The poems of Deborah Pope’s Wild Liar emerge from a fundamental engagement with the nature of memory—its shifting constructions and needs, its equilibriums and disquiets. Refracted through language rich with Pope’s distinctive lyricism and acute eye for detail, the poems plumb the experience of the passing of parents, the departure of children, the weathers of a long marriage, and an acknowledgment of mortality. Whether writing with sly humor or emotional directness, her voice compels attention—it is clear-eyed and assessing, poignant and wise.
The poetry in Danielle Pieratti’s Approximate Body reflects upon the dramas of domestic life with equal parts cynicism, nostalgia, and grief. Richly narrative, fragmented, and featuring a variety of landscapes suburban, tropical, and ancient, these poems affirm an intricate mix of guilt and longing, proclaiming that “if I’ve loved / anything it has not been / enough.”
In Sonnets with Two Torches and One Cliff, Robert Thomas presents eighty nontraditional sonnets that explore love and jealousy—the traditional obsessions of sonnets—from nontraditional angles. Other galaxies are jealous of Earth in these heartbreaking, funny, ecstatic, profound, and never boring poems. “What if creatures in other galaxies / have a vague sense that something is missing, / but don’t know it’s Little Richard, Shakespeare, / and cornbread with plum jam?”
The poems of Ron Slate’s Joy Ride look for the connections and listen for the echoes between world events, family lore, work, mortality, and art. Slate examines the intangibility of the past by exploring the notion of storytelling itself—the stories we tell ourselves, our families, and our communities about the events that have shaped our experience.
This Long Winter contains meditations on life in the rural world: reflections on hard work, aging, and the ravages of time — erasures that Sutphen attempts to ameliorate with her careful attention to language. These poems move us from delight in precise description to wisdom and solace in the things of this world. These modern metaphysical poems are rooted in a love that calls to the things of this world (to steal a line from Richard Wilbur). Noticing its details, the snowflakes, clementines, the lilies, the cardinal’s call, is the key for this momentary stay against time that comes at us in a rush. The many mirror images in these poems of the poet in a window looking out but simultaneously reflecting back point to the complexity and hard, loving work of really living in the world.
The poems of Anthropocene Lullaby move from the micro to the macro, from dragonflies to galaxies, from the intersecting forces of climate change, capitalism, and digital technologies to intersecting anxieties of selfhood and motherhood. These lyric and prose poems track change: underway and inevitable, personal and impersonal, generative and apocalyptic. The title poem sets in motion some of the collection’s concerns:
These poems are a kaleidoscopic journey across locales ranging from the West Texas desert to the bustling streets of Rome, from the social realm of festivity and ritual to the privacy of the imagination. Along the way, the search for meaning and stability within a world in constant flux is enlivened by a surrealist vitality. Cezanne and Shakespeare’s Caliban commingle with indie rock musicians and Humpy-Dumpty. A mystical encounter with an Edward Hopper painting butts heads with the mundanity of waking again to one’s morning routine. Poems of wry self-deprecation are juxtaposed with quiet meditations on memory, grief, and the relationship between the self and the cosmos.
Out Beyond the Land refracts the subtle moments in nature where what is seen and unseen twists and loops back, gently nudging the speaker to question how knowledge is formed and memorialized. Using the Latin’s “A priori” and “A posteriori” as a starting point, these lyrics work to form a kind of double helix in which the strands of empirical knowledge and intuitive knowledge twist and become one. In the silence that follows, the speaker comes to terms with both her attachment to nature’s permanence and nature’s solid independence from our attachment.
Dan Rosenberg’s third collection moves from loss into parenthood, exploring the roles of husband and father: their limits, their possibilities, and how they intersect with the wider world. Grounded in the familial, these poems wrestle with the political and the ecological, with heritage and hope, reimagining the breadth of home and what it means for one man to raise another to love it.