Like twelve million other Americans, Sandra Beasley suffers from food allergies. Her allergies—severe and lifelong—include dairy, egg, soy, beef, shrimp, pine nuts, cucumbers, cantaloupe, honeydew, mango, macadamias, pistachios, cashews, swordfish, and mustard. Add to that mold, dust, grass and tree pollen, cigarette smoke, dogs, rabbits, horses, and wool, and it’s no wonder Sandra felt she had to live her life as “Allergy Girl.” When butter is deadly and eggs can make your throat swell shut, cupcakes and other treats of childhood are out of the question—and so Sandra’s mother used to warn guests against a toxic, frosting-tinged kiss with “Don’t kill the birthday girl!”
It may seem that such a person is “not really designed to survive,” as one blunt nutritionist declared while visiting Sandra’s fourth-grade class. But Sandra has not only survived, she’s thrived—now an essayist, editor, and award-winning poet, she has learned to navigate a world in which danger can lurk in an unassuming corn chip. Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl is her story.
With candor, wit, and a journalist’s curiosity, Sandra draws on her own experiences while covering the scientific, cultural, and sociological terrain of allergies. She explains exactly what an allergy is, describes surviving a family reunion in heart-of-Texas beef country with her vegetarian sister, delves into how being allergic has affected her romantic relationships, exposes the dark side of Benadryl, explains how parents can work with schools to protect their allergic children, and details how people with allergies should advocate for themselves in a restaurant.
A compelling mix of memoir, cultural history, and science, Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl is mandatory reading for the millions of families navigating the world of allergies—and a not-to-be-missed literary treat for the rest of us.
From the Hardcover edition.
this is the recipe of life
said my mother
as she held me in her arms as i wept
think of those flowers you plant
in the garden each year
they will teach you
that people too
in order to bloom
from “The Piano Speaks”
For an hour I forgot my fat self,
my neurotic innards, my addiction to alignment.
For an hour I forgot my fear of rain.
For an hour I was a salamander
shimmying through the kelp in search of shore,
and under his fingers the notes slid loose
from my belly in a long jellyrope of eggs
that took root in the mud.
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Thus begins “Phenomenal Woman,” just one of the beloved poems collected here in Maya Angelou’s third book of verse. These poems are powerful, distinctive, and fresh—and, as always, full of the lifting rhythms of love and remembering. And Still I Rise is written from the heart, a celebration of life as only Maya Angelou has discovered it.
“It is true poetry she is writing,” M.F.K. Fisher has observed, “not just rhythm, the beat, rhymes. I find it very moving and at times beautiful. It has an innate purity about it, unquenchable dignity. . . . It is astounding, flabbergasting, to recognize it, in all the words I read every day and night . . . it gives me heart, to hear so clearly the caged bird singing and to understand her notes.”
From the Hardcover edition.
From the Hardcover edition.
Every poetic phrase, every poignant verse can be found within the pages of this sure-to-be-treasured volume—from her reflections on African American life and hardship in the compilation Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ’fore I Diiie (“Though there’s one thing that I cry for / I believe enough to die for / That is every man’s responsibility to man”) to her revolutionary celebrations of womanhood in the poem “Still I Rise” (“Out of the huts of history’s shame / I rise / Up from a past that’s rooted in pain / I rise”) to her “On the Pulse of Morning” tribute at President William Jefferson Clinton’s inauguration (“Lift up your eyes upon / The day breaking for you. / Give birth again / To the dream.”).
Maya Angelou: The Complete Poetry also features her final long-form poems, including “A Brave and Startling Truth,” “Amazing Peace,” “His Day Is Done,” and the honest and endearing Mother:
“I feared if I let you go
You would leave me eternally.
You smiled at my fears, saying
I could not stay in your lap forever”
This collection also includes the never-before-published poem “Amazement Awaits,” commissioned for the 2008 Olympic Games:
“We are here at the portal of the world we had wished for
At the lintel of the world we most need.
We are here roaring and singing.
We prove that we can not only make peace, we can bring it with us.”
Timeless and prescient, this definitive compendium will warm the hearts of Maya Angelou’s most ardent admirers as it introduces new readers to the legendary poet, activist, and teacher—a phenomenal woman for the ages.
From the Hardcover edition.
With much love, d.s.
From the Paperback edition.
