the next. Thank you, Lorna Simpson, for the beautiful cover photograph, for being so generous. I’m crying and cooking some blueberry pancakes, y'all! Hello, 2015 :) #poetry #fourwaybooks #cavecanem #amwriting #writinglife #litlife #art #rachelelizagriffiths #lightingtheshadow

Made with Instagram

Salmagundi contributor Alex Dimitrov with Executive Editor Peg Boyers after Alex read from his new book of poems, Begging For It, at Skidmore. Keep a keen ear open for this very gifted young writer. Here’s a link to five new poems online at The Brooklyn Rail including “Nights With People, Days Without” which knocked us out at last night’s event: 

http://www.brooklynrail.org/2013/06/poetry/five-dimitrov

And here’s a poem that’s in the book which first appeared in Salmagundi Magazine:


Refusing the Ledge
BY ALEX DIMITROV


For months only travelers and the dead
touching you. In hotel rooms higher

than a summer suicide—laced with sugars
and sweat, the steps from the interior

to the ledge. An address book, a book of names,
someone’s life laid open in bed.

So when he spoke to you
your hair grew a shade darker

and his voice felt cooler 
than the pavement outside—

where a child lost his only possession,
a balloon deflating through his ribs.

How brief, how brilliant 
the minutes felt in their unkindness.

And you chose to be touched
instead of touching down.