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In the Media: Life & Style

Filtering by Category: books

From Guatemala to Sub Rosa | Richmond Magazine

Kristel Poole

A Church Hill novelist brings to light a century of heart-wrenching Guatemalan history

By Jason Tesauro, August 4, 2016

She’s your neighbor. And despite her wild beauty, she’s so under the radar that 99.9 percent of Richmonders couldn’t pick her out of a police lineup. The same is likely true of Guatemala, the subject of Kelly Kerney’s latest book. "Hard Red Spring" (Viking) is a historical fiction about an exotic and tortured neighbor that many Americans couldn’t find on a map. Countless tourists to Cancun and Belize have been within a long bus ride of Guatemala, but it turns out there’s a reason why you’ve likely never considered a vacation there. Actually, Kerney’s written 437 pages of reasons. Whether you’re the type who is afterward more inclined or less inclined to visit Guatemala – and why – is a good litmus test of whether this exquisitely textured tetralogy is for you.

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‘Transient Sex’ poems bring belated fame to Marin house painter | Mercury News

Kristel Poole

By Paul Liberatore and Marin Independent Journal, March 13, 2015

Sex sells. Just not always right away.

A case in point: In 1989, Brent Reiten, a Marin County house painter with poetic ambitions, wrote and self-published “Transient Sex,” a collection of poems about his libidinous fantasy trysts with famous women and men — “Sex with Stevie Nicks,” “Sex with Meryl Streep,” “Sex with George Bush,” “Sex with Sylvester Stallone.” You get the idea.

He had every reason to believe that this clever conceit was so provocative, so tapped into the Zeitgeist of the late ’80s with its equal doses of celebrity, sensuality and humor, that the 2,000 paperback copies he had printed would practically sell themselves, making him a hot new star in the literary galaxy.

“I want to be in People magazine, Playboy, and on the ‘Barbara Walters Special,'” the then 36-year-old poet announced in the book’s preface.

That none of that happened has been a major disappointment of his life. “Transient Sex” made a splash (The San Francisco Review of Books called it “evocative … rich … illuminating”) and sank from sight.

Twenty-five years later, most of the copies are still in cardboard boxes stashed in the storeroom of the writer’s Larkspur apartment. His shattered dreams so devastated him that Reiten retreated inside himself, partly blaming his fear of success for the book’s failure. He’s hardly written a word since.

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