Ninety miles separate Cuba and Key West, Florida. Crossing that distance, thousands of Cubans have lost their lives. For Cuban American poet Virgil Suárez, that expanse of ocean represents the state of exile, which he has imaginatively bridged in over two decades of compelling poetry.
"Whatever isn't voiced in time drowns," Suárez writes in "River Fable," and the urgency to articulate the complex yearnings of the displaced marks all the poems collected here. 90 Miles contains the best work from Suárez's six previous collections: You Come Singing, Garabato, In the Republic of Longing, Palm Crows, Banyan, and Guide to the Blue Tongue, as well as important new poems.
At once meditative, confessional, and political, Suárez's work displays the refracted nature of a life of exile spent in Cuba, Spain, and the United States. Connected through memory and desire, Caribbean palms wave over American junk mail. Cuban mangos rot on Miami hospital trays. William Shakespeare visits Havana. And the ones who left Cuba plant trees of reconciliation with the ones who stayed.
Courageously prolific, Virgil Suárez is one of the most important Latino writers of his generation.
Winner of the 2012 National Book Award for Poetry.
To read David Ferry’s Bewilderment is to be reminded that poetry of the highest order can be made by the subtlest of means. The passionate nature and originality of Ferry’s prosodic daring works astonishing transformations that take your breath away. In poem after poem, his diction modulates beautifully between plainspoken high eloquence and colloquial vigor, making his distinctive speech one of the most interesting and ravishing achievements of the past half century. Ferry has fully realized both the potential for vocal expressiveness in his phrasing and the way his phrasing plays against—and with—his genius for metrical variation. His vocal phrasing thus becomes an amazingly flexible instrument of psychological and spiritual inquiry. Most poets write inside a very narrow range of experience and feeling, whether in free or metered verse. But Ferry’s use of meter tends to enhance the colloquial nature of his writing, while giving him access to an immense variety of feeling. Sometimes that feeling is so powerful it’s like witnessing a volcanologist taking measurements in the midst of an eruption.
Ferry’s translations, meanwhile, are amazingly acclimated English poems. Once his voice takes hold of them they are as bred in the bone as all his other work. And the translations in this book are vitally related to the original poems around them.
The day was hot, and entirely breathless, so
The remarkably quiet remarkably steady leaf fall
Seemed as if it had no cause at all.
The ticking sound of falling leaves was like
The ticking sound of gentle rainfall as
They gently fell on leaves already fallen,
Or as, when as they passed them in their falling,
Now and again it happened that one of them touched
One or another leaf as yet not falling,
Still clinging to the idea of being summer:
As if the leaves that were falling, but not the day,
Had read, and understood, the calendar.
This chapbook collection offers new poems from the prolific career of a community leader, activist, and healer. Luis J. Rodríguez’s work asks profound questions of us as readers and fellow humans, such as, "If society cooperates, can we nurture the full / and healthy development of everyone?" In his introductory remarks, Martín Espada describes the poet as a man engaged in people and places: "Luis Rodríguez is a poet of many tongues, befitting a city of many tongues. He speaks English, Spanish, ‘Hip Hop,’ ‘the Blues,’ and ‘cool jazz.’ He speaks in ‘mad solos.’ He speaks in ‘People’s Sonnets.’ He speaks in the language of protest. He speaks in the language of praise."
This collection spans twenty-five years in the career of this highly regarded poet. It features poems from the books Stars, Calling the Dead,When There Are No Secrets, and Against Dreaming, along with seventeen new poems.
Suffused with pain and power, Minnie Bruce Pratt's poetry is as evocative of the swamps and streets of the southern United States as it is of the emotional lives of those too often forced into the margins of society. Vivid, lush, and intensely honest, these poems capture the rough edges of the world and force us to pay attention.
"His poems are timeless, lyrical songs that transcend the dark forces of our society and call for a deeper understanding of our values. Becoming familiar again with old poems by a gifted master is like reliving the days when poetry truly came from the heart to ravish and define who we are."
"These exquisite poems are so well paced that nothing ever seems forced or misplaced."
"[Everwine] presents us with poetry in which each moment is recorded, laid bare, and sanctified, which is to say the poems posses a quality one finds only in the greatest poetry."
Halting Steps represents the most complete single-volume retrospective in English of Claribel Alegría’s seven-decade career. The volume collects all of Alegría’s poems from her fourteen previously published books and debuts several new poems under the title “Otherness.”
Her poetry is not only lyrical and introspective but also politically engaged. Her verse speaks forcefully, specifically, and fearlessly to matters of social justice in her region. She strikes a universal theme, however, in giving a voice to individuals of all classes in their struggle against oppression, but especially women who must contend with a system in which men hold the power and women are excluded. Alegría demonstrates her remarkable range with deeply personal poems, perhaps most notably in the poem cycle “Sorrow,” as she moves steadily through the waves of grief she experiences after her husband’s death.
In Halting Steps, both longtime admirers and those new to her work can appreciate the sustained creative power of Claribel Alegría’s poems.
Love on the Streets is a selection from two of Doubiago's book-length poems, Hard Country and South America Mi Hija and from the collections Psyche Drives the Coast and Body and Soul, plus new poems. Hard Country takes place in 1976, on a journey across the U.S. with a lover, climaxing on the lake where his mother drowned herself when he was ten. South America Mi Hija is a journey the poet made with her 15 year-old daughter to Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Psyche Drives the Coast are poems written while Doubiago lived mainly on the road, and in diverse, passionate communities of poets from Mendocino to the Canadian border. Body and Soul was written while she was a resident of Oregon, and the new poems are written from her present home in San Francisco.
