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  • One Turn Around The Sun is a panorama of poems that attempt to define the twilight during which a person becomes caretaker of parents and begins to grind against that old saying, “Life is too short.”  The book also studies the intricacies of being a self, a particular personality shaped by forces seen and unseen, both knowable and not.  At times, the various voices might be considered characters that agree and sustain one perspective.  In other cases, contending sensibilities imply an underlying argument.  This is especially true of the book within the book, which is entitled “The Hilt.” Several questions drive this collection, the most central being how can a person stay sane when so often socio-political circumstances mock all efforts to create a livable world.  This is a book intended to bolster an ongoing engagement with life at a time when running away is a great temptation.
  • Silk Road is a collection of poems written in the persona of Donata Badoer, the wife of Marco Polo, who observes a newly connected world while attending to her everyday activities. In unbidden moments, she turns to perceive the economics and erotics of contact between the people of Europe and China, recognizing both tensions and camaraderie in their links across the globe.
  • Ill Angels explores the breakdowns and joys, the rhythms and reveries, the cul-de-sacs and jubilees, of early midlife. In poems that are at once formally assured and daringly inventive, Dante Di Stefano invokes the lives of artists, musicians, and writers he admires as his poems ruminate on love, death, music, language, and notions of national belonging.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • In Who’s Afraid of Helen of Troy, David Lazar extends the language of prose poetry, mixing the classical and the high modern, the song and dance man, and the Odyssean. Nothing, he finds, is as far apart as we think, except for chaos and order, innocence and experience. Who’s Afraid of Helen of Troy is a sequence of prose poems about the ravages of love, how we desire it, and whether we care to recover. The voice in these prose poems is semi-autobiographical, and performative; masked yet emotionally raw. It draws on features of modernist poetry, uses an arch, cadenced sentence as its primary unit, but draws on the Iliad, Odyssey, and other classical myths as part of its internal cosmos. The book is an essay, of sorts, and a chorus of one, splintered. It takes the prose poem to a new pitch of expressive and intellectual discourse. The speaker dreams himself in and out of movies and cities: Troy, Paris, London. On the verge of dissolution, he understands that memory is almost never a consolation, that it draws blood as a price for its music. When we are ashen, irony is the instrument that we keep checking for in our pockets. Lazar’s voice is a sacred last resort: something’s gotta give.
  • A Heaven Wrought of Iron: Poems from the Odyssey offers a fresh approach to — and a collaboration with — the Odyssey by weaving together translated fragments from the Greek text with a sequence of poems drawn from an imaginative engagement with the Odyssey. D. M. Spitzer’s collection unfolds within the framework of the ancient epic: 24 books and a well-known and complex narrative architecture. The poems contained in A Heaven Wrought of Iron inhabit a range of voices drawn from both the world of Homer’s Odyssey and from that of the poet-as-reader.
  • With a lyricism that is both delicate and painful, Rough Ground explores the devastating consequences of trauma on our ability to speak about the world. Based upon Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logi-co-Philosophicus, Rough Ground distills philosophical speculation to poetic text, enacting an utterance almost beyond speech. While the philosopher concludes “that which we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence,” the poems writ on “rough ground” enact a portentous silence, mapping a path between word and world.
  • Using the schema of Dante’s Purgatorio, Romer is a poem of thirty-three Cantos in three-line stanzas, illuminating the experience of a modern man at every stage of his life. Just as the Purgatorio explores the psyche in terms of its earthly existence, Romer follows the journey of one man who needs to know who he is, where he is, and what he is trying to do. This need is universal, so in that sense, Romer is every man.
  • “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
  • 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
  • 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

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