Best Thing I’ve Read This Week: The Rusted City

Rochelle Hurt:

Vouched Books reviewed The Rusted City!

Originally posted on Vouched Books:

If Michel Gondry and William Faulkner were to team up and write a book about Cleveland, you might wind up with something akin to Rochelle Hurt’s debut collection The Rusted City (White Pine Press, 2014). Hurt’s collection is about not only a city collapsing in on itself, but also a family.

Hurt’s collection is decadent in the truest sense of the word. We watch as the rusted city eats itself alive. In one poem, Hurt writes:

The City Swallows/ falling scraps like a dog at a dinner table, it’s river tongue-lapping  them in from the lip of the shore. It jostles them down its throat, shaking an old tune out as the scraps rub and clash their way underground, groaning into beds of dirt. This is the din that’s rattled centuries of the city’s floorboards. But as far as the smallest sister knows, it is only the cymbal hymn the…

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Reviews, Interviews, and Audio Poems! Oh my!

Recent News

  • The talented poet Amber Rambharose interviewed me (about epiphanies, voice, and The Rusted City) for Forthcoming Poets. You can read it here–and listen to some audio poems while you’re at it.

New Prose Poems & Flash Fiction

Poemeleon’s new Unreal Issue (graced by Julie Heffernan’s beautiful artwork) is now live, and it’s both fabulous and fabulist. Five prose poems from The Rusted City are included.



Additionally, my short piece “Relentless” is now up as an audio recording at NANO Fiction, along with a brief interview about flash fiction.


News & Links

Prairie Schooner included The Rusted City in its February edition of Poetry News!

I recorded a few poems for the audio archive over at One Pause Poetry, including my own “Poem in Which I Play the Runaway,” from Best New Poets 2013, and one of my favorite poems, “With Mercy for the Greedy” by Anne Sexton.

The great people of the MFA program at UNCW did a little writeup on The Rusted City on their blog, and it includes one of my favorite poems from the collection.

White Pine Press has started a Tumblr, and they’ve been posting excerpts from The Rusted City for the last few days.

See you at AWP in Seattle!

I’ll be signing copies of The Rusted City at the White Pine Press bookfair table (P32) on Friday, 2/28 at 2pm.

I’ll also be at the Fairy Tale Review table (K26) on Sat, 3/1 at 12:15pm.

I’m reading offsite Friday night for Versal and Saturday night at the UNCW alumni reading. See my events page details.

The Rusted City Now Available!

My book, The Rusted City, is now available to order directly from White Pine Press via this link, as well as through large distributors like SPD and Amazon. You can also search for the The Rusted City at local independent bookstores through IndieBound. Information on The Rusted City, including blurbs and excerpts, can be found here on my Books page.

I will be promoting the book at several events this spring, including a book signing at the AWP Conference & Bookfair in Seattle and several offsite readings. I’ll also be reading in Chapel Hill, Cincinnati, Columbus, Youngstown, and Akron later this spring. Details on all of these upcoming events can be found here on my Readings & Events page, which will be updated throughout the year.


(My) Best Books (by Women) of 2013

Ok, so “best” is misleading. I don’t think I read nearly enough books by women this year–that were published this yearto make that call (I’m still catching up on this 2012 list). Also, I read a ton of poetry, but not so much fiction and nonfiction. I’ll do better next year.

What I do have is a list of pretty damn good books written by women and published in 2013. I thoroughly enjoyed all of these new books, and I’m positive that many of them may in fact be some of the best books published this year. Let’s just call this “books you should read.” Here they are, in no particular order:

Salamandrine:8 Gothics by Joyelle McSweeney (Tarpaulin Sky) – short fiction/contemporary gothic tales/might make you think about motherhood in an apocalyptic way/read the review in Brooklyn Rail to learn more

The Tales
by Jessica Bozek (Les Figues) – prose poetry/not-otherwise-specified genre/post-apocalyptic in a conceptual way

Lullaby (with Exit Sign
) by Hadara Bar-Nadav (Saturnalia) – prose poetry + some verse/Dickinson-inspired/read the review in Coldfront to learn more


Distant Lands: An Anthology of Poets Who Don’t
 by Agnieszka Kuciak, translated by Karen Kovacik (White Pine) – poetry (don’t be fooled, all the poems in here are by the same Polish poet, but she’s made up different aliases for this faux anthology)/read the review in The Rumpus to learn more

by Mary Szybist (Graywolf) – poetry/oh, you know, just a National Book Award winner

