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Probing, wide-ranging, brimming with passion and outrage, Melhem’s eighth collection of poems grips the reader with accounts of individual triumphs and the ongoing catastrophic conflicts of our world. The author draws on her years as a painter and sculptor to bring a distinct visual and tactile quality to her poetry. In this volume, Melhem proceeds from robust individual portraits through observable terrains to traumatic visions of war. "Certain Personae" ranges from black writers to Abraham Lincoln, from a portrait of the suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton to the poetry of John Updike, and finishes with paintings of Hannibal crossing the Alps. In "Mostly Political," the poems traverse the local and the universal: melting polar ice caps, capitalism, a painting by Max Ernst interpreted in antithetical ways, and a poem surveying Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the context of international events. "Wars," the third and last section, gives intimate and searing glimpses of the Trojan War, World War I, the Gulf War, the Iraq war, and the conflict over Palestine.
In these poems, G. E. Murray blends the colors of the soul with those of the world it brushes up against, exploring the ways in which art, both as possession and possessor, informs perception._x000B_Viewing his subjects sometimes from airplane altitude, sometimes from the intimacy of a shared restaurant table, Murray crafts true stories about color,? narratives of dislocation and belonging that invite readers to question their own relationship to art._x000B_Included in this volume is a long sequential poem titled The Seconds,? which Murray composed across the second days of thirteen months. The rhythms of this diary-as-poem seize the tensions of shifting times and locales, capturing the essences of moments that are at once chosen and arbitrary._x000B_Codes toward an Incidental City,? the sequence that closes the book, is a confederacy of forty poems that delve into the concrete familiarities and mythologies of urban landscapes, illuminating the ecstasies of city life._x000B_
Ascending Order is the work of a poet in midcareer who has thought hard about the circumstances of his past and present, and found an attitude, part concerned and part amused, that serves him well in both his life and his art. The poems in William Greenway’s new book range widely, from memories of childhood and family through meditations on works of art, from humourous topics such as the cars in Hell’s garage or a dead celebrity golf tournament to deep-felt contemplations of cultures American and otherwise or the ailments of middle age and the shadows of mortality. But whether the subjects are serious or playful, the rich vision and inventive language displayed in these poems are Greenway’s alone.
Daniel Hughes's final volume of poetry, written during his years of struggle with multiple sclerosis, displays his characteristic wit, intelligence, and imagination. While the poems in Ashes & Stars deal with themes such as love and mortality, the conflict between imagination and actuality, and the pleasures of the world around us, they are never somber or overly serious. Even the shortest ones have a wry comic sense. Additionally, Hughes's poems demonstrate a remarkably economical and precise use of language, without a wasted word in the entire collection. Although the concentrated emotion of the poems may remind readers of Emily Dickinson and Robert Lowell, Hughes's poetic forms-quatrains, tercets, irregular sonnets, irregular rhymes-also illustrate the deep influence of the English Romantics, whom he championed throughout his academic career. In addition, many poems draw inspiration from numerous individuals and works of art from the Italian Renaissance, as they weave abstract themes from Western culture with the sensual data of the poet's experience. Despite these deep historical and literary roots, the conversational tone of Ashes & Stars ensures that it is never dry or academic. The poems speak to the reader as to an intimate, giving a sense of transmitting hard-earned experience and knowledge. All readers will appreciate the passionate energy and worldly air of these unique and exactingly honest final poems.
Winner of the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize
In his second collection of poetry, Reginald Harris traverses real and imagined landscapes, searching for answers to the question “What are you?” From Baltimore to Havana, Atlantic City to Alabama—and from the broad memories of childhood to the very specific moment of Marvin Gaye singing at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game shortly before his death—this is a travel diary of internal and external journeys exploring issues of race and sexuality. The poet traveler falls into and out of love and lust, sometimes coupled, sometimes alone. Autogeography tracks how who you are changes depending on where you are; how where you are and where you’ve been determine who you are and where you might be headed.
Donato Francesco Mattera has been celebrated as a journalist, editor, writer and poet. He is also acknowledged as one of the foremost activists in the struggle for a democratic South Africa, and helped to found both the Union of Black Journalists, the African Writer's Association and the Congress of South African Writers. Born in 1935 in Western Native Township (now Westbury) across the road from Sophiatown, Mattera can lay claim to an intriguingly diverse lineage: his paternal grandfather was Italian, and he has Tswana, Khoi-Khoi and Xhosa blood in his veins.
"Gaylord Brewer’s Barbaric Mercies is a book of extraordinary and delightful individuality. Alternately aggressive, outrageous, whimsical, and heartfelt, the poems are never predictable but always authentic. The author has such a genius for phrasing that there are many lines that make the reader stop and sigh or smile. A dark and delicious volume." —Dana Gioia
Karin Schimke is a widely published journalist and columnist, and the Cape Times books editor. She also works as a writing tutor and mentor, an author of non-fiction ñ including the best-selling Fabulously Forty and Beyond, co-written with Margie Orford - of childrenís books and of short stories. She edited Open, an anthology of erotic short stories written by some of South Africaís best known women writers. Her poetry has appeared in South Africa Writing, New Contrast, New Coin and Carapace magazines. Bare & Breaking is her first collection of poems.