John Murillo’s second book is a reflective look at the legacy of institutional, accepted violence against Blacks and Latinos and the personal and societal wreckage wrought by long histories of subjugation. A sparrow trapped in a car window evokes a mother battered by a father’s fists; a workout at an iron gym recalls a long-ago mentor who pushed the speaker “to become something unbreakable.” The presence of these and poetic forbears—Gil Scott-Heron, Yusef Komunyakaa—provide a context for strength in the face of danger and anger. At the heart of the book is a sonnet crown triggered by the shooting deaths of three Brooklyn men that becomes an extended meditation on the history of racial injustice and the notion of payback as a form of justice.
Abandoned by her hustling father, raised by her devoted mother, then battered by the winds of loss, heartbreak, and sexual assault, Nikki Murphy exposes the undercurrents of resilience and faith that undergird success in this riveting memoir-in-verse.
Home for Hurricanes provides a sobering portrayal of both the jubilance and hardening of Black girls emanating from the ghettos, and Murphy celebrates their resolve to build free and whole lives.
In her debut poetry collection, Murphy lays bare the impact of rape culture, examines notions of innocence and responsibility, and invites readers to witness her hard-fought journey to find healing, love, and gratitude.
No matter where you are in weathering the storms of trauma, you will be reminded you are built to withstand.
Poetry. Jewish Studies. "Writing about the Holocaust can be difficult now, not that it was ever easy. It has become myth or something people use as a metaphor for something they object to; those who know, who went through it, are dying off. Those who deny what happened multiply. To make fresh powerful poems rooted in Shoah is amazing."—Marge Piercy
“This Selected group of poems illuminates some harsh realities regarding identity. There are poems that smack a consciousness sideways. The poems have a real grit to them. For the reader, each poem will be an eye-opening experience.” –Poet/Professor Stanley E. Banks, Blue Beat Syncopation (Bookmark Press)
“With sharp and incisive language, each piece provides an immersive moment, inviting the reader into the experience of growing up half Cherokee, of self-harm and losing friends, of teaching and aging and loving and living in the Pacific Northwest. Nothing is veiled, nothing is alluded to, and their humor is ever-present, wry and witty. Any writer who begins a poem with My psychologist says (don’t you love when poets start like this?) has levels of self-awareness and genre savvy that speak to years of dedication to identity and craft.” –Brenna Crotty, Editor, Selected Poems
As you delve into this poetic and photographic masterpiece, you are in for an inspiring double journey into the mysteries of Love and life. Outwardly you will travel through New England via the visual images of the mountain vistas, the riverbanks, and the coastlines. This stunning visual imagery captures all four seasons in New England as well as the whole diurnal and nocturnal span.
Ryan Meyer departs from the horror themes of 2018's Haunt in his new collection of poems, Tempest. He explores fear, hope, and self-identity through striking fictional vignettes and surreal personal accounts. Tempest is thus a marriage between the dichotomies of musical, rhythmic poetic dialogue, and the deeper, innate anxieties that accompany change. Discover your truest self and brave the Tempest.
"Unbecoming" is a collection of poems that takes you on a healing journey through toxic relationships, mental illness, and social conditioning. With colors and foliage inspired by the author's adventures through Texas parks, each page is a reminder of the beauty to be found, even in unlearning.
In his landmark debut, Carlos Andrés Gómez interrogates race, gender, sexuality, and violence to explore some of the most pressing issues of our time. These poems address the complexities and nuances of toxic masculinity, assimilation, homophobia, and the joy and anguish of trying to raise Black children in America. Gómez casts an uncompromising eye toward both brutality and tenderness, going where we are most uncomfortable and lingering in moments of introspection that reveal fear, grief, or hatred. Birthed at a breaking point, these poems carve open silence, revealing fissures that welcome the light. Unflinching, poignant, and powerful, Fractures is both a gut punch and a balm.
