Staff Picks

September 2017 Newsletter

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Good Stock Strange Blood by Dawn Lundy Martin

$16.95 Coffee House Press

These are poems about wounds at every stage: the breaking open, the scabbing over, the scar. A menacing stranger (“ever-beckoning, black eyed and grinning”) surfaces throughout the book, haunting and seducing the speaker, stitching together the book’s wide range of forms. Invested in multiple mediums, the poet also includes photographs and excerpts of a libretto… Read More

Memory Foam by Adam Soldofsky

$15.00 Disorder Press

Gentle, confident poems cascade, unnamed, through a muted urban landscape, eventually diving off of big ideas atop delicate stems. Soldofsky has a knack for condensation, which is, perhaps, one for word-choice: an expansive vocabulary attuned to the microscopic. And a voice I wish to inhabit. Smart, playful, observant, energizing. A wonderful debut. * * *… Read More

Ah, Mouthless Things by Lee Seong-Bok, translated from the Korean by Eun-Gwi Chung, Myung Mi Kim, & Brother Anthony of Taizé

$12.95 Green Integer

Lee Seong-Bok invokes the readers’ help in his repeated, Sŏn-like interrogations of life on Earth―of seagulls, the sea, night; of illness, pain, death―and also of himself and others. His questions are likely answerable, but any response is as paradoxically dependent on a florid imagination as it is on purposeful ineffability. Most surprisingly, part and parcel of Lee’s… Read More

Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 by Frank Bidart

$40.00 Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Driven by historical, mythic, and psychotic personae, Bidart’s oeuvre—amassed here for the first time—invites us into the mouths of monsters and bids us bend to their songs. The poet’s mentors Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop whisper in the tome’s backward-glancing narratives and investigations of desire, but the parade of human psyches grinding against the strictures of… Read More

These Possible Lives: Essays by Fleur Jaeggy

$12.95 New Directions

Three lyric micro-bios that tantalize. De Quincey, Schwob, and Keats treated elegantly, poetically, their peculiarities and penumbras arranged in masterful montage. Jaeggy speaks on tidbits, deathbeds, and recorded morsels to depict these writers succinctly yet spellbindingly, as no one before her has. This book sticks to the hands. *** posted by Alexander Moysaenko

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Whereas by Layli Long Soldier

$16.95 Graywolf

“What’s the last book of contemporary poetry that really blew you away?” is a question I often ask, and lately, it seems like the answer is always Whereas. Throughout her debut collection, Long Soldier, a dual citizen of the U.S. and the Oglala Lakota Nation, responds to President Obama’s 2009 congressional apology to Native Americans—signed with little fanfare… Read More

Archeophonics by Peter Gizzi

$24.95 Wesleyan

In his sixth full-length collection—a 2016 National Book Award finalist—Gizzi tends the anarchic gardens of American lyricism with mature charm. He is nimbly in control, restrained, meticulously sculpting, stirring up an enchanting bouquet as he threads legato lineation and contrapuntal melodies of high and low diction throughout. Archeophonics is a beaming book you’ll feel the need to… Read More

Phrasis by Wendy Xu

$15.95 Fence Books

Taking as her material the phrase, rather than the sentence, Xu moves in her second collection from thought to thought in ways that often feel mysterious, practically magical, outside grammar’s expected bounds. This is a collection I find exhilarating for how it perplexes me. How did that abstraction just turn into an image? How did… Read More

I Am Flying into Myself: Selected Poems, 1960–2014 by Bill Knott

$28.00 Farrar, Straus & Giroux

This brand-new, posthumously published selection from Bill Knott’s oeuvre—edited by a longtime friend, the late Thomas Lux—revivifies a half-century of dedication to the craft. Knott was a wild-eyed surrealist, a mussed-up romantic, a part-time minimalist, a learned formalist, a straight-faced comedian, a self-effacing provocateur, and a true-blue amateur. His poetry exalts and dashes down. It… Read More