In Kelli Russell Agodon’s fourth collection, each poem facilitates a humane and honest conversation with the forces that threaten to take us under. The anxieties and heartbreaks of life—including environmental collapse, cruel politics, and the persistent specter of suicide—are met with emotional vulnerability and darkly sparkling humor. <em> Dialogues with Rising Tides</em> does not answer, This or that? It passionately exclaims, And also! Even in the midst of great difficulty, radiant wonders are illuminated at every turn.
In her astounding third collection, Nikki Wallschlaeger turns to water—the natural element of grief—to trace history’s interconnected movements through family, memory, and day-to-day survival. <em> Waterbaby</em> is a book about Blackness, language, and motherhood in America; about the ancestral joys and sharp pains that travel together through the nervous system’s crowded riverways; about the holy sanctuary of the bathtub for a spirit that’s pushed beyond exhaustion. Waterbaby sings the blues in every key, as Wallschlaeger uses her vibrant lexicon and varied rhythms to condense and expand emotion, hurry and slow meaning, communicating the profound simultaneity of righteous dissatisfaction with an unjust world, and radical love for what’s possible.
Sze’s poetry generates poignant correspondences and startling intimacies, offering readers a deep and daily grounding in the world.<br><br>
<ul><li>Sze’s most recent collection <em>Sight Lines</em> won the 2019 National Book Award. <br> <li>Sze is highly critically acclaimed—<em>Compass Rose</em> was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and his other works have received national honors such as the Jackson Poetry Prize and the American Book Award <br> <li>Copper Canyon has published Sze since the 1990s, with a collection of new and selected poems, numerous collections of original poetry, and a collection of translations from the Chinese. <br> <li>Sze’s writing draws and breaks from Chinese poetry and philosophical tradition. His negotiation of cultural influence and difference has made his work foundational to many Asian American writers. <br> <li>Sze’s work marks a significant contribution to the ecopoetics genre, his writing drawing from indigenous and non-Western lifeworlds and advocating an ethics of deep and transformative notice.<br> <li>Sze’s writing articulates a response to global and environmental injustices, enacting a deep sense of connectivity and collective obligation.<br> <li>Sze’s work is particularly resonant to the Southwest. His previous collection <em>The Ginkgo Light</em> (2009) received the PEN Southwest Book Award and his poetry is imbued with New Mexico’s long-line mesas and the many cultures native to the region. </ul>
The poems of Natalie Shapero’s third collection, Popular Longing, highlight the ever-increasing absurdity of our contemporary life. With her sharp, sardonic wit, Shapero deftly captures human meekness in all its forms: our senseless wars, our inflated egos, our constant deference to presumed higher powers—be they romantic partners, employers, institutions, or gods. “Why even / look up, when all we’ll see is people / looking down?” In a world where everyone has to answer to someone, it seems no one is equipped to disrupt the status quo, and how the most urgent topics of conversation can only be approached through refraction. By scrutinizing the mundane and all that is taken for granted, these poems arrive at much wider vistas, commenting on human sadness, memory, and mortality. Punchy, fearlessly ironic, and wickedly funny, Popular Longing articulates what it means to share a planet, for better or more often for worse, with other people.
Bob Hicok’s <i>Red Rover Red Rover</i> is joyous and macabre, hopeful and morbid, caring and critical. These poems are apocalyptic in tone but tender in their depiction of dying animals, disappearing water, raging fires, and the humans to blame. He calls attention to the dire costs of modern conveniences and begs for our willingness to change. No subject is too high or low for his wide-sweeping gaze, a comfort with extremes that gives his work the quality of an embrace. Threads of humor, romance, and kindness suggest America’s capacity to transcend the disastrous present: “heaven’s everywhere / someone needs a place to rest // and someone else says, / Come in.” Hicok presents a high-stakes game of survival and connection.
Alex Dimitrov’s third book, <i>Love and Other Poems, </i>is full of praise for the world we live in. Taking time as an overarching structure—specifically, the twelve months of the year—Dimitrov elevates the everyday, and speaks directly to the reader as if the poem were a phone call or a text message. From the personal to the cosmos, the moon to New York City, the speaker is convinced that love is “our best invention.” Dimitrov doesn’t resist joy, even in despair. These poems are curious about who we are as people and shamelessly interested in hope.
Come-Hither Honeycomb is the eclectic fifth book of poems from the visionary mind of Erin Belieu. Whether it’s the relatable humiliation of the doctor’s office morphing into a meditation on mortality, a scathing condemnation of abuse provoked by the image of a fifteenth-century woodcut, or a villanelle evoking the tension of hostage situation, Belieu finds inspiration far and wide, casting her sardonic gaze on the world. In what is her most personal book to date, Belieu faces―with courage and candor―her life pattern of brutal relationships, until she painfully breaks free of them.
Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London sometime in the 1340s. The son of a vintner, it is believed that Chaucer came from a fairly well to do family, which enabled him as a young man to come into the service of the Countess of Ulster as the noblewoman’s page, a common form of apprenticeship in medieval times. Eventually, it is believed, Chaucer would study law and this most likely afforded him the opportunity to become a member of the royal court of Edward III. In the service of the king he would have many duties taking him all over continental Europe. The wealth of knowledge Chaucer gained from these experiences most surely enabled him to become what most literary critics consider as the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages. Best known for his sweeping and monumental work “The Canterbury Tales”, Chaucer also wrote numerous lesser known works of poetry. Chief among these is “Troilus and Criseyde”. A retelling of the tragic love story of Trolius, the youngest son of King Priam, and his lover Criseyde, set against the backdrop of the Trojan War. “Troilus and Criseyde” is considered by some scholars as the poet’s greatest work because, unlike “The Canterbury Tales”, it is a complete and self-contained piece of epic poetry. Presented here is an extensively annotated edition that will be a welcome addition to the library of any reader.
Welsh-born English poet, orator and Anglican priest George Herbert is one the most famous and popular of the metaphysical poets. Born in 1593 in Wales to a prominent and wealthy family, Herbert was educated at Westminster School as a child and later at Cambridge, where he earned a master’s degree and became the university’s Public Orator, a position he held for many years. Herbert was never a healthy person and he died at the age of 39 in 1633, a few short years after he left Cambridge and took holy orders in the Church of England. His poetry was published in the year of his death and became instantly popular and wide-read. All of Herbert’s surviving poems are religious in nature, characterized by their directness of expression, intricate rhyme schemes, and the use of wordplay and puns. Included in this volume are the poems known collectively as “The Temple” as well as a selection of his prose works, most notably “The Country Parson”.
Percy Bysshe Shelley quickly rose to the high ranks of the Romantic Movement with his pure and moving lyric verse. Born in Sussex, England, he became a visionary and highly influential Romantic in search of truth and beauty. Shelley maintained a close circle of literary friends, including Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, and Leigh Hunt. A master of versification, imagery, tone, and symbolism, Shelley’s poems propelled an entire era of English literature into the next century. This volume collects a diverse range of his work, representative of his great range and depth as a poet. Here we encounter “Ozymandias”, “Prometheus Unbound”, “Adonais”, “To a Skylark”, “Hellas”, “Ode to the West Wind”, and many more. Along with Lord Byron, Keats, Wordsworth, and Coleridge, Shelley would help propel Romanticism to its peak, paving the way for Victorian poetry and eventually 20th century modernism. Shelley’s influence is undeniable and far-reaching. His lines, subtle and complex, fleeting and permanent, name and grasp beauty in an attempt at transcendence through the sublimeness of the natural world. Also included in this volume is a selection of Shelley’s more notable prose works.