"An unflinching reckoning with the traumas of one's life and those inherited through a history of exacted injustices "Some men find nothing, and others/ find omens everywhere," writes C. Dale Young in Prometeo, a collection whose speaker is a proverbial "child of fire." In poems that thrive off of their distinct voice, the speaker confronts generational and lived trauma and their relationship to his multi-ethnicity. We are presented with the idea of the past's burial in the body and its constellatory manifestations-both in the speaker and those around him-in disease and pain, but also in strength and a capacity for intimacy with others and nature. Grounded in precise language, Young's examination of the past and its injuries turns into a celebration of the self. In stark, exuberant relief, the speaker proclaims "...I was splendidly blended, genetically engineered/ for survival." Resilient, Young's poems find beauty in landscape, science, and meditation"
An energetic exploration of the expanse of language translated and otherwise transformed
In Renditions Reginald Gibbons conducts an ensemble of poetic voices, using the works of a varied, international selection of writers as departure points for his translations and transformations. The collection poses the idea that all writing is, at least abstractly, an act of translation, whether said act “translates” observation into word or moves ideas from one language to another. Through these acts of transformation, Gibbons infuses the English language with stylistic aspects of other languages and poetic traditions. The resulting poems are imbued with a sense of homage that allows us to respectfully reimagine the borders of language and revel in the fellowship of idea sharing. In this tragicomedy of the human experience and investigation of humanity’s effects, Gibbons identifies the “shared underthoughts that we can (all) sense:” desire, love, pain, and fervor.
The first-ever poetry book set on a llama farm, Daniel Lassell’s debut collection, Spit, examines the roles we play in the act of belonging. It is a portrait of a boy living on a farm populated with chickens sung to sleep by lullaby, captive wolves next door that attack a child, and a herd of llamas learning to survive despite coyotes and a chaotic family. The collection in part explores the role of the body in health and illness and one’s treatment of the earth and others. A theme of spirituality also weaves throughout the collection as the speaker treks into adulthood, yearning for peace amid the decline of his parents’ marriage. Driven by a “wish to visit / some landless landscape,” the speaker eventually leaves his family’s farm, only to find that return is impossible. After losing the farm and the llama herd to his parents’ divorce, the speaker wrestles with the role of presence as it relates to healing, remarking, “I wish enough, / to have only // these memories I have.” Unflinching at every turn, the collection pushes the boundaries of “home” to arrive upon new meaning, definition, and purpose.
“What Happens is Neither/ the end nor the beginning. /Yet we’re wired to look for signs,” offers the speaker of Angela Narciso Torres’ latest collection, which approaches motherhood, aging, and mourning through a series of careful meditations. In music, mantra, and prayer, Torres explores the spaces in and around grief—in varying proximity to it and from different vantage points. She writes both structurally formal poems that enfold the emotionality of loss and free verse that loosens the latch on memory and lets us into the sensory worlds of the speaker’s childhood and present. In poems set in two countries and homes, Torres considers what it means to leave a mark, vanish, and stay in one place. In a profound act of recollection and preservation, Torres shows us how to release part of ourselves but remain whole.
Stifled creativity. Midlife mediocrity. Explore nitty-gritty struggles as viewed through the lens of whiskey, beer, and down-to-earth verse.
Any man might turn to his neighborhood bar after misfortune pays a visit. But when oppressive jobs, self-loathing, and a tall glass of liquid comfort strike at an artistic soul, they can trigger something truly unique. In this straightforward set of poems, a blue-collar guy stuck in a white-collar life brings the average joe’s daily frustrations to life in a raw and tongue-in-cheek voice.
In her exploration of the multiverse theory, Alvarez deals with several griefs created by the loss of two pregnancies, a beloved granduncle, her infant son, and finally her father, in the span of just four years, by constructing multiple alternate realities in which one or more of these people survived. In this process, Alvarez deals frankly and sometimes even starkly with death and its consequences on individuals and families. The book directly addresses the questions that plague many people who grieve: What if I had done this instead of that? Would it have mattered? Is there such a thing as fate?
"It's not often you see a whole life that's gone into a book, but here we have just that. Janice Northerns lives this life intensely, and lives intensely in language. At the core of this book are the raw elements of birth, love, and death; while surrounding them are sophisticated yet impassioned readings of the violence of history, class, and social codes. These are poems to be read both largely and closely, for the stories they tell, and for their turns of poetic craft. You don't just read this book, you enter it." —William Wenthe
Can toxic family secrets ever be forgiven or forgotten? J.E. Rome’s raw, visceral poetry is a personal and chronological journey through the hell of growing up in a dysfunctional family where when bad things happen, there’s no one to blame but yourself. Rome faces the skeletons in the closet head on: from childhood trauma, abuse, and parental neglect to the soul-ravaging effects of poverty and addiction.
