A Fortune for Your Disaster
A Sand Book
A Sand Book is a poetry collection in twelve parts, a travel guide that migrates from wildfires to hurricanes, tweety bird to the president, lust to aridity, desertification to prophecy, and mother to daughter. It explores the negative space of what is happening to language and to consciousness in our strange and desperate times. From Hurricane Sandy to the murder of Sandra Bland to the massacre at Sandy Hook, from the sand in the gizzards of birds to the desertified mountains of Haiti, from Attar’s “Conference of the Birds” to Chaucer’s “Parliament of Fowls” to Twitter, A Sand Book is about change and quantification, the relationship between catastrophe and cultural transmission. It moves among houses of worship and grocery stores, flitters between geological upheaval and the weird weather of the Internet. In her long-awaited follow-up to Mercury, Reines has written her most ambitious work to date, but also her most visceral and satisfying.
Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself
When Rap Spoke Straight to God
When Rap Spoke Straight to God isn’t sacred or profane, but a chorus joined in a single soliloquy, demanding to be heard. There’s Wu-Tang and Mary Magdelene with a foot fetish, Lil’ Kim and a self-loving Lilith. Slurs, catcalls, verses, erasures—Dawson asks readers, “Just how far is it to nigger?” Both grounded and transcendent, the book is reality and possibility. Dawson’s work has always been raw; but, When Rap Spoke Straight to God is as blunt as the answer to that earlier question: “Here.” Sometimes abrasive and often abraded, Dawson doesn’t flinch.
A mix of traditional forms where sonnets mash up with sestinas morphing to heroic couplets, When Rap Spoke Straight to God insists that while you may recognize parts of the poem’s world, you can’t anticipate how it will evolve.
With a literal exodus of light in the book’s final moments, When Rap Spoke Straight to God is a lament for and a celebration of blackness. It’s never depression; it’s defiance—a persistent resistance. In this book, like Wu-Tang says, the marginalized “ain’t nothing to f— with.”
The Mobius Strip Club of Grief
There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce
and God is a black woman sipping rosé and drawing a
lavender bath, texting her mom, belly-laughing in the
therapist’s office, feeling unloved, being on display, daring to survive. Morgan Parker stands at the interdivs
of vulnerability and performance, of desire and disgust,
of tragedy and excellence. Unrelentingly feminist,
tender, ruthless, and sequined, these poems are an altar
to the complexities of black American womanhood in
an age of non-indictments and deja vu, and a time of
wars over bodies and power. These poems celebrate and
mourn. They are a chorus chanting: You’re gonna give
us the love we need.
Someone Else’s Wedding Vows
In both senses, Portuguese is a work of color.
Portuguese owes also a debt to a visit to Beirut, Lebanon (2009); six months spent in a cabin in the woods of western Maine (2010-2011); and the Japanese poets Kazuko Shiraishi, Ryuichi Tamura and Minoru Yoshioka, and their translators. It was written primarily in Seattle, Washington; Beirut, Lebanon; and Weld, Maine, though revised in Albany, California; Beacon, New York; and St. Louis, Missouri. In that sense, Portuguese is a travelogue, as well as a work of restlessness.
Throughout writing the poems that became Portuguese, the presiding struggle was with poetry itself—the form and its impulses—voice and mind, face and body, exuberance and infirmity—as well as with the act of writing. The book actually began in the early 1980s, while on the bus to elementary school in a small town in New England, when Brandon was taunted for being “Portuguese.” In that sense, Portuguese returns its author to this moment in which he felt challenged to become what he was being called, however falsely, and despite feeling confused, flushed and afraid. In that sense, Portuguese is a work of crossdressing.
However, Portuguese is both more and less than all these things. It was—and is—a way to keep up with life in the form of drawing observations and feelings on paper, and to give form to the energy making up some part of memory. It is the fourth book in a series that began with The Alps, The Girl Without Arms, and O Bon. In this sense—and in all those above—it is an act of preservation, and therefore a work for his friends, his family, and for love.
Satellite Convulsions: Poems from Tin House
Satellite Convulsions: Poems from Tin House celebrates Tin HouseMagazine’s commitment to publishing innovative contemporary poetry by both established and emerging poets.
Tin House has established itself as one of the most exciting, eclectic, and popular literary magazines in America. The Village Voice declared that Tin House “may very well represent the future of literary magazines.”
This collection features work by Rae Armantrout, Frank Bidart, Billy Collins, Bei Dao, Olena Kalytiak Davis, Mark Doty, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Nick Flynn, Matthea Harvey, Terrance Hayes, Seamus Heaney, Lucia Perillo, D.A. Powell, Bin Ramke, Charles Simic, Wislawa Szymborska, C.K. Williams, and others.