Madness

Author: Sam Sax
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781524705572
Release Date: 2017-09-12
Genre: Poetry

An “astounding” (Terrance Hayes) debut collection of poems – Winner of the 2016 National Poetry Series Competition In this ­­­powerful debut collection, sam sax explores and explodes the linkages between desire, addiction, and the history of mental health. These brave, formally dexterous poems examine antiquated diagnoses and procedures from hysteria to lobotomy; offer meditations on risky sex; and take up the poet’s personal and family histories as mental health patients and practitioners. Ultimately, Madness attempts to build a queer lineage out of inherited language and cultural artifacts; these poems trouble the static categories of sanity, heterosexuality, masculinity, normality, and health. sax’s innovative collection embodies the strange and disjunctive workings of the mind as it grapples to make sense of the world around it.

For Want of Water

Author: Sasha Pimentel
Publisher: Beacon Press
ISBN: 9780807027851
Release Date: 2017
Genre: POETRY

Searing verses set on the Mexican border about war and addiction, love and sexual violence, grief and loss, from an American Book Award-winning author. Selected by Gregory Pardlo as winner of the National Poetry Series. El Paso is one of the safest cities in the United States, while across the river, Ciudad Ju�rez suffers a history of femicides and a horrific drug war. Witnessing this, a Filipina's life unravels as she tries to love an addict, the murders growing just a city--but the breadth of a country--away. This collection weaves the personal with recent history, the domestic with the tragic, asking how much "a body will hold," reaching from the border to the poet's own Philippines. These poems thirst in the desert, want for water, searching the brutal and tender territories between bodies, families, and nations.

PYX

Author: Corinne Lee
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: UOM:39015060886846
Release Date: 2005
Genre: Poetry

When Pattiann Rogers selected this book for the 2004 National Poetry Series, she praised its “original and engaging music,” the way Corinne Lee “skillfully interweaves wit, playfulness, and a joie de vivre with serious study and meditations.” PYX takes its title from the box containing the host, a wafer that is transformed into spirit upon consumption. And LeeÂ's poems effect similar transformations. Death, adultery, and fractured marriages become occasions for redemption. Scenes from domestic life are juxtaposed with themes from art, philosophy, and literature. PYX moves effortlessly between high and low culture, between the mundane, sacred, and profane, exploring the possibilities of language with exhilarating vigor. From “Always a Strapping Apricot Can Be Found” ... the past tells that at any moment, the martial body can be scratched. Deeply, of course. To drag forth a sugared bone of abalone.

Bury It

Author: Sam Sax
Publisher: Wesleyan Poetry
ISBN: 0819577316
Release Date: 2018-08
Genre: Poetry

Winner of the 2017 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets

King Me

Author: Roger Reeves
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
ISBN: 9781619321366
Release Date: 2016-08-22
Genre: Poetry

On the “Best Poetry Books of the Year” list from Library Journal “A sophisticated and breathtaking writer, Reeves takes the reader on a harrowing journey: each poem comes packed with arresting imagery, relentless in its examination of how tragedy and trauma become internalized — cleaning out the wounds to understand the pain.”—Los Angeles Review of Books “Roger Reeves' King Me stitches together many worlds into one startling and visceral book. His ranging, encyclopedic knowledge crosses history, medicine, biology, metapoetics and more, but he tackles it all with a bold and sonorous surrealist flow.”—American Microreviews From a horse witnessing the lynching of Emmett Till to Mikhail Bulgakov chronicling the forced famines in Poland in the 1930s, King Me examines the erotics of care and the place of song, elegy, and praise as testaments to those moments. As Roger Reeves said in an interview, "While writing King Me, I became very interested in the mythology of king, the one who is sacrificed at the end of the harvest season. . . . For me, the myth manifests in the killing of young black men, Emmett Till, and in the ways America deems young, black male bodies as expendable—Jean Michel Basquiat, Mike Tyson, Jack Johnson. These are the young kings whom we love to kill—over and over again." From "Some Young Kings": The hummingbirds inside my chest,with their needle-nosed pliers for tonguesand hammer-heavy wings, have left a messof ticks in my lungs and a punctured lullabyin my throat. Little boy blue come blowyour horn. The cow's in the meadow. And Dorothy's alone in the corn with Jack, his black fingers, the brass of his lips, the half-moons of his fingernails clickingalong her legs until she howls—Charlie Parker. Charlie Parker. Charlie Parker . . . Roger Reeves earned his MFA from the James A. Michener Center for Creative Writing and his PhD from the University of Texas. His poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, and Boston Review. He teaches at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Double Jinx

