We’re obsessing over these new poetry collections, released May 21, 2019.
There is so much good poetry out this week. There’s a new Stéphane Mallarmé translation of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. There’s new romance poetry by Evangeline. New York Times best-selling anthologist Elise Paschen has a new collection of contemporary poetry that looks at specific poetic approaches. And we’re especially excited about Contusions by Jianna Park, a pitch-perfect voice added to the global conversation of depression and pain on the heels of Mental Health Awareness Week.
Love Letters from an Insomniac by Evangeline
Description: Love Letters from an Insomniac explores the deep intricacies of love and its many forms. This collection captures the beautiful, ugly, and unforgettable moments in which our hearts are most exposed.
Little Glass Planet by Dobby Gibson
Description: Little Glass Planet exults in the strangeness of the known and unknowable world. In poems set as far afield as Mumbai and Marfa, Texas, Dobby Gibson maps disparate landscapes, both terrestrial and subliminal, to reveal the drama of the quotidian. Aphoristic, allusive, and collaged, these poems mine our various human languages to help us understand what we might mean when we speak to each other―as lovers, as family, as strangers. Little Glass Planet uses lyric broadcasts to foreshorten the perceived distances between us, opening borders and pointing toward a sense of collectivity. “This is my love letter to the world,” Gibson writes, “someone call us a sitter. / We’re going to be here a while.”
Elegiac, funny, and candid, Little Glass Planet is a kind of manual for paying attention to a world that is increasingly engineered to distract us from our own humanity. It’s a book that points toward hope, offering the possibilities of a “we” that only the open frequency of poetry can create, possibilities that are indistinguishable from love.
Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love by Keith S. Wilson
Description: Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love is a collection whose poems approach family, politics, and romance, often through the lens of space: the vagaries of a relationship full of wonder and coldness, separation and exploration. There is the sense of the speaker as a cartographer of familiar spaces, of land he has never left or relationships that have stayed with him for years, and always with the newness of an alien or stranger. Acutely attuned to the heritage of Greco-Roman myth, Wilson writes through characters such as the Basilisk and the Minotaur, emphasizing the intense loneliness these characters experience from their uniqueness. For the racially ambiguous speaker of these poems, who is both black and not black, who has lived between the American South and the Midwest, there are no easy answers. From the fields of Kentucky to the pigeon coops of Chicago, identities and locations blur―the pastoral bleeds into the Afrofuturist, black into white and back again.
The Eloquent Poem: 128 Contemporary Poems and Their Makings by Elise Paschen
Description: From the New York Times best-selling anthologist, Elise Paschen, comes The Eloquent Poem, a groundbreaking collection of new poems by 128 contemporary poets, including Mary Jo Bang, Marilyn Chin, Billy Collins, Cornelius Eady, Martîn Espada, Kamiko Hahn, Joy Harjo, Edward Hirsch, Major Jackson, Laura Kasischke, Joy Ladin, Randall Mann, Paul Muldoon, Marilyn Nelson, Aimee Nezhukmatathil, Stanley Plumly, Rosanna Warren, and many others. This extraordinary volume is divided into sections by poetic approach―some formal, some occasional, and some thematic―and includes illuminating micro-essays from the contributors on how each poem came to be.
The Raven / Le Corbeau by Edgar Allen Poe & Stéphane Mallarmé
Description: Stéphane Mallarmé (1842–98) claimed to have learned English in order to read Poe, an American poet greatly admired by the French Symbolists. This volume reproduces at full size the first-edition bilingual publication of Le Corbeau / The Raven(Richard Lesclide, Paris, 1875), Mallarmé’s prose translation of Poe’s melancholy poem, including six commissioned illustrations by Édouard Manet―four that visually interpret specific stanzas of the poem, one that serves as the ex-libris and a cover image of a raven’s head that functions as the poem’s title. In addition, a new retranslation back into English of Mallarmé’s text, which was both praised and criticized for its literalism, reveals the particular tenor and subtleties of his reading of Poe’s verse and his feel, as a fellow poet, for the emotive and evocative power of language. The result is a circular exploration of the poem and its translation. The volume also reflects Mallarmé’s specifications for layout, typeface and paper.
Contusions by Jianna Park
Description: Jianna believes in gaining collective insights through pain and wishes to promote active conversations on depression. This work is both a study of loss and a celebration of life, finding inspiration beneath expansive adversity.
Why I Didn’t Go to Your Funeral by Colin Pope
Description: Poetry. Haunted and haunting, Colin Pope’s bracing poems limn, with armorless and spectacular candor, what it means to be left behind and shaken to the core by a lover’s upending illness and suicide. In these risk-taking pages, this new and necessary poet becomes a steely bard, a wide-awake chronicler, and an intrepid philosopher of the word farewell. This brave, go-for-broke first book has a razor-keen beauty and empathy so precise, so powerful and arresting that it’s already clear that WHY I DIDN’T GO TO YOUR FUNERAL deserves its rightful place beside the finest literature of grief and mourning.
Braille Rainbow by Mike Barnes
Description: “In a dark time,” wrote Theodore Roethke, “the eye begins to see”―and with Braille Rainbow, Mike Barnes reveals both darkness and the light that shines beyond it. Beginning with a suite of poems completed before and immediately following his admission to a psychiatric unit as a young man, Barnes’s quiet lyricism and formal sensitivity capture those moments of perception that remind us how to see.
Paper-Thin Skin by Aigerim Tazhi
Description: Paper-thin Skin is the debut collection by Aigerim Tazhi, who has broken ground as a Kazakhstani woman poet by gaining attention both in Russia and internationally. Fish, insects, birds, the sea, the sky, humans seeking connection, and death figure frequently in these succinct poems, as do windows, mirrors, and eyes: these are poems of observation and deep reflection. Tazhi gently insists that we look at words and the world “in the eye,” as she seeks to create what translator J. Kates calls a “mystic community of communication.”
To the Heart of Things by Mark Howitt
Description: Much of Mark’s poetry is meticulously crafted in a variety of classical forms of meter, structure and style. Although maintaining such forms, he is never satisfied unless the poem flows in both words and sense: in words, so that the reading or recital is smooth and un-labored; in sense, so that the structure supports the development of the poem in its exploration of the subject. In this way, while walking in the shadows of the great classical poets, he seeks to make his poems manifestations of a particular kind of beauty. Much of Mark’s poetry is meticulously crafted in a variety of classical forms of meter, structure and style. Although maintaining such forms, he is never satisfied unless the poem flows in both words and sense: in words, so that the reading or recital is smooth and un-labored; in sense, so that the structure supports the development of the poem in its exploration of the subject. In this way, while walking in the shadows of the great classical poets, he seeks to make his poems manifestations of a particular kind of beauty.