Etruscan Press
  • In poems at once playful and grave, H. L. Hix pits excerpts from the speeches of George W. Bush against arguments from Osama bin Laden in a poetic dialogue embracing politics, literature, language, and culture. Reframing Beltway sound-bites and Islamic fundamentalist rhetoric, God Bless delves into the minds of two men whose intransigence has had global consequences. To break the stalemate, this original sequence of poems plucks the antagonists from their bunkers in Oval Office and Afghani cave and presents them, for the first time, face to face. Hix then opens the conversation to a diverse panel of experts, including the Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations, CNN’s terrorism analyst, distinguished professors of Arabic and Islamic studies, and other prominent writers and authorities, who shed light on the issues raised by the poems. "[H. L. Hix is] one of the most distinctive writers of our time.”—David Mason, The Hudson Review
  • 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
  • “In this, his most intricately composed book, his most important yet, Bruce Bond has achieved a sonorous grandeur.”—Bin Ramke “With the luminous precision of music, Bruce Bond has crafted, in Cinder, a generous and urgent collection of poems, a work that celebrates the human condition and terrifies us with it in equal measure. The result is a book of poems weighted with dark vision, set loose. Bruce Bond is one of our generation’s best poets, and this is his best book.”—Laura Kasischke
  • The poems in Drift Ice view the natural world through a lens of ecological and spiritual concerns. They focus especially on Prince William Sound in Alaska fifteen years after the Exxon-Valdez oil spill, Long Island Sound at the estuarial mouth of the Connecticut River, and Sri Lanka before (and, in one poem, after) the tsunami. The poems address the myth of a once-pristine wilderness and the indifferent, ever-changing nature of “nature” and our human place in it, as they also investigate the flexibility and lambency of lyric form. “In her new and marvelous book, Drift Ice, Jennifer Atkinson evokes the natural world with preternatural clarity…This is a beautiful book, mature, exciting, innovative, and unforgettable.”—Alan Shapiro
  • What would poets say about each other’s poems if they were really honest? The answer is in Wild and Whirling Words. Thirty-three of America’s best and most important poets, diverse in gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, geography, political disposition, and aesthetic commitments, took the challenge. Each volunteered one of her or his own poems, which the moderator then circulated anonymously among the other poets, who responded anonymously. The results tell a story about how poets read poems and how they write poems, about what poetry is, and about the state of contemporary poetry in America.
  • Through a variety of questions both overt and embedded, the poetry and prose poems in this collection explore the inexplicable too-muchness/not-enoughness of imaginative experience: Is this the neighborhood we signed up for? What in our universe can be trusted, what holds things together and apart, and what was time contemplating as it sprang into existence?
  • Food doesn’t get any more local, cosmic, primitive, tasty, or disturbing than in this book-length, lyrical-meditative poem. At stake are no less than the origins and mysteries of flesh and touch. “Thorpe Moeckel’s Venison is civilized and wild, like a life lived well, a barbaric yawp of pain and joy and true wonder at the brilliant ordinariness of a life lived close to the earth and close to the bone. Moeckel’s fine poetic is whetted on the visceral and cannily transcendental. Read it.”—Christopher Camuto “This wonderfully layered poem shows us ‘how to come to know the woods such that you dream them through the eyes of the deer. This is the praise song of the hunter and the world he hunts.”—Michael Chitwood
  • 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

    Awards

    [icon color="#dbbb5c" size="14" type="icon-star" unit="px" ]2010 —Poetry Society  The Norma Farber First Book Award
  • 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
  • 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.”
  • 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.

