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
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.
“Call us out of the animal,” Greger writes, invoking the ghost of a poet conjured in “Nights of 1995,” in what could be construed as the motto of a collection filled with what Poetry called “priceless instants where the mundane flares up into the miraculous.”
In these poems, Miami is celebrated as a modern Tower of Babel and a place where the layers of history are particularly palpable. Wave after wave of conquerors wash across the Americas. A well-dressed Latino businessman inadvertently reveals his roots at the Ritz when someone steps on his foot, eliciting a profanity--in Spanish. Intimate snapshots capture the nameless heroism of homeless men, the exuberance of a child's affection for her hometown, and memories of lovers.
“El español y el inglés han estado en guerra desde que la Reina Isabel hundió la Armada Invencible en el 1588”, escribe Rosario Feré en “Duelo del lenguaje”, el poema que da t’tulo a esta colección; “los lenguajes llevan con sigo todo su fuego y poderío”. Ferré explora las tensiones entre lenguas y culturas a través de esta colección de carácter controversial, que señala muchos de los dilemas a los que se enfrenta hoy una América cada vez más bilingüe.
Estos poemas celebran tanto la antiquísima ciudad San Juan como las metrópolis más modernas: Miami, Nueva York, WDC. Pasado y presente, historia y sociedad se mezclan con una inmediatez sorprendente. Ola tras ola de conquistadores estalla sobre Norte América; un hombre de negocios bien vestido inesperadamente revela sus raíces cuando alguien le da un pisotón en el elevador del Ritz y suelta una maldición. Fotos instantáneas de los deambulantes que se desplazan por las calles de la capital, el cariño exuberante que siente un niño por su ciudad natal, los amantes cuya memoria perdura en el recuerdo, el rumor de la lluvia en el patio de atrás, que lava el remordimiento: he aquí algunos de los temas a la vez poéticos y cotidianos que se recogen en este libro.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Roberts deftly draws out the moments that comprise a cycle of seasons, paying as much attention to the natural—the winter moon’s second-hand lightthat pools in the tracks of tree squirrels and the loose threads of migrating birds—as she does to the manufactured—half-melted ice lanterns and theperipheral percussion of J-brakes on the highway. She also casts her gaze back to the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897–1898, raising the voices of those marked by a frenetic race for fortune: a seductive, edgy wolf, a disillusioned photographer, and a pragmatic prostitute, among others.
Here Is Where We Disembark is a beautifully crafted book that ignites the senses, and its presence lingers, like woodsmoke, long after the final page has been turned.
In celebration of her fiftieth birthday, May Sarton embarked on a pilgrimage around the world. Traveling through Japan, India, and Greece, she captured her spiritual discoveries in this vivid collection of poetry. Arresting images and meditations on the differences between East and West are rendered with the exceptional clarity of an accomplished artist.
Winner of the Emily Clark Balch Prize.