David Biespiel : The Education of a Young Poet

“Biespiel’s supple memoir of becoming a poet will surely inspire other writers to embrace the bodily character of writing & feel the power &, sometimes, the emptiness of the act of writing poetry.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review) “Whether he is writing about poetry, politics, competitive diving, or the glories of great conversation, Biespiel’s recurring subject is the tension between freedom & discipline―between the sublime release of our own wildness & the precision that comes only from exquisite self-control. Part memoir, part ars poetica, The Education of a Young Poet is a feast: of language, of memory, & of insights into how one young writer came into his own.” ―Patrick Phillips

Rae Armantrout : Partly -New & Selected Poems

“For nearly 40 years Armantrout has made a poetics of not finding the right words–of finding, in fact, the ‘wrong’ ones … Armantrout restores the strangeness of experiences we take for granted.”—Michael Robbins, Chicago Tribune;  “Hoopskirts, star jasmine, synchronized swimming, Russian icons, a ceramic fish face, electrons & photons: in these poems, everything is interconnected, thought through, deeply felt & expressed in the most precise and necessary words. Armantrout is one of our most inventive & magnetic poets, & she never disappoints: with inspired patience, she embraces the strangeness of our familiar world & refashions it into something new & utterly transporting.” –Lydia Davis

Eileen Myles : Afterglow

“What is a dog if not god? In Afterglow, Eileen Myles steps up to the challenge for writers to function as prophets. Ghostwritten in part by deceased pit bull Rosie, this ‘dog memoir’ explores—among other things—geometry, gender, mortality, evil, aging, and plaids. Myles makes new rules for what prose writing can be. Afterglow is Myles’s funniest, profoundest work yet.” —Chris Kraus, author of I Love Dick and After Kathy Acker;  “Only Eileen Myles could reinvent the memoir again so stunningly; Afterglow is the sort of multidimensional love story you could only expect from one of our greatest experimental writers living today!” —Porochista Khakpour, author of The Last Illusion and Sick: A Memoir

Celeste Ng : Little Fires Everywhere

“I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting. With brilliance and beauty, Celeste Ng dissects a microcosm of American society just when we need to see it beneath the microscope:  how do questions of race stack up against the comfort of privilege, and what role does that play in parenting?  Is motherhood a bond forged by blood, or by love?  And perhaps most importantly:  do the faults of our past determine what we deserve in the future?  Be ready to be wowed by Ng’s writing — and unsettled by the mirror held up to one’s own beliefs.” – Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things and Leaving Time 

Peter Rock : Spells

“Spells is a fascinating hybrid text, not simply illustrated by a collection of photographs but created in response to them, a collaboration between Peter Rock and five photographers. The result is a novel unlike any I’ve read before, that weaves elements of realism, fable, prose poetry, and essay through the supporting structure of images to create something beautiful and unsettling.”–Oregon Book Award-winner Cari Luna;  “Rock’s prose calls to mind Kazuo Ishiguro, not just for its spareness but also for its mix of wonder and creepiness.” —New York Times

Safiya Sinclair : Cannibal

“Sinclair crafts her stunning debut collection around the beauty & brutality of the word cannibal, whose origins derive from Columbus’s belief that the Carib people consumed human flesh. Attacking this dehumanizing judgment born from white entitlement & denouncing the idea that blackness is synonymous with savagery, Sinclair ponders such questions as, How does a poet get inside the head of Shakespeare’s Caliban? How would Caliban define blackness without the filter of a white man’s bias?…Through her visceral language Sinclair paints the institution of white supremacy as not just an individualized phenomenon, but as a ruthless & menacing force.” (Publisher’s Weekly-starred review)

Matthew Zapruder : Why Poetry

In Why Poetry,  award-winning poet, translator and editor, Matthew Zapruder argues that the way we have been taught to read poetry is the very thing that prevents us from enjoying it. Anchored in poetic analysis & steered by Zapruder’s personal experience of coming to the form, Why Poetry is engaging & conversational, even as it makes a passionate argument for the necessity of poetry in an age when information is constantly being mistaken for knowledge. He takes on what it is that poetry—and poetry alone—can do. Most important, he asks how reading poetry can help us to lead our lives with greater meaning and purpose.