"His writing folds the mundane and the mythic in with deep images of personal archetype. The passing moments in which the poems possessed Shurin are held fresh to the page in a dazzled string of trigger-touches. They hint of lingering spiral passages, personal journeys, which lie just below such occasions."—Patrick Dunagan,The Critical Flame
"Aaron Shurin writes piercingly lovely poetry that's multidimensional and insists on being read aloud, though its eloquence is equally powerful on the page without sound, with that enclosed, attentive ear that can turn poetry into meditation…Shurin's name has been linked with masters like Jorie Graham and Michael Palmer. But his songs have a grace that's his alone."—The Rumpus
"Aaron Shurin, in Citizen, deliriously revels in sensual images, sly wisdom and rumbling pauses. Shurin's brilliant book—his eleventh—suggests how a lengthy career allows a poet the room to roam, stretching the limits of what his poems can be."—K.M. Soehnlein, author of Robin and Ruby
"Citizen's lyrics are a fine mixture of the crisp and the luxurious if such a combination is possible. With only two or three exceptions, no poem is more than a page long. Things go quickly. The poet gets in, does his work, and gets out. However within that space is a carnival of language, and the reader loves the short wild ride, in part because Shurin revels in the glory of words. He knows they can take us places and entertain, and he allows them to (read: makes them) do both…the whole book, is an embrace of the fantastic."—Dean Rader, The Huffington Post
"Lyrical and sketched with lush strokes of purpose and panache, these densely evocative paragraphs demonstrate a wide range of moods and desires. It would be difficult to find a piece in Shurin's tightly constructed bounty that doesn't reiterate the beauty of his cerebrally-interpreted text, but there are indeed standouts and, conversely, some pages that could possibly rise above the heads of more inexperienced poetry fanatics."—The Bay Area Reporter
"These agile prose poems by Aaron Shurin wander and leap sensually from bed, to lover, to home, to natural wonders, both personal and universal. The individual words of each poem collide and mingle, sometimes harmoniously and sometimes with a purposeful dissonance. Citizen is a lyrical and affirming look into the vibrant life of San Francisco and into the mind of one of its most accomplished poets."—World Literature Today
"In Citizen, Shurin seamlessly tackles many aspects of life. Often in a single poem he weaves themes of love, class, time, poetry, and even good cheese while he simultaneously unravels them with concocted flashes of specificity…Shurin conjures a Steinian grammar and Shakespearean delicacy, but applies his unique spontaneity and logic to create a voice that is solely his."—Maggie Heaps, Eleven Eleven Literary Journal
Aaron Shurin is the author of over ten books, most recently King of Shadows, a collection of personal essays. He lives and works in San Francisco, California.
Left-handed unfolds in the manner of an intense, searching novella. At its center is a one-way dialogue with an elusive character who beguiles and torments but also inspires the unnamed narrator, who at midlife is telling the tale.
These poems—decisive, wrenching, exquisite—show an overpowering force, at once disruptive and creative, invading a settled existence. They take us from the streets of New York City to a house in the country, from the island of Naxos to the Roman Forum. They reach back to the sonnets of Shakespeare but find inspiration, too, in contemporary life. Naked and raw, lyrical yet formally inventive, rich with the melancholy wisdom of age, this is a work of resonant and shimmering beauty.
In the first half of the book, “Tribal History,” Gould ingeniously repurposes the sonnet form to preserve the stories of her mother and aunt, who grew up when “muleback was the customary mode / of transport” and the “spirit world was present”—stories of “old ways” and places claimed in memory but lost in time. Elsewhere, she remembers her mother’s “ferocious, upright anger” and her unexpected tenderness (“Like a miracle, I was still her child”), culminating in the profound expression of loss that is the poem “Our Mother’s Death.”
In the second half of the book, “It Was Raining,” Gould tells of the years of lonely self-making and “unfulfilled dreams” as she comes to terms with what she has been told are her “crazy longings” as a lesbian: “It’s been hammered into me / that I’ll be spurned / by a ‘real woman,’ / the only kind I like.” The writing here commemorates old loves and relationships in language that mingles hope and despair, doubt and devotion, veering at times into dreamlike moments of consciousness. One poem and vignette at a time, Doubters and Dreamers explores what it means to be a mixed-blood Native American who grew up urban, lesbian, and middle class in the West.
Tejada’s innovative work dramatically widens the scope of Latina/o literature, showing us exactly what it can accomplish. The poems move very much like a three-act play, in which the first act is one of origins; the second, a staging of desire; and the third, a symbiosis. These acts magnify one another when unified. Each poem within the collection positions itself within the avant-garde, in which the artful use of language aims to dazzle, surprise, and enliven. The poems dance by, preserving a tension between hurry and delay, momentum and stasis, and every line is like a newly launched firecracker, sending out startling patterns of spark and flare.
Tejada’s exuberant language stretches the limits of selfhood and the way it is represented in poetry. He illuminates the tangled webs that are woven when identities are linked to sexuality, nationality, privilege, and temporality. The concerns and obsessions voiced here turn the construction of desire on its head, forcing us to ask ourselves what is worthy of our attentions.
from “The Cockfighter’s Daughter”
I found my father,
face down, in his homemade chili
and had to hit the bowl
with a hammer to get it off,
then scrape the pinto beans
and chunks of ground beef
off his face with a knife.
Between the verbs quivering and streaming, White Piano unfolds its variations like musical scores. Pronouns and persons, poetry and prose: White Piano, superbly translated from the French, narrates a constellation of questions and offers a "language that cultivates its own craters of fire and savoir-vie."
Nicole Brossard is one of North America's foremost practitioners of innovative writing.
“Reading Jane Miller’s poetry is like channel-surfing on acid.”—L.A. Weekly
Jane Miller is a traveler stimulated by ideas beyond our immediate sphere. In this book-length sequence animated and propelled by a confrontation with her dead father, she meditates on home, love, war and the responsibility of the poet.
A Palace of Pearls is inspired by one of the most spectacular civilizations in history, the Arab kingdom of Al-Andalus—a Middle Age civilization where architecture, science and art flourished and Christians, Jews and Muslims lived in relative harmony. The reader roams through “rooms,” encountering Greek, Judaic and Roman mythology, and through the streets of fifteenth-century Spain and contemporary Rome in Miller’s most personal and associative volume.
From A Palace of Pearls
We bow our heads
for the ancient draping of the gardenia lei in the hotel lobby
and are relieved of our possessions as per a reminder
that one must enter Paradise a little naked
Jane Miller is the author of eight previous books of poetry and essays. She is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award. She lives in Tucson and teaches in the creative writing program at The University of Arizona, having served as the program’s director from 1999–2003.
feminism. Author, CJ Johnson strings together poetry, flash fiction, and memoir
to shape what makes women have their inner magic.
Sisterhood and self-love are one in the same in this
precious book of poems and tales.
This book explores themes of self-acceptance, the societal
expectations of women, death, loss, love, friendship, and sexuality.
CJ Johnson uses her own life in several of the poems, short
stories, and personal essays, to pull back the layers of the most intimate
corners in the lives of women.
This book will make you want to laugh out loud, curse a
character out, and cry because it feels like the best thing to do.
Woman Steps In Poetry and Prose is a quick and witty read
that will inspire debate, discussion, and self-reflection.