Graphic and hard-hitting, this unforgettable memoir, structured as a collection of poems, takes you through the darkest places of the human heart to the light of hope and truth.
The Keeping is a heartfelt collection that explores growing up in rural Oklahoma, engaging with the natural world, and paying tribute to women. From the very first poem entitled "Our Mothers Would Not Let Us Watch," Linda Neal Reising casts the reader into the landscape of her childhood, a rural part of Oklahoma, where the lead and zinc mines played out years before, leaving "those gaping mouths that never swallowed." She goes on to people the landscape with characters--a father who went to school with Mickey Mantle in "No. 7 and Other Heroes," a cousin convinced he is being hunted by the "F.B.I., C.I.A., Russians," and teenagers attempting to navigate adolescence during wartime, concerned with being "faroutgroovyheavyman." Intertwined in this section is the author's Native American roots.
Elizabeth Joyce struggled with tumbling thoughts for decades, but only after a year of psychotherapy did she realize her inability to rein in her mind was a result of multiple anxiety disorders and bouts of Major Depressive Disorder. In tumbling: poetic thoughts from an anxious mind Elizabeth invites us to explore the intimate thoughts tumbling around in her anxious mind through a collection of poetry and prose written throughout her life. She packs a powerful arc into the short, chapbook-size collection, touching on her darkest moments and culminating in her ultimate hope.
Anyone struggling with their mental health will appreciate this impactful read as an affirmation they are not alone, and those with loved ones who struggle with mental illnesses will get a glimpse into their world. In sharing her story as a child, friend, spouse, and parent who struggles with anxiety, Elizabeth's true hope is to chip away at the long-standing stigmas surrounding mental health by raising awareness and understanding.
Finalist Poetry: Contemporary 2021 Best Book Awards
Enlightened Continuum, the third and final book in the Lake Parking Trilogy, is a collection of lanturne poems that when written on the page look to be in the shape of lanterns in using their 1-2-3-4-1 syllables per line structure. A trio of lanturnes are used to illuminate each of the 249 topics. The book is about youth and their search for understanding, their inquisitive nature, their desire to conquer, and sometimes being trampled upon. It draws upon the dark and light of life, taking notice of ideas both small and large. It is a way of working toward balance. These poems are food for thought, combining the yesterday and today as indicators of tomorrow's trajectory.
Finalist Poetry: Contemporary 2021 Best Book Awards
"My intention was to 'peek' at I Wish My Father, but I couldn’t put it down, and after the last poem, I started again from page one and read to the end. This collection is so moving and plain-spoken, that the careful attention to the ingredients of sound and prosody baked into each line might go unnoticed, which is what we, as poets, hope for. I got to know the author’s dad in all his humanity; he is now part of my family. A wonderful companion to I Carry My Mother; in both volumes, Newman captures the moods and personalities beautifully". —Richard Michelson, author of More Money Than God
Finalist Poetry: Contemporary 2021 Best Book Awards
From a talking pigeon to a mirror that sees all, Notes on the Train brings you closer to the author’s struggle with depression and change through the landscape of life. Not all battles are fought with weapons of war. Some battles rage within the mind and soul and take no prisoners. This book is a collection of poems and prose written by the author on her journey of self-discovery.
Finalist Poetry: Contemporary 2021 Best Book Awards
Illuminating the heart's journey.
Sapphire Stars is a collection of poems devoted to love. Here, we uncover truth and passion when contradictions to both rush into the heart. “Illuminated,” “In the Distance,” “Unhindered,” and “Dark Blue Encore” are filled with lines passionately placed to reveal a journey of the heart. This collection is for the dreamers and the fire signs. It is for those who have loved with everything they have and lost, only to love again, because that’s what life is all about. Saxophones, Electric Guitars, Dark Blue Skies, and Sapphire Stars light up the heart in this collection. These poems are for the romantics and those who believe our lives are meant to be extraordinary and filled with a unique and grand purpose.
