Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lesley Wheeler's The Receptionist and Other Tales

I'm pleased to announce that Aqueduct has just released The Receptionist and Other Tales, a new Conversation Pieces volume featuring narrative poetry by Lesley Wheeler. I'll let Ursula Le Guin's and Gwyneth Jones's descriptions speak for the volume:

Gwyneth Jones, author of Spirit and The Universe of Things writes: Lesley "Wheeler's The Receptionist is a delight: a stirring narrative of fantasy and derring-do, set in the ivy-clad towers and poky offices of modern academia, in which the warrior princess of an ancient line returns to the fray at last and summons ancient powers to defend the right, all told in technically assured terza rima cantos, full of ingenious rhythms. The forces of evil are all too recognizable, the bad guys satisfyingly bad and the good guys not too goody-goody. The infusion of classic children’s fantasy, and other bedtime folklore sources, is wonderful too. In the bonus package of shorter poems, “Zombie Thanksgiving” (T.S. Eliot's “The Waste Land” retold) is stunning, an absolute tour de force."

Ursula K. Le Guin, author of Lavinia and Cheek by Jowl, writes: "How much Modernism deprives us of when it declared both the fantastic in fiction and the narrative in poetry unrespectable, and what a pleasure it is now to see the exiled witches and the forbidden rhymes return. Where can an evil Dean meet his doom more fitly than in terza rima? Lesley Wheeler’s brief novel of misbehaviour in academia, subtle and funny, rashly inventive and perfectly realistic, uses all the forgotten powers of metaphor and poetry to make the mundane luminous."

Edna, the heroine of "The Receptionist," is a mother and the receptionist for an academic department. The morning after hearing a Voice telling her The first revolution: simply to refuse, going through her email inbox, "Edna thought to check her spam."

 There it was, from "Gnomic Utterance." Subject
line: Solve for X. My destiny approaches,
she thought, and chuckled like a cracked crock-pot.

 You can purchase it now, here.

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