The poems in this collection are of remembering, not only the anguish and isolation of the global pandemic, during which most were written, but also remembering as a creative or restorative force. Max Garland’s poems walk on a wire of remnant faith that even in the news-glutted age of social media, there’s a role for poetry, “…news that Stays news,” as one poet put it nearly a century ago. There’s an evocative range: from the surrealistic conjurings of a child’s mind at bedtime, to the fragmented memory of an aging widow, struggling to recall the details of her life, or if not the details, at least the emotional truth of that life, realizing that for her, “Memory is more like poetry than poetry.” A first-generation college student, Garland left a ten-year career as a mail carrier to pursue his love of poetry. He earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa in 1989 and has been teaching since 1990; currently, he is Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Garland was Wisconsin Poet Laureate 2013-2014.
From Minnesotan author and jazz musician, Richard Terrill’s Essentially is an essay collection that explores what is most essential to him, from the difficult lives of jazz musicians, to trout fishing, to the shifting population and mores of suburbia. “Here’s the thing,” Terrill writes. “There’s always the thing, isn’t there, and most often, not just one?” Terrill asks through this series of wide-ranging, funny, and sometimes gut-punchingly vulnerable essays, What is essential? Maybe trout fishing, the music of Bill Evans, or the whys of dog ownership. Maybe Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story, WeChat messaging app, a musician’s early hearing loss, and spying on the neighbors. Or maybe the coming apocalypse, almost getting lost in the woods, trespassing, town clean-up days, and the reason Miles Davis never listened to his own recordings. At times self-effacing and funny, at times outspoken and provocative, Terrill fixes a clear eye on the contradictions in our present moment. “We’re at that point in a journey where you know where you’re going, but you don’t know where you are,” he writes. “The destination should come anytime now.”
Jordemoder: Poems of a Midwife Poetry by Ingrid Andersson Holy Cow! Press, April 2022
Jordemoder is an age-old Swedish word for midwife. It means earth/land/world mother and reflects Ingrid Andersson’s poetry and practice as a midwife, as well as her background as an immigrant farmer’s daughter. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in Scandinavian Studies, German literature and anthropology, she worked in countries where access to equitable health care, education, safe and humane environments and food felt more prioritized than in America. Returning to America, she began working as a health care activist and promoting midwifery models of care. As a licensed board-certified nurse midwife, she has caught more than 1000 babies at home. This is Ingrid Andersson’s debut collection of poetry.
Spirit Matters: White Clay, Red Exits, Distant Others Poetry by Gordon Henry Holy Cow! Press, June 2022
Spirit Matters by Gordon Henry offers readers a view into shadow spheres, of creative memory, reinvention of storied characters and place. These serve as reminders of how poetry might turn longing back to the very sound that memory makes as a means to honor the imaginative lives of people and place. Spirit Matters is a collection of poetry informed by irretrievable letters of loss, love, and trauma, forged by musing on imagined relatives – living, dead, yet to be – shaped by the spirit of places we can never return to without understanding the living power of memory, story, and song. Gordon Henry is an enrolled member/citizen of the White Earth Anishinaabe Nation in Minnesota. He is also a Professor in the English Department at Michigan State University, where he teaches American Indian Literature and Creative Writing. He serves as Senior Editor of the American Indian Studies Series at Michigan State University Press.