With her novel THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET, Sandra Cisneros introduced one of the most lyrically inventive voices ever to emerge from the barrio. Now she gives us a book of poems with the lilt of NORTEÑO music and the romantic abandon of a hot Saturday night. Celebrating the cataclysms of love and mapping the faultlines in the Mexican-American psyche, LOOSE WOMAN is by turns bawdy and introspective, flagrantly erotic and unabashedly funny, a work that is both a tour de force and a triumphant outpouring of pure soul.
“If I have any secret stash of poems, anywhere, it might be about love, not anger,” Mary Oliver once said in an interview. Finally, in her stunning new collection, Felicity, we can immerse ourselves in Oliver’s love poems. Here, great happiness abounds.
Our most delicate chronicler of physical landscape, Oliver has described her work as loving the world. With Felicity she examines what it means to love another person. She opens our eyes again to the territory within our own hearts; to the wild and to the quiet. In these poems, she describes—with joy—the strangeness and wonder of human connection.
As in Blue Horses, Dog Songs, and A Thousand Mornings, with Felicity Oliver honors love, life, and beauty.
Mary Oliver’s Dog Songs is a celebration of the special bond between human and dog, as understood through the poet’s relationships to the canines that have accompanied her daily walks, warmed her home, and inspired her work. Oliver’s poems begin in the small everyday moments familiar to all dog lovers, but through her extraordinary vision, these observations become higher meditations on the world and our place in it.
Dog Songs includes visits with old friends, like Oliver’s beloved Percy, and introduces still others in poems of love and laughter, heartbreak and grief. Throughout, the many dogs of Oliver’s life merge as fellow travelers and as guides, uniquely able to open our eyes to the lessons of the moment and the joys of nature and connection.
For Anne Sexton, writing served as both a means of expressing the inner turmoil she experienced for most of her life and as a therapeutic force through which she exorcised her demons. Some of the richest poetic descriptions of depression, anxiety, and desperate hope can be found within Sexton’s work. The Complete Poems, which includes the eight collections published during her life, two posthumously published books, and other poems collected after her death, brings together her remarkable body of work with all of its range of emotion.
With her first collection, the haunting To Bedlam and Part Way Back, Sexton stunned critics with her frank treatment of subjects like masturbation, incest, and abortion, blazing a trail for representations of the body, particularly the female body, in poetry. She documented four years of mental illness in her moving Pulitzer Prize–winning collection Live or Die, and reimagined classic fairy tales as macabre and sardonic poems in Transformations. The Awful Rowing Toward God, the last book finished in her lifetime, is an earnest and affecting meditation on the existence of God. As a whole, The Complete Poems reveals a brilliant yet tormented poet who bared her deepest urges, fears, and desires in order to create extraordinarily striking and enduring art.
Anne Sexton breathes new life into sixteen age-old Brothers Grimm fairy tales, reimagining them as poems infused with contemporary references, feminist ideals, and morbid humor. Grounded by nods to the ordinary—a witch’s blood “began to boil up/like Coca-Cola” and Snow White’s bodice is “as tight as an Ace bandage”—Sexton brings the stories out of the realm of the fantastical and into the everyday world. Stripping away their magical sheen, she exposes the flawed notions of family, gender, and morality within the stories that continue to pervade our collective psyche.
Sexton is especially critical of what follows these tales’ happily-ever-after endings, noting that Cinderella never has to face the mundane struggles of marriage and growing old, such as “diapers and dust,” “telling the same story twice,” or “getting a middle-aged spread,” and that after being awakened Sleeping Beauty would likely be plagued by insomnia, taking “knock-out drops” behind the prince’s back. Deconstructed into vivid, visceral, and often highly amusing poems, these fairy tales reflect themes that have long fascinated Sexton—the claustrophobic anxiety of domestic life, the limited role of women in society, and a psychological strife more dangerous than any wicked witch or poisoned apple.
“This slim volume delights on every page. There are stories, imaginings, whimsy, and startling images which prove the poet’s power and her command of language . . . Anyone with a love of language will be delighted with this book and the continuing publication of America’s treasured poet.”—San Francisco Book Review
The poetry of Nikki Giovanni has spurred movements and inspired songs, turned hearts and informed generations. She's been hailed as a healer and as a national treasure. But Giovanni's heart resides in the everyday, where family and lovers gather, friends commune, and those no longer with us are remembered. And at every gathering there is food—food as sustenance, food as aphrodisiac, food as memory. A pot of beans is flavored with her mother's sighs—this sigh part cardamom, that one the essence of clove; a lover requests a banquet as an affirmation of ongoing passion; homage is paid to the most time-honored appetizer: soup.
