Free Concert: New and Selected Poems by Milton Kessler
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
God Bless: A Political/Poetic Discourse by H. L. Hix
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
Help Wanted: Female by Sara Pritchard
The world in Sara Pritchard’s book is a known world and yet a strange place, with a cast of homeless characters who wander in and out of the stories of the collection, all set in the same university town. The linked stories take place during the time when gender discrimination in the American workplace was blatant, and when classified ads were labeled “male” or “female” accordingly.
“Sara Pritchard sees everything . . . and looks at it with such tenderness, clarity, and good humor that all of it begins to glow.” —Rebecca Barry, author of Later, at the Bar: A Novel in Stories.
“Survival stories from the liminal edge of Americana, delivered in Pritchard’s wry, observant voice.” —Lenore Hart, author of Becky and The Raven’s Bride
“Sara Pritchard can make you laugh in the same sentence that just made you cry.” —Beverly Donofrio, author of Riding in Cars with Boys and Astonished
Human Directional by: Diane Raptosh
Following her big hit, American Amnesiac, Raptosh’s Human Directional zigzags across consciousness, searing through old patterns of thought and offering new directions for the mind, heart, and world.
Raptosh points the way to what Montaigne called “unlearning how to be a slave.” With the deadly precision of the fey, Human Directional reveals the heartbreak and absurdity of our world by exploring— and often exploding—its most sacred memes.
I’m Here to Learn to Dream in Your Language by H. L. Hix
In five spellbinding lyric sequences that record a lover’s dreams and a dreamer’s loves, I’m Here to Learn to Dream in Your Language extends H. L. Hix’s ongoing poetic inquiry into spiritual and sexual ecstasy, that condition in which one becomes most oneself precisely by being transported out of oneself.
“In Hix’s beautiful poems, language and thought become physical as well as abstract realities, where one dream can split off into a thousand dreamers…”
— Paisley Rekdal, author of Animal Eye
“To read I’m Here to Learn to Dream in Your Language is to realize that we have among us a visionary devoted to revelation.”
— Dan Beachy-Quick, author of Circle’s Apprentice
Ill Angels by Dante Di Stefano
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.
In the Cemetery of the Orange Trees by Jeff Talarigo
It is late 1948 and days before his wife is to give birth for the first time, Ghassan is approached by two talking jackals threatening that, if he doesn’t paint the signs of the newly named villages and towns, his wife will give birth to a goat. Thus begins the exile to Gaza of Ghassan and his goat.
In the mode of Borges, Calvino and Coetzee, In the Cemetery of the Orange Trees presents linked mytho-poetic tales delving beneath the long Palestinian diaspora; the history of Gaza is told as never before: through the eyes of a night guardian of a talking goat; a carrier pigeon that befriends a young boy who sells photos of martyrs; a refugee who eats books and then recites them word for word; a Palestinian father who sneaks animals into Gaza through a labyrinth of tunnels; a talking sheep who is caged in the Gaza Zoo. These mystical voices echo in the mind of an American stranger as he witnesses the beauty and horror of this ancient, suffering land. In the Cemetery of the Orange Trees is a disquieting allegory of the clash between the powerful and the silenced.
2018 Finalist – Foreword Reviews INDIES Book of the Year Award
Incident Light by H. L. Hix
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
Legible Heavens by H. L. Hix
“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.”
Lies Will Take You Somewhere by Sheila Schwartz
“In this strong debut novel, Schwartz takes a hard look at the dark secrets hiding within a marriage. Depressed over the death of her mother six months before, Jane Rosen, a stay-at-home mom of three girls and longtime wife to busy, self-absorbed rabbi Saul, finally flies down to her mother’s long-empty Florida house to put her affairs in order. There, Jane finds evidence of a mother she never knew, while Saul contends with the girls—in particular unhappy, fragile 16-year-old Malkah—and a dying congregant’s bombshell confession, that he had an affair with Jane 10 years before. Shocked and wounded, Saul tells Jane not to come home, leaving her to pursue her mother’s secret life. Soon, Jane’s caught up with a gardener who traps her in a spider web of drugs, sex and secrets. At home, Malkah’s descent into depression and Saul’s compounding fury push the family toward tragedy. Though readers may feel the couple is let too easily off the hook, Schwartz pursues both threads of the story unflinchingly to the end.”—Publishers Weekly
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