Tuesday, September 15, 2015

P.R.A. Publishing Presents Sheema Kalbasi

About the Author    


                                     Sheema Kalbasi 
  1. Sheema Kalbasi was born in Tehran, Iran on 20 November 1972 and grew up in Pakistan and Denmark. She is a poet, filmmaker, researcher and rights activist. She lives in the United States.
     The late Roger Humes was a computer graphic artist/writer from Claremont, California. He was the Director of The Other International Project (www.othervoicespoetry.org), Head of Design Production for Literati Magazine (www.literati-magazine.com), and International Poetry Editor for Harvest International Magazine.  

About the Book(s)

Echoes in Exile is a rich collection of poetry describing Iran and Middle Eastern politics.  The poems are intimate, painted in a form that makes the unthinkable familiar. Sheema Kalbasi is the first poet of Middle Eastern heritage who demonstrates her concerns for the mistreatments of religious and ethnic minorities. She humanizes the Iranian people to the international community. This book can be viewed as a memoir and be displayed alongside Azar Nafisi's Reading Lolita in Tehran or Marjan Satrapi's Persepolis. Sheema believes that in light of the current political situation between Iran and the United States her words bring an important message to be shared by both cultures. Her work as a poet and translator confirm that the beauty and strength to convey the vast spectrum of emotions through language are exclusive to no country or culture.

       To Order

   Seven Valleys of Love, compiled and translated by Sheema Kalbasi, is written with a piercing clarity and a profound intensity of emotion. Kalbasi’s ability to preserve the integrity and poetical sensibility of the work is evident in her mastery of language, editing, and translation. Seven Valleys of Love is a vibrant celebration of extraordinary women’s voices. The colorful and lively verses in this dazzling collection emerge as small, quiet explosions out of the shadows of hopelessness and seek to inspire and restore peace, hope, and harmony in its people. This stunning anthology of love and loss bears witness to a passionate and sorrowful longing, a deep plaintiveness for the ageless plight of expression.  

Editorial Reviews

Every culture and its arts have their strengths; however, within those strengths can also stir the seeds of weakness. One the strengths of Western culture has been the growth of a secular consciousness. The mindset has opened an exploration and questioning of existence that can offset limits that more dogmatic views of life can create. Artistically, this can be seen at its best in the works of T.S. Eliot that are perhaps the height of poetry within the realms of the secular rational perspective. In many ways, we have spent the decades since Eliot attempting to approach the levels of his creations.  In consequence, there has been new limitations placed on serious Western poetry, ones in which the mind is acknowledged but often seen as alienated from its surroundings, the body is denigrated, and the soul is ignored. This inability to reconcile the soul and body with the mind is one of the reasons Western verse in many cases tends to be flat and sere with more concern in how it is constructed than in what it is saying. To break Western poetry out such confines it needs to discover in poetics from other parts of the world elements that are missing within its verses. The work of Sheema Kalbasi creates such reconciliation by incorporating the Iranian understanding that poems should express and contain the unity of the mind, the body, and the soul. Within this "trichotomy" of her poems is a connection to the world that is missing in much Western verse.

At the same time Kalbasi has taken time to learn Western poetics, obtaining a firm comprehension of how to use it in tandem with Iranian poetics, creating a unique style of verse that brings together many of the strengths of both poetries. Two examples are her poems "New England" and "Sitting Buddha."
"New England" is a true celebration of life offered through the joyous observation of a mother and a wife observing the two most precious people in her life, her daughter and her husband. The poem offers the physical delight within the actions of the child, the sharp observations within Kalbasi's mind, and a spirituality that one can only find within the celebration of family.
The poem is written as Western verse in English, showing a strong grasp of those poetics. The choice for line breaks illustrates an adept understand of the need to create units that compels the reader to pause at the proper moments yet desire to continue, like a brook flowing over a series of waterfalls on its way to a still pond.

