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Synopsis

Every society and every generation has its version of the apocalypse: swine flu, genetic mutation, global warming, nuclear fallout, the second coming, peak oil, mass extinction, giant irradiated ants, zombies… Apocalypse Now: Poems and Prose from the End of Days is the first anthology of its kind to bring together the poetry and prose of some of America’s finest (though not always most well-known) literary voices with an eye for the literary and the popular, for story and lyric, for the past and the future, for the psychological and the physical, for the real and the fantastic.

 

Authors include Margaret Atwood, Paolo Bacigalupi, Brian Barker, Jenna Bazzell, Nicky Beer, Pinckney Benedict, Kristin Bock, Tina Connolly, David J. Daniels, Darcie Dennigan, Brian Evenson, Seth Fried, TR Hummer, Rodney Jones, Judy Jordan, Kelly Link, Alexander Lumans, Charles Martin, Davis McCombs, Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum, Marc McKee, Tessa Mellas, Wayne Miller, Simone Muench, Keith Montesano, Joyce Carol Oates, Ed Pavlić, Catherine Pierce, Kevin Prufer, Joshua Robbins, David Roderick, Jeffrey Schultz, Maggie Smith, Chet Weise, Josh Woods, and E. Lily Yu.


Missy, the single mother of Margaret Atwood‘s “The Silver Astroturfer,” spends her days in her basement of computers churning out copy under various aliases (“ExCodFisherman” or “LeglessVeteran” or “LadyDuckHunter”) in order to manipulate the daily news. Davis McCombs poems tell the story of a dying tobacco industry in the South and of the killing of the last gray wolf in Edmonson County, Kentucky.


Rodney Jones‘s “Apocalyptic Narrative” opens in a post-apocalyptic United States in which our hero survives via c-rations and government cheese in an abandoned cave. Joyce Carol Oates‘s “Thanksgiving” depicts a father and daughter who venture out to buy food for their Thanksgiving dinner because the mother is ill. This seemingly ordinary trip, however, becomes decidedly unordinary when our assumptions about their world quickly crumble.
Judy Jordan‘s poems examine humankind’s slow destruction of the earth while Paolo Bacigalupi‘s story, “The People of Sand and Slag,” looks at how we would live post-global warming via three explorers who utilize the environment itself to remake their decaying bodies.


Chet Weise‘s poems tell of the sorely under-reported floods that overwhelmed Nashville, Tennessee in May 2010 in which the Cumberland River rose twelve feet above flood stage and twenty-one people were killed. Pinckney Benedict‘s “The Beginnings of Sorrow” is a deeply disturbing take on metamorphoses as well as apocalypses both large and small, centering on a rural couple with a dog possessed by his master’s deceased and lust-sick father.

 

Apocalypse Now examines our obsession with life and death, creation and destruction, and the physical realms we occupy and, eventually, no longer will, asking: How will the end come? What will we do when all the lights go out?

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