Reading & Signing
BLOOD FIRE VAPOR SMOKE (Short Stories)
Thursday, June 20th
Join us in welcoming Shann Ray back to Fact & Fiction in celebration of his TWO new releases, Sweetclover (Poetry) and Blood Fire Vapor Smoke (Short Stories)!
Blood Fire Vapor Smoke
A cycle akin to the seasons of a life, Blood Fire Vapor Smoke asks questions of the ancient struggle between life and death amidst landscapes new and old. Does ultimate forgiveness answer to ultimate violence in the world? What is the nature of grace? A collection of stories opening upon the inner world with the abandon and gravity involved in personal and collective responsibility, the book responds to the collapsing binary of two hungers: violence and forgiveness. Blood Fire Vapor Smoke considers the human myth of regeneration through violence, and the aftermath of loneliness, love, and yearning found in a more merciful expression of human existence. Violence is caught by love, changed, transcended, and transformed into a yearning for restoration, atonement, and the courage embodied in greater humanity.
Grounded in the physical while asking metaphysical questions, the poems in Sweetclover detail love, wilderness, fracture, and fusion. They speak of wildflowers, the slant of a collarbone, the flight feathers of predatory birds, and the eye of winter. American Book Award–winner Shann Ray’s affinity for Montana landscapes and the intimate heart of the beloved challenges the age of enragement with delight in those we are graced to know. Sweetclover is an honoring of marriage through individual and collective interpretations of the body in movement, silent, vocal, ethereal, muscular, transcendent. The fellow travelers in these poems cross mountain ranges to behold the intricacy of blue-capped tree swallows. Humbled by the heavens, the sequences in Sweetclover speak of walking hand in hand with the beloved, listening, and giving oneself sacrificially to better understand each other. Sweetclover posits the marriage bed beyond nihilism, where God speaks and lovers believe in absorbing the shadow, and finding their way to new life.
Shann Ray's work has appeared in Esquire, Poetry, McSweeney’s, Narrative, Montana Quarterly, and Salon. He grew up fishing the waterways of Montana and Alaska, and spent part of his childhood on the Northern Cheyenne reservation in southeast Montana. Honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the High Plains Book Award, and the American Book Award. He lives with his wife and three daughters in Spokane, Washington and teaches leadership and forgiveness studies at Gonzaga University. He is the author of Sweetclover, Blood Fire Vapor Smoke, American Masculine, American Copper, Balefire, Forgiveness and Power in the Age of Atrocity, the poetry chapbook Atomic Theory 432, the libretto The Garment of Praise, and a novel in progress, Consider the Birds of the Air.