Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Lisel Mueller says of Nieman’s work:
"Ultimately it's a writer's excellence as a writer, her strength of language, apart from all good intentions, that convinces us she is telling the truth. (Nieman) has an extraordinary sense of metaphor and a talent for expressive language that seems, at the same time, plain and straightforward, probably because it is so apt as to seem inevitable."
National Book Award Finalist Sarah Lindsay Praises Wake Wake Wake:
"Valerie Nieman writes poems with long tap roots, and poems with sharp beaks that strike swiftly. They cast off from the known, or fix the familiar with a clear gaze, and unmoor the reader either way. For a nameless hunger and restlessness, here are guide and supplies and hills to climb, all in one fine book."
Former NC Poet Laureate Fred Chappell Praises Wake Wake Wake
"Like the millwright in her poem, Valerie Nieman seems 'with bare hands (to) embrace live steam.' Wake Wake Wake is sinew and tendon, hard muscle and bruised bone; the volume sings with every inch of the body and every breath of the spirit. If she speaks of "hearing that we have all fallen short," she yet believes—she knows—'the way a path is best walked/not by looking down/but by looking out.' Would you be stout of heart, steadfast of purpose? Read Valerie Nieman."
Blood Clay is Valerie Nieman’s third novel. She is also the author of a collection of short stories, Fidelities, from West Virginia University Press, and a poetry collection, Wake Wake Wake. She has received an NEA creative writing fellowship, two Elizabeth Simpson Smith prizes in fiction, and the Greg Grummer Prize in poetry. A native of Western New York State, she graduated from West Virginia University and the M.F.A. program at Queens University of Charlotte. She teaches writing at N.C. A&T State University and is the poetry editor for Prime Number Magazine.
a novel by Valerie Nieman
9 X 6 Paperback, 200 pages
Wake Wake Wake
poetry by Valerie Nieman
8 x5 paperback, 90 pages
“Blood Clay is a profoundly moving and beautifully written novel about a community torn apart by tragedy. Valerie Nieman is a writer of remarkable talent, and she has given us a book that, once read, will be hard for any reader to forget.”
— Ron Rash, author of Serena
“Blood Clay is both a tense, plot-driven story about complicated issues of race and guilt, and a meditation on solitude, history, and ways of living. The writing is wonderfully fluid, visual, and vivid, but above all these felicities of style, I’m most impressed by Valerie Nieman's candid treatment of difficult subject matter and the broadness of her canvas. It is thoughtful, brave, intelligent.”
— Jane Alison, author of The Sisters Antipodes: A Memoir
"There's violence here, and steamy sex, and strangeness aplenty, but Valerie Nieman's Blood Clay is no rural geekshow. This is a mature novel, full of living, breathing beings from whose passionate lives it is impossible to turn away. Books this fine are very rare indeed."
— Pinckney Benedict, author of Miracle Boy and Other Stories
“Blood Clay has it all. The novel’s audacious and gripping plot begins with a shotgun-blast of a scene in which a horrible dog attack sends reverberations through a small North Carolina town and the rest of the book. Val Nieman has written what is destined to become a classic novel of Southern life. I love this book.”
— Elizabeth Stuckey-French, author of The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady
Photographer Dorothy O'Connor graduated from Georgia State University with degrees in Literature and Studio Arts. She continued her education at The Creative Circus, a commercial art school in Atlanta. Her fine art photographs feature thoughtfully composed scenes, combining elements of still-life, portraiture and landscape to produce unique and evocative works of art.
Press 53 . PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130-0314
Winner of the 2012 Eric Hoffer Award for Fiction
2012 Montaigne Award Finalist
(from Wake Wake Wake)
Mr. Cates, he’s dead.
His widow creeps to the car
invisibly through the breezeway.
He likewise left behind
a thirty-foot aluminum ladder
that hangs on the back of the shed.
My gutters are clogged,
and I’ve wanted to ask her
for the ladder, but thought
I might break open some old wound.
I might as well go over
and fire up that brick barbecue
he built, a hearth
you could spit a pig on,
side grill, wood storage,
warming box with its own tiny door,
all this ziggurating
up to the chimney.
The late Mr. Cates
laid bricks and blocks,
painted the shutters,
built a carport,
drove the posts
for a split-rail fence,
weatherstripped the doors
and put a gaslight out by the street.
All I want is the ladder.