She also shows a awareness of internal rhyme schemes within lines with her use of alliteration and assonance as seen by such lines as "Near the beach, sea rocks are thirsty to move " and "She slips the shelves and shadows of." Such subtleties bring an even greater strength to her work.
"Sitting Buddha" is a prose poem, a hybrid of fiction and poetry, and stream of consciousness writing. Kalbasi's successful use of the form is another example of the growing strength of her writing in English with the meter of the poem helping to tie together what could otherwise seem like a series of random images. At the same time, her subject matter is handled in a manner that few Western poets would attempt. She just does not observe the religious figures in her poem but embraces them, swimming in the spirituality of the moment, acknowledging the power of the soul as it wrestles with the mind and the body in the montage of images painted before the reader.
I fully acknowledge that my observations are generalities, but within that context I do believe that the lack of acceptance of the soul within Western writing is a problem that has in many cases reduced its poetry to the rather vapid state where form trumps meaning. It is my sincere hope that infusion of Persian poets into Western writing will continue to help to alleviate such limitations and that perhaps we shall finally move beyond Eliot. Within that context Kalbasi shows a strong ability to merge Western and Iranian poetics into writing that is new, fresh, and exciting. I know of no other who merges the two with more adeptness and skill.

                    – Roger Humes, International Poetry Editor, Harvest International Magazine

Kalbasi's poetry is generous and abundantly human, passionate and compassionate.
                                    - Jimmy Santiago Baca, author of Immigrants in Our Own Land

Sheema Kalbasi's poems speak of love, loss, and life in exile. They are the poems of a human rights activist passionate with the hope of peace. Kalbasi's poetry exposes the deep heart of a woman who is compassionate with suffering and full of the joy of life, of the innocence of a child, the knowledge of a woman, the aspirations of a peacemaker. These are stirring poems with a worldly view, both accessible and imaginative. They make an excellent cross-cultural exchange that demonstrates our universal humanity.
                   - Daniela Gioseffi, author of Women on War: International Writings

Through compassion and wisdom Sheema Kalbasi weaves the world together with her vivid words. World history is not national, it is international, and in her words, I found traces of my history, my life, my grief, and my desires. Sheema, a world citizen, shows in this powerful book, that just as the Earth is gold at its core, moving hot liquid, she does too.
                 - Birgitta Jonsdottir, poet, editor, and member of the Icelandic parliament.

To schedule a reading or request review copies contact us admin@prapublishing.com



Friday, August 28, 2015

P.R.A. Publishing Presents Geza Tatrallyay

About the Book

While poetry often uses precise phrases and carefully constructed stanzas to create a kind of written music, author Geza Tatrallyay ups the emotional and structural ante through literary translation. The result is Cello’s Tears, a testament to universal truths that is unhindered by the constraints of a single language. A multilingual world traveler, Tatrallyay wrote his debut poetry collection over many years and in many locales, as evidenced by the poems’ myriad forms and origins—including original haikus, tankas, and translations from German, French, and Hungarian. Beyond their varying origins, the poems playfully push the boundaries of meaning through the use of unconventional words and phrases. Many verses, inspired by the deeply emotive quality of great music, evoke a similar sentimental response in the reader. And in a final ode to the musical quality of the poet’s work, Tatrallyay arranges the verses in four parts, just as a composer arranges a symphony. Emotion, form, and musically influenced symbolism deliver a compulsively readable collection that will delight lovers of contemporary poetry.


Geza Tatrallyay was born in Hungary before his family escaped the Hungarian Revolution by fleeing to Canada. After graduating from Harvard University and studying at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, he went on to earn a master’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics. An avid fencer, he represented Canada in the 1976 Olympic Games. A lifelong reader who speaks fluent English and Hungarian, as well as conversational French, German, and Spanish, Tatrallyay first delved into poetry in high school. Cello’s Tears, his debut collection, is the culmination of his longtime fascination with poetic verse and human emotion. Tatrallyay is now semi-retired and divides his time between Bordeaux, France, and Barnard, Vermont. He is married and has two grown children.

Interview Questions

1.     How did you come up with the title for your book?
Cello’s Tears is an image I use in one of the poems in the collection. The cello for me is the most evocative instrument, one that when playing a melancholic tune seems to be crying. The notes the cello produces are like tears.