    Award

    [icon color="#dbb95c" size="14" type="icon-star" unit="px" ]2004 Finalist — National Book Award
  • "Shadows of Houses, H. L. Hix’s new collection, is both vatic and precise. Patiently looking at and through the quotidian, Hix registers the tiny and immense phenomena of change and variation the seasons and hours bring. The remarkable sequence 'The God of Window Screens and Honeysuckle' is a compendium of outer and inner weather—a naturalist’s, neighbor’s, philosopher’s, and poet’s almanac, and a source of wisdom and beauty I shall regularly return to.”—Rachel Hadas “Hix’s measured, crystalline particles of everyday life melt, moment by moment by moment, into song.”—Charles Bernstein
  • Saint Joe’s Passion seeks to reconcile the lyric with the narrative. In the tradition of Catullus’s love poems and Berryman’s The Dream Songs, the poems of Saint Joe’s Passion recount the lonely lecherous life of Joseph Johnstone–cancer patient, classical music DJ, former voice-talent. The poems swing back and forth from Joe’s hospital bed to moments of his past: a past of religion, little league baseball, music, and marital friction. The collection paints the portrait of a man who was never quite able to open himself up to genuine love and intimacy. “J. D. Schraffenberger’s first collection is an often dazzling projection of masks over and under other masks, voices parodying other voices, or interrupting them, or guiding them into unanticipated channels, as though these poems were randomly selected in a still-evolving script. It isn’t easy to say exactly what it all adds up to, but the adventurous reader should find the journey never less than engaging."—Charles Martin
  • In A Poetics of Hiroshima, William Heyen has broken through to face full square what has been working its way to surface through several of his highly-praised earlier books including Erika: Poems of the Holocaust and Shoah Train (Etruscan, 2003): the interfusions, in art and in our desire for art, of beauty and atrocity. Heyen’s lines claw their ways into an aesthetics of formful but obscene sound that may now be our century’s only viable, or possible, home. “A remarkable poet in whom the ‘visionary’ and the unblinkingly ‘historical’ are dramatically meshed. He writes with the wild, radiant audacity of the visionary; yet his eye and ear are sharp, unsparing.”—Joyce Carol Oates “William Heyen’s music and meditations continue to amaze. I’ve now read and absorbed all the poems of A Poetics of Hiroshima. I am not ready to write anything about them, except to express my awe.”—Cynthia Ozick
  • In Bruce Bond’s seventh book, we see a sustained exploration of mortality and its embodiment in the consolations of beauty, most notably in music. “The poems in Bruce Bond’s collection Peal probe music’s deepest sources. These beautifully crafted lyrics lead us down into intricate and sonorous paths where we meet out own uncertain songs, at once ghostly, elegiac, and ecstatic. This is a work of exquisite complexity by one of our best poets writing today.”—Molly Bendall “The speculative drive of these poems pushes the reader to the very limits of reflection.”—Daniel Tiffany
  • Michael Lind’s poems rather stand apart from most of what’s published these days, one reason being that his range of experience goes beyond the purely academic or literary into the realm of domestic and foreign policy. His reading, furthermore, puts him in a congenial relationship with Latin and Greek literature, witness his brilliant use of alcaic meters in the poem "Maragheh and Alamut." Everywhere in this singularly distilled book you will find instances of special astuteness with respect to content, form, and imagery."
  • “Hix has written the most important poetic sequences published by an American poet during the last several decades. He is the most interesting American poet writing today, the least predictable and the most challenging.”—David Caplan, Pleiades Legible Heavens explores what the most intimate forms of experience reveal about our most cosmic concerns, and vice versa. Its four sequences act like compass points to orient a human landscape. On one axis, “Star Chart for the Rainy Season” laments love lost, appealing to the biblical assertion that “love is stronger than death, and passion more cruel,” in contrast to “Material Implication,” which celebrates love found, in sonnets of desire insistently “glowing against the dusk.” On the other axis, “All the One-Eyed Boys in Town” treats love as perdition, the speaker imagining his life as “a match scratched down your wingbones,” in contrast to “Synopsis,” which treats love as salvation, reinscribing the biblical gospels (canonical and apocryphal alike) to “solicit a miracle I must not expect.”
  • H. L. Hix’s Incident Light explores a life that became “instantly mythical” after a startling revelation. The artist Petra Soesemann learned at age forty-nine that the dad who had raised her from birth was not her biological father. Her dad had died some years before; her father was still alive. Her dad, like her mother, was a blue-eyed German blond; her father was Turkish, with dark eyes and dark hair like Petra’s own. Incident Light is a biography: not an ordered account of the facts of a life, but an invitation into the dad’s devotion, the mother’s passion, the father’s honor, and especially into the daughter’s own embracing of her experience, newly understood. Incident Light testifies to the many lives that converge on one life to lend it beauty and mystery. “Hix’s eighth collection is a fine addition to this protean poet’s fast-growing (and critically lauded) body of work. Like C.D. Wright, Hix works both with highly wrought descriptive passages and with verse that sounds like regular speech cutting swiftly between them.”Publishers Weekly, starred review “Any new book by this inventive poet is cause for excitement.”—The Kansas City Star
  • 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
  • A poet of international acclaim, Milton Kessler published five books of poetry during his lifetime. Kessler received numerous awards and distinctions, including a Robert Frost Fellowship, an Edward MacDowell Foundation Fellowship, and a National Endowment Program Grant. Several years ago, one of his poems, “Thanks Forever,” was chosen to appear in London subway cars to be seen by as many as two million riders a day as part of the “Poems on the Underground” project. Milton Kessler died in April 2000, leaving behind a manuscript of new work. Free Concert: New and Selected Poems celebrates the life and work of a gifted poet of original voice, collecting work from each of his books together with his new poems. “A lyricist capable of lovely and musical effects.”—Elizabeth Bishop “Kessler’s sharp phrases catch the motion, textures, and strange, beautiful voices of a physical world we live in but never fully know.”—Camille Paglia
  • Joyce Carol Oates once called William Heyen a “remarkable poet,” noting that he “writes with the wild, radiant audacity of the visionary.” W.S. Merwin praised “the urgency and authenticity” and the “plain directness” of Heyen’s voice. The same voice rings true again in this collection, Heyen’s eighteenth volume of poetry.
  • H. L. Hix’s poetry collections have not been merely collections. Each fulfills a vision that creates a whole greater than the sum of its parts: each poem contributes to a sequence, each sequence talks to another. For readers already acquainted with Hix’s ambitions, then, the subtitle “Obsessionals” (instead of “Selected Poems”) will need no explanation: from collections that don’t just collect, what sense would it make for a selection just to select? Hix’s poems were already at work rewriting and recontextualizing the language of others, language from sources as various as fragments of Pythagoras, apocryphal gospels, and speeches of George W. Bush. In First Fire, Then Birds, Hix keeps at the task, recontextualizing his own poems, creating a revision (seeing anew) and recomposition (putting together afresh) of an already distinctive body of work. "[H. L. Hix is] one of our most daring poets, his oeuvre a rebuke to timidity, apathy, and retreat in any of its manifestations."—Anis Shivani, The Huffington Post

