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Heather Derr-Smith’s second collection journeys to the rough core of desire, creating and destroying binaries along the way. Familiar artifacts of domesticity become as volatile as land mines, and the streets of Damascus, Calcutta, and other faraway locales obliterate the American landscape. Yet Derr-Smith’s poetry transcends time and place, illuminating the ties that bind man to woman, mother to child. The Bride Minaret is a relentless chronicle of experience, where the sacred and profane become interchangeable, where “Every tent has a name, and every name is the breath of you.”
In Brief Landing on the Earth’s Surface, even the most ordinary moments are infused with an awareness of the lost past and a kind of prescience of the future. From one setting to another—Tidewater Virginia, rural Pennsylvania, Greece, New York City—these poems give voice to the human longing for permanence, home, and connection in the face of a constantly changing reality.
The poems in Brenda Hillman's new collection, a companion volume to her recent Death Tratates, offer a dynamic vision of a universe founded on the tensions between light and dark , existence and non-existence, male and female, spirit and matter. Informed in part by Gnostic concepts of the separate soul in search of its divine origins ("spirit held by matter"). This dualistic vision is cast in contemporary terms and seeks resolution of these tensions through acceptance.
Autobiography and Cities
This groundbreaking, transgenre work--part detective story, part literary memoir, part imagined past--is intensely autobiographical and confessional. Proceeding sentence by sentence, city by city, and backwards in time, poet and essayist Kazim Ali details the struggle of coming of age between cultures, overcoming personal and family strictures to talk about private affairs and secrets long held. The text is comprised of sentences that alternate in time, ranging from discursive essay to memoir to prose poetry. Art, history, politics, geography, love, sexuality, writing, and religion, and the role silence plays in each, are its interwoven themes. Bright Felon is literally "autobiography" because the text itself becomes a form of writing the life, revealing secrets, and then, amid the shards and fragments of experience, dealing with the aftermath of such revelations. Bright Felon offers a new and active form of autobiography alongside such texts as Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Dictee, Lyn Hejinian's My Life, and Etel Adnan's In the Heart of the Heart of Another Country.
Bringing the Shovel Down is a re-imagination of the violent mythologies of state and power.
and Other Poems
Bristol Bay is the easternmost part of the Bering Sea and the site of the largest Salmon run in the world. It is also home to some of the highest tides and roughest water on the planet. In winter, ice storms freeze the riggings of fishing boats and the added weight of the ice, if not chipped off and thrown overboard, is sufficient to sink all but the largest of boats. The working conditions are brutal and the Bay itself as unforgiving as it is lovely. If it were a town, its name would be Deadwood or Tombstone, a place where life is measured in sunrises, not years. The title poem, “Bristol Bay,” is autobiographical. Much of what is described in the poem is true and not hyperbole or metaphor. The author worked two seasons on the 420 foot floating processor, the All Alaskan, now a partially submerged wreck outside of Kodiak, Alaska, and the poem speaks to that almost apocalyptic experience. The poems in this book are thematically aligned with the title poem in that they share a willingness to explore the potentially fatal, often unknown body of the individual. Homelessness, war, the blue collar work ethic, the love of all things opposed by the hatred of one thing—mothers and fathers—all of these become touchstones through which greater awareness may be experienced as a spiritual participation in building and sustaining human communities.
Whoever looks to a new book by James Dickey for further work in an established mode, or for mere novelty, is going to be disappointed. But those who seek instead a true widening of the horizons of meaning, coupled with a sure-handed mastery of the craft of poetry, will find this latest collection satisfying indeed.
Here is a man who matches superb gifts with a truly subtle imagination, into whose depths he is courageously traveling--pioneering--in exploratory penetrations into areas of life that are too often evaded or denied. "The Firebombing," "Slave Quarters," "The Fiend"--these poems, with the others that comprise the present volume, show a mature and original poet at his finest.Whoever looks to a new book by James Dickey for further work in an established mode, or for mere novelty, is going to be disappointed. But those who seek instead a true widening of the horizons of meaning, coupled with a sure-handed mastery of the craft of poetry, will find this latest collection satisfying indeed.
Here is a man who matches superb gifts with a truly subtle imagination, into whose depths he is courageously traveling--pioneering--in exploratory penetrations into areas of life that are too often evaded or denied. "The Firebombing," "Slave Quarters," "The Fiend"--these poems, with the others that comprise the present volume, show a mature and original poet at his finest.
The Journey of York
" Winner of the 35th Annual Lillian Smith Book Award, 2004 A BookSense 76 Spring 2004 Top 10 Poetry Book! Read an excerpt from the book Listen to Frank X Walker reading on NPR's ""This I Believe"" segment of Morning Edition. This collection of persona poems tells the story of the infamous Lewis & Clark expedition from the point of view of Clark's personal slave, York. The poems form a narrative of York's inner and outer journey, before, during and after the expedition--a journey from slavery to freedom, from the plantation to the great northwest, from servant to soul yearning to be free. Over the course of the saga and through the poems, we are treated to subtle and overt commentaries on literacy, slavery, native Americans, buffalo, the environment, and more. Though Buffalo Dance purposely references historic accounts and facts, it is fictionalized poetry, and Frank X Walker's rare blend of history and art breathes life into an important but overlooked historical figure. Frank X Walker is the author of Affrilachia and the soon to be released Black Box , two collections of poetry. He teaches in the department of English & Theatre and is the interim Director of the African/African American Studies Program at Eastern Kentucky University. He is also a visiting professor in Pan African Studies department at the University of Louisville. A 2004 recipient of the Lillian Smith Book Award, he lives in Lexington, KY. Click here for Frank Walker's website.
Burn and Dodge is a collection of poems that “burns” with contemporary vices such as: Guilt, Envy, Regret, and Indecision while also “dodging” such concerns with formal playfulness.
Burnt Offering is Joan Metelerkamp's seventh colllection of poems. The title comes from a poem in a cycle that embodies the labours of the medieval alchemists - heating and burning, transformation of passionate intensity, the search for an enduring element. In the process malignant doubt is burnt off, and what takes its place is trust in the everyday: "take this day, here, take it all its clarity, all its gold" - Like all of Metelerkamp's work, these generous poems draw on and weave together, with her distinctive energy and passion, the details of family and rural life, dreams, landscapes and journeys.