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Five Plots

Seneca Review Books is an imprint of Hobart and William Smith Colleges Press. It was founded in 2018 to publish the Deborah Tall Lyric Essay Book Prize Series.

Seneca Review Books' premier title, Erica Trabold’s Five Plots, was released on November 6, 2018.

You can order Five Plots from SPD or Amazon.


Five Plots is a beautiful book. Under Trabold’s careful scrutiny the land, the body, a family, and their shared histories are laid bare, followed to the place where their roots intertwine, where their mystery refuses to yield. Examined with an eye equally tender and relentless, the starkest places ache with beauty in these pages.” - Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart and Abandon Me

“The late poet and essayist Deborah Tall revolutionized the literature of place by changing our understanding of how potently we can be impacted by the conflagrations of landscape, family, and memory. Now, Erica Trabold kick-starts a new book series named for Deborah Tall with a debut that imaginatively probes its own part of the world through humor, history, speculation, and hurt. This is a pinprick of a book with a very generous heart.” - John D’Agata, author of The Lifespan of a Fact and About a Mountain

“What a wonderful excavation of identity, time, and place and what holds us, what keeps us, what won’t let us go. Erica Trabold’s Five Plots beautifully unearths the layers of history that make us what we are, doing so as only a poetic essayist can: incorporating memory, historical fact, failures, landscapes, hopes, and whatever grows or has grown. It was a delight to lose myself in her imagistic prose, her layers of dreamy sediment, her intersecting strata of family, memory, erosion, and death. Trabold’s landscape of childhood and Nebraska is haunting and bright, warm and hostile, captured in entrancing syntax and meditation. Five Plots signals a daringly honest, intelligent, and complicated voice in the world of essays.” - Jenny Boully, author of The Body and Betwixt-and-Between

“With grace, ambition, and a charmed eye for detail, the five “plots” that comprise Erica Trabold’s stirring debut achieve a significant feat: instead of either pulling stories of the self from the landscape or depicting a landscape via the unique perspective of an observant self, this small gem of a book manages to accomplish both simultaneously.” - Elena Passarello, author of Animals Strike Curious Poses


Los Angeles Review of Books, reviewed by Ryan Lackey

The Rumpus, reviewed by Kristine Langley Mahler

Brevity Magazine, reviewed by Cameron Shenassa

Rain Taxi, reviewed by Katharine Coldiron


The Rumpus, Erica Trabold interviewed by Jenny Boully

BOMB Magazine, Erica Trabold interviewed by Kristina Tate

New Book Network, Podcast, Erica Trabold interviewed by Zoe Bossiere

In-Residence Podcast, Erica Trabold interviewed by KHN Center for the Arts


Small Press Distribution, Nonfiction Bestseller, #9 (Jan. - Mar. 2019)

Small Press Distribution, Nonfiction Bestseller, #11 (Oct. - Dec. 2018)

The Paris Review, selected Five Plots as one of its "Staff Picks" by Christian Kiefer

Poets & Writers Magazine, featured publication

New Pages, “New & Noteworthy,” Nov. 27, 2018

Oregonian, “18 Authors to Check Out at the 2018 Portland Book Festival,” Nov. 5, 2018

Portland Monthly Magazine, recommended book

Magnify, (Small Presses, Bigger), featured in “A Critical Look” for November



Seneca Review's general submission period runs from February 1st through March 15th and from September 1st through October 15th.

You may submit poems and essays electronically through Submittable.

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