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Alluvial Cities

Christopher M. Hannan

The poems in Alluvial Cities are drawn from this layered landscape's geology and history, its people and language, and the kindred ties between earth and water, flesh and blood.

DEUCALIONIDS
The waters broke from the void before first light,
a divinity ripping through the trembling flesh
of marshes and the levees’ old clay thighs,
covering every mile of St. Bernard Parish.
 
Houses with their cement slabs have floated
light as the rinds of watermelons you ate as a boy
and chucked into Lake Catherine, swelled to overflowing
by the god that surged into the Rigolets estuary
 
and left an afterbirth of sweet crude leaked
from foundered tanks.  Cars hang like carrion
birds on the highest branches and torn roofs.  Leached
of mud and flood waters, the houses we pass cry out
 
broken window panes, duct-taped fridges, and a stillness
that leaves us on the dead grass of this
woman’s home, like so many thrown bones.

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Almanac

Poems

Austin Smith

Almanac is a collection of lyrical and narrative poems that celebrate, and mourn the passing of, the world of the small family farm. But while the poems are all involved in some way with the rural Midwest, particularly with the people and land of the northwestern Illinois dairy farm where Austin Smith was born and raised, they are anything but merely regional. As the poems reflect on farm life, they open out to speak about childhood and death, the loss of tradition, the destruction of the natural world, and the severing of connections between people and the land.

This collection also reflects on a long poetic apprenticeship. Smith's father is a poet himself, and Almanac is in part a meditation about the responsibility of the poet, especially the young poet, when it falls to him to speak for what is vanishing. To quote another Illinois poet, Thomas James, Smith has attempted in this book to write poems "clear as the glass of wine / on [his] father's table every Christmas Eve." By turns exhilarating and disquieting, this is a remarkable debut from a distinctive new voice in American poetry.
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From Almanac:
THE MUMMY IN THE FREEPORT ART MUSEUM

Austin Smith

Amongst the masterpieces of the small-town
Picassos and Van Goghs and photographs
of the rural poor and busts of dead Greeks
or the molds of busts donated by the Art
Institute of Chicago to this dying
town's little museum, there was a mummy,
a real mummy, laid out in a dim-lit
room by himself. I used to go
to the museum just to visit him, a pharaoh
who, expecting an afterlife
of beautiful virgins and infinite food
and all the riches and jewels
he'd enjoyed in earthly life,
must have wondered how the hell
he'd ended up in Freeport, Illinois.
And I used to go alone into that room
and stand beside his sarcophagus and say,
"My friend, I've asked myself the same thing."

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The Alphabet Conspiracy

Rita Mae Reese

The Alphabet Conspiracy takes its name from a 1950s-era school filmstrip of the same title. With a cast that includes patron saints for country girls and criminals, a Revolutionary War hero, the Wolfman, a sin-eater, John Wayne, and Johnny Cash, these poems swagger and sulk through an educational film turned film noir, replete with femme fatales in love. The Alphabet Conspiracy is about the ways in which language itself can function as a plot, keeping us estranged from ourselves, but also about the way it can be used as a tool for recovering our truest selves.

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The Alphabet in the Park

Selected Poems

Adelia Prado

This is the first book published in English by of the work of Brazilian poet Adelia Prado. Incorporating poems published over the past fifteen years, The Alphabet in the Park is a book of passion and intelligence, wit and instinct. These are poems about human concerns, especially those of women, about living in one's body and out of it, about the physical but also the spiritual and the imaginative life. Prado also writes about ordinary matters; she insists that the human experience is both mystical and carnal. To Prado these are not contradictory: "It's the soul that's erotic," she writes.

As Ellen Watson says in her introduction, "Adelia Prados poetry is a poetry of abundance. These poems overflow with the humble, grand, various stuff of daily life - necklaces, bicycles, fish; saints and prostitutes and presidents; innumerable chickens and musical instruments...And, seemingly at every turn, there is food." But also, an abundance of dark things, cancer, death, greed. These are poems of appetite, all kinds.

