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Katy Haas

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year of femme donishFounded in 1990, the Iowa Poetry Prize is awarded for a book-length collection of poems each year.

This month, the 2018 winner was published: The Year of the Femme by Cassie Donish.

From the publisher’s website: "These are poems that assess and dwell in a sensual, fantastically queer mode. Here is a voice slowed by an erotics suffused with pain, quickened by discovery. In masterful long poems and refracted lyrics, Donish flips the coin of subjectivity; different and potentially dangerous faces are revealed in turn. With lyricism as generous as it is exact, Donish tunes her writing as much to the colors, textures, and rhythms of daily life as to what violates daily life—what changes it from within and without."

Visit the press’s website to order your copy (currently on sale for the frugal reader) and visit the prize page, entries accepted throughout the month of April.

Sacred Ground

April 18, 2019
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Sacred Ground: The Chicago Streets of Timuel Black chronicles the life and times of the Chicago legend. He recounts in vivid detail his childhood and education in the Black Metropolis of Bronzeville and South Side neighborhoods that make up his "sacred ground." A labor organizer, educator, and activist, Black captures fascinating anecdotes and vignettes of meeting with famous figures of the times, ending on Black’s reflection on the legacy of his friend and mentee, Barack Obama, as well as on his public works and enduring relationships with students, community workers, and some very influential figures in Chicago and the world.

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In 1959, two teenage brothers in rural Alabama are swimming in a pond when a fireball falls from the sky and lands in the water near them. When they come out, they are fused together, but nobody can figure out the cause. A doctor in New Orleans claims he can help them. To raise money for the surgery, they travel throughout the Southeast playing music. A wily reporter from Tupelo named Munford Coldwater follows their story as they meet snake oil salesmen and carnival barkers who try to take advantage of them. Filled with atmospheric music and setting, this novel mixes love, family, race, and political intrigue.

Settlers

April 18, 2019
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Transversing the territory between the pastoral and the elegiac, F. Daniel Rzicznek's Settlers inhabits the hidden, wild places of the American Midwestern landscape. The idea of "settling"--that a landscape can be tamed, that a human consciousness can fall back into immobility--is one these poems grapple with and resist. Within the "settled" landscape, it becomes clear that nothing, in fact, can be settled. Love, compassion, forgiveness, and transcendence all turn out to be moving targets and Settlers offers glimpse after glimpse of an unstable world in whirling, mesmerizing motion.

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