Author: Nancy Reddy
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
ISBN: 9781571319388
Release Date: 2015-09-15
Genre: Poetry

Double Jinx follows the multiple transformations — both figurative and literal — that accompany adolescence and adulthood, particularly for young women. Drawing inspiration from sources as varied as Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the rewritten fairy tales in Anne Sexton’s Transformations, and the wild and shifting dreamscapes of Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s work, these poems track speakers attempting to construct identity. A series of poems depict the character of Nancy Drew as she delves into an obsession with a doppelgänger. Cinderella wakes up to a pumpkin and a tattered dress after her prince grows tired of her. A young girl obsessed with fairy tales becomes fascinated with a copy of Grey’s Anatomy in which she finds a “pink girl pinned to the page as if in vivisection. Could she / be pink inside like that? No decent girl / would go around the world like that, uncooked.” The collection culminates in an understanding of the ways we construct our selves, whether it be by way of imitation, performance, and/or transformation. And it looks forward as well, for in coming to understand our identities as essentially malleable, we are liberated. Or as the author writes, “we’ll be our own gods now.”

Unrelated Individuals Forming a Group Waiting to Cross

Author: Mark Yakich
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101176955
Release Date: 2004-05-25
Genre: Poetry

Mark Yakich is an original... In the unabashedly unwieldy title and in each poem, there are no borders drawn between the commonplace and the metaphysical. There are journeys, crossings, and departures—all evocative of the loneliness, alienation, and desire for identity with another (person or place), which, formalized, makes this work recognizable as art of a very high order.” —James Galvin, Guggenheim Foundation and National Endowment of the Arts Fellow

The Sobbing School

Author: Joshua Bennett
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101993101
Release Date: 2016-09-27
Genre: Poetry

A “sharp” and “scintillating” (Publishers Weekly) debut collection of poetry, selected by Eugene Gloria as a winner of the National Poetry Series The Sobbing School, Joshua Bennett’s mesmerizing debut collection of poetry, presents songs for the living and the dead that destabilize and de-familiarize representations of black history and contemporary black experience. What animates these poems is a desire to assert life, and interiority, where there is said to be none. Figures as widely divergent as Bobby Brown, Martin Heidegger, and the 19th-century performance artist Henry Box Brown, as well as Bennett’s own family and childhood best friends, appear and are placed in conversation in order to show that there is always a world beyond what we are socialized to see value in, always alternative ways of thinking about relation that explode easy binaries.

The Broken World

Author: Marcus Cafagña
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
ISBN: 0252065506
Release Date: 1996-01-01
Genre: Poetry

The Broken World, the powerful debut of a poet of great depth and maturity, begins with narratives of individuals caught up in circumstance - a distressed girl on a Detroit overpass, a boy shooting baskets at a crisis center. By the end of the slim volume, Marcus Cafagna had led us through the postwar New York of Jewish Holocaust survivors to his native Michigan, where his marriage ended tragically with his wife's suicide, a death that has come to symbolize for Cafagna the confusion and madness of the twentieth century.

Thaw

Author: Chelsea Dingman
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
ISBN: 9780820351308
Release Date: 2017-09-15
Genre: Poetry

Thaw delves into the issues at the core of a resilient family: kin ship, poverty, violence, death, abuse, and grief. The poems follow the speaker, as both mother and daughter, as she travels through harsh and beautiful landscapes in Canada, Sweden, and the United States. Moving through these places, she examines how her surroundings affect her inner landscape; the natural world becomes both a place of refuge and a threat. As these themes unfold, the histories and cold truths of her family and country intertwine and impinge on her, even as she tries to outrun them. Unflinching and raw, Chelsea Dingman’s poems meander between childhood and adulthood, the experiences of being a mother and a child paralleling one another. Her investigation becomes one of body, self, woman, mother, daughter, sister, and citizen, and of what those roles mean in the contexts of family and country.

The Dean of Discipline

Author: Michael Waters
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
ISBN: 9780822983330
Release Date: 2018-05-11
Genre: Poetry

In the richly musical and boldly imaginative poems of The Dean of Discipline, Michael Waters explores the confluences of the sensual and the spiritual, and renders their mysteries with precision and clarity. The title evokes the rigorous consciousness that prods the artist to deepen into his craft. Line by line, Waters delivers the passionate eloquence and intensity that distinguish his poems.

