Tommy Pico : Junk

“Reading Tommy Pico’s Junk I kept thinking of Heather McHugh’s pronouncement that the main discipline of poetry is “to keep finding life strange.” Pico is the master of making the stone stony, or returning the sheer absurdity of being to everything, from grief to intimacy to dating apps to donuts. Junk insists on the urgency of the quotidian, of, to borrow a phrase from Pico, ‘vibrant inconsequence.’ It’s rare to read a book that makes living feel so alive.”–Kaveh Akbar; “A visceral exorcism of personal & collective demons…Pico demonstrates that a person’s many selves, traumas, anxieties, hookups, & breakups can become a marker of courage and survival.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Dubravka Ugrešić : Fox & American Fictionary

Dubravka Ugrešić is considered one of Europe’s most distinctive novelists and essayists.  She is the 2016 winner of Neustadt International Prize for Literature for her body of work, joining literary luminaries from Gabriel Garcia Marquez to Elizabeth Bishop to Octavio Paz.  In 1991 when war broke out in the former Yugoslavia, Ugrešić took a firm antiwar stance, critically dissecting retrograde Croatian and Serbian nationalism, the stupidity and criminality of war, and becoming a target for nationalist journalists, politicians, and fellow writers in the process. Subjected to prolonged public ostracism and persistent media harassment, she has lived in exile since 1993.

Anna Moschovakis : Eleanor or The Rejection of the Progress of Love

“Anna Moschovakis takes the reader straight to the terrifying edge: that moment where one ages out of youthfulness & begins to flutter in the debris of middle living, flattened out by technology, wild-goose chasing one’s data. Yet, the deeper we look into Eleanor’s unsettledness, the more we see & the more hope we find in her rhizomic wandering. This is a beautiful slow burn of a novel.” —Renee Gladman;
“By turns funny, melancholic, & provocative, Anna’s novel undoes & remakes the conventions of realist fiction through repetition & compression of time . . . It is ‘luminously ordinary’ in its progression, where profound shifts are as small as a postcard written or a hand touched.” —BOMB

Dao Strom : You Will Always Be Someone From Somewhere Else

In Dao Strom’s collection of poetic fragments, You Will Always Be Someone From Somewhere Else, translated by Ly Thuy Nguyen as Mình sẽ luôn là người nọ đến từ nơi nọ, the fragments are wholly filled– with text: English, Vietnamese, drifting, entwined, dense, vanishing– with space: empty, white, solid, black– with images: cropped, multiplied, sliced, erased– & with punctuation: plus, minus, inequality signs, slashes, brackets, & bullet points imbued with as much meaning as entire novels. “After you depart from the cinema of her sea, you may ask, what or who is she? …why is she able to dismantle my soul so easily? …how is she able to make desolation so compellingly hospitable? What is her secret?”–Vi Khi Nao

Catherine Lacey : Certain American States

Lacey captures with eerie precision the strangeness of being a person in the world, living alongside other human beings with unknowable thoughts and feelings . . . Reading Lacey’s fiction feels like walking through a dark apartment in someone’s mind, full of winding hallways and unmarked doors. You never know quite where you are or where you’ll end up. Like the work of Clarice Lispector or Rachel Cusk, Lacey seems to be on the verge of inventing a new genre somewhere between prose poem and fugue state.”–Los Angeles Times

Forrest Gander : Be With

“Forrest Gander’s life partner, the poet C.D. Wright, died suddently a little more than two years ago, and this book is one result or record of the aftermath of that loss. In poems that are utterly naked and bereft, elegies, apologies, could-have-beens, Gander grieves and wonders about what’s left in his life. There is so much pain in this book—perhaps too much, almost too much—but what is poetry for if not for this? And there’s more life in one of these dark words than in most entire books. Reading this book may hurt, but it will help people to keep living through what they thought they could never survive.”–Craig Morgan Teicher for NPR

 

Chelsea Hodson : Tonight I’m Someone Else

“Hodson’s essays have such a sexy drama to them—and ultimately it’s the romance of just getting through life; the passion that comes from being a wholly alert woman and living to tell about it. I had a real romance with this book.” —Miranda July;  “Chelsea Hodson tests herself against her desires, grapples with their consequences, and presents a surgically precise account of what they were to her. These essays are bewitching—despite their discipline and rigor, you can smell the blood.” —Sarah Manguso; “A unique collection about being an artist and a woman in a world that doesn’t always value either.” —Booklist