With Chasing Utopia, Giovanni demands that the prosaic—flowers, birdsong, winter—be seen as poetic, and reaffirms once again why she is as energetic, "remarkable" (Gwendolyn Brooks), "wonderful" (Marian Wright Edelman),"outspoken, prolific, energetic" (New York Times), and relevant as ever.
One of Europe’s greatest recent poets is also its wisest, wittiest, and most accessible. Nobel Prize–winner Wislawa Szymborska draws us in with her unexpected, unassuming humor. Her elegant, precise poems pose questions we never thought to ask. “If you want the world in a nutshell,” a Polish critic remarks, “try Szymborska.” But the world held in these lapidary poems is larger than the one we thought we knew.
Carefully edited by her longtime, award-winning translator, Clare Cavanagh, the poems in Map trace Szymborska’s work until her death in 2012. Of the approximately two hundred and fifty poems included here, nearly forty are newly translated; thirteen represent the entirety of the poet’s last Polish collection, Enough, never before published in English.
Map is the first English publication of Szymborska’s work since the acclaimed Here, and it offers her devoted readers a welcome return to her “ironic elegance” (The New Yorker).
From the Hardcover edition.
A stunning poetry debut: this meditation on the black female figure throughout time introduces us to a brave and penetrating new voice.
Robin Coste Lewis’s electrifying collection is a triptych that begins and ends with lyric poems considering the roles desire and race play in the construction of the self. The central panel is the title poem, “Voyage of the Sable Venus,” a riveting narrative made up entirely of titles of artworks from ancient times to the present—titles that feature or in some way comment on the black female figure in Western art. Bracketed by Lewis’s autobiographical poems, “Voyage” is a tender and shocking study of the fragmentary mysteries of stereotype, as it juxtaposes our names for things with what we actually see and know. Offering a new understanding of biography and the self, this collection questions just where, historically, do ideas about the black female figure truly begin—five hundred years ago, five thousand, or even longer? And what role has art played in this ancient, often heinous story? From the “Young Black Female Carrying / a Perfume Vase” to a “Little Brown Girl / Girl Standing in a Tree / First Day of Voluntary / School Integration,” this poet adores her culture and the beauty to be found within it. Yet she is also a cultural critic alert to the nuances of race and desire and how they define us all, including herself, as she explores her own sometimes painful history. Lewis’s book is a thrilling aesthetic anthem to the complexity of race—a full embrace of its pleasure and horror, in equal parts.
From the Hardcover edition.
In A Thousand Mornings, Mary Oliver returns to the imagery that has come to define her life’s work, transporting us to the marshland and coastline of her beloved home, Provincetown, Massachusetts. Whether studying the leaves of a tree or mourning her treasured dog Percy, Oliver is open to the teachings contained in the smallest of moments and explores with startling clarity, humor, and kindness the mysteries of our daily experience.
Mary Oliver's latest book, Upstream, will be published in October 2016 by Penguin Press
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Celebrations is a collection of timely and timeless poems that are an integral part of the global fabric. Several works have become nearly as iconic as Angelou herself: the inspiring “On the Pulse of Morning,” read at President William Jefferson Clinton’s 1993 inauguration; the heartening “Amazing Peace,” presented at the 2005 lighting of the National Christmas Tree at the White House; “A Brave and Startling Truth,” which marked the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations; and “Mother,” which beautifully honors the first woman in our lives. Angelou writes of celebrations public and private, a bar mitzvah wish to her nephew, a birthday greeting to Oprah Winfrey, and a memorial tribute to the late Luther Vandross and Barry White.
More than a writer, Angelou is a chronicler of history, an advocate for peace, and a champion for the planet, as well as a patriot, a mentor, and a friend. To be shared and cherished, the wisdom and poetry of Maya Angelou proves there is always cause for celebration.
From the Hardcover edition.
One of Oprah Magazine's "Ten Best Books of 2017"
"This singular poetry collection is a dynamic meditation on the experience of, and societal narratives surrounding, contemporary black womanhood. . . . These exquisite poems defy categorization." —The New YorkerThe only thing more beautiful than Beyoncé is God, 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 intersections 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.
Carson envisions a present-day interview with a seventh-century BC poet, and offers miniature lectures on topics as varied as orchids and Ovid. She imagines the muse of a fifteenth-century painter attending a phenomenology conference in Italy. She constructs verbal photographs of a series of mysterious towns, and takes us on a pilgrimage in pursuit of the elusive and intimate anthropology of water. Blending the rhythm and vivid metaphor of poetry with the discursive nature of the essay, the writings in Plainwater dazzle us with their invention and enlighten us with their erudition.
