River / Ross Gay & Richard Wehrenberg

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river web.jpg
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River / Ross Gay & Richard Wehrenberg


Using the Jordan River in Bloomington, Indiana as a spine / guide, River forms a small map of local/personal & collective/historical erasure. Ross Gay & Richard Wehrenberg’s stories of the rivers from their lives create interstices of illumination in the space somewhere between remembering and forgetting. Featuring hand-drawn maps & a deconstructive history of the Jordan River & early president of Indiana University David Starr Jordan, for whom the river is named, this brief, multifaceted collection pulsates with the question how do we begin to remember what was effaced? and digs at the tradition of curated forgetting in the capital-genuflecting epoch in which we are currently embedded.

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Published 1 December 2014

Nonfiction • MHP-011
Saddle-stitched • 40 pp
5 x 7.5 • ♾♽

Distribution • MHP

This chapbook defies categorization. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it. It is part poetry, part essays, part sketchbook, part atlas, part pure reflection, pure collaboration, seamlessly weaving, in a fun but serious way, a million years of history together through these two authors’ minds. The mini-essays and epigraphs and drawings therein are beautiful and bold, although also brief and just, I felt after I had finished, too short. I wanted more of the deadpan descriptions of Indian mascots riding out on horses over a field once ruled by an indigenous tribe. I wanted the dry observations seen in the descriptions of a town like Bloomington or Kent. Sometimes you have to learn to savor what you can get, though. The book itself seems like a meditation on preservation, mutalism, and temperance.”

Andrew Duncan Worthington


Two Stories
(Monster House)


The Fanzine

Ross Gay (photo by Natasha Komoda)

Ross Gay is the author of three books: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Catalog was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry, the Ohioana Book Award, the Balcones Poetry Prize, the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, and it was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Ross is the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook "Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens," in addition to being co-author, with Richard Wehrenberg, of the chapbook, "River."  He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin'in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press.  Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Ross teaches at Indiana University.  

Richard Wehrenberg is a poet, designer, & wolf hybrid living in Bloomington, Indiana. They are the author of the pamphlet Reset North America To Default Settings (MHP 2016), along with the chapbooks Hands (MHP, 2015) and River (MHP, 2014), co-written with Ross Gay. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, Richard is the lead designer for and co-founder of Monster House Press. In their most recent past life, they were a surgeon from Maine & died in 1946.