Barbara Kamler’s Leaving New Jersey is a captivating collection of prose poems. These lyrical, deeply moving poems work like sepia-tone postcards where family scenes are honed back to overheard talk, glimpsed expressions, streets and living rooms. The poems invite us, quietly, into the wistfulness and uncertainty that shadows moving from one country to another. Most importantly, the poems reveal a hard-won emotional depth and focus that is at the heart of these indelible, minimalist narratives.
– Anthony Lawrence
This story is full of pain and beauty. Readers with experiences of loss, separation, and the awful dilemmas of parenting will treasure it for its
precise honesty. These are the sorts of stories it is difficult to write about,
and it is even more difficult to bring to such stories the shaping sensibility
of a poet. Barbara Kamler’s book is a triumph of honesty and artfulness.
– Kevin Brophy
Commando is an aesthetic stick up, hallelujahs in a handbag with a handgun. The first collection from the city's first youth poet laureate is a manifesto for a solider at war.
The poems in this collection were chosen by Hughes himself shortly before his death in 1967 and represent work from his entire career, including "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," "The Weary Blues," "Still Here," "Song for a Dark Girl," "Montage of a Dream Deferred," and "Refugee in America." It gives us a poet of extraordinary range, directness, and stylistic virtuosity.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
poet, Tony Medina. Centered on Medina’s iconic everyman, Broke, a
character that bears witness to his plight of homelessness in a humorous
yet profound way. BROKE BAROQUE contains poetry peppered with images
articulating Broke’s erratic experiences on the streets of Any City,
USA. Through tall tales, anecdotes, episodes, rants and jokes, Broke
eloquently and irreverently conveys his marginalization in a grossly
unaccommodating society. With his trademark absurd and caustic wit,
Medina portrays Broke’s anger, fear, humility, and resolve with humor,
insight and compassion, bringing moments of levity and hopefulness to
Broke’s plight. Funny and perversely sharp, whimsical and impassioned,
BROKE BAROQUE is compulsively readable and will connect with any book
and poetry lover alike. With a powerful introduction by McArthur-winner
After four years abroad, Williams returned to the United States and found his head twirling with thoughts on race, class, gender, finance, freedom, guns, cooking shows, dog shows, superheroes, not-so-super politicians—everything that makes up our country. US(a.) is a collection of poems that embodies the spirit of a culture that questions sentiments and realities, embracing a cross-section of pop culture, hip-hop, and the greater world politic of the moment. Williams explores what social media may only hint at—times and realities have changed; there is a connect and a disconnect. We are wirelessly connected to a past and path to which we are chained. Saul Williams stops and frisks the moment, makes it empty its pockets, and chronicles what’s inside. Here is an extraordinary book that will find its place in the hands and minds of a new generation.
“Linguistically acrobatic [and] beautifully crafted. . . [Jamaal May's] poems, exquisitely balanced by a sharp intelligence mixed with earnestness, makes his debut a marvel.” —Publishers Weekly
“The elegant and laconic intelligence in these poems, their skepticism and bent humor and deliberately anti-Romantic stance toward experience are completely refreshing. After so much contemporary writing that seems all flash, no mind and no heart, these poems show how close observation of the world and a gift for plain-spoken, but eloquent speech, can give to poetry both dignity and largeness of purpose, and do it in an idiom that is pitch perfect to emotional nuance and fine intellectual distinctions. Hard-headed and tough-minded, Hum is the epitome of what Frost meant by ‘a fresh look and a fresh listen.’” —Tom Sleigh
"Jamaal May’s debut collection, Hum, is concerned with what’s beneath the surfaces of things—the unseen that eats away at us or does the work of sustaining us. Reading these poems, I was reminded of Ellison’s ‘lower frequencies,’ a voice speaking for us all. May has a fine ear, acutely attuned to the sonic textures of everyday experience. And Hum—a meditation on the machinery of living, an extended ode to sound and silence—is a compelling debut.” —Natasha Trethewey
"In his percussive debut collection Hum, Jamaal May offers a salve for our phobias and restores the sublime to the urban landscape. Whether you need a friend to confide in, a healer to go to, or a tour guide to take you there, look no further. That low hum you hear are these poems, emanating both wisdom and swagger.” —A. Van Jordan
From "Mechanophobia: Fear of Machines":
There is no work left for the husks.
Automated welders like us,
your line replacements, can't expect
sympathy after our bright
arms of cable rust over. So come
collect us for scrap, grind us up
in the mouth of one of us.
Let your hand pry at the access
panel with the edge of a knife,
silencing the motor and thrum.
Jamaal May is a poet, editor, and filmmaker from Detroit, MI where he taught poetry in public schools and worked as a freelance audio engineer and touring performer. His poetry won the 2013 Indiana Review Poetry Prize and appears in journals such as Poetry, Ploughshares, The Believer, NER, and The Kenyon Review. Jamaal has earned an MFA from Warren Wilson College as well as fellowships from Cave Canem and The Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University. He founded the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Press.
