One Illuminated Letter of Being, Donald Platt’s new collection of thirty-two heart-wrenching poems, is oriented around the loss of his mother—itself a disorienting experience, for anyone—that anticipates her death, reconciles itself to it, and resumes living, in a new way.
In her second collection, My Afmerica, Artress Bethany White grapples with the grief of generations of Black mothers in America. Her title reflects the reality that black skin, for many whites, is an unwelcome insertion into white consciousness of country, and, of course, that being Black in America is its own cultural experience, a world apart.
Ever read a crown of sonnets and wish you could read another one, and then more? Me neither, until the winningly, teasingly, loosely, expertly assembled array of fourteen-line items that comprise Sara Wainscott’s Insecurity System. It’s a contender for my favorite first book this year.
At a time when many of us are yearning for clear directions from a reputable source, when a simple how to get from here to there feels impossible, when the world seems anything but ordinary, Kathryn Cowles’ Maps and Transcripts of the Ordinary World is a reminder to see the world around us, a beautiful return to noticing, an invitation to circle and remember.
Crosscut by Sean Prentiss University of New Mexico Press, 2020 In a time when human communities have become more divorced than ever from the natural world, Sean Prentiss’ debut collection of poems, Crosscut, celebrates the binding and clarifying effects of...
“None of the books has ever got it right”: A Review of LOVE UNKNOWN: The Life and Worlds of Elizabeth Bishop by Thomas Travisano
During my first semester at New York University, I was excited to take a survey course in American Poetry. When the old, male professor passed out the syllabus I wasn’t at all shocked to see that it contained just two women: Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop. This was the early 1990s. A time when no one batted an eye to see a canon that was still almost 100 % white and male. The fact that these two women had crossed the line, had somehow been accepted was extraordinary to me. I tried to love Marianne Moore, but got tangled in her long lines. It was Bishop who spoke to me.
Poetry That Invites Gratefulness in the Midst of Darkness and Blood: A Review of LOUDER BIRDS by Angela Voras-Hills
From the first moment I stepped into Angela Voras-Hills’ collection, Louder Birds, I knew I was in the presence of something vital.