Cheston Knapp : Up Up Down Down

“Cheston Knapp’s Up Up, Down Down has the uncanny, welcome ability to make so-called mainstream or dominant culture—white, masculinist, Christian, frat boy, & so on—appear newly strange, & newly open to analysis. He has the eye & ear of an anthropologist, a joyously expansive vocabulary, a prose style that feels both extravagant & exact, & a big, booming heart.”–Maggie Nelson; “This book made me laugh out loud in embarrassing places—a quiet Swedish train, a darkened redeye flight—& its insights will keep echoing in me for a long time.”–Leslie Jamison

John Keene : Counternarratives, Playland, and Grind

“In Counternarratives, John Keene undertakes a kind of literary counterarchaeology, a series of fictions that challenge our notion of what constitutes “real” or “accurate” history. His writing is at turns playful and erudite, lyric and coldly diagnostic, but always completely absorbing. Counternarratives could easily be compared to Borges or Bolaño, Calvino or Kiš.”–Jess Row; “Keene’s story collection is truly radical—in its politics, in its stylistic restlessness, in its rethinking of the myths we tell ourselves about race and sexuality in the history of the Americas”–Anthony Domestico

Vi Khi Nao : Umbilical Hospital & A Brief Alphabet of Torture

“These pieces are elaborate piecework—perforated, whip stitched, and distressed field-dressed dissections of language. Tortured? Maybe. But lusciously junked &  juxtaposed, turned inside out & every which way but…No, in every way they make way.”—Michael Martone;  “Imagine an entity composed of sheep, wheat, assholes, clitorises, stars. Why not? That would be this poem, this world — a perfectly recognizable post-human world which is also post surreal. Vi Khi Nao is making it new, no, she is doing the old job of making us see what’s already here in a new way.”.– Rae Armantrout

Micheline Aharonian Marcom : The Brick House

Micheline Aharonian Marcom’s The Brick House is a place where people dream of love and loneliness, of the world’s beauty, and of ongoing environmental degradation. Travelers confront their lives in the strange, elemental language which dreams allow for, a strangeness mirrored in the accompanying illustrations by Fowzia Karimi. Inspired by Calvino’s Invisible Cities and Kawabata’s House of Sleeping Beauties, and following in the tradition of Armenian illuminated manuscripts, The Brick House is in Rikki Ducornet’s words “Fierce, fearlessly erotic and always unforeseeable.”

Terese Marie Mailhot : Heart Berries

Heart Berries is an epic take—an Iliad for the indigenous. It’s the story of one First Nation woman & her geographic, emotional, & theological search for meaning in a colonial world. It’s disturbing & hilarious. It contains sentences of such poetry & power that you will be compelled to set the book down & walk away to recover from the tremors. Terese is a world-changing talent & I recommend this book with 100% of my soul.” —Sherman Alexie;  “If Heart Berries is any indication, the work to come will not just surface suppressed stories; it might give birth to new forms.” —The New York Times

Carmen Maria Machado : Her Body and Other Parties

“Cross-pollinating fairy tales, horror movies, TV shows, & a terrific sense of humor, Machado’s work reminds me at different times of such wildly divergent figures as David Lynch, Jane Campion, Maggie Nelson, & Grace Paley; which is a way of saying, Machado sounds like nobody but herself.”—John Powers, NPR “Fresh Air”; “The book abounds with fantastical premises that ring true because the intensity of sexual desire, the mutability of the body, & the realities of gender inequality make them so. These stories stand as exquisitely rendered, poignant hauntings.”—San Francisco Chronicle

Eunsong Kim : Gospel of Regicide

“In Gospel of Regicide, Eunsong Kim develops a thrilling method for unwriting lyric even as she reimagines it, creating a socially engaged poetry of & for our time. Anticapitalist, feminist & anti-racist yet critical of non-intersectional understandings of identity & selfhood, she is unafraid of drawing the sacred from the pedestrian, & unbeholden to whiteness as foundation. These poems, mutable in form & style, yet cohesive in their vision, suggest a complex & different order allowing us to “complete the story.” Kim kills the king, & blesses us with a superlative collection as a result.”–John Keene