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Radio Free AWP Thursday Raffle Giveaways
February 3, 2011 - 4:30am


As always, simply e-mail me (only once today—you can and should enter once each day!) at to enter. Today only, be sure to include in your title these secret words:

Day Two Raffle


The Prizes:

Hey now: Poets & Writers has generously donated a one-year subscription, plus a copy of their January 2010 "Inspiration" cover by Chip Kidd (suitable for framing!), seen here at They describe themselves thus:

“Founded in 1970, P&W is the nation's largest nonprofit literary organization serving poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. And for more than twenty years, Poets & Writers Magazine has been a trusted companion to writers who take their vocation seriously. Within its pages, readers find provocative essays on the literary life, practical guidance for getting published and pursuing writing careers, in-depth profiles of poets, fiction writers, and writers of creative nonfiction, and conversation among fellow professionals. In addition, Poets & Writers Magazine provides the most comprehensive listing of literary grants and awards, deadlines, and prizewinners available in print.”


One signed copy of Fred Arroyo’s A Region of Lost Names (University of Arizona Press) will be raffled today. (See Fred’s and Amy Hassinger’s podcast today.) The synopsis of Region:

“Ernest is searching for a place where he can live beyond his past. His family has returned to Puerto Rico, and Ernest remains in the States, desiring only distance from his memories of childhood displacement and work, his parents’ tumultuous relationship, and his own love for Magdalene. Magdalene, too, looks to move beyond her memories as she follows Ernest’s family home, seeking resolution to her mother’s hurtful secrets, her father’s unknown identity, and her love for Ernest. As Ernest moves through the fields of Michigan, as Magdalene traverses the jungles of Puerto Rico and the shores of the Caribbean, they discover that their dreams and identities are linked within the framework of their families and their pasts….”

“A novel that explores themes of identity, belonging, isolation, and love and reminds us of the impact of the past on our present experiences. The colorful, sensuous imagery not only adds to the reader’s interest but vividly depicts life on the Island as well as in the mainland United States.” –Multi-Cultural Review.


One signed hardcover copy of Amy Hassinger’s The Priest’s Madonna (Putnam, 2006). (See Amy’s and Fred Arroyo’s podcast today.) The copy:

The Priest's Madonna begins in 1877, the feast day of Sainte Marie Madeleine, when nine-year-old Marie accompanies her mother on a pilgrimage to the grotto at Sainte Baume in the hills of Provence, where Marie Madeleine was said to have spent her last years. There, Marie meets Bérenger Saunière, a twenty-five year old seminarian who, eight years later, will be named as priest to Rennes-le-Château, her family’s tiny village at the foothills of the Pyrenees. Interweaving the history of France at the turn of the twentieth century, scenes of ancient Judea, and the romantic and religious journey of a spirited and intense heroine, The Priest’s Madonna gives Marie a chance to tell her version of what transpired—a story of belief, doubt, and illicit passions. For readers of The Birth of Venus, Girl with a Pearl Earring, and The Other Boleyn Girl, The Priest's Madonna is a historically lush and thoroughly enthralling novel about the forbidden love between a woman and a holy man and the moral and spiritual struggles of faith.”

“[M]arvelously written and well researched,” says Library Journal in a starred review.


One signed paper copy of Amy Hassinger’s Nina: Adolescence (Bluehen/Penguin, 2003). The copy:

“At the center of an attic studio littered with paints and portraits stands fifteen-year-old Nina, nude. A canvas separates her from her mother, who perches on a stool, paintbrush in hand. In a desperate attempt to coax her mother out of her emotional seclusion since the accidental death of Nina’s little brother, Nina has offered herself up as a model. The painting that will result, entitled Nina: Adolescence, will mark her mother’s triumphant return to the Boston art world and form the centerpiece of a gallery show. But the exposure makes Nina uneasy, and her father begins to protest with increasing vehemence. The family starts to come apart, sending Nina into a tailspin as she recklessly attempts to free herself from a disintegrating household and the confines of someone else’s frame. With the tension reaching a breaking point, Nina finds that the gift she gave to her mother is rapidly becoming a sacrifice and could very well serve to be the cause of her unmaking.”

“. . . a superb first novel . . . That Nina dares to embrace life shows how much this author knows about the resilience of young hearts." --O, The Oprah Magazine


One copy of Nikky Finney’s Head Off & Split, out this month from Northwestern University Press. Nikky Finney is a professor of creative writing at the University of Kentucky and the author of three previous volumes of poetry: The World Is Round, Rice, and On Wings Made of Gauze. The copy for Head Off:

“The poems in Nikky Finney’s breathtaking new collection sustain a sensitive and intense dialogue with emblematic figures and events in African American life: from civil rights matriarch Rosa Parks to former secretary of state Condoleeza Rice, from a brazen girl strung out on lightning to a terrified woman abandoned on a rooftop during Hurricane Katrina. Finney’s poetic voice is defined by an intimacy that holds a soft yet exacting eye on the erotic, on uncanny political and family events, like her mother’s wedding waltz with South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond, and then again on the heartbreaking hilarity of an American president’s final State of the Union address.”

“Beginning with the sweepingly inclusive and powerful ‘Red Velvet,’ a middle passage poem for our times, Nikky Finney takes the reader to a wonderfully alive world where the musical possibilities of language overflow with surprise and innovation…. These poems, in other words, have the power to save us." —Bruce Weigl, author of What Saves Us


A signed copy of Xu Xi’s novel Habit of a Foreign Sky, finalist for the inaugural Man Asian Literary Prize. The copy:

“What happens when a high-powered female executive relinquishes all responsibilities? For Gail, a mixed-race, single mother who loses her only child and her mother in the span of two years, the only thing that keeps her barely afloat in this world is her hard-earned career at a global investment bank. Her life goes into a rapid free fall, [forcing her to endure] her complicated past as she was once so sure of her direction in life.”

Xu Xi is author of nine books of fiction and essays, and has taught creative writing workshops at universities and other forums in Asia, Europe, and North America. A Chinese-Indonesian native of Hong Kong, she abandoned an 18-year international marketing and management career in favor of the writing life. She is currently writer-in-residence at the City University of Hong Kong, where she directs an international MFA in writing of Asia in English. She is also Director of the Vermont College of Fine Arts low-res MFA. (See her podcasts today.)


One copy (signed, if I can get to her in time) of Sandra Beasley’s I Was the Jukebox, winner of the 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize, selected by Joy Harjo and published by W. W. Norton. The prize is for the best second collection of poems by an American woman poet.

Sandra Beasley’s debut book, Theories of Falling, was selected by Marie Howe as the winner of the 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize (New Issues Poetry and Prose, 2008). Her Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a nonfiction book, is forthcoming in July from Crown. (See her podcast with Dana Burchfield today, called “A Public Space.”)



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