Sunday Afternoon with Issa Nyaphaga & ComeDrumForFun

What a wonderful Sunday at Malvern Books! We got the afternoon off to a lively start with Mae Stoll and ComeDrumForFun, a small community of hand drummers who love to play and celebrate West African rhythms on traditional West African instruments like the djembe. Have a listen to their fantastic performance below—and, as Mae says, foot-stomping is definitely encouraged!


I think you’ll agree ComeDrumForFun is a tough act to follow—but Issa Nyaphaga was certainly up to the task. An acclaimed multi-media artist and dedicated human rights activist, Issa published over 5000 cartoons, drawings, and comics in his home country of Cameroon, reaching over 5 million readers, many of whom were marginalized and illiterate. In the late 1990s in Paris he was a contributing cartoonist with Charlie Hebdo. He has also conducted art therapy programs for child soldiers and at-risk children and teenagers, and earlier this year he addressed the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on the subject of freedom of artistic expression. Issa was visiting Malvern to introduce his new book, Art Stronger Than Hate (Alamo Bay Press), a collection of provocative political cartoons that demonstrate his commitment to free speech, artistic expression, and social justice. Have a listen to Issa below, and prepare to be educated and inspired by this extraordinary artist and activist.


New In Store: Copper Canyon

In celebration of National Poetry Month, we’re offering a stupendously generous 20% OFF ALL POETRY TITLES this April. That means you still have one week to race down to Malvern Books and pick out some verse bargains—and to make your life a little easier, allow me to recommend this trifecta of recent arrivals from Copper Canyon Press

Copper Canyon

Copper Canyon has been publishing poetry since 1972, and they’ve released over 400 titles. Their impressive list includes renowned and emerging American poets, poetry in translation, anthologies, and re-issues of classic collections. Let’s take a look at three of their outstanding new releases…

Siken is a painter as well as an acclaimed poet, and in War of the Foxes he contemplates the challenges artists and writers face when they seek meaning in their own inventions. This is a rich and thoughtful collection, and a worthy follow-up to the award-winning Crush, his much admired first book.

We’re big fans of Alaskan poet Olena Kalytiak Davis (and in particular her wonderful first book, And Her Soul Out of Nothing), so this new volume of poetry, her first full collection in over ten years, is certainly cause for celebration. In his New Yorker review, Dan Chiasson writes that Davis’ poetry is “at once tawdry and oddly pure,” and suggests that what makes her work so thrilling is the way “it sends us ricocheting from line to line and poem to poem looking for sustenance.” If you’re keen for some brilliant, brutal, deeply intimate verse, be sure to check out The Poem She Didn’t Write

It’s hardly surprising Frank Stanford has become something of a cult literary figure: he was prolific, enigmatic, and handsome, and he died young, shooting himself in the chest three times following an argument with his wife. However, he’s never quite reached legendary status, in part because his poetry has been hard to track down. Copper Canyon has now remedied this with a comprehensive new collection that includes work from each of Stanford’s published titles (including excerpts from his epic, “The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You”), as well as an abundance of unpublished poems and fragments. What About This is a compelling introduction to a fascinating Southern poet.