“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)
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.
“As a descendent of Chantal Akerman and Unica Zürn—among others—Yanara Friedland reimagines the origin myth. Friedland’s permeable pages allow the reader entryway into a “mirror [that] becomes an open door,” a door through which we hear the echo of Ana Mendieta telling us “There is no original past to redeem: there is the void.” Uncountry is an invitation to that void, and Friedland serves as dream guide through this blend of the personal, political, and stunningly poetic”–Lily Hoang; Uncountry: a Mythology is winner of the Noemi Press Fiction Prize
“Mary Ruefle’s careful, measured sentences sound as if they were written by a thousand-year-old person who is still genuinely curious about the world… She combines imagistic techniques from surrealism with narrative techniques to create surprising, high-velocity, and deeply affecting work.”–The Stranger; “Mary Ruefle is, in this humble bookseller’s opinion, the best prose-writing poet in America. (And one of our best poets, too.) My Private Property, her latest collection of stories, essays, and asides, is as joyous and singular a book as you’ll read…”–Stephen Sparks, Literary Hub
Gregory Pardlo “explores what is American, what is African American, what is the Other, what is city, what is suburban, what is personal & what is persona. Digest offers a changing, rich landscape of verse both haunting, funny, & rigorously intellectual–Jerry Magazine; He “renders history just as clearly & palpably as he renders NYC or Copenhagen or his native New Jersey. But mostly what he renders is America with its intractable conundrums & clashing iconographies. With lines that balance poise & a jam-packed visceral music & images that glimmer & seethe together like a conflagration these poems are a showcase for Pardlo’s ample & agile mind, his courageous social conscience, & his mighty voice.” -Tracy K. Smith
Morgan Parker uses political & pop-cultural references as a framework to explore 21st cent. black American womanhood & its complexities: performance, depression, isolation, exoticism, racism, femininity & politics. Parker explores this in the contemporary American political climate, folding in references from jazz standards, visual art, personal family history, & Hip Hop. The voice of this book is a multifarious one: writing & rewriting bodies, stories, & histories of the past, as well as uttering & bearing witness to the truth of the present; actively probing toward a new self, an actualized self. This is a book at the intersections of mythology & sorrow, of vulnerability & posturing, of desire & disgust, of tragedy & excellence.
In this virtuosic array of poems, lists, shards, & sequences, Sharif assembles fragmented narratives in the aftermath of war. Those repercussions echo in the present day, the grief for those killed in America’s invasions of Afghanistan & Iraq, the discriminations endured at the checkpoints of daily encounter. At the same time, these poems point to ways violence is conducted against language, employing words lifted from the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military & Associated Terms. Sharif exposes euphemisms deployed to sterilize language, control its effects, & sway our collective resolve, but refuses to accept this terminology as given, instead turning it back on its perpetrators. “Let it matter what we call a thing,” she writes. “Let me look at you.”