Melody and Twila (and peggy)–How Lucky We Are to Be Alive Right Now

By now the whole world knows that the Schuyler Sisters were the hottest—and coolest—female siblings in America. The operative word here is “were,” since, as of today, we have a new reigning matriarchy–the Newey Sisters. Today, By Common Consent Press is pleased to announce the publication of An Imperfect Roundness by Melody Newey Johnson, and Sylvia by Twila Newey. How lucky we are to be alive right now. And wait ’till you get a load of Peggy.

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We begin with Melody Newey Johnson’s new collecttion of poems, An Imperfect Roundness. You know, of course, that BCC Press is your one-stop-shop for great Mormon poetry, with books like Rachel Hunt Steenblik’s Mother’s Milk and Darlene Young’s Homespun and Angel Feathers—two of the last three AML-Award-winning collections–along with Heather Harris Bergevin’s Lawless Women and Kathryn Knight Sonntag’s The Tree at the Center—not to mention Rachel’s sequel, I Gave Her a Name. To these amazing books, we are thrilled to add An Imperfect Roundness, which Mormon uber-poet Susan Elizabeth Howe describes as a book of verses that “look inward and outward at the same time and therefore sing with insights about her journey through the canyons, fields, and mountains of a well-lived, thoughtful life.”

Melody’s poems are well crafted, wise, compassionate, and charitable. They grow out of the lived experience of a woman of deep faith and profound insight. These are poems about motherhood, womanhood, sorrow, grief, love, hope, and faith—you know—things like that. Like this one:

 

Coming Up For Air

I.
My sister may not win her war with cancer.
When she speaks I hear the surf begin to roar,
the tide inside threatens to push me over.
Diving beneath the surface, I search for
words— perfect orbs of comfort, glowing
iridescent inside crusted shells—
I’ll gather, string them tidy, together . . .
but I lose my breath, come back up for air.

II.
My mother dies, her life unstrung.
Before she leaves I think I have all
the answers: the truth of how she lived,
why she stopped. Kneeling by the bed
I hear echoes of her voice, whispers from
a velvet box: What you know is smaller
than a pearl. The truth is an endless sea.

III.
My son marries his love. I buy the
only strand of pearls I’ve ever owned.
In the middle of a desert, I feel the
ocean against my breast, a hundred
little suns, rising in the palm of
my hand. I let go my grown child,
hold on to these drops of light.

Or this one:

How It Works

You will be healed
but first
you will be
wounded.

You will be saved
but first you
will know
you are lost.

But enough with the freebies. You need this book because it will both wound you and heal you. This is the real thing—poetry as prophecy, not in the modern sense of prophet-as-president-of-stuff. It is prophecy in the old-fashioned sense: beautiful words that pull us out of ourselves and into the orbit of things that matter.

We also present the novel Sylvia, by Twila Newey. This is the novel we have been waiting to publish since we were just a few mischievous thoughts in the BCC permabloggers’ collective mischievous minds. Sylvia begins right after its main character, Sylvia Taylor, dies in an automobile accident. The story weaves around her four adult daughters–Evie, Roxcy, Anna, and Mary—as they come together to create a life, and a family, in the absence of a mother who was the strong force holding them all together.

The story unfolds through a combination of flashbacks and contemporary action, with the perspective moving through each of the four daughters. Each daughter has different life experiences and different relationships to Mormonism. Their stories involve abuse, marriage, divorce, betrayal, and depression–but also love and hope and understanding. Fans of the great Mormon books of the past—Virginia Sorensen’s The Evening and the Morning, say, or Jean Woodman’s Glory Spent—will hear their echoes, not because Twila has read or studied them (she assures us that she has not), but because she is working with the raw material of families and women searching for meaning in Mormonism’s culture, which is nourishing and stifling in roughly equal measures.

At BCC Press, we don’t just like Sylvia, we opened ourselves up to the beauty of the language and the power of the story and were changed by Sylvia. We think that you will be too. And save a little wonder and awe for the beautiful cover art taken from a painting by Olivia Pendergast and designed by Christian Harrison, who also designed the cover for An Imperfect Roundness. Judged by these covers alone, BCC Press is definitely coming up in the world.

And now, let’s talk about Peggy. OK, we lied, there is no Peggy. But there is a Rachel, as in Rachel Hunt Steenblik. As in, the audiobook version of Mother’s Milk is now officially available—read by Rachel herself, and we couldn’t be happier. Mother’s Milk is our bestselling book of all time. It is the only book we have translated into French (or any other language). And now it is one of our first audiobooks, available wherever fine audio-literature is downloaded.

So don’t just stand there. Look around. Look around. And realize how lucky you are to be alive in this new golden age of Mormon Literature. BCC Press is happy to be a part of it with you.

Comments

  1. Truckers Atlas says:

    YASSSSSSS!!!!!!

  2. Aussie Mormon says:

    “By now the whole world knows that the Schuyler Sisters were the hottest—and coolest—female siblings in America.”

    This is the first I’ve heard of them. Though after a bit of googling I realise that’s because I haven’t seen Hamilton. :P

  3. Thank you, BCC Press. What an honor for both of us Newey Sisters. And kudos to all the other authors whose work found a home with BCC Press.

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