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ALPHABET OF LOVE

BART EDELMAN

This selection and its somewhat haphazard direction of how so many of us interact romantically—on the surface—is a gentle reminder that be it fate, chance, or will, we appear destined to carry out our mission to couple and partner, no matter what the cause or effect. If we truly desire companionship, at all cost, there is probably someone out there seeking the same measure—for better or worse. Whether it is simply ourselves, or the likes of Nathanael West (“Day of the Locus”), Amadeus Mozart (“The Dogs of Amadeus”), Mark Twain (“Mark Twain’s Cigar”), Natalie Wood (“The Late Natalie Wood”), or the poor children who haunt the camps at Terezin and Auschwitz (“ Little Ghosts”), we are all in need of the dose of kindness that love’s dispensary provides if we are fortunate enough to find it, hidden or not, among us. Whether or not a higher power is at work to guide us and grant us “The Word,” or we are determined to discover a path towards salvation through the generous acts of others—or ourselves—we follow an unconscious path, at times, and seek refuge, where possible, in places and locations we might have never imagined to investigate and bear witness. It may be upon “The Road to Jerusalem,” aboard “The New Train,” or in “The Terminal of Grief,” yet we still search for solace and speak the only common language we understand, this pursuit of love we may even try to escape—but never deny.

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Always Danger

David Hernandez

Always Danger offers a lyrical and highly imaginative exploration into the hazards that surround people’s lives—whether it’s violence, war, mental illness, car accidents, or the fury of Mother Nature. In his second collection of poems, David Hernandez embraces the element of surprise: a soldier takes refuge inside a hollowed-out horse, a man bullies a mountain, and a giant pink donut sponsors age-old questions about beliefs. Hernandez typically eschews the politics that often surround the inner circle of contemporary literature, but in this volume he quietly sings a few bars with a political tone: one poem shadows the conflict in Iraq, another reflects our own nation’s economic and cultural divide. Always Danger parallels Hernandez’s joy of writing: unmapped, spontaneous, and imbued with nuanced revelation.

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Always Rebellious/Cimarroneando

Selected Poems by Georgina Herrera

by Georgina Herrera, translation coordinated and introduction by Juanamaría Cordones-Cook

This bilingual volume of poetry (with DVD) introduces the unique voice of Cuban writer Georgina Herrera, whose poetry is inspired by her African heritage. Eliseo Diego calls Herrera's work poetry of origin, pain, heartbreak, and consolation. Herrera manages to transform her pain into central aesthetic components of her work, which point to a legacy of sorrow and sacrifice. Though she indeed has suffered, Georgina Herrera possesses courage, energy, and a penetrating intelligence accompanied by a profound sense of dignity and an age-old wisdom that enable her to "take to the hills" in order to go on and tell us the truths of her cultural memory, of her soul, and of her vast experience accumulated over 80 years full of anxiety, exclusion, violence, and discrimination. At the end, her self-definition is of dignity and empowerment, challenging the representation imposed upon black women.

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Amazing, How Amazing It Is, Every Night of the Shining Sun

Lee Seong-bok, Edited by Bei Dao, Shelby Chan, Gilbert Fong, Lucas Klein, and Christopher Mattison

Following the convening of Hong Kong International Poetry Nights 2013, The World of Words is a collection of selected works by some of the most internationally acclaimed poets today. The poem of "amazing, how amazing it is, every night of the shining sun" by Lee Seong-bok (South Korea) is finest contemporary poetry in trilingual or bilingual presentation.

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American Busboy

by Matthew Guenette

In American Busboy, a wry anti-mythology, the anti-hero busboy in an anonymous Clam Shack! tangles with the monotonous delirium of work, the indignities and poor pay of unskilled labor, the capricious deus ex machina of mean-spirited middle management, the zombified consumption of summer tourists, while jostling for the goddess-like attentions of waitresses and hostesses—all battered up in sizzlingly crisp wit and language, and deep-fried in a shiny glaze of surrealism. —Lee Ann Roripaugh

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American Fanatics

Dorothy Barresi

A book of contemporary poetry exploring the fine, shifting line between faith—secular and spiritual faith—and fanaticism in an insecure age, American Fanatics is a lyrical, pop-culture inflected meditation on democracy, morality, beauty, commerce, and the cost of falling dreams.

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