These (often very short) essays are highly compressed and highly realized, sharply drawn, intense in their urgently lyrical way, exquisitely written. Deulen's dialogues and descriptions, fractured and prismatic throughout, seem to burn rather than ease into memory, so charged is her language, and so deft her capacity for rendering stark, surreal scenes. This is a book written with a care for language—the imagery is often beautiful and surprising, the surprise like tiny explosions now and again within a sentence, a paragraph, on a page. The beauty not a pretty beauty, but sometimes ugly in a tough, edgy way. The organization of the book follows the associative logic of poetry—or of memory. The innovative, non-chronological sequence in which these pieces are placed creates a larger story that feels bigger than the sum of its parts and digs deep into the racial and gendered consciousness of the narrator and the times and places in which her story takes place.HARDSCRABBLE by Kevin McFadden (poetry) and COMPRESSION SCARS by Kellie Wells (fiction).
THE RIOTS is also a winner of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction.