News, Featured Authors


Reenactments, Hai-Dang Phan

"Must-Read Poetry: February 2019," The Millions

In Reenactments, Hai-Dang Phan grapples with the history, memory, and legacy of the Vietnam War from his vantage point as the son of Vietnamese refugees. Through a kaleidoscope of poetic forms, the past and present, the remembered and imagined, all intersect at shifting angles providing urgent perspectives on conflicts both private and public. Phan weaves throughout the collection stories of his family’s exodus from Vietnam, thoughtfully reenacting an American experience of immigration, dislocation, inheritance, and hope. And, in a fresh move, Phan widens the lens, incorporating translations of several Vietnamese poets. This moving debut marks a vital addition to the literature of immigration and a distinctive contribution to contemporary poetry.

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Hai-Dang Phan was born in Vietnam in 1980 and grew up in Wisconsin. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, Best American Poetry 2016, and the chapbook, Small Wars. He is the recipient of an NEA Literature Fellowship, the Frederick Bock Prize from Poetry, and the New England Review Award for Emerging Writers. He currently teaches at Grinnell College and lives in Iowa City, Iowa. Reeanactments is his first book.


“'To make things worse, they are extremely supportive of my choices' is such a strange and quintessentially immigrant utterance. . . .What to do with the guilt we feel that our lives are often so much easier than the lives of our parents? How can any of our fears, anxieties, lonelinesses be worth mentioning when theirs have been so great? For you (and often, for myself), I prescribe Hai-Dang Phan’s “My Father’s ‘Norton Introduction to Literature,’ Third Edition (1981).”

—Kaveh Akbar, The Paris Review

"Phan's debut unflinchingly presents the trauma inherited through cultural memory as a kind of endless war reenactment. In these poems, even the most mundane setting is haunted by living ghosts. . . . These poems are unadorned and ominous in their vision of memory, a clarion that never ceases to alarm or awe."

Publishers Weekly

"Phan’s mixture of original and translated work creates a unique debut that is both singular and anthological."

—Nick Ripatrazone, The Millions

“Hai-Dang Phan is a poet of fearless vision. With brutal and exquisite precision, he reveals that the effort to make art out of the real world—history, memory, and experience—often intensifies a feeling of irresolution. The brilliance of his first book Reenactments: Poems and Translations lies in a deft interrogation of mimesis and, in particular, how representing the history of war and migration for Vietnamese Americans can reify silences, erasures, and cultural dislocations. But Phan also builds a powerful stay against despair through translations that spotlight contemporary Vietnamese poetry while slyly suggesting that no language or history is isolate and every poem may very well be a translation. Such remarkable insights accumulate, and by book’s end I was struck by the immense beauty and feeling of Reenactments and had to read it again.”  

—Jennifer Chang

Events, News

Sarabande Books at AWP 2019

AWP is right around the corner, and we have all the info you'll need to keep up with Sarabande right here. Find us in the bookfair at Booth 7089 or at our offsite event on Thursday (details below) celebrating our 25th anniversary. We're stacking the books high with all our favorite titles from over the years, all our new titles, and a few you can snag early. Follow us on Twitter (@sarabandebooks) and Facebook, and look for updates in the official #AWP19 hashtag. 



THURSDAY, March 28

FRIDAY, March 29

  • 12:30 - 1:30 Joe Sacksteder signing debut short story collection Make/Shift

  • 1:30 - 2:30 Paige Lewis signing limited edition broadside of titular poem for their debut collection Space Struck, printed by Hound Dog Press

  • 1:30 - 2:30 Peter Mishler signing his collection of poetry Fludde

  • 2:30 - 3:30 Rosellen Brown signing her novel The Lake on Fire

  • 3:30 - 4:30 Pamela Hart signing the 2017 Kathryn A. Morton Prize winning collection Mothers Over Nangarhar

  • 3:30-4:30 Hai-Dang Phan signing his newest collection of poems and translations Reenactments


Celebrate 25 years of Sarabande Books!

We’re having an anniversary party on Thursday March 28th, party the night away with us at Union/Pine from 7pm until 10pm!

Be one of the first 100 people to join our 25th anniversary celebration and get a free signature cocktail! Play ping pong with your friends and Sarabande authors, take photos in our photo booth with takeaway print outs, or dance away the night under a disco ball! Wear your best silver-studded, sequined, or foiled dresses and capes for the ultimate glam night. 

