Etruscan Press
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • “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.”
  • 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."
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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

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