    Award

    Named by The Huffington Post as one of "The 17 Most Important Poetry Books of 2010."
  • Chromatic bears as its epigraph the philosopher Baruch Spinoza’s assertion that “Desire is the very nature or essence of every single individual.” The three sequences of poems in Chromatic test that claim. Each borrows its title: “Remarks on Color” from Ludwig Wittgenstein, “Eighteen Maniacs” from Duke Ellington, and “The Well-Tempered Clavier” from J. S. Bach. Exploiting those predecessors, the poems in Chromatic explore the full range of effects caused by human desire, from ecstasy to despair. “Among the new writers who interest me most at the moment. . . . Hix is cerebral, ingeniously inventive, and often scary. He is an experimental poet whose experiments usually succeed—a rare event in contemporary letters.”—Dana Gioia, Turnrow

    Award

    [icon color="#dbb95c" size="16" type="icon-star" unit="px" ]2006 Finalist — National Book Award in Poetry
  • pen_oakland_award_smallThe newest collection from one of America’s foremost African-American poets threads the journey from youthful innocence to the whittled-hard awareness of adulthood. Along the way it immerses the reader in palpable moments —the importance of remembering, the complexity of race, and the meaning of true wakefulness “Crisply comic, disarmingly frank, and aurally bold …” —Publishers Weekly

