Make/Shift, Joe Sacksteder


Make/Shift, Joe Sacksteder


Pre-order only. Available April 2019.

Performers—athletes, artists, and other players of games unwittingly find themselves at the center of larger and more dire spectacles than they’d anticipated.

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Joe Sacksteder is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Utah. Fugitive Traces, his album of Werner Herzog audio collages, is available from Punctum Books. His writing has appeared in Denver QuarterlyFlorida ReviewThe Literary ReviewPassages NorthHobartThe Rumpus, and elsewhere. He is currently a visiting instructor at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. 


“Joe Sacksteder's Make/Shift is a marvelously inventive book, formally restless, endlessly playful even at its bleakest, a Rube Goldberg machine of experimental fiction artfully hammered together out of high school traumas, late capitalist ephemera, and insider jokes about Werner Herzog. This is a book of feints and swerves and surprises, a debut collection that takes real risks and delivers real rewards.” 

—Matt Bell, author of Scrapper

“Subversive, provocative, and piercingly poignant, the disparate fictions of Make/Shift deliver the reader to the mysteries of inchoate grief, the hilarity of subliminal messaging, the ecstasies of transgression, and the magical possibilities of a parallel universe. The speakers gathered in this dynamic, playful, wildly inventive collection expose the dangerous absurdities of contemporary experience tenderly juxtaposed with the timeless, potent passions of human suffering.”

—Melanie Rae Thon

“Make/Shift is an experience—uncanny, revelatory, transcendent. To read it is akin to walking along a path through new territory, in the dark, with a flashlight. However, it’s just as satisfying as it is mystifying, just as full of dislocation as it is of the firmest grounding. The collection will resonate as deeply with traditionalists—thrills, surprises, atmosphere, suspense, voice, plot, and subversion of ploT—as it will those desperate for the newest forms, wildest visions, and the riskiest and most successful experimentations. Make/Shift arrives just in time to frighten, to change, and to save us.”

—Laura Kasischke

“In Make/Shift, Joe Sacksteder deftly stitches together an amazing range of stories, with generic and structural variance so extreme that, as themes begin to emerge and build, their resonances are even more wondrous. What a world we inhabit here. It is our own, and yet not always familiar. This book has many obsessions: music, labor, hockey, loss, writing, sexual taboos, kink, and pleasure. Prose poems, like ‘Subs so fast you’ll freak,’ read like linguistic puzzles. Some are reminiscent of David Lynch. Others, like ‘Enough Sealant to Pool the Concavity,’ are just plain breathtaking—gorgeous, weird, and heart-breaking. When I finished the book, the world felt just a little off-kilter, dazzlingly so.”

—Tessa Fontaine

“In the title story of Joe Sacksteder’s Make/Shift, a valedictorian speech warns us that 'We let the world convince us to either/or our very souls.' The stories here reject that trap as wholly as their characters. This is an inventive, high-flying, often moving collection of stories told with screenplays and squiggles of road sealant, sheet music and taglines and game shows. Instead of either/or, Sacksteder shapes the noisy and and and of modern life into wonderfully surprising, unruly stories.”

—Caitlin Horrocks