When we started this blog, the idea was to spotlight stories and books by Hobart contributors, as well as to promote some of our favorite journals and small presses. We got busy and lazy and all but forgot we even had a blog, but what better reason to relaunch than the publication of our very own Claudia Smith's chapbook, The Sky is a Well and other stories? For those of you familiar with Claudia's writing, which is probably most of you, it will come as no surprise that it is an incredible, beautiful collection. And beautiful both in form and content! It is lovingly designed, with a letterpressed cover that reminds me a little of the Cloverfield Press books. If you have seen those, you know the care I am talking about, and if you've ever heard me talk about Cloverfield, you know how much of a compliment I mean that.
Here is what Ron Carlson, who judged the contest that Claudia won, has to say:
“Each of Claudia Smith’s short shorts is a tilted memory of love and loss […] There is a natural accuracy in these brief narratives; the stories are short; her voice is true.”
And here are a few words from our very own Sean Carman:
"Inside, the stories are just as beautiful as the book. Claudia doesn't just write beautifully, she masterfully grabs onto big subjects and brings them down to Earth, somehow expressing them in single moments lived by her torn characters.
Claudia's strange and beautiful stories are about young women living through "time in between time," that open space between childhood and maturity -- between innocence and experience -- and their power comes from the darkness and deep mystery of that adolescent crossing.
Claudia's book, in other words, is the perfect discovery. A small literary jewel, a collection of short and beautiful stories that go by in a flash but will stay with you forever, and the best kind of book to hold in your hand."
The Sky is a Well is a collection of Claudia's short shorts and what she does so well is combine precision of language with very, very strong storytelling, all in such a small package. Claudia's shorts were some of my favorites when I first started reading shorter work and online lit sites, and it is why I asked her to help out with Hobart. Part 2 of this blog relaunch is we are going to try something a little new: "spotlighting" a small press or lit journal every month. If you buy the journal/press of the month, we'll send you a free back issue of Hobart. So, if you pick up The Sky is a Well, let us know and tell us which issue you'd like. BUY NOW!