Saturday, October 16, 2021
Exploring the space between nature and culture, the poems in Peter Filkins’ new collection Water / Music anchor themselves in the timely and the timeless. Rich and diverse in their formal intricacy, they move with ease from narrative to meditation, from close physical observation to the haunts of memory, and from lyric sorrow to the pleasure of living in the world.
Jennifer Militello’s new collection, The Pact, confronts obsession, intimacy, and abuse―it offers an indictment against affection and a portent against zeal. Through love poems inspired by such disparate spaces as a British art museum and the reptile house of a local zoo, poems comparing a romantic affair to the religious cult at Jonestown and a mother’s role to a Congolese power figure bristling with nails, The Pact makes familiar themes new, odd, and deadly cutting.
In 1950s America, women were not supposed to be ambitious. In fact, women were respected for not pursuing their own careers and instead focusing their attentions on the home and family. Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton were born into this cultural moment and reached their formative years when this ideology of the dutiful woman was at its height. But if in 1950s America women of a certain class were supposed to sacrifice their own careers for those of their husbands, Plath and Sexton were having none of it. Join us to learn about the lives and art of these two legendary poets.
Heather Clark’s book is Red Comet: The Short and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath and Maggie Doherty’s book is The Equivalents: A Story of Art, Female Friendship, and Liberation in the1960’s.
In his fourth collection, That Was Now, This Is Then: Poems, Vijay Seshadri affirms his place as one of America’s greatest living poets. The essence of Seshadri’s writing is conversation and he is fluent in an unusually wide range of forms — he ranges here from rhymed quatrains to fat blocks of prose — and his voice is typically chatty.
A New England poet equally at home in Ireland, Kerrin McCadden explores family, death and grief, apologies, and all manner of departures in her new collection American Wake. An “American wake” is what the Irish call a farewell to those emigrating to the United States. This collection by a writer of extraordinary gifts will appeal to readers who believe in the potential of carefully hewn words to unveil our world and our deepest feelings to ourselves.
In 100 Poems to Break Your Heart, poet and advocate Edward Hirsch selects 100 poems, from the nineteenth century to the present, and illuminates them, unpacking context and references to help the reader fully experience the range of emotion and wisdom within these poems. For anyone trying to process grief, loneliness, or fear, this collection of poetry will be your guide in trying times.
Jane Hirshfield’s collection Ledger holds some of her most important and masterly work yet. From the already much-quoted opening lines of despair and defiance ("Let them not say: we did not see it. / We saw"), Hirshfield's poems inscribe a registry, both personal and communal, of our present-day predicaments. They call us to deepened dimensions of thought, feeling, and action. They summon our responsibility to sustain one another and the earth while pondering, acutely and tenderly, the crises of refugees, justice, and climate.
Tomas Morin’s new collection Machete addresses some of the concerns of life as a Mexican American in his home state of Texas. It is infused more generally with a fresh and zany take on the diversity of our culture, bringing together seemingly disparate scraps of history, geography, ideology, and sensibility—as here, where we find Willie Mays, Marx, moon shot, and a bit of miracle. In these poems, culture crashes like waves and leaves behind Billie Holiday and the CIA, disco balls and Dante, the Bible and Jerry Maguire. They are long, lean, and dazzle in their telling.
In the tradition of women as the unsung keepers of history, Deborah Paredez’s second poetry collection, Year of the Dog, tells her story as a Latina daughter of the Vietnam War.The title refers to the year 1970―the “year of the Metal Dog” in the lunar calendar―which was the year of the author’s birth, the year her father prepared to deploy to Vietnam along with many other Mexican-American immigrant soldiers, and a year of tremendous upheaval across the United States.
Sunday, October 17, 2021
What does it mean to move away from the shadow of one’s mother, parents, or family in order to come into being within this world? As collective memory within the Black diaspora has been ruptured, Shanta Lee Gander’s first poetry collection GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA time travels by creating and recapturing memory from a fractured past to survive in the present and envision a future.
In her remarkable and assured debut collection Field Music, Alexandria Hall shows us daily life in rural Vermont, illuminating the beauty and difficulty inherent in the dichotomies of human language and experience.
With Chard deNiord’s sixth collection of poems, In My Unknowing, we find ourselves in a world beheld by the spark of seeing, on the border of Platonic emission: a world of salt sorrow and red lust, coterminous with everything at once. It is a world about to evanesce, but is as yet legible to us in these masterful poems, which are in themselves a species of musical awareness.
In Atomizer, Elizabeth A. I. Powell examines pressing questions of today, from equality and political unrest to the diminishing of democratic ideals, asking if it is even appropriate to write about love in a time seemingly hurtling toward authoritarianism. With honesty and humor, her poems explore fragrance and perfumery as a means of biological and religious seduction.
God of Nothingness is a book for those who have seen death up close or even quietly wished for it. In these poems, honed to a devastating edge, Mark Wunderlich asks: How is it we go on as those around us die? Exquisite in its craft and capaciousness, God of Nothingness is an unflinching journal of solitude and survival.
An extraordinary, often mesmerizing engagement with the nature of identity and other existential trappings, The Math Campers, Dan Chiasson’s new collection of poetry, is a meta-kaleidoscope of literature and literary influence. A geometric swirl of the many faces of the author’s family and friends (particularly his teenage sons), it is colored and blended by the joy as well as confusion that accrues over our scarcely understandable stretch of time.
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