We’re very excited to have among our authors the enigmatically brilliant American poet and academic Hugh Fox. A co-founder of the Pushcart Prize for Literature (alongside Anaïs Nin and others), a champion of small-press publishing and creator of the avant-garde literary magazine Ghost Dance, he is also a well-travelled authority on Latin American archaeology. He has a PhD in American Literature from the University of Illinois, was a professor at Michigan State University for more than three decades, and is the author of some 80 published books of quite mind-boggling diversity, ranging through literary fiction to experimental poetry, archaeology, memoirs, reviews and literary criticism.
Hugh was raised by a Jewish grandmother who hid her Jewishness from him, and so he was raised as a fanatic Irish Catholic in Chicago during the 1930s. His immersion in this culture was total: the grammar school nuns and high school Christian Brothers were all from Ireland. It was only much later through his mother’s deathbed confession to a nurse that he learned that his grandmother had been a Jew – which inspired him to convert to Judaism. He has been a Jew for forty years.
Hugh’s favourite places in the world are Israel and Paris, and so he decided to create a novel based on Judaism and Catholicism, with a particular concentration on Irish Catholicism, which has its origin in a special type of heretical Catholicism called Catharism. So he wrote Depths and Dragons, an exploration of both political/terrorist realities and ancient religions as they have survived into the contemporary world. Sadly his grandmother didn’t survive long enough to see herself turned into a major fictional character, but this compelling story, crisply spoken and cleverly unfolded, is a must-read.
As Norbert Blei’s Poetry Dispatch has it: “Fox remains a necessary reminder for writers just starting out, for writers weary of the process, for writers who have lost faith in the publishing system. Just take a gander at what Hugh Fox has accomplished—under the radar, so to speak…while barely, if ever, waking up the New York Literary Mafia of “Books & Writers Manufactured by Us”…”
Skylight Press is very privileged to be publishing Depths and Dragons in December.