Book List: National Poetry Month

Extra Hidden Life, Among the Days (Wesleyan Poetry) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780819578051
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Wesleyan University Press - January 16th, 2018

Brenda Hillman’s first book after completing her quartet of collections on the elements continues its focus on the natural world, turning to woods and waters as a means of navigating grief. A number of series poems drive the collection, and modes oscillate from elegy to ode as Hillman fiercely holds on to a world that is rapidly disappearing. The book also serves a secondary function as a sort of guidebook for resistance, as many of the poems are active protests against climate destruction inspired by the poet’s ecocentric views. Hillman’s writing remains as lyric and experimental as ever, and several times the poems moved me to tears. Arguably the most important and necessary poetry collection of 2018 so far.

How He Loved Them Cover Image
ISBN: 9781945588099
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Four Way Books - March 6th, 2018

A local Houston poet! Kevin Prufer’s newest book continues his clear-eyed gaze on an America full of paradox and always teetering on the brink of violence. Subjects of fathers and sons, soldiers and war, and modern empire populate the poems, and even a few vampires and characters from the distant future make appearances. Formally Prufer is more playful with his lines and spacing, engaging with the inherent white space on the page. As with much of his writing, the poems are straightforward yet musical in their storytelling, the tensions driving them simmering just under the surface. Don’t miss Kevin Prufer reading for Inprint on April 23!

The Undressing: Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393065435
Availability: BACKORDERED
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - February 20th, 2018

Lee’s first collection in nearly a decade returns to his tender voice and plainspoken emotion, crafting poems focused on love and desire. The scope is bigger here than ever before: poems span pages rather than stanzas, as in his previous books. While he’s often pontificating on the nature of love or the essence of the soul Lee makes room for the contemporary world as well, slipping in the occasional Wu-Tang Clan reference or other allusion. Travel and motion play a big role in many of these poems, but somehow the book maintains a sense of quiet and stillness, a sort of haven or harbor from the hardships beyond the pages of the book. An excellent collection to turn to when you’re feeling like you need a pick-me-up or a good hug.

Wade in the Water: Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555978136
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Graywolf Press - April 3rd, 2018

A new collection of poems from our Poet Laureate! WADE IN THE WATER captures Smith’s unique inquisitive voice as the poems blend both the personal and the public, shifting from private lyric to the openly available (the Declaration of Independence, testimonies, reports, etc.). Smith adopts a multitude of voices, from African American Civil War soldiers and their families to the collective contemporary “America.” As its title evokes, WADE IN THE WATER has a quiet ferocity and wonder to it, and evokes a prayerful demeanor throughout. Like any baptism this collection will leave you renewed even in the face of the world’s most difficult horrors to confront.

Not Here Cover Image
ISBN: 9781566895095
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Coffee House Press - April 10th, 2018

This book will break your heart over and over. Intensely lyric, Nguyen’s poems grapple with identity as a queer Vietnamese American, tumultuous family dynamics, and the psychological effects of abuse. NOT HERE aches with beauty in the face of and in spite of the world’s brutality. Emotionally exhausting in the best way possible, very much centered in the body, and musically inventive. Don’t be surprised if your reading experience oscillates from not being able to put the book down to needing emotional breaks where you may need to reach for a tissue. Vulnerable, triumphant, and fierce. 

Brown: Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524732547
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Knopf - April 17th, 2018

Kevin Young follows up his landmark cultural history BUNK with a fresh collection of poems on all things brown. The book is divided into two sections, “Home Recordings” and “Field Recordings,” and studies the interplay between private and public experiences of culture, and the title color makes appearances in some relevant ways, from James Brown to Brown vs. Board of Education. The poems capture all of Young’s masterful voice, with near- and slant-rhymes and lyrical rhythms that roll off your tongue. BROWN also takes a chronological approach, beginning with poems reminiscing on childhood pick-up games of baseball in the neighborhood streets to the current moment, in which the streets are filled with Neo Nazis marching on Charlottesville, Virginia and the black bodies of victims of police brutality.

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