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.
The roster of contributors includes Natasha Trethewey, Robert Morgan, Atsuro Riley, Adrienne Su, Richard Blanco, Ed Madden, Nikky Finney, Frank X Walker, Sheryl St. Germain, Molly McCully Brown, and forty-five more. These poets represent past, current, and future conversations about what it means to be southern. Throughout the anthology, region is layered with race, class, sexuality, and other shaping identities.
With an introduction by Sandra Beasley, a thought-provoking foreword by W. Ralph Eubanks, and luminous original artwork by Julie Sola, this collection is an ideal gift. Meant to be savored slowly or devoured at once, these pages are a perfect way to spend the hour before supper, with a glass of iced tea—or the hour after, with a pour of bourbon—and a fitting celebration of the SFA’s focus and community.
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.”
These four poems, “Phenomenal Woman,” “Still I Rise,” “Weekend Glory,” and “Our Grandmothers,” are among the most remembered and acclaimed of Maya Angelou's poems. They celebrate women with a majesty that has inspired and touched the hearts of millions.
“Phenomenal Woman” is a phenomenal poem that speaks to us of where we are as women at the dawn of a new century. In a clear voice, Maya Angelou vividly reminds us of our towering strength and beauty.
Throughout her illustrious career in letters, Maya Angelou gifted, healed, and inspired the world with her words. Now the beauty and spirit of those words live on in this new and complete collection of poetry that reflects and honors the writer’s remarkable life.
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.
In this magical poetry collection, Nikita Gill unflinchingly explores the fire in every woman and the emotions that lie deep in one's soul. Featuring rewritten fairytale heroines, goddess wisdom, and verse that burns with magnificent beauty, this raw and powerful collection is an explosion of femininity, empowerment, and personal growth. In these words, readers will find the magnificent energy to spark resistance and revolution.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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.
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.
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.
With her signature eloquence and heartfelt appreciation, renowned poet and national treasure Maya Angelou celebrates the first woman we ever knew: Mother. “You were always the heart of happiness to me,” she acknowledges in this loving tribute, “Bringing nougats of glee / Sweets of open laughter.”
From the beginnings of this profound relationship through teenage rebellion and, finally, to adulthood, where we stand to inherit timeless maternal wisdom, Angelou praises the patience, knowledge, and compassion of this remarkable parent.
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.
yesterday i was the moon centers around themes of love and emotional loss, the catharsis of creating art, and the struggle to find one's voice. Noor's poetry ranges from succinct universal truths to flowery prose exploring her heritage, what it means to find a physical and emotional home, and the intimate and painful dance of self-discovery. Her poetry and art has already inspired thousands of fans on Instagram to engage with her words through visual journal entries and posts of their own, and her fan base only continues to grow.
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.
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.
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.
Andrea Gibson explores themes of love, gender, politics, sexuality, family, and forgiveness with stunning imagery and a fierce willingness to delve into the exploration of what it means to heal and to be different in this strange age. Take Me With You, illustrated throughout with evocative line drawings by Sarah J. Coleman, is small enough to fit in your bag, with messages that are big enough to wake even the sleepiest heart. Divided into three sections (love, the world, and becoming) of one liners, couplets, greatest hits phrases, and longer form poems, it has something for everyone, and will be placed in stockings, lockers, and the hands of anyone who could use its wisdom.
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.
Traditional fairytales are rife with cliches and gender stereotypes: beautiful, silent princesses; ugly, jealous, and bitter villainesses; girls who need rescuing; and men who take all the glory.
But in this rousing new prose and poetry collection, Nikita Gill gives Once Upon a Time a much-needed modern makeover. Through her gorgeous reimagining of fairytale classics and spellbinding original tales, she dismantles the old-fashioned tropes that have been ingrained in our minds. In this book, gone are the docile women and male saviors. Instead, lines blur between heroes and villains. You will meet fearless princesses, a new kind of wolf lurking in the concrete jungle, and an independent Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own.
Complete with beautifully hand-drawn illustrations by Gill herself, Fierce Fairytales is an empowering collection of poems and stories for a new generation.
NPR'S MOST ANTICIPATED POETRY BOOKS OF 2017
A striking, full-length debut collection from Virgin Islands-born poet Nicole Sealey
The existential magnitude, deep intellect, and playful subversion of St. Thomas-born, Florida-raised poet Nicole Sealey’s work is restless in its empathic, succinct examination and lucid awareness of what it means to be human.
The ranging scope of inquiry undertaken in Ordinary Beast—at times philosophical, emotional, and experiential—is evident in each thrilling twist of image by the poet. In brilliant, often ironic lines that move from meditation to matter of fact in a single beat, Sealey’s voice is always awake to the natural world, to the pain and punishment of existence, to the origins and demises of humanity. Exploring notions of race, sexuality, gender, myth, history, and embodiment with profound understanding, Sealey’s is a poetry that refuses to turn a blind eye or deny. It is a poetry of daunting knowledge.
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.
Songs can be incredibly prophetic, like subconscious warnings or messages to myself, but I often don't know what I'm trying to say till years later. Or a prediction comes true and I couldn't do anything to stop it, so it seems like a kind of useless magic.
