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WILLIAM JENSEN & JOHN PERRYMAN - Cities of Men & Blood for Ghosts

Thursday, July 27, 2017 - 7:00pm
Cities of Men Cover Image
ISBN: 9781683366669
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Turner - May 23rd, 2017

Blood for Ghosts Cover Image
ISBN: 9781622881246
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Stephen F. Austin University Press - December 15th, 2016


Thursday, July 27th at 7pm


speaking & signing
Cities of Men &
Blood for Ghosts



In 1987, twelve-year-old Cooper Balsam's mother, Arden, disappears without a trace. Cooper's father, Percy, a Vietnam veteran struggling with PTSD, doesn't seem too concerned. "This isn't the first time. She's done it before." As days pass, Cooper begins to act out and withdraw from the world, and his growing animosity toward his father's ambivalence begins to escalate even as Percy and Cooper begin to actively search for the woman in their lives. From the hills of Southern California, to the deserts of Arizona, and down to the beaches of Mexico, the father and son will look for someone who may not want to be found for reasons they don't yet understand.


Figuratively speaking, Blood for Ghosts takes for its theme the burial of the dead. The eight stories in the collection dramatize the many ways Texans in the 21st century struggle to give voice to their ancestors and the region's past, a task made increasingly difficult by the pressures of globalization, the lure of efficiency, and the claims of "progress." Such struggles are necessary, however, and are premised on the belief that the healthiest communities affirm a meaningful relationship with as much of the past as is possible. The collection's title makes a nod of the head toward Hugh Lloyd-Jones's fine study of ancient Greece and Book XI of The Odyssey, when Odysseus enacts a rite that summons the shades of the dead to drink the blood of sacrificed animals and so be given voice to communicate with the living. The collection's epigraph comes from the same scene in Book XI: and up out of Erebus they came/ flocking toward me now, the ghosts of the dead and gone.


Nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, William Jensen is the editor of Southwestern American Literature and Texas Books in Review. His short fiction has appeared in journals such as The New Plains ReviewThe Texas ReviewStoneboat, and various other journals. Mr. Jensen, who grew up in southern California and central Arizona, lives in the Texas hill country and teaches English and Southwestern studies at Texas State University, from which he obtained his MFA degree. While obtaining his MFA he studied under Robert Stone and Tim O'Brien.


JOHN PERRYMAN is a fifth generation Texan. He graduated from Greenhill School and Williams College, where he started on the school's first undefeated football team, and then received his PhD from UT Dallas. He has published fiction, poetry, and criticism in a wide range of journals, including The Southern Humanities Review, The South Carolina Review, Concho River Review, RE: AL, and The Midwest Quarterly. He was a runner-up for the 2007-8 Dobie Paisano Fellowship, awarded each year by the Texas Institute of Letters and the University of Texas. He now serves as an administrator/teacher at St. Mark's School of Texas.

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