Finalist Poetry: Contemporary 2021 Best Book Awards
Finalist Poetry: Nature 2021 Best Book Awards
Kimberly Ann Priest's debut full-length collection Slaughter the One Bird is a haunting and incisive meditation on the enduring effects of childhood sexual abuse. Reflecting on the impact of trauma on her memories and role as a mother, Priest intertwines past and present in a series of lyrical confessions and meditations on power and grief. In poems addressed to the nameless "pedophile," as well as a series of vignettes on everyday life ranging from subjects as varied as the preparation of breakfast to the migration of deer, she deconstructs the history of abuse spanning from childhood to her adult life in which she finds herself trapped in a relationship with a violent partner. Religious legalism and shame play a strong role in the power dynamics between perpetrator and victim. Vivid and moving, these poems offer a highly personal glimpse into the poet's journey through disempowerment and grief toward healing.
"This is a joyous collection, taking joy in the sun on the Rhine and in the “big red table umbrella dripping down on all sides”; in “droplets of sweat slipping to the parched ground” and in ships sailing “like sugar cubes through molasses”; in a boy in a red Alpine hat and a grandfather with a mandolin. The poems travel through the Black Forest, but they also travel through four generations—generations who, in the poems of this book, are lovingly connected." —Janet Burroway, Pulitzer Prize Nominated Novelist, author of Imaginative Writing and Raw Silk
"If you want a rich taste of travel, an excursion into the Black Forest, a cruise down the Rhine, and can’t afford the ticket or the time, let Joe Carey guide you with his beautifully observed, loving travel poems to the places you might go if you could, in his Black Forest Dreams. The poems are wise, clear, and exhilarating." —Steve Katz, author of The Exaggerations of Peter Prince, Saw and Moving Parts
As is seen in Susan K. Hagen's first poem in Shall We Dance? she celebrates not only the natural world but a rare joy in being alive. Just as passion, desire and longing are poetic themes explored again and again in the poems of Mary Oliver, they live on in Hagen's work. And there is a vibrant reverence informing these poems: instead of "a strong wind" being "a cruel wind," it becomes "the kiss of the spirit." Gardens being her "Gethsemane," she brings her readers there for love, protection and ultimately for universal peace. The reader's answer to this poet's question raised in the title poem should be Yes, we will "waltz to the wind" like all the trees of the world.
Cynthia Linkas isn’t afraid to express the kind of happiness that would stun most of us into silence. At a daughter's wedding, she’s “remembering how many times we’ve tumbled oh, how we’ve tumbled / into a net so strong, /so tightly woven.”
Her love is deeply serious. Barn owls mate for life, and “when one mate dies, the other spins his head / around over his back and stops hunting.” And to her husband, she describes, “one skin stretched over two beings.” In her family life, and her music teaching, her religion of praise is grounded in the body: She sees the tall winter trees that surround her yard as “muscular, towering angels“ and an infant daughter as “soon to turn” a “strong yell/ into fiery song.” Linkas has music flowing in her veins, and reading these poems will make you braver about acknowledging the depth of your own joy. —Alan Feldman, winner of the 2016 Massachusetts Book Award for Poetry; Author of Immortality and The Golden Coin
America of We the People is a brave conservative statement of the country’s condition. We stand at the chasm between freedom and tyranny. As we struggle between independent capitalism and socialism, this inspirational patriotic book reinforces pride in the United States of America, the Constitution, and Judeo-Christian values.
America of We the People was awarded the Firebird Book Award for socio-political and political categories. It underscores the love of our great country through a collection of famous quotes, original poetry, short essays or musings, and Scriptural references. If you are looking to read short works of heartfelt poems, quotes, and essays valued by those who follow an American and Christian way of life, you will want this book.
