Author: Sam Sax
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.
Author: sam sax
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
sam sax’s bury it, winner of the 2017 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, begins with poems written in response to the spate of highly publicized young gay suicides in the summer of 2010. What follows are raw and expertly crafted meditations on death, rituals of passage, translation, desire, diaspora, and personhood. What’s at stake is survival itself and the archiving of a lived and lyric history. Laughlin Award judge Tyehimba Jess says “bury it is lit with imagery and purpose that surprises and jolts at every turn. Exuberant, wild, tightly knotted mesmerisms of discovery inhabit each poem in this seethe of hunger and sacred toll of toil. A vitalizing and necessary book of poems that dig hard and lift luminously.” In this phenomenal second collection of poems, Sam Sax invites the reader to join him in his interrogation of the bridges we cross, the bridges we burn, and bridges we must leap from.
Author: Marcus Cafagña
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
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.
Author: Chelsea Dingman
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
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.
Author: Lauren Berry
Selected for the National Poetry Series by Terrance Hayes. Lauren Berry's bracing and emotionally charged first collection of poetry delivers visions of a gothic South that Flannery O'Connor would recognize. Set in a feverish swamp town in Florida, The Lifting Dress enters the life of a teenage girl the day after she has been raped. She refuses to tell anyone what has happened, and moves silently toward adulthood in a community that offers beauty but denies apology. Through lyric narratives, readers watch her shift between mirroring and rejecting the anxious swelter of her world, until she ultimately embraces it with the same violent affection once tendered to her.
Author: Sasha Pimentel
Publisher: Beacon Press
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 Juárez 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.
Author: Mark Yakich
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
Author: Joshua Bennett
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.
Author: Jane Miller
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
“Book by book, Jane miller has evolved a mode, a voice . . . entirely her own.”—M.S. Merwin
Author: Valzhyna Mort
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
This charismatic Belarusian poet is considered "one of the best young poets in the world today " ("World Literature Today").
Author: Mutsuo Takahashi, Hiroaki Sato
“In the name of / Man, member, / and the holy fluid, / Amen,” begins Mutsuo Takahashi's epic one-thousand-line erotic fantasy poem, “Ode,” the centerpiece of his groundbreaking collection of queer poetry, Poems of a Penisist. Takahashi's work, reminiscent of Walt Whitman's, is a celebration of the male body, treating homosexual desire as something sacred. Stunningly beautiful and passionate, Poems of a Penisist is one of the most important compilations of homoerotic poetry written in the twentieth century.
Author: Lauren Clark
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Winner of the 2016 Donald Hall Prize in Poetry Lauren Clark’s poems move lucidly, depicting beautiful struggles of distrust, dream, grief, and intimacy. They show such conflicts through entrancing narrative drive and song-like abandon. In their unpredictable, unforgettable language, they make pain a tonic for pleasure, sorrow ground for revelation. This is a book that is celebratory, gentle, and queer.
Author: Adam Giannelli
Publisher: University of Iowa Press
Rain intermits, bus windows steam up, loved ones suffer from dementia—in the constantly shifting, metaphoric world of Tremulous Hinge, figures struggle to remain standing and speaking against forces of gravity, time, and language. In these visually porous poems, boundaries waver and reconfigure along the rumbling shoreline of Rockaway or during the intermediary hours that an insomniac undergoes between darkness and dawn. Through a series of self-portraits, elegies, and Eros-tinged meditations, this hovering never subsides but offers, among the fragments, momentary constellations: “moths all swarming the / same light bulb.” From the difficulties of stuttering to teetering attempts at love, from struggling to order a hamburger to tracing the deckled edge of a hydrangea, these poems tumble and hum, revealing a hinge between word and world. Ultimately, among lofting waves, collapsing hands, and darkening skies, words themselves—a stutterer's maneuvers through speech, a deceased grandfather’s use of punctuation—become forms of consolation. From its initial turbulence to its final surprising solace, this debut collection mesmerizes.