Shoah Train by William Heyen
Over the decades Heyen has most often thought, studied, and written about the Holocaust. His ground-breaking collection The Swastika Poems (Vanguard Press, 1977) was revised and expanded to Erika (1984). Thirteen more of these poems appear in Falling from Heaven (Time Being Books, 1991). Shoah Train collects more than seventy poems written over the last dozen years, lyrics of “discipline and honesty and courage and restraint,” as Archibald MacLeish described The Swastika Poems. Experiencing the new poems in Shoah Train, readers will find themselves in the voice-presence of one of our most important poets.
2004 Finalist — National Book Award
So Late, So Soon: New and Selected Poems by Carol Moldaw
Aurally rich, structurally varied and inventive, sensually textured, these are poems at once passionate and analytical, descriptive and meditative, lyrical and complex—poems that keep one eye on the moon while leveling their gaze at the self and its immediate world. With an alert nuanced intelligence, a sinuous flexible line, Moldaw’s poems turn swiftly and sharply, surprising us in their range and ease, their visionary core.
While, in the quoted words of the painter Agnes Martin, “the mind knows what the eye has not seen,” Moldaw’s exact and sometimes challenging language bring eye and mind together, with revelatory transparency. A wild fire brings into focus her daughter’s unknown birth mother; a columbary outside the hospital window becomes a columbarium as she comes to terms with a friend’s dying of AIDS; tossing the I Ching coins affords the occasion for a long meditative sequence built on distilled moments; overheard piano music catalyzes a reverie of longing; Walter de Maria’s sculpture Lightning Field inspires a layered, penetrating rumination on art and life’s “multi-angled interrelationships.”
Out of acutely observed, deeply felt particulars, Moldaw constructs poetry of imaginative daring that illuminates and transforms the life within us all, repeatedly achieving, to quote from The New Yorker, “lyric junctures of shivering beauty.”
Synergos: Selected Poems by Roberto Manzano
The poems in Synergos smack of Whitman and Martí, two of Roberto Manzano’s most important influences; they outsoar anything pedestrian, even in celebrating the here and now and the close-to-hand. Translated by Steven Reese, the collection covers Manzano’s poetry from his earliest to his most recent work, which won the 2005 Nicolás Guillén Prize, one of Cuba’s highest awards. The text includes a substantial amount of interview material that clarifies Manzano’s poetics and places it within the traditions of recent Cuban poetry. Manzano’s writing offers a window into contemporary Cuban life in its attention to the local landscape and environment, an attention that won Manzano the 2007 Samuel Feijóo Prize for Poetry and the Environment. But its greatest achievement lies in making, from the local and everyday, a poetry that is unmistakably universal.
“Manzano’s poems go beyond the traditionally circumscribed lyric, beyond the often humble and household range of so many contemporary poems. Translating those poems, and talking with Manzano about his work, was to experience that energy and ambition at close range, too close indeed to avoid being affected by it permanently Manzano offers one of the great gifts of translation—to be changed oneself in the process of that other, impossible change: moving a poem out of one language into another.”—Steven Reese, translator of Synergos
The Candle: Poems of Our 20th Century Holocaust by: William Heyen
For this book collection, the author has selected about 150 poems from eight previous books, and concludes with a new collection of 46 poems. In the face of such obscenity that stains our 20th century, how is it possible that we might stay sane, might honor the innocent victims of unspeakable horror, might remember, and might even dare to attempt to compose poetry despite Theodor
Adorno’s injunction that after Auschwitz only a barbarian would write it.
The author comments about this collection: “I suppose that The Candle is the record of my attempt to come to grips with Elie Wiesel’s reminder: ‘If you have not grasped it until now, it is time you did: Auschwitz signifies death — total, absolute death — of man and of mankind, of reason and of the heart, of language and of the senses. Auschwitz is the death of time, the end of creation; its mystery is doomed to stay whole, inviolate.’”
The author comments about this collection: “I suppose that The Candle is the record of my attempt to come to grips with Elie Wiesel's reminder: 'If you have not grasped it until now, it is time you did: Aschwitz signifies death — total, absolute death — of man and of mankind, of reason and of the heart, of language and of the senses. Auschwitz is the death of time, the end of creation; its mystery is doomed to stay whole, inviolate.'”
