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Drawing together two narratives of quiet American landscapes and deep personal struggle, Kerri Arsenault and Jaed Coffin discuss memoir, isolation, and life at the northermost points of the United States.
In Mill Town, Arsenault investigates the slow-moving catastrophe of her home town: Mexico, Maine, a paper mill town wracked by economic decline, and the community-wide collapes of environmental and physical health. Mill Town is a moral wake-up call that asks, Whose lives are we willing to sacrifice for our own survival?
Kerri Arsenault is a book critic, book editor at Orion magazine, a contributing editor at The Literary Hub, and a mentor for PEN America’s Prison and Justice Writing Program. Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains, is her first book.
In Roughhouse Friday, Coffin, a small town Vermont native who can't find his way, washes up in Alaska and finds himself through boxing. Through a fight that initially terrifies him, he begins to sort through the legacies of his upbringing: the rural child of white and Thai parents, and of a father whose sense of manhood alienates his son. Roughhouse Friday is a meditation on violence and abandonment, masculinity, and our inescapable longing for love.
Jaed Coffin is the author of the memoir A Chant to Soothe Wild Elephants and teaches in the University of New Hampshire’s MFA creative writing program. He lives in Brunswick, New Hampshire.