by Stephen Kessler
El Leon Literary Arts, 2015
Stephen Kessler’s third collection of essays gathers fifty-four pieces ranging over thirty-three years and several genres of personal and critical prose: family memoir, travel journal, social satire, political analysis, cultural commentary, literary criticism, anecdote, confession, spiritual and philosophical reflection. Whether addressing his own baldness, the pursuit of sexual satisfaction, the art of photographer Vivian Maier, the self-mythification of Gertrude Stein, the mysteries of literary translation, the creativity in criticism, or personalities like Steve Jobs and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Kessler’s essays invitingly readable. His eclectic interests and nimble intelligence infuse these writings with unique insights into our lives and times. (Publisher’s description)
Stephen Kessler is a poet, translator, essayist and editor whose writings have appeared in books, anthologies, magazines and newspapers across the United States since the late 1960s. Born in Los Angeles in 1947, he has degrees in literature from Bard College and the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is the author of eight books.
by Fiona Sze-Lorrain
Mānoa Books and El León Literary Arts, 2013
Melissa Kwasny writes that the poems in Fiona Sze-Lorrain’s second collection of poetry, My Funeral Gondola, “navigate the swells of loss…I recognize this speech, haunting and strange, the speech of true poets.”
In My Funeral Gondola, Sze-Lorrain takes on departures and rifts in a lyrical voice that reclaims the personal and the universal. As if to subvert expectations in narrative, memory and experience, these poems speak through their restraint to the meditations, bittersweet struggles, and inner intensities of an existence that trusts the music, the distance, and the timeless.
Sze-Lorrain’s debut collection of poetry, Water the Moon, was published in 2010. In addition to her books of translation of Chinese poets from Zephyr Press, she has translated several contemporary French and American authors and co-edited the Mãnoa/University of Hawai’i Press anthologies Sky Lanterns (summer 2012) and On Freedom (winter 2012). An editor at Cerise Press and Vif éditions, she is also a zheng harpist and orchid healer.