Two Chapbooks

We Had to Go On LIvingThis fall I’ve been delighted to have two chapbooks released. First, from Red Bird Chapbooks, We Had to Go On Living: a collection of two essays, “Northern Pike” and “Bruised,” that both speak to the years my wife and I spent in the Midwest, years of joy, as we started our family, and loneliness, as we struggled to find our footing in new communities and alien landscapes. And just this past week, winner of the Iron Horse Chapbook Issue Competition, Leviathan: a short collection of poetry that also speaks to our Midwestern sojourn, though it does so in a host of voices and forms. And what beautiful books! Both presses took such care during the editorial and design processes. I’m so pleased to have had the chance to work with such wonderful folks and to now have in my hands these two lovely chapbooks.Leviathan


LeviathanSo pleased to be sharing the news of my latest collection of poetry, Leviathan, which won the 2014 Iron Horse Single-Author Contest. The chapbook will be out in just over two weeks, but you can pre-order now for just $4! You can get a sneak peek at the title poem here, and here’s what Carrie Jerrell, contest judge, and Laurie Kutchins, Pulitzer Prize finalist, have to say about the manuscript:

Leviathan is a collection both celebratory and elegiac. Wilkins moves deftly from the natural landscapes of rivers and forests, to the domestic landscapes of garage sales and truck stops, to the emotional landscapes of terror and wonder brought on by fatherhood. He captures each of them in language and imagery as rich as the heart itself. Though the waters and people who populate these poems are often bracing, Wilkins never loses hope for long.” -Carrie Jerrell, author of After the Revival

“There’s alchemy in Joe Wilkins’s poems. Colic, junk, gutted factories, and rotten tomatoes become gold; castaway, castoff things at garage sales become luminous lists of all the things that keep us human. Some of these poems take us into birth-country; others, into the clutches of parenthood, into both literal and metaphorical floods. We think a chapbook is a little book, but no such thing with Leviathan. True to its title, this is a giant of a book with big-soul poems. This is no chamber quartet, but rather a full symphony of sonic energy and fierce, percussive love.” -Laurie Kutchins, Pulitzer-Prize finalist for The Night Path

We Had to Go On Living

We Had to Go On LIving

I’m thinking of this one as my Midwestern: We Had to Go On Living, a limited-edition chapbook of two essays, “Northern Pike,” which originally appeared in the Harvard Review, and “Bruised,” originally appearing in The Sun, from our years in small-town Iowa. Thanks to Red Bird Chapbooks for their attention to these essays and for the beautifully designed chapbook.