The Casanova Chronicles by Myrna Stone
In this book of voices, speakers resurrected from the deeper past and the dead chafe against the circumstances of love, sex, loss, and longing. The Casanova Chronicles & Other Poems includes forty sonnets, each written in a relaxed meter. Each sonnet is a persona poem, told from the point-of-view of a real-life character. In The Ballard Sonnets those characters include Alba Ballard, her husband, her son, and two of her pet parrots, all of them dealing with the effects of her death.
“In this wild, sexy, exuberantly off-the-wall collection, parrots, puppets, and the great Casanova take turns force-feeding Viagra to the stuffy old sonnet. But it’s Myrna Stone’s Rabelaisian gift for language that really steals the show. My head’s still spinning.”—George Bilgere
The Football Corporations by William Heyen
The Football Corporations explores romantic conceptions of contemporary sports, powering its way into a post-catastrophe setting of dirty bombs in stadiums, tortured athletes, corporate domination, and cynicism on a global level.
“In 60-plus poems, Heyen tackles the violence in sports, robotic athletes and coaches, steroids, teams controlling every message and the scourge of corporate takeover. He wonders where the romance went, when cheering for Willie, Mickey and Duke as a kid growing up on Long Island seemed so pure. Grab a beer, a seat in the stands, and prepare to cry.”—Roth, Sports columnist for the Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester)
The Fugitive Self: New and Selected Poems by John Wheatcroft
The Fugitive Self: New and Selected Poems by John Wheatcroft is a tribute to a distinguished career spanning fifty years in American letters. At once meditative, whimsical, and hard-hitting, it illuminates the spiritual cost of American expansion.
“. . . With ‘more shapes than water’ and ‘more selves than the Trinity,’ these poems explore the music of love and the weight of grief, while always being mindful of ‘history in the making—brutal, bloody, bootless.’ Here is a lifetime of poetry, a treasure house of what art can aspire to. With consummate skill, Wheatcroft probes the world for what won’t be sentimentalized, falsified, and is willing to embrace nothing, if that’s the final truth—but ‘nothing’ has never been so alive, moving, passionate, and compelling.”—Betsy Sholl
The Other Sky by Bruce Bond and Aron Wiesenfeld
In dialogue between poetry and visual art, The Other Sky probes the depths of the psyche: childhood roots, reveries, tensions. We find visual art and poems that respond, not as mere descriptions, but as speculative and emotional explorations, incantations, forces of resistance even, driven by strengths unique to poems. This book is unique by virtue of the power, virtuosity, and refinement of its images and the ways the poems work closely with them to create a symbiosis that is larger than either medium alone. Both artist and poet have a large following, so this book represents the coming together of two communities, the worlds of poetry and visual art, to expand the range of what is possible in each.
2016 Finalist — Texas Institute of Letters Helen Smith Memorial Award for Best Book of Poetry
The Subtle Bodies by James McCorkle
The Subtle Bodies tenses between the lush descriptions of the landscapes and the violences both within those landscapes and imposed upon them. These are poems that seek to make contact with the world as it ebbs into a digitized silence. Whether drawing upon the meditative works of Joan Mitchell or finding in the gestural paintings of Cy Twomby models for his own sprawling and contracting lines, or listening to the Sung Dynasty poet Lu Yu comment on war and aging, these poems construct speculations, meditations, dialogues, monostitches, autobiographical narratives, or lyric excursions that resist the encroachments and erosions of our times. These are elemental poems, “no language but hunger . . . no choice but the traverse of light to dark.”
Toucans in the Arctic by Scott Coffel
Toucans in the Arctic is an inspired truant from any number of poetical schools. In this lyric case study of tumult and tranquility, the poet, tour pamphlet in hand, wanders through the national park of the psyche, noting surfeits of beauty and ruin as he scrambles across the eerie landscapes of identity and marriage.
“In this long-awaited first collection, Toucans in the Arctic, Scott Coffel writes, ‘When I see a woman at the Cottage Bakery/immersed in Ulysses or The Brothers Karamzov/my desires align themselves in neat rows/for the march into liberated Paris…’ Of wide reference and deep thought, of language taut and somehow new, these are 21st Century poems of joy, rage, erudition, wry humor, monumental tenderness. You will remember the day you discovered this book.”—Suzanne Cleary
2010 —Poetry Society The Norma Farber First Book Award
Bearing Imagination – Outreach
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