The author engages in mythology and art history, musically wooing the reader with texture and voice. As she references such disparate cultural figures as filmmaker Lars Von Trier, Annie from the film Annie Get Your Gun, Nabokov’s Lolita, facebook entries and Greek gods, they appear as part of the poet’s cultural critique.
Phrases such as “the caustic domain of urchins” and “the gelatin shiver of tea’s surface” take the poems from lyrical images to comic humor to angry, intense commentary. On writing about “downgrading into human,” she says, “Then what? Amorality, osteoporosis and not even a marble estuary for the ages.”
Giménez Smith’s poetic arsenal includes rapier-sharp wordplay mixed with humor, at times self-deprecating, at others an ironic comment on the postmodern world, all interwoven with imaginative language of unexpected force and surreal beauty. Revealing a long view of gender issues and civil rights, the author presents a clever, comic perspective. Her poems take the reader to unusual places as she uses rhythm, images, and emotion to reveal the narrator’s personality. Deftly blending a variety of tones and styles, Giménez Smith’s poems offer a daring and evocative look at deep cultural issues.
"She has written without embarrassment or apology, with remarkable passion and savagery and nerve, poems about family and family pathology, early erotic fascination, and sexual life inside marriage."
Sharon Olds divides this new book into five sections--"Blood," "Tin," "Straw," "Fire," and "Light"--each made up of fourteen poems whose dominant imagery is drawn from one of these
elements. The poems are rooted in different moments of an ordinary life and weave back and forth in time. Each section suggests the progression of the making of a soul cleansed by blood, forged by fire, suffused by light. Unafraid to confront the ecstatic or the brutal side of a woman's experience, Sharon Olds transforms her subjects with an alchemist's art, using language that is alternately casual and startling, fierce and transcendent.
This is an intensely moving collection by one of our finest poets.
From the Hardcover edition.
The brilliant centerpiece of the weekend was the reading aloud of Pearl Cleage’s poem “We Speak Your Names,” written especially for the occasion and appearing here for the first time in this beautiful keepsake book. As deeply moving in print as it was during that weekend of love and praise, the poem names each of the women honored: Dr. Maya Angelou, Coretta Scott King, Diahann Carroll, Toni Morrison, Nikki Giovanni, Rosa Parks, Katherine Dunham, and other legends of the brightest magnitude. With heartfelt eloquence, Pearl Cleage (herself a luminary of the younger generation) celebrates her distinguished elders’ strength, their magic, their sensuality, their loving kindness, their faith in themselves, and the priceless example of their lives. In her introduction, the poet shares: “My sisters, here, there, and everywhere, this poem is for you. Use it, adapt it, pass it on. . . .”
Destined to become a classic, We Speak Your Names is a treasure to keep forever and a precious, inspiring gift for the ones you love.
From the Hardcover edition.
In Men in the Off Hours, Carson reinvents figures as diverse as Oedipus, Emily Dickinson, and Audubon. She views the writings of Sappho, St. Augustine, and Catullus through a modern lens. She sets up startling juxtapositions (Lazarus among video paraphernalia; Virginia Woolf and Thucydides discussing war). And in a final prose poem, she meditates on the recent death of her mother.
With its quiet, acute spirituality, its fearless wit and sensuality, and its joyful understanding that "the fact of the matter for humans is imperfection," Men in the Off Hours shows us "the most exciting poet writing in English today" (Michael Ondaatje) at her best.
From the Hardcover edition.
The border in Scenters-Zapico’s The Verging Cities exists in a visceral place where the real is (sur)real. In these poems mouths speak suspended from ceilings, numbered metal poles mark the border and lovers’ spines, and cities scream to each other at night through fences that “ooze only silt.” This bold new vision of border life between what has been named the safest city in the United States and the murder capital of the world is in deep conversation with other border poets—Benjamin Alire Saenz, Gloria Anzaldúa, Alberto Ríos, and Luis Alberto Urrea—while establishing itself as a new and haunting interpretation of the border as a verge, the beginning of one thing and the end of another in constant cycle.
