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  • Editors’ ShelfBook Recommendations from Our Advisory Editors

Neil Astley recommends Visiting Indira Gandhi’s Palmist by Kirun Kapur: “Kirun Kapur has taken many years to produce a first collection which is so assured and lyrically compelling that it reads nothing like a debut volume. Her poems draw on family history, myth, and people’s stories to dramatize how the past informs the present, and how the child inherits a living legacy from mother (a former nun) and father (an Indian who found refuge in the US after the genocide caused by the 1947 Partition of British India, the subject of one of her book’s central sequences). This is a remarkably mature and coherent collection of poems, which tell of horrors and heartache, as well as love, wisdom, and affirmation.” (Elixir Press, January 2015)

Robert Boswell recommends All Things Tending Towards the Eternal by Kathleen Lee: “This is a beautiful novel about a woman traveling across China just after a large historical event (Tiananmen Square) and a very private tragedy (the mysterious death of her brother). She accumulates a wonderful cadre of companions, and the narrative becomes larger than any of their individual stories. Here’s a tiny sample of the writing: ‘Under the darkening sky, she went up on deck and stared out to sea, the expanse of dark water shiny with moonlight, surging softly. Here was the reason people rejoiced at setting sail: a ship’s deck to look out from, the curve of the earth to roll over, a spit of land to round. The seen to the unseen, the known to the unknown; the unfamiliar turning by mysterious alchemy into her own experience before sliding into the past. Far from home, riding the watery flanks of the world.’”

Robert Boswell also recommends Father Brother Keeper by Nathan Poole: “Heartfelt, lyrical, and moving, these stories make you feel the texture of your life alter while you’re immersed in them. The narrative’s claim on its landscape is astounding. This is a remarkable book, and it announces the arrival of a brilliant young writer. Here’s a tiny sample of the writing: ‘Now the decades had become a problem. Now time could compress and dance, it could wobble and reverse like a rattle-back toy. He was getting worse and sooner than he expected.’”

Peter Ho Davies recommends Gold, Fame, Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins: “This near-future vision of an evacuated, drought-stricken Southwest is as gripping as it is grimly persuasive. Restlessly formally inventive, as perhaps befits characters trying to scavenge and salvage what they can to survive, the book is also steeped in a deep sense of the past, walking backwards in the footsteps of westward pilgrims from Lewis and Clark to Tom Joad.”

Margot Livesey recommends Contenders by Erika Krouse: “The author has written a novel as hard paced and surprising as her heroine, [End Page 200] the inimitable Nina Black who can beat almost any man in an unfair fight. But Contenders isn’t only about street fighting. It’s also about the spiritual life and the life of the affections, within and beyond family. Can Nina come back from the edge of darkness? These brilliant pages offer several possible answers.”

Thomas Lux recommends We Deserve the Gods We Ask For by Seth Brady Tucker, Gival Press: “Some of the best war (Tucker was a paratrooper in the first Gulf War) poems and some of the best love poems I’ve read in a long time.”

Joyce Peseroff recommends Furs Not Mine by Andrea Cohen: “Grief at her mother’s death is the grit forming the pearl of Andrea Cohen’s new book, but grief doesn’t temper her signature wit. In the title poem, loss is ‘an inmost // Siberia made more Siberian by one / who basks nearby, oblivious in her Bolivia.’ Terse, tart, piercing, and tender, the poems develop a language to cope with ‘the central O / of loss going on’”

Rosanna Warren recommends Michael Longley’s Collected Poems, especially the volumes from The Ghost Orchid (1995) onward: “These poems are gravely strange, kinetic in their seeing, alive to mourning and horror but also to celebration. Longley’s rhythms float...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2162-0903
Print ISSN
0048-4474
Pages
pp. 200-201
Launched on MUSE
2015-09-30
Open Access
No
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