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“Paisley Rekdal’s quiet virtuosity with rhyme and cadence, her syntactic fidelity to thought and sensation, her analytical intelligence that keeps homing in and in, her ambitious sentences and larger formal structures that try to embody with absolute accuracy the difference between what we ought to feel and what we really do feel—all these make her unique in her generation: no one sounds like she does, and her concern about the ‘post’ in postconfessional is as much a sign of her earnest desire to honor every aspect of her art, as it is an anxiety that spurs her restless investigations of family, selfhood, racial identity, and erotic life.” —Tom Sleigh
As a psychologist, Lisa C. Krueger is familiar with digging into what makes us human. The joys and celebrations or the pain of what cuts the skin—and what cuts deeper. In animals the size of dreams, Krueger looks into the dark corners and, instead of just shining a light, strips them down to their foundations, until all that’s left is life.
In this first critical study of Anna Letitia Barbauld’s major work, Daniel P. Watkins reveals the singular purpose of Barbauld’s visionary poems: to recreate the world based on the values of liberty and justice. Watkins examines in close detail both the form and content of Barbauld’s Poems, originally published in 1773 and revised and reissued in 1792. Along with providing careful readings of the poems, readings that situate the works in their broader political, historical, and philosophical contexts, Watkins explores the relevance of the introductory epigraphs and the importance of the poems’ placement throughout the volume. At the center of Watkins’s study is Barbauld’s effort to develop a visionary poetic stance. He argues that the deliberate arrangement of the poems creates a coherent portrayal of Barbauld’s poetic, political, and social vision, a vision born of her deep belief that the principles of love, sympathy, liberty, and pacifism are necessary for a secure and meaningful human reality. In tracing the contours of this effort, Watkins examines, in particular, the tension in Barbauld’s poetry between her desire to engage directly with the political realities of the world and her equally strong longing for a pastoral world of peace and prosperity. Scholars of British literature and women writers will welcome this important study of one of the eighteenth century’s foremost writers.
"Winner of the 2010 Colorado Prize, this sophomore collection from Savich (Full Catastrophe Living) features poems that communicate what is fragmentary at the expense of the concrete. At once meticulous and vertiginous, these poems are grounded by "The Mountains Overhead," a long poem of 113 fragments, in which we find "Dawn stripping you like a cat/ clawing a band of wallpaper" and horses that "hold themselves like torches so they/ won't burn like themselves." The result is a collection that is thrilling and inchoate. "A Children's Story" is Savich at his best, blending enjambment and narrative to create a poem in which the speaker's distance from the memory of a former love ("the white/ in her teeth and eyes moved him like childhood/ loss") is realized with melancholy. In keeping with the trope of annulments, the poems often end suddenly, leaving much to be desired in their genesis and construction. One senses that Savich could go on building his fragmentary mountain forever, not unlike a certain well-known biblical tower whose result was the fragmentation of language itself, all the while longing for a "heart which exists/ in which to continue is not/ to confine." (Nov.) " —Danniel Schoonebeek , Publishers Weekly
"It is the poet who, undistracted by the imbecile telegraphy of this moment, dares to sustain a sustaining sound I most esteem and most warmly embrace. Zach Savich has written a book both intimate and vast, both tender and acidly candid. And with his long poem, 'The Mountains Overhead,' he has entered that visionary company of poets who, by overturning Babel, lay the heavens at our feet."—Donald Revell
"Sparse, spare, these lines nonetheless overflow with a sheer and brilliant imagination- 'The crows: hearing our voices through wires'; 'the horses hold themselves like torches'; 'the sun a dial tone . . .' The tension between minimalism of form and maximalism of concept and feeling gives this work a vivid, oddly crystalline, momentum. The central long poem unfolds one small leaf at a time, yet resists accumulation; instead it presents us again and again with the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the slightly uncanny: what would it be to sing instead of to say? This book gives us an intimation."—Cole Swensen
In Another Creature Pamela Gemin reconciles her generation’s impulse toward personal freedom with its costs as she moves her cast of innocents and outlaws through Midwestern landscapes embroidered with green lawns, blue lakes and raspberry patches eerily wired for sound. Hers are hungry poems, in and of the world, expounding the “flavors and hues, the fragrance and skin / of the merchandise of Earth.”
Experimental Writing in the South
Another South is an anthology of poetry from contemporary southern writers who are working in forms that are radical, innovative, and visionary. Highly experimental and challenging in nature, the poetry in this volume, with its syntactical disjunctions, formal revolutions, and typographic playfulness, represents the direction of a new breed of southern writing that is at once universal in its appeal and regional in its flavor.
Focusing on poets currently residing in the South, the anthology includes both emerging and established voices in the national and international literary world. From the invocations of Andy Young's "Vodou Headwashing Ceremony" to the blues-informed poems of Lorenzo Thomas and Honorée Jeffers, from the different voicings of )ohn Lowther and Kalamu ya Salaam to the visual, multi-genre art of Jake Berry, David Thomas Roberts, and Bob Grumman, the poetry in Another South is rich in variety and enthusiastic in its explorations of new ways to embody place and time. These writers have made the South lush with a poetic avant-garde all its own, not only redefining southern identity and voice but also offering new models of what is possible universally through the medium of poetry.
Hank Lazer's introductory essay about "Kudzu textuality" contextualizes the work by these contemporary innovators. Like the uncontrollable runaway vine that entwines the southern landscape, their poems are hyperfertile, stretching their roots and shoots relentlessly, at once destructive and regenerative. In making a radical departure from nostalgic southern literary voices, these poems of polyvocal abundance are closer in spirit to "speaking in tongues" or apocalyptic southern folk art—primitive, astonishing, and mystic.
A feminist classic, The Answer/La Respuesta is the letter by 17th century Mexican nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz to a priest who hoped to silence her and all women. Known as the first feminist of the Americas, Sor Juana was a brilliant scholar and poet and an outspoken defender of women's rights. Her works shows a keen awareness of gender. This volume also reveals the remarkable scholarship, subversiveness, and humor she used in defense of her cause.
Here is a major work by a Chilean poet thought by many to be the most brilliant and important new voice in the Spanish language. In its first American edition, this poetry is presented in Spanish and Enlgish, so that readers of both languages may listed to Zurita's voice.
Anteparadise can be read as a creative response, an act of resistance by a young artist to the violence and suffering during and after the 1973 coup that toppled the democratically elected Allende government. Zurita thus follows the example of several Latin American pets such as the Peruvian César Vallejo and Chilean Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda, sharing their passion and urgency, but his voice is unique.
In Corey Van Landingham’s Antidote, love equates with disease, valediction is a contact sport, the moon is a lunatic, and someone is always watching. Here the uncanny coexists with the personal, so that each poem undergoes making and unmaking, is birthed and bound in an acute strangeness. Elegy is made new by a speaker both heartbreaking and transgressive. Van Landingham reveals the instability of self and perception in states of grief; she is not afraid to tip the world upside down and shake it out, gather the lint and change from its pockets and say, “I can make something with this.” Wild and surreal, driven by loss, Antidote invites both the beautiful and the brutal into its arms, allowing for shocking declarations about love: that it is like hibernation, a car crash, or a parasite. Time, geography, and landscape are called into question as backdrops for various forms of valediction. It soon becomes clear that there is no antidote one can take for grief or heartbreak; that love can, at times, feel like violence; and that one may never get better at saying goodbye.