Alicia Jo Rabins
In Alicia Jo Rabins’ second collection, Fruit Geode, the terrifying power of maternal love coexists with sorrow for the loss of one’s younger self. In lyrical, unflinching poems, Rabins investigates the passages of pregnancy, birth, and early infancy through a constellation of ancient and modern experience: Sumerian storm demons, astronauts, herbal medicine, Neanderthal DNA, Jewish mysticism, climate change. In tracing the ritual mysteries of motherhood, Fruit Geode examines what it means to be transformed, to leave behind our certainties and walk into the unknown. “I regard my former life / With a distant affection, / As an astronaut / Looks through a porthole / At the small green planet / Where she used to live,” writes Rabins. This is a book about what it means to live in a human body, how love changes us, and what we pass on from one generation to the next.
Say Something Nice About Me
In the twelve stories of this engrossing collection, Sara Schaff introduces us to characters at turning points in their lives; in doing so, she charts the way we take risks—or create illusions—in the face of the unknown. Awkward, flawed, and hopeful, these characters’ stories hum with the regrets and desires that drive us—sometimes closer to our goals, sometimes heartbreakingly further away.
You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened
Angular, smart, and fearless, Arisa White’s newest collection takes its titles from words used internationally as hate speech against gays and lesbians, reworking, re-envisioning, and re-embodying language as a conduit for art, love, and understanding. You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened works through intersectional encounters with gender, identity, and human barbarism, landing deftly and defiantly in beauty.
Without excuse or indulgence, this gripping story of transformation explores the narrator's downward spiral from unassuming Howard University undergraduate to homeless drug addict, international cocaine smuggler, and incarcerated felon—before showing us the redemptive role that writing and literature played in helping him reclaim his life. Hook explores race and social construction in America, the forgotten lives within the prison industrial complex, and the resilience of the human spirit.
The poems in American Gramophone are menacing—spiked with hazards, threats, warnings and spells—yet the contained lines and composed forms temper the peril with delicacy: a pin curl in the palm, glass shelves full of violets. The collection explores this sharpness and splendor in an agrarian landscape where earth is both burden and livelihood. Here, beneath the music of machinery and birdsong, the trap is set.
Hi c cu ps
Taking cues from a myriad of short forms—haiku, epigram, bon mot, aphorism, senryū—these poems search out unexpected ways to document events in transition. The disparate settings of these poems are as diverse as the impulses that gave rise to the work—a Tokyo skyscraper, a South African wildlife preserve, a log cabin in the Pacific Northwest, a shark-infested reef off Belize. These are poems that arrive with a jolt, engulfing the familiar, before being left to linger or dissolve.
The Family Cannon
An escalating neighborhood feud takes an unanticipated turn. A college student visiting Poland learns about drinking, dancing, and some of the more perplexing mysteries of adulthood. A mother opens up about her youth and courtship. A daughter tries to understand her own relationship within the context of what she has been taught about marriage. These tender and generous linked stories illuminate the hidden corners of our family lives and, in doing so, cast beautiful light on the shadows.
Frances Justine Post
In Beast Frances Justin Post explores the destruction and eventual reclaiming of the self following loss. Many of the poems make up a series of “self-portraits” that explore the psychological core of intimacy with its inherent devotion and betrayal, reward and punishment, attempting to reinvent the self and alter it as a way of trying to understand what remains after devastation.
Mantic underscores the art of prediction as a means for rectifying disquiet—when one is willing. You will be made to look toward spine-white shores, salt lakes at the empire’s boundary. You will hear voices dwelling within the other voice. You will inhabit the shades turning in the grass at the doorway, sun-baked origins, amaurosis before language. You will dream of the past as a form of begging, the future as your face pressed between the landscape’s burnished pages. You will not lie still.
Soldier Quick with Rain
David Joel Friedman
Soldier Quick with Rain is childlike in temperament, relaxed in constitution, bold in content, and spontaneous in vision. Friedman masters the contradictory without calling attention to it, building a fascinating, yet familiar, world where his readers can comfortably settle in for a wholly unconventional experience.
The Book of Lost Things
Patrick Moran is the author of five books, Tell A Pitiful, Doppelgangster, The Book of Lost Things, Rumors of Organized Crime, and There are Things We Live Among (2016). His poems and translations have appeared in many journals including the New Republic, The Antioch Review, The Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review and The Boston Review. He is currently an associate professor of creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
Family of Many Enzos
Paige Lipari is a Sicilian-American poet, music maker, cartoonist, and cook. She has worked in many of NYC’s finest bookstores, and was previously an editor at A Public Space. Family of Many Enzos is her first chapbook of poems and illustrations. She lives in Brooklyn.
To Mend Small Children
B. C. Edwards
If you like to be spooked by poems, if you like poems to send you back into your quotidian existence with a more acute sense of its weirdness and charm, read [this book] carefully. Edwards’ poems offer solutions to bizzaro problems and alchemic transmogrifications for exotic items, but their miraculous nature really lies in the way they transform the person who reads them. Prepare to visit a dimension that is weird, dark, funny and eerily similar to the one in which we live. —Ben Mirov