New Poems (1907-1908) represented a departure for Rilke from the traditional German lyric poetry of which he was then considered a master. Apparent in the poems is the influence of Rodin--for whom Rilke had worked--as well as other visual artists, including Hokusai, Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Picasso. Rilke forced language to extremes of subtlety and refinement that only now, in Stephen Cohn's translations, is being captured properly in English.
"Somewhere between Sex and the City, Sharon Olds and Spalding Grey lies the poetry of Denise Duhamel, who in six volumes during the 1990s (all from small independent or small university presses) established herself as a vivacious, sarcastic, uninhibited and sometimes sex-obsessed observer of contemporary culture. Long fascinated by downtown New York, Duhamel got poetic mileage from her once-rough neighborhoods. Now she lives and teaches in Miami: this new-and-selected sums up her NYC years . . . Its humor, anger and forceful personality could make the book a genuine popular hit." --Publishers Weekly
"Duhamel is an entertainer, as her new, retrospective collection confirms. . . . Throughout the book, each poem is utterly engaging, as hard to abandon as a chapter in a taut thriller." --Booklist
Celebrates ideas and topics that aren't often the subect of bards and poets. Her playful, inventive way of string together ideas is evident. . . . Despite the frolicsome nature of much of her work, Duhamel writes incisively about serious themes and issues. The clash between high and low art never seems abraisive in Duhamel's work." --Pittsburgh Tribune- Review
"Duhamel writes about Garcia-Lorca's Deli, Georgia O'Keefe's pelvis, a Barbie Doll in a Twelve-Step Program, Barbie as a Bisexual, Barbie's GYN appointment, and the difference between Pepsi and the Pope. . . . If you like knee-slapping, quasi-existential poetry, go out and pick up a Queen for a Day." --RALPH: The Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy, and the Humanities
"Engagingly charts her evolution as a fictionist-from ribald, bemused poems about body parts and coming of age dramas to increasingly sophisticated mock-narratives. Her work is tremendous fun, but often there's an underpinning of sadness in it as well, which keeps the poems from being mere play. You'll want to read parts of this book aloud to your smart friends. Or to give it as a gift." --Stephen Dunn
"Denise Duhamel is a red-headed, red-lipped wild woman, a human and humane poet who isn't afraid to tackle any subject: violence, racism, A.I.D.S., bulimia, childishness, the myth of Bluebeard, the phenomenon of Barbie. It's been a singular joy to read this "selected" and see Duhamel's work grow and develop over the years. Queen for a Day is exuberant, brazen, bold, honest as hell, audaciously unpretentious and outrageously self-referential, a Frank O'Hara meets Lucille Ball meets Sandra Bernhard of a book: sin verguenza!" --Dorianne Laux
Denise Duhamel's Queen for a Day includes poems from her five previous full-length books (The Star-Spangled Banner, Kinky, Girl Soldier, The Woman with Two Vaginas, and Smile!) as well as her chapbook, How the Sky Fell. Her poems have been anthologized widely, including four editions of The Best American Poetry. Her work has been featured on NPR's "All Things Considered," MPR's "The Writers' Almanac," and PBS's "Fooling with Words." She has collaborated with the poet Maureen Seaton in two volumes: Oyl and Exquisite Politics. Duhamel is assistant professor at Florida International University in Miami.
The world is made of seductions. In Quincy Troupe's Seduction, the "I" becomes the "Eye," serving as metaphor and witness in a narrative compilation from a master of poetic music. Elegies and dramatic odes look at the seduction of all things loved or hated, especially the man made of color. How did the killings of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and Trayvon Martin seduce the public's eye and catch the fire of racism? How did Aretha Franklin seduce us with voice and twang? How does the art of Romare Bearden or Jack Whitten still tell our truths, fantasies, and oppressions?
time is a bald eagle, a killer soaring high in the blue, / music to men
dodging bullets in speeding cars, / knew death, hoped it'd never come . . .
In this collection we are seduced by Troupe's opus. This is the poet's art laid bare. He is our "Eye." Visions of the transatlantic slave trade, portraits of American violence, pop culture, and historical voices are the lyrical relics in Troupe's masterful verse. One of American literature's most important rhythmical artists, Troupe has created a chronicle reaching through history for the collective "I/Eye" that is all of us.
Since the appearance of Timothy Steele’s first collection of poems in 1979, growing numbers of readers and critics have recognized him as one of the best and most significant poets of his generation. Widely credited with anticipating and encouraging the revival of poetry in traditional form, Steele has produced a body of work praised for its technical accomplishment, its intellectual breadth, and its emotional energy.
Toward the Winter Solstice, Steele’s first collection of new poems in twelve years, features his characteristic grace, wit, and power, while extending his range. In addition to the relatively short lyrical, descriptive, and contemplative poems he has always written so well, this collection offers several middle-length pieces that read almost like compressed novels.
Addressing a variety of topics and themes, Toward the Winter Solstice explores the relationship between the world of nature and the world of ideas. In one way or another, the poems attempt to link the external material universe with that sense of inward self-awareness central to our experience of life. Throughout, Steele writes with a clarity that not only illuminates his subjects but also acknowledges and preserves their ultimate mystery and complexity.