Was it a chance meeting in the Daisy Cafe that brought Tyler Jemison and his boys into August Kibler’s life, or was it the mysterious workings of Tyler’s grandmother, Momma Daisy? In this companion book to the novel As the Daisies Bloom, August shares with Tyler a life’s thoughts on what he would call his tiny systematic theology.What might Eve say after millennia of being the first scapegoat? What might the first and last wives of the great king say to us if we read between the lines? How can we walk a bit with Joseph as he rides with Mary into Bethlehem? And what does Philip have to say to the black Eunuch, and to us about church membership?Journey with the author as he imagines what we might have overlooked in the Bible stories that we teach our children. He shows how reimagining these people in voices for our time can bring to life each of these important guides, who could never have imagined how they would shape 2,000 years of Christianity, and how they can still transform us.
A book of poems for young, urban, independent women in the making. A sketch of all the things they stand to encounter on their way to empowerment. The collective effort of a restless heart, a quick hand, and cold pizza at two in the morning.
SAVAGERY joins Mehta's oeuvre as a reflection of what it means to be indigenous in today's increasingly hostile, post-colonial America. Reflecting on self, place, and space and with strong confessional leanings, SAVAGERY joins the ranks of other much-needed indigenous poetry of the era to provide a lens (and mirror) into indigenous issues and disparities while also providing a constant offering of hope. These poems are raw and very, very necessary.
"In Ash, Gloria Mindock writes a gritty, beautifully haunting collection of poetry. Ash is what remains behind after destruction, ruin, death, and burning. Similarly, the poems in this collection are what will remain. Fight the shadows and wade through the darkness on a path paved by Mindock's vivid imagery, stark language, and dynamic voice, all of which, make for a most memorable experience. Now more than ever, we need these poems. With the utmost economy of words, skillful syntax, and emotional connections, each poem reverberates into the depths of your consciousness. Dark, intense, and wholly unique, Ash, by Gloria Mindock is what you've been waiting for- a collection of poetry that consumes and smolders. Are you ready?" -Renuka Raghavan, author of Out of the Blue and The Face I Desire
Award-nominated author Omar Gonzalez returns to form with his trademark mixture of poetry and prose. In his debut collection, The Phantom Struggle: Memoirs of a Life Once Struggling, Omar examined the personal experiences that have defined his life to date-love and heartache, adventure, domestic violence, and more.
In this follow-up, Omar dives deeper into the topic of childhood trauma by embodying the persona of his lifelong friend Eden Flores. The result, Paradise Taken: The Diary of Eden Flores, is unlike anything that Omar has ever written. Through various forms, the book ultimately serves to honor the story of Eden Flores while inspiring all who seek to understand or overcome the vestiges of child abuse and sexual trauma.
Patricia Mortenson is a reserved person who rarely shares her thoughts.
In her debut collection, Mortenson offers short poems that lyrically and sometimes humorously share unsolicited advice; uncomfortable observations; reflections on health, sweetness, and light; unpopular opinions; and random thoughts that touch on not just her life, but also her family and the outside world. While leading others on a journey inward, Mortenson encourages all of us to take a few moments to examine our own paths through life filled with joys, sorrows, and unique experiences that help us decide who we are and what we project into the world on a daily basis.
Flying is a volume of introspective poetry that examines the intricacies of life through the eyes of a senior who has experienced much in life.
"If only I could step through / the canvas," writes Shannon K. Winston in this dazzling collection, and in these poems, she does exactly that; she inhabits the works of art that her poems examine, not to describe those works back to us, but to show us something strange and unknowable about ourselves. The Girl Who Talked to Paintings is a gorgeous book with a brilliant ekphrastic heart-tender, luminous, and unforgettable."
The electrifying body of poems in Tony Medina's Death, With Occasional Smiling speaks with blood-soaked lips. The poet pulls us up from our knees, from the ashes of American history, imagination, and memory, so that we can listen to the clarions of what we must all face if we are ever to be free. Facing language and self at once, Medina's intelligence, spirit, humor, and symphonic powers make language breathe in rhythms that resist bullets and blackface. These living poems are always-ever needed, as part of the threshing and reckoning we are burning down and rewriting in our time.—Rachel Eliza Griffiths
Willard’s love of music combines with his love and respect for the natural world. Often rooted in, or coming out of, domestic encounters, the poems of this collection rise up (much like the clouds over his oft-traversed Rockies), as the speaker throws his attention to earth and sky, better to understand his own dynamic and shifting inner weather.