2.     What kind of reader were you as a child? And what were your favorite childhood books?
I was a voracious reader. I loved authors such as Jules Verne (Around the World in 80 Days), Alexandre Dumas (The Three Musketeers), Baroness Orczy (Scarlet Pimpernel), James Fenimore Cooper (The Last of the Mohicans), Rudyard Kipling (The Jungle Book), Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe). As a young child, I read a lot of Hungarian classics in the original; Hungarian literature is fabulously rich, with only some of it available in translation.

3.     What are your current projects?
I am trying to get a trilogy of memoirs based on Cold War escapes I was involved in published. Two of these are completed and the third one still requires a lot of work. I am also working on a thriller that involves a coup d’etat in France; a first draft of this is three-quarters done. As well, another thriller―the second in a trilogy the first of which is currently being published―is in the works. I also might rework ARCTIC MELTDOWN, the e-thriller I published electronically in 2011 since much of what I envisaged in that novel is playing out today. When inspired, I also write poetry and will eventually put these together in a collection.

4.     What was the last truly great book you read?
The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt. It teaches and at the same time thrills. It is history, literature and thriller all rolled into one. It talks about the rediscovery of one of the great epic poems of antiquity, Lucretius’ De Rerum Naturae, in the early Renaissance and how that influenced modern thought thereafter.

5.     The last book that made you cry?
Thomas Snyder’s Badlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin. It truly brings home the brutality that the peoples of the countries between Germany and Russia suffered under those two dictators.

6.    List five words that you feel best describes your book.
      Multi-cultural, translations, experimental, musical, pictorial.

7.     If you could only bring three books to a desert island, which would you choose?
Goethe’s Faust, Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (to get some tips)

8.     Who is your favorite novelist of all time? Your favorite novelist writing today?
Graham Greene, Philip Kerr. Greene writes wonderfully, creating rich characters, dripping with suspense, evoking time and place. I love the thriller genre, particularly literary thrillers like Greene’s The Third Man. It is also my very favorite movie. Philip Kerr’s books are based on extensive research, and are a fun read with lots of intrigue; his detective character, Bernie Gunther, is brilliant. again, he evokes time and place so well that you are transported.

9.     What are your literary guilty pleasures? Do you have a favorite genre?
I love thrillers, historical fiction and well-written history. Poems. Some erotica.

10.  Which book might we be surprised to find on your bookshelves?
The Onion Book of Known Knowledge. I don’t know how it appeared on my shelf, but this book spoofs facts and knowledge - sort of like Monty Python or Saturday Night Live. I think it is a rare book; I haven’t seen it anywhere else.

11.  What were the most influential books you read as a student?
Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species; Joseph Conrad, The Heart of Darkness; Karl Popper, The Open Society and its Enemies; James Joyce, Ulysses; D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterly’s Lover.

12.  Who or what has influenced the writing?
Some poems are influenced by the time I spent in different countries―Japan, Canada, Germany, France, Hungary, USA etc. 
Artists such as Henry Moore, John Turner, Michelangelo, my good friend Jeremy Smith among others, musicians such as Mahler, Ravel and Schubert to name just a few, and other poets such as Bassho, Goethe and Nelligan (a French Canadian poet) have all been influencers.

13.  If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
Arctic Meltdown (my e-thriller)―not because of the writing, but because it addresses a critical issue and is a fun read at the same time (also selfishly, beacuse if he read it and piad attention, others might as well.)

14.  What kind of books do you like to read before bed?
Thrillers. Books that provide excitement  / suspense and learning at the same time.

15.  What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?
Fifty Shades of Gray. Boring. There is no plot to speak of, not even any good sex.

 To schedule book signings, interviews or request review copies email us at admin@prapublishing.com

P.R.A. Publishing Presents Kendall Driscoll

  ISBN: 9780984014255 (Print)  $12.00
Speech of the Masquerade is a collection of poetry unmasking the rawness of human emotions. The collection deals with issues which hit close to home and are close to the heart. Speech of the Masquerade is about the sharing of stories, unveiling the beauty of the soul, and the unmasking of self. The poems depict the world view of a young poet who uses experiences both personal and observed; whether the viewing is through the media lens or sheer perceptive observation. This fresh new voice offers much to the literary landscape. From the raves and reviews received Driscoll is a newcomer to watch.