"Linguistically acrobatic [and] beautifully crafted. . . . [Jamaal May's] poems, exquisitely balanced by a sharp intelligence mixed with earnestness, makes his debut a marvel."—Publishers Weekly
Following Jamaal May's award-winning debut collection, Hum (2013), these new poems explore parallel landscapes of the poet's interior and an insidious American condition. Using dark humor that helps illuminate the pains of maturity and loss of imagination, May uncovers language like a skilled architect—digging up bones of the past to expose what lies beneath the surface of the fragile human condition.
From: "Ask Where I've Been":
Ask about the tornado of fists.
The blows landed. If you can
watch it all—the spit and blood frozen
against snow, you can probably tell
I am the too-narrow road winding out
of a crooked city built of laughter,
abandon, feathers and drums.
Ask only if you can watch streetlights bow,
bridges arc, and power lines sag,
and still believe what matters most
is not where I bend
but where I am growing.
Jamaal May is a poet, editor, and filmmaker from Detroit, Michigan, where he taught poetry in public schools and worked as a freelance audio engineer and touring performer. His poetry won the 2013 Indiana Review Poetry Prize and appears in journals such as Poetry, Ploughshares, the Believer, NER, and the Kenyon Review. May has earned an MFA from Warren Wilson College as well as fellowships from Cave Canem and The Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University. He founded the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Press.
—Tim Seibles, author of One Turn Around the Sun and finalist for the National Book Award
A suburban park, church, a good job, a cocktail party for the literati: to many, these sound like safe places, but for a young black man these insular spaces don’t keep out the news—and the actual threat—of gun violence and police brutality, or the biases that keeps body, property, and hope in the crosshairs. Continuing conversations begun by Citizen and Between the World and Me, Silencer sings out the dangers of unspoken taboos present on quiet Midwestern cul-de-sacs and in stifling professional settings, the dangers in closing the window on “a rainbow coalition of cops doing calisthenics around/a six-foot, three-hundred-fifty-pound man, choked back into the earth for what/looked a lot, to me, like sport.”
Here, the language and cadences of hip-hop and academia meet prayer—these poems are crucibles, from which emerge profound allegories and subtle elegies, sharp humor and incisive critiques.
“There is not a moment in this book when you are allowed to forget the complexities of a black man's life in America. These poems evoke so much—strength, beauty, passion, fear. There is the quiet, ironic pleasure of life on a cul-de-sac juxtaposed with the tensions of always wondering when a police officer's gun or fists might get in the way of the black body. The stylistic range of these poems, the wit, and the intelligence of them offers so much to be admired. There is nothing silent about Silencer. What an outstanding second book from Marcus Wicker.” —Roxane Gay
“Marcus Wicker’s masterful and hard-hitting second collection Silencer is exactly the book we need in this time of malfeasance, systemic violence, and the double talk that obfuscates it all. Wicker’s poems have the wit and rhythmic muscle to push back against the institutional flim-flam. He writes the kinds of vital, clear-eyed poems we can turn to when codeswitching slogans and online power fists no longer get the job done. These are poems whose ink is made from anger and quarter notes. They remind us that to remain silent in the face of aggression is to be complicit and to be complicit is not an option for any of us.”
—Adrian Matejka, author of The Big Smoke and finalist for the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize
“Silencer is an important book of American poetry: wonderfully subtle, wholly original, and subversive. Politics and social realities aside, this is foremost a book that delights in language, how it sounds to the ear and plays to the mind. We have suburban complacency played against hip-hop resistance, Christian prayers uttered in the face of dread violence, real meaning pitted against materialism, and love, in its largest measure, set against ignorance. To say Silencer is a tour de force would be an understatement. What a work of true art this is, and what a gift Marcus Wicker has given to us.”
—Maurice Manning, author of One Man’s Dark and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
"Silencer disarms and dazzles with its wisdom and full-throated wit. Wicker’s highly-anticipated second collection snaps to attention with a soundtrack full of salty swagger and a most skillful use of formal inventions that’ll surely knock you out. Here in these pages, sailfish and hummingbirds assert their frenetic movements on a planet simmering with racial tensions, which in turn forms its own kind of bopping and buoyant religion. What a thrill to read these poems that provoke and beg for beauty and song-calling into the darkest of nights."
—Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of Lucky Fish and poetry editor at Orion Magazine
“With Silencer, Marcus Wicker writes a country, and that country is this country, these United States, right now, and that country is also black. In poem after poem, and with one of the best ears in the game, Wicker demonstrates the simple and difficult truth that we, as Americans, make each other, inescapably—Wicker’s America is a black America because it is America. But Silencer isn’t, for all that, a place of congratulatory hugs and campfire songs. How could it be? It is a place where we are seen: ‘Black squirrels, / they fit in, get along. Know no one. / They see other black squirrels & run.’”
—Shane McCrae, author of In the Language of My Captor and The Animal Too Big to Kill
In this new poetry collection by Elliott Parker, race relations are tense between humans and androids. A singularity is on the horizon and no one’s ready for it.
The characters in Parker’s poems explore love, nano enhancements, and lost opportunities in a future that is constantly changing. They explore what it means to be human—and android.
What kind of future do you want to live in?