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Thursday, June 02, 2022

Sharing the Wiseblood newsletter

Forthcoming from Wiseblood Books

Dear Readers,

Our horizon of forthcoming publications is afire with good things
  so many, in fact, that I can't help sharing a few highlights:

1. Seren of the Wildwood, a long fantasy story in verse by Marly Youmans, with cover and interior illustrations by Clive Hicks-Jenkins. Youmans is an award-winning author of over fifteen books, including, most recently, Charis in the World of Wonders.   

2. Works of Mercy, a novel by Sally Thomas, who was our 2021 Wiseblood Writer-in-Residence. Thomas is author of the poetry book Motherland (Able Muse Press 2020), a finalist for the Able Muse Book Award. With Micah Mattix, she is co-editor of a poetry anthology, Christian Poetry in America Since 1940, from Paraclete Press. Currently she serves as Associate Poetry Editor of the New York Sun.

3. A Theology of Fiction (expanded) by Cassandra Nelson. A shorter version of Nelson's "A Theology of Fiction" appeared in First Things in April of 2022. The essay asks "Where did Catholic literary fiction come from in the first place?" and answers this question by examining the life and work of a remarkable but little-known American Benedictine named Sister Mariella Gable. The literary reputations of J.F. Powers and Flannery O’Connor rose, in part, on Gable's reviews, anthologies, and single-handed reconsiderations of what Catholic literature could be. Nelson, an associate fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, brings years of hard-won ruminations to bear on questions concerning faith and fiction.

4. Paul Claudel's play The City, preface by Pater Edmund Waldstein, a monk of Stift Heiligenkreuz, a Cistercian abbey in Austria and editor of the Josiasa manual of Catholic political philosophy.
5. Seneca's The Madness of Hercules, translated by Dana Gioia, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and poet laureate of California, student of the great Harvard classicist Robert Fitzgerald. Our Wiseblood edition will include Gioia's essay on the nature and art of tragedy.
6.  Hugo von Hofmannsthal's novella The Woman without a Shadow, translated by Vincent Kling, whose translation of Heimito von Doderer's The Strudlhof Steps (NYRB 2021) recently received the Helen & Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize.

7. Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize Finalist and Penelope Niven Award Winner Spence K. M. Brown’s second novel Hold Fast. The book tells the story of a near-Olympian rower and his father living on the shore of Lake Superior as they struggle to find their way through his wife’s death.

We hope you'll clear a few inches of your shelf in anticipation of this wonderful admixture of old and new books, translations and originals, fiction and verse, veteran writers and young authors.

Thank you for reading,

Joshua Hren
Founder & Editor, Wiseblood Books


  1. I expect many who care about my books have already seen my share in this news when announced and shared on social media... but if not, here it is. And perhaps you might subscribe to the Wiseblood newsletter!

  2. I didn't know, so thank you for posting here! I always look forward to reading more Youmans!

    1. I always look forward to being read by the likes of Scott G. F. Bailey!

  3. Thaliad was one of my favorite books, so I am excited about this new verse story. Congrats!

    1. Thank you, O Anonymous! I am looking forward to seeing what Clive makes in response...

  4. I wasn't expecting too much familiarity with the above list and then my eye caught Hugo von Hoffmanstahl. Bang! Librettist to virtually all Richard Strauss's significant operas. Seen 'em all, own most of 'em. Didn't realise Die Frau ohne Schatten started life as a novella which I may well buy.

    Given von Hoffmanstahl's religiose upbringing and background I was rather surprised to find he shared in the creation of Strauss's greatest work, Die Rosenkavalier. Not that the opera is aggressively secular but it is hugely sensuous (or sensual, I'm always confused by these two adjectives) without being physical or gross. The handing over of the rose is one of the greatest scenes ever. Which, if you know my well-springs, you'll realise is high praise indeed. Including, as it does, the works of Mozart and, especially, the Sarastro aria (from Die Zauberflõte) I was invited to try and sing during my very first singing lesson six years ago, causing me to break down in tears and subsequently enter the world of music from the inside instead of remaining on the outside as a mere listener.

    See how you react to the handing over of the rose if it's new to you. There's a great - and lush - clip on YouTube starring two great sopranos of yesteryear, Brigitte Fassbände and Lucia Popp..Yes, I know, that's a comical surname but, honestly it doesn't detract. Copy and paste:

    1. I guess that I had my chance--they did Die Rosenkavalier a few years ago at Glimmerglass Opera. I'm often away in opera season and might have been.... not sure. Thank you for the link--will try!

      Your tales of learning to sing are always wonderful! That's a lovely first-lesson story.


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.