Winner, 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award
Winner, 2018 BCALA Best Poetry Award
Winner, 2017 Los Angeles Times Book Prize
Winner, Abel Meeropol Award for Social Justice
Finalist, Neustadt International Prize for Literature
Finalist, 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
One of the most magnetic and esteemed poets in today’s literary landscape, Patricia Smith fearlessly confronts the tyranny against the black male body and the tenacious grief of mothers in her compelling new collection, Incendiary Art. She writes an exhaustive lament for mothers of the "dark magicians," and revisits the devastating murder of Emmett Till. These dynamic sequences serve as a backdrop for present-day racial calamities and calls for resistance. Smith embraces elaborate and eloquent language— "her gorgeous fallen son a horrid hidden / rot. Her tiny hand starts crushing roses—one by one / by one she wrecks the casket’s spray. It’s how she / mourns—a mother, still, despite the roar of thorns"— as she sharpens her unerring focus on incidents of national mayhem and mourning. Smith envisions, reenvisions, and ultimately reinvents the role of witness with an incendiary fusion of forms, including prose poems, ghazals, sestinas, and sonnets. With poems impossible to turn away from, one of America’s most electrifying writers reveals what is frightening, and what is revelatory, about history.
"Chicana poet, activist, and witchy folk hero of the disenfranchised. . . . [McKibbens] creates these spaces of witness with her feral and boundary-pushing poems that speak unflinchingly of topics often swept under the rug: rape, domestic violence, body shaming, mental illness, prejudice."—Ploughshares
"McKibbens, a pioneer in the art of performance poetry, presents her audience [with] selfless honesty."—The Rumpus
"Rachel McKibbens . . . reminds us why poetry as testimony is so necessary." —Poetry Foundation
McKibbens's blud is a collection of dark, rhythmic poems interested in the ways in which inherited things—bloodlines, mental illnesses, trauma—affect their inheritors. Reveling in form and sound, McKibbens's writing takes back control, undaunted by the idea of sinking its teeth into the ugliest moments of life, while still believing—and looking for—the good underneath all the bruising.
From "untitled (lost love)":
To my daughters I need to say:
Go with the one who loves you biblically.
The one whose love lifts its head to you
despite its broken neck. Whose body
bursts sixteen arms electric
to carry you, gentle the way
old grief is gentle.
Love the love that is messy
in all its too much . . .
Rachel McKibbens is a poet, activist, playwright, essayist, and two-time New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow. She is the author of four books and founder of The Pink Door, an annual writing retreat open exclusively to women of color. She lives in Rochester, New York.
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.
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.
SELECTED AS A BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New York Times * The Boston Globe * Powell’s * The Strand * Barnes & Noble * BuzzFeed * Flavorwire
Read Lockwood’s memoir, Priestdaddy, named one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 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.
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.
“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.
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
From the outset ("Come here / Come here, little one"), Gluck's voice has addressed us with deceptive simplicity, the poems in lines so clear we "do not see the intervening fathoms."
From within the earth's
bitter disgrace, coldness and barrenness
my friend the moon rises:
she is beautiful tonight, but when is she not beautiful?
To read these books together is to understand the governing paradox of a life lived in the body and of the work wrested from it, the one fated to die and the other to endure.
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.
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.
Finalist for the 2017 NAACP Image Award
Three decades of powerful lyric poetry from a virtuoso of the English language in one unabridged volume.
Rita Dove’s Collected Poems 1974–2004 showcases the wide-ranging diversity that earned her a Pulitzer Prize, the position of U.S. poet laureate, a National Humanities Medal, and a National Medal of Art. Gathering thirty years and seven books, this volume compiles Dove’s fresh reflections on adolescence in The Yellow House on the Corner and her irreverent musings in Museum. She sets the moving love story of Thomas and Beulah against the backdrop of war, industrialization, and the civil right struggles. The multifaceted gems of Grace Notes, the exquisite reinvention of Greek myth in the sonnets of Mother Love, the troubling rapids of recent history in On the Bus with Rosa Parks, and the homage to America’s kaleidoscopic cultural heritage in American Smooth all celebrate Dove’s mastery of narrative context with lyrical finesse. With the “precise, singing lines” for which the Washington Post praised her, Dove “has created fresh configurations of the traditional and the experimental” (Poetry magazine).
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.
"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.
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.
Marshallese poet and activist Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner’s writing highlights the traumas of colonialism, racism, forced migration, the legacy of American nuclear testing, and the impending threats of climate change. Bearing witness at the front lines of various activist movements inspires her work and has propelled her poetry onto international stages, where she has performed in front of audiences ranging from elementary school students to more than a hundred world leaders at the United Nations Climate Summit.
The poet connects us to Marshallese daily life and tradition, likening her poetry to a basket and its essential materials. Her cultural roots and her family provides the thick fiber, the structure of the basket. Her diasporic upbringing is the material which wraps around the fiber, an essential layer to the structure of her experiences. And her passion for justice and change, the passion which brings her to the front lines of activist movements—is the stitching that binds these two experiences together.
Iep Jaltok will make history as the first published book of poetry written by a Marshallese author, and it ushers in an important new voice for justice.
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.
Pérez reveals the strengths and nuances of a universe where no word is “foreign.” Her fast-moving, evocative words illuminate the prayers, gasps, touches, and gritos born of everyday discoveries and events. Multiple forms of reference enrich the poems in the form of mantra: ecologist’s field notes, geopolitical and ecofeminist observations, wildlife catalogs, trivia, and vigil chants.
“What is it to love / within viewing distance of night / vision goggles and guns?” is a question central to many of these poems.
The collection creates a poetic confluence of the personal, political, and global forces affecting border lives. Whether alluding to El Valle as a place where toxins now cross borders more easily than people or wildlife, or to increased militarization, immigrant seizures, and twenty-first-century wall-building, Pérez’s voice is intimate and urgent. She laments, “We cannot tattoo roses / On the wall / Can’t tattoo Gloria Anzaldúa’s roses / On the wall”; yet, she also reaffirms Anzaldúa’s notions of hope through resilience and conocimiento.
With the River on Our Face drips deep like water, turning into amistad—an inquisition into human relationships with planet and self.