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A suburban park, a church, a job, a cocktail party: to many, these sound like safe places, but for a young black man these insular spaces don't keep out the news--and the actual threat--of gun violence, police brutality, and the biases that keep body, property, and hope in the crosshairs. "Silencer" sings out the dangers of unspoken taboos. Here, the language and cadences of hip-hop and academia meet prayer--these poems are crucibles, from which emerge allegories and elegies, humor and critiques.
"Last Train to the Missing Planet" rockets us forward, taking us on a journey to places we've often visited but never seen. Buy a ticket and hop aboard: experience love, longing, and passion tipped sideways; irreverent, touching, and disarmingly sexy as illuminated by an original and brilliant light. Lose yourself in the unexplored sensations of the ordinary in this engaging year of moments, both comforting and terrifying--and always extraordinary.
The only thing more beautiful than Beyoncé is God,and God is a black woman sipping rosé and drawing a lavender bath, texting her mom, belly-laughing in the therapist's office, feeling unloved, being on display, daring to survive. Unrelentingly feminist, tender, ruthless, and sequined, these poems are an altar to the complexities of black American womanhood in an age of non-indictments and deja vu, and a time of wars over bodies and power.
Javier Zamora was nine years old when he traveled unaccompanied 4,000 miles from El Salvador to the United States to reunite with his parents. His poetry debut humanizes the rhetoric of border-crossing, assesses borderland politics, race, and immigration on a personal level, and both remembers and imagines a birth country that's been left behind. Through an unflinching gaze, plainspoken diction, and a combination of Spanish and English, "Unaccompanied" crosses rugged terrain where families are lost and reunited.
"Whereas" confronts the coercive language of the United States government in its responses, treaties, and apologies to Native American peoples and tribes, and reflects that language in its officiousness and duplicity back on its perpetrators. Through a virtuosic array of short lyrics, prose poems, longer narrative sequences, resolutions, and disclaimers, Layli Long Soldier has created a brilliantly innovative text to examine histories, landscapes, her own writing, and her predicament inside national affiliations.
The poems of "Witch Wife" are spells, incantations to exorcise or celebrate memory, to mourn the dead, to conjure children or keep them at bay, to faithfully inhabit one's given body. They are also concerned with dismantling received ideas about contemporary American womanhood. In sestinas, villanelles, hallucinogenic prose poems, and freeverse, Kiki Petrosino summons history's ghosts--the ancestors that reside in her blood and craft--and sings them to life.
This two-part collection by the beloved, award-winning poet looks at mortality, celebrity, pop culture, poetry, dreams, and otherworldliness in often disarming ways. "Bedrock at Night" (think The Flintstones) is the title poem of the first section, with tributes to Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Hollywood idols, and more. The second part is an extended Neruda-esque ode to a life cut short: that of singer Buddy Holly.
Having lived around the world, both using her native tongue and finding it impossible to use, Kronovet approaches poems as tactile foreign objects as well as intimate utterances. In this collection, Kronovet questions whether words are objects we should escape from or embrace. Dispatches from linguists, Walt Whitman, Ferdinand de Saussure, and the poet herself, among others, appear in poems that are language-driven, imaginative, technically revealing, and purely pleasurable.
The center of this daring collection is the story of Hagar, Abraham, and Sarah--the ancestral feuding family of the Abrahamic religions. These poems delve into the Hagar story in Islam, while also exploring other figures from Near Eastern heritage. Readers will find sequels and prequels to the traditional narratives, along with modernized figures claimed for contemporary conflicts. "Hagar Poems" is a compelling shakeup of not only Hagar's story, but also of current roles of all kinds of women in all kinds of relationships.
These brave, dexterous poems examine antiquated medical diagnoses and procedures, offer meditations on risky sex, and take up the poet's personal and family histories as mental health patients and practitioners. Ultimately, they attempt to build a queer lineage out of inherited language and cultural artifacts, and to trouble the static categories of sanity, heterosexuality, masculinity, normality, and health. They embody the strange and disjunctive workings of the mind as it grapples to make sense of the world around it.
By turns celebratory, meditative, tender, and rebellious, these poems reimagine the divisions and intersections of life and death, the human and the natural world, the brutal and the beautiful. Time and again, they choose hope.