Staff Picks


New (Used) Arrivals

As promised, we present you with another list of recently shelved books (sans cover art, sans publisher, and, for the most part, sans condition specifics and edition/printing [with our apologies], for brevity’s sake). This time, they’re of the previously owned variety, and represent about one quarter of a large haul—the remainder of which will be… Read more »

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Books in Brief

Like an estuary, Open Books is in a constant state of inflow and departure. Of books, that is. And every so often we’ll post a piece about a recent arrival, written in some depth. While we’re preparing that piece, however, several new and used books are added to the stock without getting any recognition on… Read more »

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To Keep Time by Joseph Massey

($17.95 Omnidawn)

With his third collection, Massey invokes the likes of Lorine Niedecker, Larry Eigner, and Joseph Ceravolo with short, sharp stanzas in which man-made objects coalesce with nature and vectors of light kiss spheres of color. He even calls up, in certain segments, the non-domestic elements of Rae Armantrout’s Language poetry. Birds, bugs, clouds, pavement, power… Read More

Breathturn into Timestead: The Collected Later Poetry by Paul Celan

($40 FSG)

If Picasso is said to have had a Blue Period, the postwar German poetry so faithfully rendered here into English can be seen as a constitution of Paul Celan’s “gray period”—a departure from the luxuriant surrealism, musicality, and themes of his younger years that shows the poet plumbing the depths of old dictionaries and various… Read More

The Three Einsteins by Sarah Galvin

Those of you who have heard Ms. Galvin read her work and longed to see those deliciously odd pieces in print will now be able to savor them in the privacy of your own home. And if you’re new to her plain-spoken though anything-but-plain writing, Welcome to Galvin-land, a place at once surreal and familiar…. Read More

The Poem She Didn’t Write and Other Poems
by Olena Kalytiak Davis

This marks the first book in a decade for Olena Kalytiak Davis, one of the more dynamic and compelling poets writing today. Her voice is muscular, sensual, tender, fierce. Her poems can arc with a postmodern energy and flow with a centuries-old lyricism. Her view is often of herself (or, at least, an “i”), a… Read More

Essays After Eighty by Donald Hall

Pull up a chair and settle in at Donald Hall’s old farmhouse. He makes a fine companion — wry, humble, intelligent, interesting. His essays wander fearlessly through the past and present of his life, sharing details comic, touching, and illuminating. Poetry, of course, is one of his topics, less the art itself than the vagaries… Read More

My Poems Won’t Change the World: Selected Poems by Patrizia Cavalli

If you can, imagine Sappho strumming her lyre from the center of a modern-day piazza… Such is the appeal of Patrizia Cavalli. She knows how to chum-up to an audience as a head-over-heels romantic–tempered yet untrammeled by love and its loss. You’re brought into her living room, behind plush curtains, onto her balcony to watch the spectacle of the everyday, arm in arm,… Read More