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Belle Point Press

Child Craft

Child Craft

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Child Craft, by Amy Cipolla Barnes

The unmistakable voice of Amy Cipolla Barnes returns in this new hybrid prose collection. To enter Child Craft is to enter a world of memories, both invented and remembered. The speakers of Barnes’ stories inhabit a space at times surreal but always vivid, evoking emotional responses that take readers to a place they could not have anticipated from the opening lines. As the title implies, Child Craft explores family relationships—typically from the perspectives of mother and daughter—and the ways that we continually shape them into something that can either help or harm us. These intimate vignettes comment on the many-layered realities of womanhood in modern life in a variety of settings. Whether passing through the wreckage of the Oklahoma City bombing or pretending that a pickle jar could save a missing woman, these stories open imaginative landscapes that will leave you feeling both haunted and a little less alone.

Amy Cipolla Barnes is the author of Ambrotypes (word west press) and Mother Figures (ELJ Editions). Her words have appeared in many publications, including The Citron Review, JMWW, Trampset, Flash Frog, No Contact Mag, Leon Review, Complete Sentence, The Bureau Dispatch, Nurture Lit, X-R-A-Y Lit, McSweeney’s, Southern Living, SmokeLong Quarterly, and others. She’s been nominated for Best of the Net, the Pushcart Prize, Best Microfiction, Best Small Fictions, and long-listed for Wigleaf50 in 2021, 2022, and 2023. She’s a Fractured Lit Associate Editor, Gone Lawn co-editor, Ruby Lit assistant editor and reads for The MacGuffin, Best Small Fictions, and Narratively. Find her on Twitter at @amygcb.

Praise for Child Craft:

“Amy Cipolla Barnes takes beautiful risks with Child Craft, a hybrid collection of essays, micros, and flash, of nonfiction and fiction, and the blurred in-between. Each piece clamps the throat, aches the heart. The distinctive voices come at their stories by such unpredictable avenues. One compares mothering to an abandoned Kmart; another explores betrayal and abduction through hiding places like thimbles and pickle barrels. Barnes writes of grief and longing, of caregiving and letting go, through corn kernels--remembered, spoiled, and bought fresh at the farmer’s market--through the staples of missing child posters, through game shows and paper-cutout houses. She’s crafted a journey of love and loss in ways that never cease to unsettle and surprise.”

 -Jolene McIlwain, author of Sidle Creek

“A child ‘paints’ bedsheets hung out to dry to impress the rich folks driving by. Sisters ride a bus through a surreally gray, post-bombing Oklahoma City. A woman gives birth to a 144-inch baby. In this extraordinary collection, Amy Barnes renders the often-hidden lives of young girls and women and mothers with disarming candor and the sort of perfect, skewed vision one finds only in dreams. Barnes’ skill here lies in her ability to unearth the myths and totems of suburban life and arrange them into haunting, moving, unforgettable dioramas. All through, the prose is breathtaking, risk-taking, masterful. Child Craft is a powerful, wholly original collection by one of the best short-form writers working today.”

-Kathy Fish, author of Wild Life: Collected Works

"Child Craft, Amy Cipolla Barnes’ haunting story collection, is vibrant and alive, characters and their stories conjured at a slant. With the flash pieces smartly juxtaposed, one story bleeds into the next, and it becomes almost impossible to put down. The effect is similar to that of a photo album—as the collection moves forward, the images and sensual experiences become seared into the reader’s mind. Lizards cutting an umbilical cord. Pickle-green footprints in the snow. Moon cookies tossed into the night sky. Mothers and daughters, desire and regret, grief and love—the stuff of life and the core of this unforgettable collection." 
-Laura Spence-Ash, author of Beyond That, the Sea
"Fresh as laundry on the line and hot as a factory fire, Child Craft turns innocence on its head to reveal the harsh realities in the upside-down worlds Amy Cipolla Barnes builds with surreal, humorous, and heartbreaking imagery and her wholly original voice." 
-Amy Long, author of Codependence and editor of Taylor Swift as Books

Read an interview in SmokeLong Quarterly.

From Amy at Reckon Review: "A Parental Reckoning: Parenting and Writing in Liminal Spaces (and they are all liminal spaces)"

Review of Ambrotypes in trampset

Interview in Anti-Heroin Chic

Interview in The Citron Review

Feature in Mondettes

Interview in X-R-A-Y

Feature in trampset: "Gone Bookin'"

Interview in Retreat West

Column in Reckon Review: "See the Sections: A How-to Guide to Giving Birth"

Interview in Cease, Cows


    • Publication date: September 5, 2023
    • Trim size: 5.5" x 8.5"
    • Pages: 124
    • ISBN: 978-1-960215-05-5

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