About the Author

Driscoll is a multi-award winner of the Poetry Matters Literary Prize and has published work in Poetry Matters Anthology (P.R.A. Publishing 2011) and Poetry Diversified an Anthology of Human Experience (P.R.A. Publishing 2013), Poetry Diversified 2015      (PRA Publishing). Her work has also been published in Furman University’s literary magazine, The Echo. In addition to writing poetry, Driscoll has written three novels, yet to be published for NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. Speech of the Masquerade is her first full length solo work to be published. 

Praise For Speech of the Masquerade 

Speech of the Masquerade is by turns melodramatic, playful, and angstridden, and should be required reading for parents and teachers who may have forgotten how it feels to be a teen in turmoil. Kendall Driscoll is the contemplative voice of the Millennials.

                                      J.C. Elkin, author of World Class: Poems Inspired by the ESL Classroom 

“Although Speech of the Masquerade seems to grow out of the world of performance poetry, it has roots that extend to the work of Gwendolyn Brooks and Walt Whitman. Kendall Driscoll is a young
poet with lots of emotional energy, alternately compassionate and playful, whose subjects range from love to procrastination, clarinetists to coffee makers, Mozart to Lady Gaga.”

                                                                                                     Dr. Gilbert Allen, author of Catma 

“In these empathetic poems, Kendall Driscoll explores the messy, perilous, rewarding relationships that tie humans together. Her eye for detailpop culture, high art, weather, placedraws the reader into these expertlydrawn scenes. Speech of the Masquerade is a bighearted book with a wry sense of humor. Read it! You'll thank your lucky stars that you did.” 
                                                                                           Joni Tevis, author of The Wet Collection 

Whether she's ribbing on resumebuilders, writing mockeulogies to defunct coffee machines, or challenging others to gather the courage to live honestly, Kendall's voice reverberates with beauty and truth, which according to some poets, are the same thing.

              Derek Berry author of Skinny Dipping With Strangers 

“Diverse in scope and broad in range, the poems in Driscoll’s impressive debut collection are detailed geographies of the human heart. From laughter to heartbreak, from iPod playlists to violin solos, there is much here to discover and to love.”

                                                                                     Dr. Andrew Geyer, author of A Shared Voice 

“May we stand strong without cowering any longer in fear of what could come,” advises the speaker in “The Destination of Procrastination.” Such wise words could also serve as the mantra of Kendall Driscoll’s fine debut collection. The poems here originate from a range of “masked” human voices—the unheard, the unwanted, the unsure, the shy—and come out swinging in a dazzling array of forms and moods, from lyric relation to comic eulogy, from the epistolary to the latenight confession. These poems are Exhibit A for the case that 1) the outsiders will stand the test of time and 2) poetry will always provide both sanctuary and the potential to heal.

                                                                                   Michael Diebert- author of Life Outside the Set 

"Imagine taking a glass diary, a fragile journal of personal revelations and truth about a personality and life you’ve never known before. You grip it in your hand and throw it with full force against a brick wall. After it shatters into distinct and unique pieces, you pick up each shard and examine it. Feel the rough edges with a careful hand and hold each piece of glass to the air to catch a gleam of sunlight. That rainbow going through each shard of glass that makes you smile, relate and remember the details of your own life experiences....that’s the experience of reading ‘Speech of the Masquerade’. From finding the strength in your own voice to stepping out in love to share it with others then to letting every day show and mold you into a person you’re trying to figure out if you even want to become, this poetry collection is a pure joy to read. It is the perfect blend of complex wordplay mixed with honest simplicity to paint mind pictures that are hard to shake. Ms. Driscoll has truly used language to remove the mask and let the world become privy to a heartfelt journey now revealed." 
                                                             Lady Vee the Poet"- author of Clenched Teeth Smiling 

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                                                                                                                                                                                       GoodReads      Library Thing

Press Received

Interview Questions 

1. What kind of reader were you as a child? And what were your favorite childhood books? 

As a child, I was an avid reader. I read anything I could get my hands on. When I was in elementary school, I remember I really enjoyed the Junie B. Jones books.

