University of Akron Press acquires four new poetry collections

The University of Akron Press is pleased to announce that it will publish Witch Doctrine by Annah Browning, and sensorium by Emily Corwin, as 2018 Akron Poetry Prize editor’s choice selections. Series editor Mary Biddinger chose these manuscripts from a total of 687 Akron Poetry Prize contest entries.

The Akron Series in Poetry has also acquired new collections by continuing University of Akron Press poets Oliver de la Paz, author of Post Subject: A Fable and Requiem for the Orchard, and Joshua Harmon, author of Le Spleen de Poughkeepsie. The University of Akron Press will publish The Boy in the Labyrinth by de la Paz, and The Soft Path by Harmon.


Annah Browning is the author of a chapbook, The Marriage (Horse Less Press, 2013) and poetry editor and cofounder of Grimoire Magazine. Her poetry has appeared in Indiana Review, Black Warrior Review, Willow Springs, Boulevard, and elsewhere. She earned her MFA from Washington University in St. Louis and her PhD from the University of Illinois at Chicago. While she hails from the foothills of South Carolina, she currently calls Chicago home, where she is a visiting lecturer in English and a faculty member for the Honors College at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Annah Browning’s poetry collection Witch Doctrine is a gothic instruction manual for how to exist in a heartbreaking world. Through a series of spell poems and a cast of haunting personas—including a sentient house, a mentoring witch, and a housekeeping ghost—Browning leads the reader in dark and slyly humorous mediations on mortality, loss, feminist power, and survival: “you’ll take / another branch for the fire / and you will make it.”


Emily Corwin is a recent graduate of the MFA program at Indiana University-Bloomington and the former Poetry Editor for Indiana Review. Her writing has appeared in Black Warrior Review, Ninth Letter, New South, Yemassee, THRUSH, and elsewhere. She has two chapbooks, My Tall Handsome (Brain Mill Press) and darkling (Platypus Press), which were published in 2016. Her first book, tenderling, was released in 2018 from Stalking Horse Press. She lives and teaches in Michigan.

Emily Corwin’s sensorium is a gurlesque party, is lush and anxious and blossoming with rot. In her second collection, Corwin investigates the textures of physical and psychic pain—the celluloid of classic horror films, greasy computer screens and text messages, ballrooms and hallways and pig blood, surgical instruments, lipsticks, medication, teenage romance and demons. sensorium considers the beauty in body horror, the viscera boiling under a pretty crust.


Oliver de la Paz is the author of five books of poetry: Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby, Requiem for the Orchard, Post Subject: A Fable, and the forthcoming collection The Boy in the Labyrinth. With the poet Stacey Lynn Brown he coedited A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry. A founding member of Kundiman, he serves as the cochair of its advisory board. He also teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and in the Low-Residency MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University.

In this hybrid work of prose poems, mathematical word problems, questions on analogical reasoning, and medical questionnaires, Oliver de la Paz’s fifth poetry collection, The Boy in the Labyrinth negotiates the way a neurotypical father and neurodiverse son encounter each other in the interstices of understanding. The myth of Theseus and the Minotaur symbolizes these attempts at comprehension as the boy is guided through the heart of the maze with a ball of string and a deep sensory awareness of the world that hides its intentions in corners, angles, and false doors. Beyond the labyrinth is the greater knowledge that the Minotaur dwells within, just as bewildered by a world he too feels too much.


Joshua Harmon is the author of the poetry collections The Soft Path, Le Spleen de Poughkeepsie, and Scape, as well as the essay collection/memoir The Annotated Mixtape, the novel Quinnehtukqut, and the short fiction collection History of Cold Seasons. He lives in western Massachusetts.

The Soft Path, which takes its title from a 1970s term promoting an alternative energy future, appraises the “unreconciled / losses” of a world remade in the relentless interests of capital, a world “revelatory in its / diminishment.” Written where landscape bleeds into soundscape, where ecopoetics collides with technopoetics, this book speaks from the fragmented space of machine learning to “memory’s residue,” in a voice that recalls American predecessors Oppen, Niedecker, and Ammons. The Soft Path continues Harmon’s exploration of both the serial poem and the long poem, from the small-but-systemic breakdowns of “Cascading Failures” to the epic commuting roadsong of the nearly 1500-line “Horizontal Dropouts.” These poems offer field notes on sites ranging from interstate off-ramps to “hi-vis ribbons tied to / twig tips in the woods”; they register tenuousness and tenacity, from an era when “everything [is] / post-peak.” The Soft Path reasserts Lydia Davis’s judgement that “Harmon reaches deep into the resources of our rich English, renewing the language and creating from it a physical and emotional world completely his own.”