Enjoy our signature cocktails, Fierce Tethers and The Sarabandit, beer, or wine responsibly. 

  • “Fierce Tethers”: Old Forester Classic Bourbon 86 Proof, Angostura Bitters, Ginger Ale, Lemon Peel

  • "The Sarabandit": Old Forester, single pour


FIND US ON PANELS AND READINGS: bolded panels are hosted by Sarabande!

THURSDAY, March 28

FRIDAY, March 29

SATURDAY, March 30


Support Sarabande, From the Intern Desk, Interns, Sarabande in Education, News

Welcoming Our Spring 2019 Intern!

Natalie Wollenzien is in her last semester of attending the University of Iowa for English and Creative Writing (and serving a long-distance relationship with her online classes). She is incredibly excited to be learning the in’s and out’s of the publishing world from manuscript to shelves, as well as what it’s like to work for an independent press. When not in the office, she enjoys loitering in coffee shops, brushing up on her Brooklyn 99 references, and petting as many dogs/cats as physically possible.

She's excited to join as part of the team!

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Sarabande Books was founded in 1994 by Sarah Gorham and Jeffrey Skinner who noticed a need for poetry, short fiction, and essay to have a home outside of literary journals. For the last 25 years Sarabande Books has set out to disburse these works with diligence and integrity.

In 1996 our first titles appeared on bookshelves we published 3 books that year. Over the last 25 years we have more than 220 titles under contract or in print, many of them prize winning. We could not have done any of this without support from our donors.

Sarah Gorham and Jeffrey Skinner, Sarabande founders at the 2017 Pie Party

Sarah Gorham and Jeffrey Skinner, Sarabande founders at the 2017 Pie Party

What makes Sarabande so extraordinary is the fact that it does what small presses are supposed to do: it takes the risks that trade publishers are unwilling to take
— John D'Agata, Associate Professor, The University of Iowa
It has been my great honor to publish with Sarabande, an award-winning small press that is known for its list of broadly American writers.
— Wendy S. Walters, author of Multiply/Divide
Sarabande has taste, dedication and standards, and they make decisions on a basis that has a deep ethos and an aesthetic conviction at its heart.
— Tony Hoagland, Professor, Creative Writing, University of Houston
My work falls outside the zeitgeist—without Sarabande, Allegheny Front would never have made its way into the big, busy world.
— Matthew Null, author of Allegheny Front
This gem of a collection is a transcendent portrayal of bereavement, showing how death elevates the mundane and affects everything humans do, see, and think.
— Publishers Weekly, reviewing Nona Caspers' The Fifth Woman
I might add humbly, am a respected fiction writer precisely because Sarabande took the risk of publishing my first books a dozen years ago.
— Brian Leung, author of World Famous Love Acts

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As an educational nonprofit Sarabande reinforces our mission to connect new audiences with literature through our Outreach and Programming.

Sarabande Writing Labs 2018 Collection

Sarabande Writing Labs 2018 Collection

Having just ended its fifth season in 2018 Sarabande Writing Labs has partnered with organizations serving people living with displacement, homelessness, addiction, disability, and mental illness. With your support we have been able to host 87 free writing workshops, create 14 hand-bound anthologies, and published 194 local writers. With your continued support we can only continue growing the program from here. Your tax-deductible donation of $50 covers the cost of one writer's participation in Sarabande Writing Labs.

Our Summer 2017 interns celebrating the release of ANIMALS STRIKE CURIOUS POSES

Our Summer 2017 interns celebrating the release of ANIMALS STRIKE CURIOUS POSES

Our Sarabande Internship program has helped recent graduates and current students gain the skills in editing, marketing, publicity, and more to start careers as publishers, booksellers, nonprofit professionals, and authors. We are so proud of our interns, and your tax-deductible donations help us keep this program running strong.

Blackacre’s historic Presley-Tyler farmhouse

Blackacre’s historic Presley-Tyler farmhouse

Partnering with Blackacre Conservancy Sarabande is able to send two writers every summer to Blackacre's historic Presley-Tyler farmhouse as a writer in residence. During their stay, writers have full access to the conservancy's three hundred acres of wooded hiking trails and meadows. As well as a stipend of $200 to expend travel expenses to and from the residency. Your tax-deductible donations help us to continue this partnership.