    Awards

    2014 — Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize 2013 — PEN Oakland Literary Award Winner 2012 — National Book Award Finalist
  • 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)
  • No Hurry is a book of poems for the aging in body but youthful in spirit, for those interested in continuing to ask most meaningful questions as they head “downhill”: What does it mean to be alive? What shall we make of this journey from birth to death? How can we find meaning and joy amid our mortality and suffering? “The finest collection of poetry I’ve read in a very long time.”—Ron Hansen “What a terrific book this is! . . . [Blumenthal] thinks out loud for all of us, affirms and denies with wit, charm, and best of all, with what feels like hard-won accuracy.”—Stephen Dunn “Michael Blumenthal’s poetry never sits heavy on the reader yet is substantial, civilized, and capable of articulating the human condition, including its pains and losses, without melodrama, high sentence, or self-pity. No Hurry is a gorgeous book: the world of flesh, mind, and heart spoken through air and silk.”George Szirtes “Blumenthal goes straight to the heart in these poems. Gorgeously wrought, surprising, true, wise, elegiac, they leave me with a sense of having listened to Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus. Who could ask for more?”Lynn Freed
  • Blending biblical characters into a deeply personal history, What We Ask of Flesh tells of women through time, their spirits borne through broken flesh, through wombs and memories. The body becomes an instrument as words explore the mystical connection between what was and is. “A tour de force and a story where nothing—no regret or rationalization can stanch the reality of what can happen to us, made of flesh. This is a surging book …”—Grace Cavalieri, The Washington Independent Review of BooksWhat We Ask of Flesh, like the flesh itself, is full of honey and fire. It’s impossible not to feel called by these poems, summoned by their rich sound and vatic voice.”—Amy Gerstler

    Award

    2014 Finalist – Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry
  • Described by Kevin Prufer as "a wonderful, deeply moving collection of poems," Bruce Bond's latest work, Choir of the Wells, is a tetralogy of new books that cohere as a single exploration of the mind-body problem grounded in daily heartbreak, wonder, novelty, and compulsion. "Bruce Bond brings to this tetralogy the intellect of a philosopher and the ear of a musician. . . . This is one of the few collections of poetry I have ever read cover to cover, and to do so was one of the most transcendent reading experiences of my life. Each poem is both crafted and strange, but the ordering is symphonic. To follow one poem after another is to be swept up into the poet’s visionary expanse. . . . Bruce Bond is one of the best poets writing now, and Choir of Wells is unquestionably his best book yet." —Laura Kasischke "These philosophically charged meditations undertake with serious purpose and capacious wonder Horace’s adage that art should both delight and instruct. A reader can open to any poem in this ample score and find cause for thanksgiving, song, and praise."—Lisa Russ Spaar
  • Following the manic journey of a man stripped of memory, American Amnesiac confronts the complexities of being American in an age of corruption, corporations, and global conflict. "Straddling confession and prophesy, history and myth, intimacy and anonymity, American Amnesiac offers a riveting meditation on a distinctly American condition. We are lost and at home in its world, a world in which past and present collide and identities fold and collapse. Following the hypnotic voice of the amnesiac speaker, the stranded reader stumbles along in a landscape marked by its own odd, jarring, incoherent signposts — shreds of a past as recognizable as it is impenetrable (the relentless refrain is, after all, “My name is John Doe”) and scraps of a world reduced to a collection of headlines, names, titles, symbols, letters — familiar and cryptic at once. With her consummate craft, Diane Raptosh has given us a collection of stunning, timely, and unforgettable poems." —Edvige Giunta, author of Writing with an Accent: Contemporary Italian American Women Authors
    The self is a thousand localities like a small nation—assembly required: borders and roads,armies, farms, small and large pieces of parchment. I stand by all the territories I have ever been, even as I can’t remember them. I am a locum—ear to the emperor penguin, a banner ad blinking to the hoi polloi. Since I’ve become John Doe, I swear I can feel most objects with sixty digits instead of five. This makes me think of Lisette. Makes me miss her left collar bone. Her hips’ wingtips. A train moans from a far hummock. Which reminds me that everyone I’ll have to live without I must help to find a place within. Which is an act of granite will. A strain. A ditty. An exercise in utmost beautility. From American Amnesiac (Etruscan Press 2013) by Diane Raptosh

    Awards

    2013 – National Book Award Longlist, Poetry 2014 Finalist – Housatonic Book Award for Poetry
  • Through the smoke lit pool halls, back roads, rehab centers, truckstops and diners of the still industrial lands, Sean Thomas Dougherty offers us the stories he has lived and collected of men and women barely working, just getting by, but every morning still going on, even if unsure.

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