Praise for Dated Emcees:
"In the old tellings hip-hop was a woman, a certain kind—one needing, even begging to be saved. In Dated Emcees, Chinaka Hodge gives her a voice and she tells of her loves and desires, her traumas and pains in words as hard, as lit, as loving, cunning, cutting, ecstatic, as tender and devastating as her big world requires. This is poetry that, in its infinite power and intimate grace, will still turn in your mind long after the music is over."—Jeff Chang, author of Who We Be: A Cultural History of Race in Post-Civil Rights America
"Hodge writes with an unpredictable, rare honesty. This collection quietly and simply illustrates love in a complicated world."—Donald Glover AKA Childish Gambino
“This is an absolute powerhouse of a book, and a new pinnacle for Chinaka Hodge. There’s enough beauty and heartbreak and melancholy and humor and sorrow in here for three collections, or two lifetimes. Hodge’s writing is so incredibly specific but somehow universal, so honest and raw but somehow polished to unimproveability. She deserves a wide audience, an attentive audience, an audience that wants to be astounded.”—Dave Eggers, author of The Circle
"Chinaka Hodge is hands down, unequivocally, my favorite writer of words. All day. Every day. She writes with the grace of a dancer, the bars of a rapper, the heart of your best friend, and all of the swag and soul of Oakland. Dated Emcees made me cry. And I don't really do that. It doesn't use Hip Hop as a lens. It is Hip Hop. In the way that we, who have grown up with rap as our brilliant, estranged, mythological, abusive lover/father/son, are all Hip Hop. Aware of his flaws, and his potential. And loving him unconditionally. These are poems to read every day. To make mantras from. They are the best poems you've ever read."—Daveed Diggs, Actor/Rapper, star of Hamilton on Broadway
"Every time I hear new work from Chinaka Hodge I wonder if she was always this good. She was, I’m pretty sure. And yet somehow, she’s leveled up again. Dated Emcees is a dropped microphone, and a direct challenge to anyone listening. Step your game up."—George Watsky, author of How to Ruin Everything: Essays
“Ms. Hodge’s collection complicates dogmatic notions of feminist principles and hip hop pathologies. She is the steward of a candid and sonorous new form, a lyrical journalism expressed in a meter that climbs from West Oakland’s Bottoms to the peak of a Wonder-laced rocket love. Dated Emcees is outlined in the matter of black life, streamlined through the filter of black womb … a smoke-filled lung in a sweat-filled club of safety and danger, and the bass of black moon.”—Marc Bamuthi Joseph, arts activist, spoken word artist, US Artists Rockefeller Fellow
And then, excuse from pain;
And then, those little anodynes
That deaden suffering;
And then, to go to sleep;
And then, if it should be
The will of its Inquisitor,
The liberty to die.
Generally considered among the greatest American poets, Emily Dickinson has been read, studied, and admired by generations of literature students and poetry lovers. This modestly priced edition presents over 100 of her best-known and most-loved poems, reprinted from authoritative early editions. Unflinchingly honest, psychologically penetrating, and technically adventurous, the poems include such favorites as "The Chariot," "I taste a liquor never brewed," "The Snake," "I'm nobody, who are you?" "A Book," "There's a certain slant of light," "Hope," and many more.
Includes 3 selections from the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
From the celebrated poet Yrsa Daley-Ward, a poignant collection of poems about the heart, life, and the inner self.
Bone. Visceral. Close to. Stark.
The poems in Yrsa Daley-Ward’s collection bone are exactly that: reflections on a particular life honed to their essence—so clear and pared-down, they become universal.
From navigating the oft competing worlds of religion and desire, to balancing society’s expectations with the raw experience of being a woman in the world; from detailing the experiences of growing up as a first generation black British woman, to working through situations of dependence and abuse; from finding solace in the echoing caverns of depression and loss, to exploring the vulnerability and redemption in falling in love, each of the raw and immediate poems in Daley-Ward’s bone resonates to the core of what it means to be human.
“You will come away bruised.
You will come away bruised
but this will give you poetry.”
Foreword by Kiese Laymon, author of Long Division
Edited by Millay biographer Nancy Milford, The Selected Poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay also includes the collections A Few Figs from Thistles and Second April, as well as "The Ballad of the Harp-Weaver" and eight of Millay’s sonnets from the early twenties.
During her spoken word poetry performances, audiences around the world have responded strongly to Sarah Kay's poem The Type. As Kay wrote in The Huffington Post: "Much media attention has been paid to what it means to 'be a woman,' but often the conversation focuses on what it means to be a woman in relation to others. I believe these relationships are important. I also think it is possible to define ourselves solely as individuals... We have the power to define ourselves: by telling our own stories, in our own words, with our own voices."
