Michele Finkelstein reviews They Could No Longer Contain Themselves...
...in the Rumpus. "What brings these writers together?" she asks, then answers:
"Perhaps the results of the contest or a general theme of twisting the serious and dramatic with the absurd and unusual. Either way, They Could No Longer Contain Themselves represents five distinct voices. Like the title and publishers suggest, these writers have successfully pushed their imaginative abilities to leave the reader baffled, excited, and laughing out loud."
Tara L. Masih has a guest post over at the Flash Fiction Chronicles...
...where she shares a lot of insights--her own and those of others--about using the Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction to teach the form. Check out her piece,"You Don't Look that Short," here.
...that Betty Superman by Tiff Holland is "timeless." She also discusses how Tiff walks the knife's edge between fiction and nonfiction, saying:
The fact that this chapbook is a blend of fiction and autobiography was heavy on my mind while reading. Although, asking Holland what is true and what is imaginary never crossed my mind. That’s irrelevant. The way our minds work doesn’t allow us to remember the entire truth of anything, anyway. We strap narratives onto the backs of what we can recall, we assign importance to some things and downgrade others, we remember gulps of water but have no idea what glass, we project, we project, we project. Isn’t that lovely? We are our own stories. So it doesn’t really matter how much is true.
Sean Lovelace and Andrew Scott both like Betty Superman
Sean says so here in a boozy review on HTML GIANT. "Betty Superman is one of those books sort of aching for the classroom. (Sorry, I teach, and look for these things.) You could build many, many character exercises. You could hold a semester on verisimilitude. You could discuss linked stories (sort of a hot topic recently). You could have your class look up the lyrics of “Superman” by Barbra Streisand. You could discuss the role of narrator, how they reveal and hide away, to effect. You could seriously discuss creation of a dynamic personage. Betty Superman, the character, pulls you in, because of her contradictions. She is narcissistic and caring, caustic and nostalgic, intolerant and understanding, strong and weak, stubborn and yet able to yield, overbearing and then fading away into a curled ball of dropped thoughts/scattered remembrances/rose-tinted bile. She is complex," he says.
Andrew says so here, choosing the chapbook for his book club.
Today is the official release of Tiff Holland's Betty Superman, winner of our 5th annual short short chapbook contest, judged by Kim Chinquee. Betty Superman can be yours by ordering here!
As with all of our chapbook winners, we printed the covers for Betty Superman by hand on a Vandercook letterpress at the Museum of Printing in North Andover, Mass. For two amazing days in early June, we cranked out 350 covers—twice, once with red ink and the smoking hand, and again with the metallic silver ink and text.
Here's a behind-the-scenes look at how the Betty Superman covers were created: First we printed the smoking hand linoleum cut that designer Rebecca Saraceno (left, running the press) carved in red ink on the red paper. Also pictured is Rose Metal Press co-founder Kathleen Rooney, who was at that time laying all the newly printed one-color covers out to dry. We all wo-manned the Vandercook printing press throughout the day.
Once the red ink dried it was time to set the type for the text and print the metallic silver ink! Here is Rose Metal Press co-founder Abby Beckel printing the silver text on the formerly one-color covers. Here's a finished Betty Superman coming off of the metal type we pulled and set by hand. And the finished covers out to dry all over the Museum. Check out this video of Betty Superman on press!
Once the covers were printed, the lovely folks at Red Sun Press in Jamaica Plain, Mass. printed the interiors and did the handwork to bind those interiors with our letterpress covers and very cool metallic midnight blue endsheets and create the finished chapbook!
The book itself is beautiful, but more importantly Tiff Holland's stories are amazing—contest judge Kim Chinquee writes of Betty Superman: “From beginning to end, Holland’s stories layer, offering colorful pictures that speak to one another, developing the angst and sympathy of the relationships between these family members into a complete whole. Each time I read this collection, I find more to love."
...reviews Betty Superman, and they have this to say:
Holland excels at writing around characters to fill them in. Rather than tell us that Betty, the mother in Betty Superman, listens to a certain kind of music, the narrator says, “I don’t remember what LP she had on the turntable. Knowing Betty, it could have been anything, Motown or some soundtrack, Barry Manilow or Barbra Streisand. I remember that year she had a thing for Streisand’s ‘Superman’ song.” This clearly states a few things: that it’s the 1970s, and that Betty clearly doesn’t listen to “anything,” but a certain style of music that’s soft and non-challenging and has its roots in 1950s and ‘60s pop. All of Betty Superman is like this—Holland makes sketches that slowly fill with detail.
Read the whole review here. Thanks to Monica Mundaca for the coverage!
New Pages has a new review of They Could No Longer Contain Themselves...
...and in it, Gina Myers says:
In each of the authors’ cases, the worlds they are able to create in such little space, with so few words, is impressive. The characters, though we may catch just a glimpse of them, are rendered completely, are identifiable as people we know. These are five authors to look for. Further, the quality of work in this collection sets high expectations for future Rose Metal Press chapbooks.