Here is a vast, courageous text investigating race, separation, the molecules of space, the love of his man, and many other parts of this Living Universe in an entirely fresh and exhilarating perspective. Here is the harmony I have been seeking. —CAConrad
From the publisher: In 1953, Yoko Ono wrote a score called “Secret Piece,” an open-ended formula for musical performance in a forest at daybreak. Beginning with this invitation to creation, and using essays, diary entries, prose maps, and verse fragments, Kazim Ali marks a path through quantum physics, sixth-century Chola Empire sculptures, the challenges of literary translation and of climate change, and destruction of a priceless set of handmade flutes by airport security. Amid shards from far-flung histories and geographies he finds the cosmos.
Kazim Ali is author of eighteen previous books, including poetry, novels, memoirs, and translations. Born in the United Kingdom to Muslim parents of Indian, Iranian, and Egyptian descent, he grew up in Canada and the U.S. and now teaches at Oberlin College.
Silver Road can be purchased directly from the publisher, Tupelo Press.
The Poetics of Tenderness hopes to turn the discussion of sexuality around—to substitute for ideas and figures of violence and predation much older and more durable associations of sex and love with care, affection, beauty, memory, worthiness and ideality . . . Poetics of Tenderness implicitly urges us to think a little better of one another.” —Robert Cantwell
From the publisher: A literary-critical essay on love, grounded in the developmental theory of the British psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott and shaped by recent work on the neurobiology and anthropology of love. Calling upon Andreus Capellanus, Plato, Schopenhauer, Freud, William James, Hardy, Dreiser and Fitzgerald, D. H. Lawrence and Tom Stoppard, among others . . . it argues for a resurrection of tenderness and holds out the possibility that love may yet be a source of sweetness and light.
Robert Cantrell has taught English and American Literature at Kenyon College, Georgetown University, and the Universities of Iowa and Exeter. His books include Bluegrass Breakdown: The Making of old Southern Sound, Ethnomimesis: Folklife and the Representation of Culture, When We Were Good: The Folk Revival, and If Beale Street Could Talk: Music, Community, Culture. He has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He is now professor emeritus of American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill.
The Poetics of Tenderness can be purchased directly from its publisher, Rowman & Littlefield.
Night Unto Night by Martha Collins finds common ground between such contradictions as beauty and horror, for and morality, the personal and the political. Collins suggests that dissonance is a permanent state, something to be occupied rather than solved. — Publisher’s Weekly
From the publisher: How can one reconcile the irreconcilable? In this masterful companion to Day Unto Day, Martha Collins finds common ground between contradictions—beauty and horror, joy and mortality, the personal and the political. These poems are powerfully alive, speaking to and revising each other, borrowing a word or a line before turning it on end. We are doomed to repeat mistakes, seasons, wars, words. Yet redemption beckons, too, in the persistence of empathy and love.
Martha Collins is the author of numerous collections of poems, most recently Night Unto Night and its companion, Day Unto Day. She has also published four collections of cotranslated Vietnamese poetry, including Black Stars: Poems by Ngo Tu Lap (with the author). She is currently editor-at-large for FIELD magazine and one of the editors of the Oberlin College Press.
Night Unto Night can be purchased directly from the publisher, Milkweed Editions.
Literary criticism, at least of a kind, meets literary memoir in this airy essay by novelist Holdefer. It’s an eyewitness account of how one writer found sustenance in another writer. — Kirkus Reviews
From the publisher: George Saunders’ Pastoralia is an exaggerated dystopia of late capitalist America, merging the spirit of James Thurber with the world of the Simpsons. In his entry in Ig’s acclaimed Bookmarked series, award-winning author Charles Holdefer addresses how Saunders captures the pain and absurdity of the American service sector, and does justice to the dignity of the people who struggle there.
Charles Holdefer has published four novels with the Permanent Press. His short fiction has appeared in many magazines, including the New England Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, North American Review, Los Angeles Review, Slice, and Yellow Silk. His story The Raptor won a Pushcart Prize in 2016. Holdefer grew up in Iowa and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Sorbonne. He currently teaches at the University of Poitiers, France.
George Saunders’ Pastoralia can be purchased directly from the publisher, Ig publishing.