Never-before-published in book form, The Type is illustrated throughout and perfect for gift-giving.
With a mix of genuine fascination, passionate enthusiasm, and keen feminist insight, Erica Jong wades through a bog of myths, misinformation, historical hysteria, and contemporary Halloween costumes to offer a generous exploration and celebration of witches.
From their origins as descendants of ancient goddesses to contemporary practitioners of the craft, the evolution of the concept of “witch” has been as changeable as the centuries themselves. From evil crone to sexual seductress, they are the embodiment of both light and dark, fertility and death, divinity and paganism, baleful curses and healing cures. They have been scapegoated as the object of men’s worst fears and embraced as heroines of female empowerment. As muses, they have influenced popular culture from Shakespeare and Yeats to Anne Sexton and Ken Russell. With reverence and a hint of mischief, Jong reveals witches’ rites, rituals, and magical recipes, including authentic spells and incantations.
“A steaming cauldron of beautifully illustrated prose, poetry, love potions and flying lotions” (Glamour) from the renowned author of Fanny, Witches is “nothing less than a complete transformation of our concept of witches . . . accomplishe[d] with panache in this sumptuously and provocatively illustrated book" (Publishers Weekly).
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Erica Jong, including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.
A luminous, seductive new collection from the "fearless" (The New York Times) Pulitzer Prize–winning poet
Louise Glück is one of the finest American poets at work today. Her Poems 1962–2012 was hailed as "a major event in this country's literature" in the pages of The New York Times. Every new collection is at once a deepening and a revelation. Faithful and Virtuous Night is no exception.
You enter the world of this spellbinding book through one of its many dreamlike portals, and each time you enter it's the same place but it has been arranged differently. You were a woman. You were a man. This is a story of adventure, an encounter with the unknown, a knight's undaunted journey into the kingdom of death; this is a story of the world you've always known, that first primer where "on page three a dog appeared, on page five a ball" and every familiar facet has been made to shimmer like the contours of a dream, "the dog float[ing] into the sky to join the ball." Faithful and Virtuous Night tells a single story but the parts are mutable, the great sweep of its narrative mysterious and fateful, heartbreaking and charged with wonder.
In these poems, the joys and struggles of the everyday are played against the grinding politics of being human. Beginning in a hotel room in the dark of a distant city, we travel through history and follow the memory of the Trail of Tears from the bend in the Tallapoosa River to a place near the Arkansas River. Stomp dance songs, blues, and jazz ballads echo throughout. Lost ancestors are recalled. Resilient songs are born, even as they grieve the loss of their country. Called a "magician and a master" (San Francisco Chronicle), Joy Harjo is at the top of her form in Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings.
With her emotionally raw and deeply resonant third collection, Live or Die, Anne Sexton confirmed her place among the most celebrated poets of the twentieth century. Sexton described the volume, which depicts a fictionalized version of her struggle with mental illness, as “a fever chart for a bad case of melancholy.” From the halls of a psychiatric hospital—“the scene of the disordered scenes” in “Flee on Your Donkey”—to a child’s playroom—“a graveyard full of dolls” in “Those Times . . .”—these gripping poems offer profound insight on the agony of depression and the staggering acts of courage and faith required to emerge from its depths.
Along with other confessional poets like Sylvia Plath and Robert Lowell, Sexton was known for grappling with intimate subjects traditionally considered taboo for poetry such as motherhood, menstruation, and drug dependence. Live or Die features these topics in candid and unflinching detail, as Sexton represents the full experience of being alive—and a woman—as few poets have before. Through bold images and startlingly precise language, Sexton explores the broad spectrum of human emotion ranging from desperate despair to unfettered hope.
SELECTED AS A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR:
The New York Times * The Boston Globe * Powell's * The Strand * Barnes & Noble * BuzzFeed * Flavorwire
Look out for Lockwood’s memoir, Priestdaddy, coming in May 2017
Colloquial and incantatory, the poems in Patricia Lockwood’s second collection address the most urgent questions of our time, like: Is America going down on Canada? What happens when Niagara Falls gets drunk at a wedding? Is it legal to marry a stuffed owl exhibit? Why isn’t anyone named Gary anymore? Did the Hatfield and McCoy babies ever fall in love? The steep tilt of Lockwood’s lines sends the reader snowballing downhill, accumulating pieces of the scenery with every turn. The poems’ subject is the natural world, but their images would never occur in nature. This book is serious and funny at the same time, like a big grave with a clown lying in it.
