Pages We’re Turning

by James Brubaker

James Brubaker is publisher of the Southeast Missouri State University Press which serves as a first-rate publisher and as a laboratory for students interested in literary publishing.

One of our press’s recent books is a lovely collection of poems by Brad Aaron Modlin, titled Everyone At this Party Has Two Names. The book is the most recent winner of the Cowles Poetry Prize, an annual contest of the University Press. The contest’s submission window closes on April 1 of every year. Modlin’s winning entry was selected by Dr. Susan Swartwout out of well over a hundred manuscripts.

Modlin is a very accomplished writer. He earned his MFA from Bowling Green State University and his PhD from Ohio University. His poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in Denver Quarterly, The Florida Review, Indiana Review, DIAGRAM, River Teeth, Fourth Genre and others.

In addition to winning our poetry manuscript contest, Modlin’s thirty-nine page manuscript of very short fictions, Surviving Drought, was recently published after winning The Cupboard’s annual contest. He currently teaches writing at Missouri Southern State University.

As for the poetry itself, Modlin’s poems are elegantly written and wise, but their wisdom comes from recognizing how little their speakers truly know. Of the poems in Everyone at This Party Has Two Names, Larissa Szporluk, author of Traffic With MacBeth, writes, “Modlin’s [poems] are delightful, artful and frightening collages of the fractured individual who must daily relearn the lessons of love and grief. To read this book is to recoil with recognition, and then to shoot forward with the courage it provides via humor and the unexpected warmth of shared plight.”

At turns funny, sad and frightening, Modlin’s poems overflow with genuine human emotion, distilled into beautifully rendered images and metaphors.


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