The best new poetry hitting bookshelves July 9, 2019.
99 Poems to Cure Whatever’s Wrong with You or Create the Problems You Need by Sam Pink
Description: you have just been killed by a thousand tiny cuts. 99 to be exact. bleeding out to the backdrop of this new cartoon. a woodchuck in a tiny witch hat laughs at you, as you lay down, hands over your chest and think, ‘perfect.’ and a red light atop a powerline blinks in the distance to remind that there is no end, only one long try, deflate at your own pace. don’t fight the freefall. 99 poems to cure whatever’s wrong with you or create the problems you need. and yes, you need. im your f*cking dad, honey. admit it, or we’ll never get out of this alive.
Your Strange Fortune by Chloe Clark
Description: Chloe N. Clark’s Your Strange Fortune is our good fortune. This debut volume of rare sympathy and imagination leaps easily from myths to monsters, ghosts to zombies, fairy tales to the Apocalypse that, for this poet and so many today, is “just/the fact of life.” Clark’s inventive, unforgettable voice ranges widely– from up-to-the-moment poems like “Googolplex,” in which curiosity becomes dark compulsion, to the far future when museums feature the relics of our own time: “the things we could not bear/to leave behind us: / pieces of highways, signs/ …one single spike from Lady/ Liberty’s crown.” Clark understands that time speeds forward and that myth and popular culture are close kin that offer the songs of ghosts who once were us, “the ones who/ had such beautiful voices but only when/ they thought no one was listening.” Like the poet’s “clockwork nightingale” whose song is both dystopian and beautiful, Chloe Clark’s voice rises above the usual din to bring us a debut volume that is rich with unsettling questions but always unflinchingly alive.
Praising the Paradox by Tina Schumann
Description: This full collection of fifty-six poems reflecting on the concept of self, loss, fragility, and the constructs we must create in order to face the transient nature of life was named a finalist in the National Poetry Series, The New Issues Poetry Prize, The Four Way Books Intro Prize, and others. It was also listed as a “remarkable work” in the Tupelo Press 2012 open submission period.
Selected Poems of Edith Wharton
Description: The celebrated American novelist and short story writer Edith Wharton, author of The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Age of Innocence, was also a dedicated, passionate poet. A lover of words, she read, studied, and composed poetry all of her life, publishing her first collection of poems at the age of sixteen. In her memoir, A Backward Glance, Wharton declared herself dazzled by poetry; she called it her “chiefest passion and greatest joy.”
The 134 selected poems in this volume include fifty published for the first time. Wharton’s poetry is arranged thematically, offering context as the poems explore new facets of her literary ability and character. These works illuminate a richer, sometimes darker side of Wharton. Her subjects range from the public and political—her first published poem was about a boy who hanged himself in jail—to intimate lyric poems expressing heartbreak, loss, and mortality. She wrote frequently about works of art and historical figures and places, and some of her most striking work explores the origins of creativity itself.
These selected poems showcase Wharton’s vivid imagination and her personal experience. Relatively overlooked until now, her poetry and its importance in her life provide an enlightening lens through which to view one of the finest writers of the twentieth century.
The Song of Kieu: A New Lament by Du Nguyen
Description: A stunning new translation of the legendary Vietnamese epic poem, now for the first time in Penguin Classics.
Considered the greatest literary achievement in Vietnamese, The Song of Kieu tells the story of the beautiful Vuong Thuy Kieu, who agrees to a financially profitable marriage in order to save her family from ruinous debts, but is tricked into working in a brothel. Her tragic life involves jealous wives, slavery, war, poverty, and time as a nun. Adapted from a seventeenth-century Chinese novel, Jin Yun Qiao, written by an unknown writer under the pseudonym Qingxin Cairen, author Nguyen Du upended the plot’s traditional love story by conveying the social and political upheavals at the end of the 18th century in Vietnam.