Peter Coyote’s first collection of poetry takes us on a whirlwind tour of an eclectic and exciting life as an actor and Zen Buddhist priest, meandering from love affairs to marriage to divorce to the Sixties to psychedelic spirituality and beyond. Written over several decades, these poems read as a collage, each piece distinct and contributing to a cohesive lyric narrative.
In Watch Me Trick Ghosts, Robert Krut reveals a city weaving between a surreal consciousness and concrete imagination, where speakers are fully aware that "the scars of the world are turning neon" ("Accidental Light"). Among them, spirits hide and appear in tree lines, behind bookcases, even "etching a name into a street sign pole with a knife" ("You Are the Street, You Are the Sleep"). These poems skillfully veer between lyrical moments of intimacy and urgent messages seemingly sent from the negative space surrounding a dream. It may be the case that "fear is a blade held in a lung" ("The Anxious Lever of Lowering Sky"), but in the quietest hours of night, strangers can connect through striking images that cast a spell.
Accessible as it is sharp, Good Morning to Everyone Except Men Who Name Their Dogs Zeus is a poetry collection that conveys an important message: the damage of patriarchy, its effects on our mental health, and the legacy that Zeus leaves behind.
In this poetry collection, Lannie Stabile explores the patriarchal culture that firstly leads men to call their dogs Zeus, and secondly leads us all to accept that as kind-of okay — ignoring the fact that all-powerful Zeus, symbol of masculinity and thunder god, famously used his dominion to manipulate, abduct, and prey on countless women, human and deity alike.
A gorgeously deft book, The Curator's Notes dares to question the Edenic. It asks, why not take the knowledge at hand hanging like "plump, purple orbs...begging to be eaten..."? And what can we grow with states of paradise being ever fleeting? This curator is a custodian of both specific and collective heritage, connecting daughter to mother to grandmother to wife to husband to the backyard garden to that garden of old where, as in the womb, knowing is limited and inevitable. In her sensual and tender book, Robin Rosen Chang has taken care to graciously offer us lyrics that swirl around and beyond our expectations until we accept both the churning waters and the radiant flight of circling birds as part of the story of life moving all too swiftly with and ultimately toward "the loam -/sand, silt, and clay." —Vievee Francis
Poartry: A Collision of Poetry and Art by Douglas Kiburz, MD, is a collection of poetry, essays, eulogies, philosophy, and interpretation of historical events. From Maple Leaf Meadows ranch in the Midwest, Kiburz brings his experience as an orthopedic surgeon, father, son, husband, sculptor, rancher, and poet to bear in the sometimes comical, often dignified, and always thought-provoking collection.
How does consciousness inhabit liminal spaces? In Jeffrey Harrison’s Between Lakes, the death of the speaker’s father places him in the ever-shifting zone between the living and the dead while also sending him back into his journey to manhood. Old arguments are reimagined: What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a participant in one’s life as well as a witness and recorder of the lives of others? The exploration of these questions leads to new discoveries, including the way time reshapes the vision of one’s life and alters relationships, remaking a shared history. Harrison refrains from explanation, instead offering detail after trustworthy detail—less to prove a case than to imagine a life true to the original. Whether observing nature with steadfast precision or sensing the presence of his absent father while doing chores, Harrison sings the songs of experience in late middle life.
"Billie R. Tadros's Graft Fixation is fascinated by what comes together after a break-it's never quite the old form, but it's not fully a new one, either. The poems work around a car crash and subsequent injury in scattered, piecemeal forms, mirroring the way trauma isn't digested all at once or in a simple, understandable manner. The speaker knows they will never be who they used to be, but they seek a new agency, a fresh way to conceive of their identity in relation to and transcending the body. These poems are frantic and jagged, but they move towards an evolution." —Ruth Baumann, author of Thornwork
Mostly Human's central character, Round Baby plump infant, tumescent teen rules these poems. Round Baby is the Gen-X offspring of the ERASERHEAD baby and Love's Baby Soft, herald of the darkly absurd late 20th century. These poems are as crafted as a spacecraft and brave enough to hip-check the charming abyss.