The Baltimore Book Festival: Clarinda Harriss, the Ivy Bookshop, CityLit, and more!

This weekend, Baltimore celebrates all things literature with the annual Baltimore Book Festival, held in the Inner Harbor.

BrickHouse Books’ Director and Editor-in-Chief, Clarinda Harriss, will read from The White Rail on Sunday, September 24th at 4:30pm. She will appear at the Inner Harbor Stage (by the Visitor Center) as part of the Lit & Art Reading Series.

While you’re there, stop by one of BHB’s favorite haunts, the Ivy Bookshop! The Ivy Bookshop is the official bookseller for the festival, and is a beloved independent retailer for many BHB titles.

If you’re looking to grow as a writer, learn more about the intersection of social activism and the literary arts, or just listen to great music and poetry, head to the CityLit Project stage! This year’s lineup is incredible!

With so many great events and exhibitors, it’s an event you won’t want to miss. We’ll see you there!

Calling all WWII enthusiasts…


For all our readers interested in World War II novels, check out BrickHouse Books’ Director Clarinda Harriss’ review for Path of Valor: A Marine’s Story by George Derryberry.

To read the review go here.

For more reviews, check out Chamber Four’s blog here.

Book Review for BhB Director’s The White Rail

whiterailBlog Chamber Four has recently reviewed BrickHouse Books’ Director Clarinda Harriss’ book The White Rail in their recent literary reviews. Filled with details, analysis, and a strong summary, reviewer Charles Rammelkamp assess The White Rail with great enthusiasm and understanding of the novel.

Below is an excerpt from Rammelkamp’s review:

Reading Clarinda Harriss’s fiction is like reading another version of Laura Lippman’s and Anne Tyler’s Baltimores mixed up together, from the genteel dilapidation of old Baltimore to the dangerous underbelly of the city’s streets. The White Rail is a slender volume, precious as a poetry collection, consisting of six stories, all set in Baltimore or nearby…

To read the full review go here and make sure to check out Chamber Four and their other literary reviews!

Exciting book news!

It’s here! BrickHouse Books’ Director Clarinda Harriss’ eighth book and first fiction collection, The White Rail, just came out from Half Moon Editions–just in time for holiday giving, and a real steal at only $12!  Order directly from or ask for it at any bookstore, national or local.

Get a first look at The White Rail’s book cover below:

white rail _cover final

New book features BhB Director’s early poem

51i5GYlgCdLCovet the Oven, the new book of stories by the Israeli-American writer Jerome Mandel, tells tales of the head, of the heart, and of writing. People make surprising announcements, do unexpected things: they die or don’t or can’t, or fall in love and then misplace it. His stories–some gritty, some witty, some smooth–address making choices, puzzlement, growing old, loss and love with wit, intelligence, and sympathy. The title of Mandel’s novel comes from BrickHouse Book’s Director Clarinda Harriss’ early poem which appears in the front matter. Covet the Oven is available in Kindle format and paperback at

Jerome Mandel won first prize in the P.E.N.-UNESCO International Short Fiction Competition in 1997 for “Third Time, Ice Cream” which appeared in Nothing Gold Can Stay: 18 Stories of Israeli Experience (1999) available in Kindle format at Sometimes paperbacks, signed by the author, can be found among the used booksellers at inflated prices.

A few stories from both books, together with some of his most accessible academic writing (on Housman, Lawrence, Fitzgerald, Joyce), are available to read for free on his website.

When not traveling, Jerome Mandel lives a quiet, retired life in the center of a busy market in downtown Tel Aviv.

Wearing Three Hats

Wearing three hats is uncomfortable.  Wearing more than three is unwieldy to the point of immobilizing you, which is probably just as well because you look ridiculous.  The hats I totter under are beret, mortarboard, schoolmarmish cloche, black prison uniform cap, fedora with press pass stuck in the brim, and flapper’s feathered whimsy.

There’s a chronology to this list—the hats represent poet and fiction writer since age 19 (when my first story was published in a magazine); college grad/grad school survivor (1956-62); newspaper columnist (80s through 90s); volunteer with The Writers’ Club at the Maryland House of Correction for Men (80s and 90s again); schoolteacher/professor (1961-2011); and publisher (1974 to present). I claim the flapper feather because the nonprofit literary press I have directed for more than 40 years, BrickHouse Books, Inc., was just named Baltimore’s 2013 Best by Baltimore Magazine, occasioning my feathered attendance at the magazine’s speakeasy-themed celebratory bash.  Over the 50+ years I’ve been piling those hats on, I rapidly doff and don them in varying orders (cf. the great hat-passing scene in Waiting For Godot).

Asked about “transitioning” from, say, teaching and/or writing to publishing, I have to reply that there have been no such seques. Starting almost from the moment I announced to my astonished (and probably rather disheartened) writer/editor/teacher/administrator parents that the things I would never grow up to do were writing, publishing,teaching and administering (oh, by the way, I chaired Towson University’s English Department for a decade), I began doing all those things.

