Willow Springs Magazine issue 82 contributor and University of Alabama professor of creative writing Brian Phillip Whalen has announced the upcoming publication of his debut fiction collection, Semiotic Love [Stories]. It will be published in March by AWST Press, and is available for pre-sale now through the page on the AWST Press website.

According to a press release from AWST, “SEMIOTIC LOVE [STORIES] draws upon symbols and objects to explore the loss of relationships. In these pages, Brian Phillip Whalen reaches deep into the throat of anxiety with a graceful hand and understated humor as he confronts mothers and best friends dying slow or sudden deaths, disappointing vacations, and vanishing sisters. While loss of all kinds permeates these compact stories, it is the tenderness and longing that attaches itself to the reader and propels them to turn the page. This book reminds us that for better or for worse, we’re all a little rougher with the people we love the most. Fans of Lydia Davis, Stuart Dybek, Sarah Manguso, and Donald Barthelme will find a kindred spirit in Brian Phillip Whalen. Semiotic Love‘s brevity and evocative, lingering moments go hand in hand. Its stories can be read over breakfast or while you wait for the bus but will stay with you much longer.”

Semiotic Love [Stories] has received praise from multiple acclaimed authors including Matt Bell, Lynne Tillman, Michael Martone, Edward Schwarzschild, and JoAnna Novack. Novack, the author of I Must Have You, commented, “Semiotic Love bears the sign of a remarkable talent. Whalen is that rare writer who knows when to step aside and let his readers ‘watch the sky fall apart.’ With light and mercury, he exposes images of unprecedented potency–how better to speak all of our unspeakable loves?”

Brian Phillip Whalen’s work can be found in The Southern Review, Creative Nonfiction, Copper Nickel, the Flash Nonfiction Food anthology, and elsewhere. Brian holds a PhD from the State University of New York at Albany and is the recipient of a Vermont Studio Center residency. He lives with his wife and daughter in Tuscaloosa where he teaches creative and first-year writing at the University of Alabama. This is his first book.

You can find out more about Brian on his personal website. You can also read the poem he published in Willow Springs Magazine, titled “The Family of Things”, in Issue 82 of the magazine.