2. What was the last truly great book you read? 
The White Album by Joan Didion. Didion is an absolutely gifted writer.

3. The last book that made you cry? 
The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks. When I read the book for the first time, I cried for                        the last 50 or so pages of the novel.

4. The last book that made you furious? 
Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer. The anticlimactic ending truly infuriated me.

5. If you could only bring three books to a desert island, which would you choose? 
I would definitely bring the last three books in the Harry Potter series (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows).
It’s excellent book series written by an excellent writer and the length of the books would keep me reading for a nice long time on the desert island. 

6. Who is your favorite novelist of all time? 
     J.K. Rowling

7. Your favorite novelist writing today?
     J.K. Rowling

8. What are your literary guilty pleasures? Do you have a favorite genre?
  I don’t specifically have a favorite genre.

9. Which book might we be surprise to find on your bookshelves? 
   Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. I’m not typically a reader interested in vampires.

10. What were the most influential books you read as a student? 
The majority of the books I read in my nonfiction class in college would probably have been the most influential books I’ve read. The ten books I read in that spring semester of my sophomore year showed me a variety of writing styles. In a way, they became models of writing I wished to emulate.

11. If you could require the President to read one book, what would it be?
Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet. The book has several valuable pieces of wisdom worth reading. 

To arrange a book signing, interview or to request review copies, please email us at admin@prapublishing.com

P.R.A. Publishing Presents Sylvester Pilgrim

Peripheral: Tales of Horror At A Glance
ISBN 978-1941416-037 electronic book 

About the Book

This is the world of Peripheral, where horrors lurk just beyond the edge of your vision, and the worlds of the seen and unseen collide with terrifying consequences.

While four friends discover the perfect place for an afternoon picnic, a man discovers his secret superpowers in an unexpected way—and a young girl glimpses something out of the corner of her eye that will change her life forever.

As nineteen short stories delve into the darkest recesses of the human experience, one gruesome tale serves as the thread that will bind them forever—culminating in a shocking conclusion that will have you questioning everything you see in your peripheral vision. 

In the debut short story collection of author Sylvester Pilgrim, nothing is what it seems, and everything is connected. So join supernatural forces, ruthless killers, and emerging faces of evil on a nightmarish journey you won’t soon forget—a roller coaster ride of suspense and surprise from beginning to end.


About the Author

Sylvester Pilgrim was born in Barbados. His family moved to Toronto Canada where he grew up.  He has won prizes for both his short stories and poetry. His work can be found in  Literary Orphans an online literary magazine and in Bareback Literature’s anthology, Unwrapped. In addition to writing, Pilgrim enjoys photography, performing in community theatre and working in film. His voice can be heard in “The Last Man in Suburbia.” Pilgrim currently resides in Osaka, Japan where he is an English Instructor and owner of a franchise of  Smith’s School of English. 

Praise for Peripheral Tales of Horror at a Glance

“Explore the supernatural face of evil.  Meet the wife killer, the avenging ghost, the mailroom creep, the tattooed thug, the suicidal counselor, carnivorous plants, and the emerging demon in fast-moving stories told with a no-nonsense, gritty style that engages, repels, and provokes.  These are not for the faint-of-heart, but you’ll remember the ride.”
                                                                  ~R.R. Brooks, author of the epic fantasy Justi the Gifted

“Sylvester Pilgrim delves into the dark recesses of the human psyche in this short story collection, following a tortuous trail of murder, madness, and mayhem. Those with the fortitude to brave supernatural assignations, gruesome plot twists, and the deadly dance of betrayal and vengeance will enjoy this dystopian diversion through shadowy byways where lust and greed rule the night.”
                    ~Robert G. Ferrell, author of Tangent (Scirlingarra Book 1) 

More on Sylvester Pilgrim:

To request an interview, review copies email us at admin@prapublishing.com

 To book Sylvester Pilgrim for your book club or other event email us at publishingasst@gmail.com

Thursday, August 27, 2015


  For the last four years I have been working to find the simplest way to reach out to the literary community.  I have tried to be a friend on Facebook, Googled, Twitted, word pressed and worked on numerous websites. I have finally found the place P.R.A. will call home. It is Google. This is the first post from our new location. Here's hoping we find our true home here.

 Lucinda Clark