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Dzanc Books is nonprofit press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. In addition to publishing activities, Dzanc Books also supports the Disquiet International Literary Program.

Seven Years to Zero by Amy Benson

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Seven Years to Zero by Amy Benson


Seven Years to Zero by Amy Benson


Publication Date: May 2 2017
Paperback: 200 pages
ISBN: 978-1-941088-77-7

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A couple grapples with urban immersion and the meaning of art in a pre-apocalyptic world over seven years in New York City 

A miniature city constructed entirely of trash. An Explorer’s Club, where an artist transforms conquest to artifice through the striking use of color. A squirrel cage where dead and poisoned thoughts ricochet like Bingo balls. A forest growing inside a gallery, complete with a living raccoon.

These are just a few of the modern art landscapes, real and imaged, in Amy Benson’s Seven Years to Zero, a collection of linked vignettes that blurs the line between fiction and memoir. In a narrative divided into seven years, the collection traces on couple’s move from the suburbs to the metropolis, and their struggle with the decision of having a child in a world of factories, earthquakes, pollution, extinction, nuclear fallout and uncertain future. Through the lens of one couple, one city, and one child, Benson explores how art shapes awareness, and how awareness shapes our understanding of our place in a changing world.

PRAISE FOR Seven Years to Zero

Like Calvino, Benson has created a book that eludes easy classification, its contents part personal essay and part ekphrastic prose poem. But rather than using invented cities or dreams as a framework to explore human behavior, she looks to art, both real and imagined, to illuminate our fears and desires.” 

“Benson captures the paranoia and search for escape that is found in much of contemporary life. She does so with beautiful language and a unique approach, joining in the tradition of great 'art as life' works as The Horse’s Mouth and Letters on Cezanne.” 

Benson employs a poetic approach to language, making the natural world flicker and animate itself through lyrical precision and powerful images.” 
The Rumpus


Amy Benson is the author of The Sparkling-Eyed Boy (Houghton Mifflin 2004), winner of the Bakeless Prize in creative nonfiction, sponsored by Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. Recent work has appeared in journals such as Agni, BOMB, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, PANK, and Triquarterly. She has taught creative writing at Columbia University and Fordham University and will join the writing faculty at Rhodes College in Memphis in the fall. She was a fellow at Bread Loaf and a resident at Ledig House International, and is the co-founder of the First Person Plural Reading Series in Harlem.