Lee’s stillness and clarity alone, based on their rarity in contemporary poetry, make this a collection worth having. Add to that the depth of history, memory, and familial trauma and one is left with a stunning addition to an oeuvre already widely and deservedly appreciated. —Trevor Ketner, Junior Library Guild
From the publisher: The Undressing is a tonic for spiritual anemia; it attempts to uncover things hidden since the dawn of the world. Short of achieving that end, these mysterious, unassuming poems investigate the human violence and dispossession increasingly prevalent around the world, as well as the horrors the poet grew up with as a child of refugees. Lee draws from disparate sources, including the Old Testament, the Dao De Jing, and the music of the Wu Tang Clan. While the ostensive subjects of these layered, impassioned poems are wide-ranging, their driving engine is a burning need to understand our collective human mission.
Li-Young Lee was born in 1957 in Jakarta, Indonesia. His verse has earned numerous honors, including a Lannan Literary Award, a Paterson Poetry Prize, and an American Book Award. Lee lives in Chicago with his wife and two sons.
The Undressing can be purchased from its publisher, W. W. Norton & Company.
Richly depicting emotional interiority of its characters, Raeff’s novel reveals how the devastating effects of war and hidden secrets can impact lives across decades.—Publishers Weekly
From the publisher: Winter Kept Us Warm is an evocative story of family, strained by the cruelty of war and its generational repercussions. A novel of the heart, filled to the brim with unforgettable characters stitching together the deep threads of love, friendship, loyalty, and, of course, loss.
Anne Raeff‘s short story collection, The Jungle Around Us, won the 2015 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. The collection was a finalist for the California Book Award and named one of the 100 Best Books of 2016 by San Francisco Chronicle. Her stories and essays have appeared in Zyzzyva and Guernica, among other places. She lives in San Francisco with her wife and two cats.
Winter Kept Us Warm can be purchased from Counterpoint Press and independent booksellers.
Sotelo explores the power of mythologizing personal history in her striking debut . . . and from the start [she cultivates intimacy through moments of vulnerability . . . With humanity and raw honesty, Sotelo finds fresh ways to approach romance, family, and more. —Publishers Weekly
From the publisher: Selected by Ross Gay as winner of the inaugural Jake Adam York Prize, Analicia Sotelo’s debut collection of poems is a vivid portrait of the artist as a young woman . . . Sotelo walks the line between autobiography and mythmaking, offering up identities like dishes at a feast. These poems devour and complicate tropes of femininity—of naiveté, of careless abandon—before sharply exploring the intelligence and fortitude of women, how “far & wide, / how dark & deep / this frigid female mind can go.”
Blistering and gorgeous, Virgin is an audacious act of imaginative self-mythology from one of our most promising young poets.
Analicia Sotelo is the author of the chapbook Nonstop Godhead, selected by Rigoberto González and published by the Poetry Society of America in 2016. Her poems have appeared in the New Yorker, Kenyon Review, Boston Review, Antioch Review, Best New Poets, and elsewhere. The 2016 Disquiet International Literary Prize winner in Poetry, she is the recipient of scholarships from Squaw Valley and Image Text Ithaca. She holds an MFA from the University of Houston.
Virgin can be purchased online from Milkweed Editions.
Bianca Stone is a brilliant transcriber of her generation’s emerging pathology and sensibility. —John Ashbery, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet
From the publisher: The Möbius Strip Club of Grief is a collection of poems that weave in and out of a burlesque purgatory where the living pay—dearly, with both money and conscience—to watch the dead perform scandalous acts otherwise unseen: “$20 for five minutes. I’ll hold your hand in my own,” one ghost says. “I’ll tell you you were good to me.” Like Dante before her, Stone positions herself as the living poet passing through and observing the land of the dead. She imagines a feminist Limbo where women run the show and create a space to navigate the difficulties endured in life. With a nod to her grandmother Ruth Stone’s poem “The Möbius Strip of Grief,” Stone creates a labyrinthine underworld as a way to confront and investigate complicated family relationships in the hopes of breaking the never-ending cycle of grief.
Bianca Stone is the author of Someone Else’s Wedding Vows (Octopus Books and Tin House, 2014) and Poetry Comics from the Book of Hours (Pleiades Press, 2014). She lives with her husband, the poet Ben Pease, and their daughter, Odette, in Goshen, Vermont.
The Möbius Strip Club of Grief can be purchased from Tin House or your independent bookseller.