The beloved bestselling author of Forever Fifty and Suddenly Sixty now tackles the ins and outs of becoming a septuagenarian with her usual wry good humor.
Fans of Judith Viorst's funny, touching, and wise poems about turning thirty, forty, fifty, and sixty will love this new volume for the woman who deeply believes she is too young to be seventy, "too young in my heart and my soul, if not in my thighs."
Viorst explores, among the many other issues of this stage of life, the state of our sex lives and teeth, how we can stay married though thermostatically incompatible, and the joys of grandparenthood and shopping. Readers will nod with rueful recognition when she asks, "Am I required to think of myself as a basically shallow woman because I feel better when my hair looks good?," when she presses a few helpful suggestions on her kids because "they may be middle aged, but they're still my children," and when she graciously -- but not too graciously -- selects her husband's next mate in a poem deliciously subtitled "If I Should Die Before I Wake, Here's the Wife You Next Should Take." Though Viorst acknowledges she is definitely not a good sport about the fact that she is mortal, her poems are full of the pleasures of life right now, helping us come to terms with the passage of time, encouraging us to keep trying to fix the world, and inviting us to consider "drinking wine, making love, laughing hard, caring hard, and learning a new trick or two as part of our job description at seventy."
I'm Too Young to Be Seventy is a joy to read and makes a heartwarming gift for anyone who has reached or is soon to reach that -- it's not so bad after all -- seventh decade.
When Jillian Weise wrote The Amputee’s Guide to Sex, it was with the intention of changing the conversation around disability; essentially, she was tired of seeing “cripples” portrayed as asexual characters. The collection that resulted is a powerful lesson in desire, the body, pain, and possession. These poems interrogate medical language and history, imagine Mona Lisa in a wheelchair, rewrite Elizabeth Bishop’s poem “In the Waiting Room,” address a lover’s arsonist ex-girlfriend, and show the prosthesis as the object of male curiosity and lust. Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, called the book a “charged and daring debut” and described Jillian Weise as an “agile and powerful poet . . . speaking boldly and compassionately about a little-discussed subject that becomes universal in her careful hands.”
Ten years since its first publication, our culture continues to grapple with questions limned in this collection. In a new introduction, Weise revisits and recontextualizes her work, revealing its urgency to our present moment. What are the challenges of speaking “for” a community? How to resist the institutionalization of ableist paradigms? How are atypical bodies silenced? Where do our corporeal selves intersect with our technologies?
Sor Juana (1651–1695) was a fiery feminist and a woman ahead of her time. Like Simone de Beauvoir, she was very much a public intellectual. Her contemporaries called her "the Tenth Muse" and "the Phoenix of Mexico," names that continue to resonate. An illegitimate child, self-taught intellectual, and court favorite, she rose to the height of fame as a writer in Mexico City during the Spanish Golden Age.
This volume includes Sor Juana's best-known works: "First Dream," her longest poem and the one that showcases her prodigious intellect and range, and "Response of the Poet to the Very Eminent Sor Filotea de la Cruz," her epistolary feminist defense—evocative of Mary Wollstonecraft and Emily Dickinson—of a woman's right to study and to write. Thirty other works—playful ballads, extraordinary sonnets, intimate poems of love, and a selection from an allegorical play with a distinctive New World flavor—are also included.
This is the definitive edition of the work of one of America's greatest poets, increasingly recognized as one of the greatest English-language poets of the twentieth century, loved by readers and poets alike. Bishop's poems combine humor and sadness, pain and acceptance, and observe nature and lives in perfect miniaturist close-up. The themes central to her poetry are geography and landscape—from New England, where she grew up, to Brazil and Florida, where she later lived—human connection with the natural world, questions of knowledge and perception, and the ability or inability of form to control chaos.
This new edition offers readers the opportunity to take in, entire, one of the great careers in twentiethcentury poetry.