The one activity conducted by both my parents which I did not rule out was parenting, and in retrospect I am convinced that the refuge of ordinariness, even (dare I say) emotional health which I gained by having my two lively, interesting, curious, smart, busy children around most of the time from my late twenties through my fifties is why wearing all those hats worked out pretty well. It made my schedule almost make sense: they were my constant while I was doing some writing either before everybody got up or after everybody went to bed; teaching at “Beltway University” (the adjunct thing, driving from, say, UMBC [University of Maryland, Baltimore Campus] toGoucher to Towson University) to teach a couple of courses at each place; driving a carpool; cooking dinner (what sensual pleasure we writers find in cooking!), and so on. I’m sure you all know the drill. My point is that virtually all my poems, stories, and articles came out of those activities more or less directly. It wasn’t exactly that I wrote about those activities. It was that they set off a noise in my brain, a hunger in my gut, providing words and images which hooked together in ways that surprised me.

I think being in a state of constant surprise is one of a writer’s most essential work-tools—that and, of course, obsession. A few years ago there was a PR campaign for some worthy literary enterprise which featured the question, “If you couldn’t write, would you die?”  A writer is supposed to answer yes, of course. For me the question got it backwards: in order to make me not write–not think in words and images, whether or not they ever got down on paper, you would have to kill me.  Knock on wood—Irish style, fist to skull: I’m still alive–and sporting hats.


-Clarinda Harris

Moira Egan: Strange Botany & Hot Flash Sonnets

All the way from her home in Rome, Italy, Moira Egan returns to her Baltimore birthplace to read some of her sexy, award-winning poems. Egan has published four collections of poetry: Cleave (WWPH, 2004); La Seta della Cravatta/The Silk of the Tie (Edizioni l’Obliquo, 2009); Bar Napkin Sonnets (The Ledge, 2009); and Spin (Entasis Press, 2010).

She also co-edited Hot Sonnets: An Anthology with BrickHouse Books’ Clarinda Harriss, and her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies in the U.S. and abroad, including Best American Poetry 2008 and The Book of Forms. With her husband, Damiano Abeni, she has published award-winning books in translation by the likes of John Barth, Mark Strand, and John Ashbery. Egan will read from her forthcoming collection, Strange Botany/Botanica Arcana, as well as from the prize-winning sequence, Hot Flash Sonnets.

Minás Gallery & Boutique
815 W. 36th Street
Baltimore, MD 21211

Sunday, March 3, 2013
4:00 p.m.

Poetry and Conversation, an event with Clarinda Harriss and Karen Garthe

Clarinda Harriss (top) and Karen Garthe (bottom)

Clarinda Harriss, Director of BrickHouse Books, and Karen Garthe will be reading from and discussing their work at the Enoch Pratt Free Library on March 5, 2013 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Clarinda Harriss has taught poetry, editing, and modern literature at Towson University, where she is a professor emerita and served as the Chair of English for ten years. Her poems and short fiction have been widely anthologized, and her most recent poetry collections are Air TravelMortmain, and Dirty Blue Voice.

Karen Garthe grew up in Baltimore, where she attended Towson High School. After she graduated in 1968, she embarked on a varied series of careers in New York City. In 2005 her first book, Frayed Escort, won the Colorado Prize, and The Banjo Clock was published in 2012 by the University of California Press.

You can find poems by Clarinda Harriss here and here, and poems by Karen Garthe here and here.


Central Library, Poe Room
400 Cathedral Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

Di-Vine Reading a success!

On Friday, October 5th, The Ivy Bookshop in the Lake Falls Village shopping center hosted the Di-Vine Reading featuring editors and poets. The lineup included David Eberhardt, Keith Alan Hamilton, Clarinda Harriss (editor of BrickHouse Books, Inc.), Slangston Hughes, Chris Mason (the Tinklers), Constantine Pantazonis, Fernando Wordpimp Quijano (President of the Baltimore  Chapter of the Maryland Writer’s Association), Stephen Reichert (editor Smartish Pace), Bruce Sager, and Laura Shovan (editor of Little Patuxent Review).

L-R: Constantine Pantazonis, Clarinda Harriss, Keith Alan Hamilton, David Eberhardt, Laura Shovan, Fernando Wordpimp Quijano, Slangston Hughes, Bruce Sager


Flyer for the Di-Vine Reading


The Tribune Archives yield vintage photo

From 1979 comes a flashback photograph featuring a moment in time of “Poetry at the Angel,” a long-running series co-hosted by Dyane Fancey and Clarinda Harriss at The Angel Tavern in Fells point. Every Sunday for three straight years, readers ranging from poets laureates to bag ladies to drunks arrived and shared their work.

L-R: The late Jessica Locklear, Frank Evans, and Clarinda Harriss (then surnamed Lott).