Oh God Get Out Get Out

Author: Bill Moran
Publisher:
ISBN: 1938912683
Release Date: 2017-04-15
Genre: Poetry

Bill Moran's collection, Oh God Get Out Get Out, goes through us like ugly medicine. It wades through his anxietywater- the grief, trauma, mental illness, money, addiction, deceased friends, and long EMS shifts- all pooled inside the depressed deathmetal kid, his thirsty mouth held open and up to heaven, wanting to die. It walks him and his audience through the haunted house that we are, the one we hate living in. It doesn't look away from the dark. It kindly refuses an early exit. It keeps the death off by leaning into it. Hems it in like a band shirt, animal coat, tv show, or god we can wear when our own bodies are worn out. It eats its way out of Moran and his audience, the same way he will leave this world: wet with its Ugly, wearing the Ugly like a deathmetal shirt, carrying armfuls of Ugly out with him. You'll hate the taste, but he swears you can drink this like medicine. When you want to disappear, it is light you can douse yourself in. When you want to get the hell out, it will clean house. It really hopes you'll stay.

Calling a Wolf a Wolf

Author: Kaveh Akbar
Publisher: Alice James Books
ISBN: 9781938584725
Release Date: 2017-09-25
Genre: Poetry

“In ‘Heritage,’ a fierce poem dedicated to an Iranian woman executed for killing the man attempting to rape her, award-winning poet Akbar proclaims, 'in books love can be war-ending/...in life we hold love up to the light/ to marvel at its impotence.' Yet if real-life love is disappointing ('The things I’ve thought I've loved/ could sink an ocean liner'), Akbar proves what books can do in his exceptional debut, which brings us along on his struggle with addiction, a dangerous comfort and soul-eating monster he addresses boldly ('thinking if I called a wolf a wolf I might dull its fangs'). His work stands out among literature on the subject for a refreshingly unshowy honesty; Akbar runs full tilt emotionally but is never self-indulgent. These poems find the speaker poised between life’s clatter and rattle, wanting to retreat (‘so much/ of being alive is breaking’) yet hungering for more (‘I'm told what seems like joy/ is often joy'). Indeed, despite his acknowledged disillusion and his failings (‘my whole life I answered every cry for help with a pour'), he has loved, and an electric current runs through the collection that keeps reader and writer going. VERDICT Excellent work from an important new poet.” —Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal, STARRED review “Akbar has what every poet needs: the power to make, from emotions that others have felt, memorable language that nobody has assembled before.” —Steph Burt, The Yale Review “John Berryman and James Wright (and his son Franz Wright) haunt Calling a Wolf a Wolf, but Akbar also has a voice so distinctly his—tinted in old Persian, dipped in modern American, ancient and millennial, addict and ascetic, animal and more animal. In the end, nothing brings man—human or man—down to Earth more than the kingdom of flora and fauna.” —Porochista Khakpour, Virginia Quarterly Review "Kaveh Akbar has evolved a poetics that (often) suggests the infinite within each object, gesture, event. The smallest thing in these poems pushes one up against something intractable and profound. Surface and depth constantly turn into each other. Narrative, the dilemmas of personal history and anguish are handled with equal sophistication. 'Odd, for an apocalypse to announce itself with such bounty.' This is bounty, an intensely inventive and original debut.” —Frank Bidart, author of Metaphysical Dog and Watching the Spring Festival "The struggle from late youth on, with and without God, agony, narcotics and love is a torment rarely recorded with such sustained eloquence and passion as you will find in this collection." —Fanny Howe This highly-anticipated debut boldly confronts addiction and courses the strenuous path of recovery, beginning in the wilds of the mind. Poems confront craving, control, the constant battle of alcoholism and sobriety, and the questioning of the self and its instincts within the context of this never-ending fight. From "Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before": Sometimes you just have to leave whatever's real to you, you have to clomp through fields and kick the caps off all the toadstools. Sometimes you have to march all the way to Galilee or the literal foot of God himself before you realize you've already passed the place where you were supposed to die. I can no longer remember the being afraid, only that it came to an end. Kaveh Akbar is the founding editor of Divedapper. His poems appear in The New Yorker, Poetry, APR, Tin House, Ploughshares, PBS NewsHour, and elsewhere. The recipient of a 2016 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, Akbar was born in Tehran, Iran, and currently lives and teaches in Florida.

The History of Anonymity

Author: Jennifer Chang
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
ISBN: 0820331163
Release Date: 2008
Genre: Poetry

This debut collection of vivid, lyrical poems explores the emotional landscape of childhood without confession and without straightforward narrative. Chang sweeps together myth and fairy tale, skirting the edges of events to focus on the psychological tenor of experience: the underpinnings of identity and the role of nature in both constructing and erasing a self. From the edge of the ocean, where things constantly shift and dissolve, through "the forest's thick, / where the trees meet the dark," to an imaginary cliffside town of fog, this book makes a journey both natural and psychological, using experiments in language and form to capture the search for personhood and place.