How To Be An American, my second book of poetry from Six Gallery Press is out November 7th! Want to know what people are saying? Funny you should ask:
That’s a real rejection notice that I received so extra special thank you to all the journals that did publish the poems in this book. I’m talking about The Blue Hour, Boyslut, Burlesque Press, Camel Saloon, Clockwise Cat, Crisis Chronicle, Dead Snakes, Dissident Voices, Eleventh Transmission, Fuck Art, Let’s Dance, Horror Sleaze and Trash, Ink Sweat and Tears, Mas Tequila Review, Red Fez, Regardless of Authority, Underground Books, Unlikely Stories, This Is Poetry, This Zine Will Change Your Life, and Zygote in My Coffee
And here’s what people are really saying:
The poems in How to Be an American strike the chords of conversations we should be having, should have already had and resolved, or conversations that should be irrelevant. In this generation’s remake of democracy, Malinenko’s book is an incendiary device.
—Jason Baldinger, author of The Lower Forty-Eight
Ally Malinenko is the embodiment of what E.L. Doctorow meant when he said we need writers because we need witnesses to this terrifying century. In How to Be an American, she dissects the American dream and breaks it down to its petri-dish truths. Malinenko’s America is a country that exports ignorance and consumerism, where the greatest embarrassment is to be poor, vulnerable, and in need. In a voice as direct and unstoppable as an ambulance, Malinenko paints a raw, visceral, and essential portrait of a country without pity, without compassion, and makes the need for change feel like the emergency it is.
—Lori Jakiela, author of Belief Is Its Own Kind of Truth, Maybe
Ally Malinenko has an exceptional ability to observe life and write honestly. She is an absolute treasure.
—Moriah LaChapell, editor of The Blue Hour
This is a devastating book that reads as the polar opposite of Walt Whitman—here, the speaker does not see herself of them, these demented Americans. Here, the speaker rises up and says to the Bible and all its believers, to the box stores and all their consumers, to the patriots and all their patriotism, “Absolutely not.” The country inside these pages is lit up like a Walmart commercial and packed with the same ugliness that makes minimum wage unlivable and bargain shoppers unbearable. The loudest voices are all dressed up in stars-and-stripes bikinis, shouting about how great it is to be red-white-and-blue, while the rest of us rape and kill and need a drink to stand the sights. Here are poems that say, “Enough,” that say, “Quit insulting the world.” Watch out, America. Ally Malinenko’s poems are dodgeballs and she’s throwing them at your head.
—Dave Newman, author of The Poem Factory
It ain’t pretty and it ain’t poesy, at least the way most Americans think of poesy, thank you, Jesus. And it ain’t political, except in the larger sense of human-ness, of flaming outrage, and of deeply longed for compassion. Simply put, this is Ally Malinenko’s incisive deconstruction of many a fetid cranny and nook of the collective American psyche. Pilgrim, save yourself: read it now.
—Don Wentworth, editor of Lilliput Review
How to Be an American is a how-to guide without instructions. This book is brave, bold, and honest—a fucking atom bomb to the political and personal poetry scenes.
—Ben John Smith, author of White White White
And an extra special thank you to Oscar Varona for the cover art, which you can buy as a t-shirt! How cool is that!
To celebrate the launch, I’ll be heading to Pittsburgh for a reading on November 7th at 8pm at Modern Formations – sadly one of the last as they are closing. If you’re in town, please come by. There will be beer and laughter. I promise.
It’s a great line-up including Adam Matcho, who has a new book out with LowGhost Press, Lori Jakiela, Dave Newman, John Grochalski, Jason Irwin and John Korn.
In the meantime, here’s the conversation I had with my mother regarding the book’s launch:
Mom: I’m worried. Someone is going to put a brick through your window. Look what happened to Snowden.
Me: Mom. Please. Stop.
I love you, Mom.
And finally, this book is dedicated with love to my fellow Americans – let’s all be better shall we?