With a Difference is a collaborative split collection of poetry and short fiction by Philadelphia authors Francis Daulerio and Nick Gregorio, in which each writer “covers” the other’s catalog of work to create a unique, cross-genre reading experience. Gregorio’s powerful fiction has been reworked into narrative poetry, while Daulerio’s intimate poems now read as layered works of short fiction.
With its title coming from Ophelia’s last lines in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, With a Difference illustrates the human need to share common coping mechanisms for our individual battles with grief. For Daulerio and Gregorio, the common mechanism has been writing, but in this collection they swap plots. Daulerio’s life-affirming poem “Henry Wilde Sunflower” has been transformed into a world where anthropomorphic plants protest capitalism on street corners. Gregorio’s heart-wrenching story “Wake Up Dead” has become a poetic tribute to those parents turned ghosts from worry, hovering above cribs each night. The deeply personal becomes abstract, and the fantastical is distilled down to first person intimacy. The result is a sometimes devastating, often hilarious, beautiful book of poetry and short fiction that will appeal to the wide range of readers who have already fallen in love with both authors’ past work.
Like the vinyl split EPs that inspired the collection’s aesthetic, readers will have to flip the book over to read each “side,” everything neatly wrapped between dual front covers designed by Adde Russell (the artist behind Death Cab For Cutie’s Transatlanticism and Plans). Unconventional as it is, With a Difference will be loved by fans of poetry and prose alike.
With a Difference is out now through Trident Boulder Books and wherever books are sold.
Praise for With a Difference
“With a Difference beautifully dances the line between hopeful and devastating. I was encouraged and challenged all the same. A poignant escape from my brain but a reminder of where my feet are planted.”
– Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra
“Gregorio and Daulerio have created a mosaic of stories and poems that are sharp in both delivery and craft. Both writers have created a rippling depth that resonates page after page, a feat they achieve through deft skill and razor-sharp honesty. The variety in form will keep you riveted, and the emotion seeping through the pages will stay with you long after you close the cover.”
– Madeline Anthes, author of Now We Haunt This Home Together
The writing in With a Difference gives itself permission to wonder. One of Francis Daulerio’s poems writes of “how alive this all is, / and how simple.” By returning the gaze back to the wide-eyed, to the wonderful, to the act of taking-it-all-in, Daulerio and Gregorio center us in a vision of the world that hopes as much as it mourns, that laughs as much as it cries. This is writing that loves the scary, silly, wild, and wonderful world we each inhabit. To read Daulerio and Gregorio is to be more fully alive with each word.
– Devin Kelly, author of In This Quiet of Night I Say Amen
“The stories and poems in this collection are Polaroids that dance and shake like shadows against a backlit wall, filled with clever allegories which brighten rainy days, stretch our dream realms further, and make us question life with optimism. We learn the outsiders are observing, looking in, with hope stained on their faces.”
– Elle Nash, author of Animals Eat Each Other