Red Doc
> by Anne Carson (Knopf) – a novel in verse/follow-up to Autobiography of Red/Ms. Carson needs no introduction

Full Cry
by Lisa Ampleman (NFSPS) – poetry/winner of the Stevens Poetry Manuscript Competition

Engine_Empire_softcover.inddEngine Empire by Cathy Park Hong (Norton) - poetry/lyrical and exciting/both historical and futuristic/ok, the hard copy came out last year, but the paperback is a 2013 edition/this is actually one of the best books I’ve read in years, period

To See the Queen
 by Allison Seay (Persea) – poetry/winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky Book Prize


An Elegy for Mathematics
by Anne Valente (Origami Zoo) – a chapbook of short/flash fiction/it’s on Little Fiction’s list of top ten book covers as well

Hemming the Water
by Yona Harvey (Four Way) – poetry/stylistically varied poems but all very musical/jazz-inspired

Plus four awesome books by women from 2012–I missed these last year, but I’m glad I caught them this year:

When My Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz (Copper Canyon) – poetry

Two-Headed Nightingale by Shara Lessley (New Issues) – poetry

The Apothecary’s Heir by Julianne Buchsbaum (Penguin) – poetry

Hold Like Owls by Julia Koets (U of South Carolina) – poetry


Holiday Time is Anthology Time: A Favorites List

Everybody loves a list, especially at the end of the year. In the spirit of rounding up, collecting, and recommending, I give you a list of poetry anthologies–a collection of collections, if you will.

First, a few of my favorite poetry anthologies in no particular order.

The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry and its international counterpart, The Vintage Book of Contemporary World Poetry, both edited by J.D. McClatchy: These are old standbys that I often use in poetry classes. Most of the big names of contemporary poetry are in there, but they do lack some newer and more experimental work.

Family_PortraitFamily Portrait: American Prose Poetry 1900-1950, edited by Robert Alexander (White Pine Press): This anthology of prose poetry examines the form as a Modernist genre and includes amazing prose poems that I hadn’t even seen before by poets like Amy Lowell and William Carlos Williams.

Postwar Polish Poetry, edited by Czeslaw Milosz: I discovered this one in a poetry course this year, and while it’s pretty specific, it’s definitely worth reading for the richness and variety of postwar Polish poetry.


Another and Another: An Anthology From the Grind Daily Writing Series, edited by Matthew Olzmann and Ross White (Bull City Press): This comes out of a daily writing series, which makes the poems that much more impressive and inspiring.

Great Poems by American Women, edited by Susan L. Rattiner (Dover Thrift): Not a  not contemporary anthology, but this spans several centuries and features some classics (Emily Dickinson, Phillis Wheatley) as well as many, many women poets that have been somewhat overlooked by Norton and other anthologies.

hybridAmerican Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry, edited by Cole Swenson and David St. John: This is a great supplement to the Vintage and other traditional anthologies because it presents a wide view of the more experimental side of contemporary poetry.

narrative (dis)continuities, edited by Kristina Marie Darling: an e-anthology (go read it for free right now!) that just came out on ‘prose experiments by younger writers.’ While there certainly are (what I would call) prose poems included, this is not all poetry, but it’s full of really interesting and formally innovative work.


The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, edited by Alan Kaufman and S.A. Griffin: If you’re hoping to go beyond Norton and Best American Poetry, this is great. It features poems from experimental writers like Alice Notley and Anne Waldman, as well as work from less ‘academic’ poets and musicians like Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, and Tupac Shakur.


There are also a few great-looking anthologies out there that I haven’t quite gotten to yet. These will be definitely be on my wish list this year.

Lit from Inside: 40 Years of Poetry from Alice James Books, edited by Anne Marie Macari and Carey Salerno

A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry, edited by Stacey Lynn Brown and Oliver de la Paz (U of Akron Press)

ApocalypseNowCoverApocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days, edited by Alexander Lumans and Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum (Upper Rubber Boot Books)


Part of my anthology enthusiasm this year is due to my own inclusion in several new anthologies:

I have a poem in Best New Poets 2013, edited by Brenda Shaughnessy and Jazzy Danziger (U of Virginia Press). This anthology series publishes 50 emerging poets every year.


Poetry to the People, edited by Abby Wendle and Scott Gregory (This Land Press) also features a poem of mine. This anthology is focused on life and culture ‘in the middle of the country.’

And finally, The Body Electric, edited by Aimee Herman features one of my poems. This one pays homage to Whitman through work engaged with conceptions of self and the body.