PORTLAND, OR; December 13, 2022--The Bunker Book is a work of poetry by Anne Babson that revisits medieval plague tales in an era of American pandemic and French Resistance literature in a divided nation. Set in New Orleans and other cosmopolitan destinations, it presents the problems of Kyiv, of the Second World War, and all fights against fascism as a way of talking about America today. This poetry collection makes the new cosmopolitan South confront the ghosts of the old problematic South and exorcise them. While it occasionally echoes sentiments present in Atwood’s work, it offers hope to the reader despite all. Focused on the life of a woman who hides herself and the books banned in an oppressive society in a bunker, her library comes to life and speaks to her in the voices of figures like Machiavelli, the Wife of Bath, Marlene Dietrich, Margery Kempe, Rhett Butler, Saint Thomas Moore, and Christine de Pisan. It contemplates the cloistered life of pandemic and religious medieval women mystics in one idiom. It imagines the underground resistance of Paris during the Nazi occupation reenacted in our times in an American setting.Works as old as Beowulf find themselves enacted on the banks of the Mississippi, and poems as present-tense as the latest headlines about the war in Ukraine also find a home on Tchoupitoulas Street in New Orleans.
The Bunker Book calls the reader to hope despite reasons to despair, to overcome fear and to fight the forces that would silence artists and political dissidents everywhere. Anyone feeling frustrated with our times might take solace and encouragement from these defiant and hopeful words.
ADVANCE PRAISE FOR ANNE BABSON
"Anne Babson’s poems are bunkered under the intersection of learning and lived knowledge, in depths where history and myth share roots and where blood and milk share a source. Bookish and puckish, formal and transformative, Babson’s poems range through time and space while always returning to (or do they ever leave?) the fever-dreamscape of her New Orleans. Along the way, she counters patriarchy’s fatal predations with a restorative feminism that calls us to action. Spend some time in this bunker and you’ll emerge, with Babson’s saints, ready to dance and to fight."–Brad Richard, author of Parasite Kingdom and Motion Studies
"What do you do when the world closes in on all sides? If you’re Anne Babson, you sustain yourself in a fortress of books and let your mind wander where it may. Babson’s The Bunker Book is a delightful feast of linguistic wit and play. In these poems you will party with Gertrude Stein in PJs, go bar-hopping with the Vampire Lestat--and that’s on a slow night! Of all the writers who entered lockdown with optimistic plans for their work, only Anne Babson could emerge from her bunker with such a brainy, brash, gut-busting, brouhaha of a book. Do yourself a favor and dive in."–Alison Pelegrin, author of Our Lady of Bewilderment
"Anne Babson's The Bunker Book knows no boundaries. Shifting through place and time, the poems commune with a variety of fictional and historical women, each living in their own metaphorical bunkers. From The Wife of Bath to Sylvia Plath to Heather Lewis, every encounter is dark, playful, hallucinatory, revelatory. Like Ilya Kaminsky's Deaf Republic, this book explicates a civilization. Poetry lovers should rush to these pages."–Maurice Carlos Ruffin
"Some books read as if they were cities: the reader is walking its neighborhoods, experiencing the music and bustle of each street, each poem. Like New Orleans itself, Anne Babson’s The Bunker Book is a glorious hodge-podge of voices and influence. As if walking Bourbon Street, we hear German, Spanish, and French co-mingling as Psalms sidle into Elvis, Laura Ingalls, and Mrs. Havisham; as free verse follows villanelle, ghazal, and blank verse; as churches are built beside bar. And as it does, history’s shadow stretches into the contemporary. These are poems of witness, and more importantly in these troubled times, poems of hope. The Bunker Book presents “a city safe for women built on heroic/couplets,” and Anne Babson is quite the architect."–Gerry LaFemina, author of Baby Steps for Doomsday Prepping
ABOUT ANNE BABSON
Anne Babson’s first collection The White Trash Pantheon won the Colby H. Kullman prize from the Southern Writers Southern Writing Conference in Oxford, Mississippi. Her second collection, Polite Occasions, was published by Unsolicited Press, and her third collection, Messiah, was published by Saint Julian Press. She wrote the libretto for the opera Lotus Lives, which has been performed in New York, Boston, and Montreal, and it is set to be released to video in coming months. She is the author of four chapbooks– Uppity Poems, Dictation, Poems Under Surveillance, and Dolly Shot. She has been anthologized in the United States and in England, most recently in the notable collection Nasty Women Poets: an Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse released in 2017. Her work has appeared in literary journals on five continents and has won numerous editorial awards. Her play about gun culture in the South, Reenactment, was published in 2019. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize four times. She has received residency grants from Yaddo and Vermont Studio Center. She writes lyrics for a variety of musical projects, most recently a blues album. She teaches writing and literature at Southeastern Louisiana University. She is the president of the Women’s National Book Association of New Orleans.
ABOUT UNSOLICITED PRESS
Unsolicited Press strives to produce exceptional works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from award-winning authors. Unsolicited Press based out of Portland, Oregon and focuses on the works of the unsung and underrepresented. As a womxn-owned, all-volunteer small publisher that doesn’t worry about profits as much as championing exceptional literature, we have the privilege of partnering with authors skirting the fringes of the lit world. We’ve worked with emerging and award-winning authors such as Shann Ray, Amy Shimshon-Santo, Brook Bhagat, Kris Amos, and John W. Bateman. Learn more at unsolicitedpress.com. Find us on twitter and Instagram, @unsolicitedp.
THE BUNKER BOOK is available on December 13, 2022 as a paperback (142p.; 978-1-956692-44-0), e-book, and audiobook (forthcoming). Retailers and libraries can order copies through Ingram. The author is available for speaking engagements.
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