“The Poem She Didn’t Write is a breakup book, full of the kinds of invective and taunts honed by a person who has spent, as all of us have now spent, infinite hours online. Its complex tones arise from the poet’s wanting equally to seduce and to repel a lover whose deepening silence only provokes rhetorical escalation. The effect can be like reading e-mails in someone’s drafts folder—but who wouldn’t want to read Davis’s drafts?"—Dan Chaisson, The New Yorker
“Davis’ first full collection in a decade should be stamped with the warning, ‘Buckle up!,’ because entering this writer’s mind is one wild ride of digression, mutation, and syntactical and typographical experimentation… Davis has clearly put the poetic rule book through a shredder, and there’s much to appreciate about that.”—Booklist
"There is an eerie precision to her work—like the delicate discernment of a brain surgeon's scalpel—that renders each moment in both its absolute clarity and ultimate transitory fragility."—Rita Dove
In her first full collection in a decade, Olena Kalytiak Davis revivifies language and makes love offerings to her beloved reader. With a heightened post-confessional directness, she addresses lost love, sexual violence, and the confrontations of aging. In her characteristic syntactical play, sly slips of meaning, and all-out feminism, Davis hyperconsciously erases the rulebook in this memorable collection.
From "The Poem She Didn't Write":
when she stopped
began in winter and, like everything else, at first, just waited for spring
in spring noticed there were lilac branches, but no desire,
no need to talk to any angel, to say: sky, dooryard, _______,
when summer arrived there was more, but not much
nothing really worth noting
and then it was winter again—nothing had changed: sky, dooryard, ________, white,
frozen was the lake and the lagoon, some froze the ocean
(now you erase that) (you cross that out)
and so on and so forth . . .
Olena Kalytiak Davis is a first-generation Ukrainian American who was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Educated at Wayne State University, the University of Michigan Law School, and Vermont College, she is the author of three books of poetry. She currently works as a lawyer in Anchorage, Alaska.
“Ellen Bass’s new poetry collection, Like a Beggar, pulses with sex, humor and compassion.”—The New York Times
“Bass tries to convey everyday wonder on contemporary experiences of sex, work, aging, and war. Those who turn to poetry to become confidants for another's stories and secrets will not be disappointed.”—Publishers Weekly
“In her fifth book of poetry, Bass addresses everything from Saturn’s rings and Newton’s law of gravitation to wasps and Pablo Neruda. Her words are nostalgic, vivid, and visceral. Bass arrives at the truth of human carnality rooted in the extraordinary need and promise of the individual. Bass shows us that we are as radiant as we are ephemeral, that in transience glistens resilient history and the remarkable fluidity of connection. By the collection’s end—following her musings on suicide and generosity, desire and repetition—it becomes lucidly clear that Bass is not only a poet but also a philosopher and a storyteller.”—Booklist
Ellen Bass brings a deft touch as she continues her ongoing interrogations of crucial moral issues of our times, while simultaneously delighting in endearing human absurdities. From the start of Like a Beggar, Bass asks her readers to relax, even though "bad things are going to happen," because the "bad" gets mined for all manner of goodness.
From "Another Story":
After dinner, we're drinking scotch at the kitchen table.
Janet and I just watched a NOVA special
and we're explaining to her mother
the age and size of the universe—
the hundred billion stars in the hundred billion galaxies.
Dotty lives at Dominican Oaks, making her way down the long hall.
How about the sun? she asks, a little farmshit in the endlessness.
I gather up a cantaloupe, a lime, a cherry,
and start revolving this salad around the chicken carcass.
This is the best scotch I ever tasted, Dotty says,
even though we gave her the Maker's Mark
while we're drinking Glendronach...
Ellen Bass's poetry includes Like A Beggar (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), The Human Line (Copper Canyon Press, 2007), which was named a Notable Book by the San Francisco Chronicle, and Mules of Love (BOA, 2002), which won the Lambda Literary Award. She co-edited (with Florence Howe) the groundbreaking No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women (Doubleday, 1973). Her work has frequently been published in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, The New Republic, The Sun and many other journals. She is co-author of several non-fiction books, including The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (HarperCollins, 1988, 2008) which has sold over a million copies and been translated into twelve languages. She is part of the core faculty of the MFA writing program at Pacific University.
Finalist for 2013 William Carlos Williams Award
"Patricia Smith is writing some of the best poetry in America today. Ms Smith’s new book, Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, is just beautiful—and like the America she embodies and represents—dangerously beautiful. Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah is a stunning and transcendent work of art, despite, and perhaps because of, its pain. This book shines." —Sapphire
"One of the best poets around and has been for a long time." —Terrance Hayes
"Smith's work is direct, colloquial, inclusive, adventuresome." —Gwendolyn Brooks
In her newest collection, Patricia Smith explores the second wave of the Great Migration. Shifting from spoken word to free verse to traditional forms, she reveals "that soul beneath the vinyl."
Patricia Smith is the author of five volumes of poetry, including Blood Dazzler, a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award, and Teahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series selection. She lives in New Jersey.