Tuesday, December 1, 2015

OOPS! Did you forget to give thanks for Poetry?

Oh, don't worry. There's still time. Buy a few books of poems. And remember what William Carlos Williams said in "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"

My heart rouses
thinking to bring you news
of something
that concerns you
and concerns many men.  Look at
what passes for the new.
You will not find it there but in
despised poems.
It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.

AS FAR AS I KNOW
A Book of Poems   
Joseph Somoza 
Trade Paper $15.95 / 978-1-941026-25-0

Remember the poetry of William Stafford? Stafford’s quiet wisdom? Good. Now listen up. Joseph Somoza wanders the same territory. Differently.

This is a beautiful book. A wise book. For Joseph Somoza, language, and the world around, is like a river, forever changing and flowing toward the sea, going this way and that, according to the geography. He allows the poem to follow along, he says, “to build itself, allow(s) words to call up other words through aural and memory associations and syntactic demands, and see where it will lead.” It’s a poetry of intimacy and celebration of being human.

BEAUTY IS A VERB
The New Disability Poets
Jennifer Bartlett, Sheila Black, and Michael Northen: Editors
Trade Paper $19.95 / 978-1-935955-05-4

[BEAUTY IS A VERB] is going to be one of the defining collections of the 21st century —and let’s hope it doesn’t take nearly half a century for us all to recognize it. 
Ron Silliman

This powerful anthology attempts to—and succeeds at—intimately showing (meaning, at various times and among many other aims, sharing the experience of, defining the self in terms of, refusing to define the self in terms of, trying to define, exploring the indefiniteness of) disability through the lenses of poetry... 
STARRED REVIEW, Publishers Weekly

Beauty is a Verb is the first of its kind: a high-quality anthology of poetry by American poets with physical disabilities. Poems and essays alike consider how poetry, coupled with the experience of disability, speaks to the poetics of each poet included.

OTHERWISE, MY LIFE IS ORDINARY
A Book of Poems 
Bobby Byrd
Trade Paper $15.95 / 978-1-935955-75-7

“Bobby Byrd has wrought a singular music over the years made of memory, love, place and a kind of bluesy Zen. Each book of poems is a hymnal to life. He adds to the joy in this new sunburned collection that digs its toes into the El Paso grit but stretches its mind into the stars. I love this book.”
—novelist Luis Alberto Urrea

“These poems devastate me with how fearless and funny they are. The big notions are contained in our smallest everyday interactions and Bobby Byrd will not let anyone forget it.” —poet Connie Voisine


“Byrd writes poems like a novelist. Epic ones. His lines are full of fiction, bullshit and beauty.” —poet and novelist Eileen Myles 

ELEGIES IN BLUE
A Book of Poems
Benjamin Alire Saenz
Trade Paper $13.95 / 978-0-938317-64-7

To write well about your life, you need to have a life worth writing about. On that score, Saenz, a son of the Rio Grande border, hits pay dirt. At that border, poverty meets wealth more starkly than anywhere else except, perhaps, at Israel’s fences between Jews and Palestinians. When a writer there speaks of himself, he can speak of his people and how the border defines them. That Saenz does in verse and prose poems distinguished by simple mellifluousness, clear imagery, and effortless balancing of the oracular and the personal voices. 
Booklist

“Elegies in Blue" again establishes Benjamin Saenz as the “must-read” poet of our times: a man who sings truths, often clothed in discomfort, but nonetheless what we need to save us. Large and full, these poems arrest our hearts and rouse us to act. Poems that can do that belong among the best."
—poet and memoirist Luis J. Rodriguez




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