Over and over, the poems in Justin Bigos’s Mad River call on the Divine. But paying attention is also a kind of prayer, and Bigos’s poetry does just that by invoking the details of the world it asks us to inhabit. Whether in Texas, Pittsburgh, or Chicago, these poems shimmer.—C. Dale Young, author of The Halo
“These are astonishing and unforgettable poems, poems of loneliness and mercy, of violence and grace. Justin Bigos has written here one of the best books of poetry I’ve read in a very long time—monumental, memorial, and alive!” —Matt Hart, author of Radiant Action and Radiant Heart.
Justin Bigos is the author of a previous collection of poems, the chapbook Twenty Thousand Pigeons (iO, 2014). His writing has appeared in publications including Ploughshares, Indiana Review, Forklift Ohio, McSweeney’s Quarterly, and The Best American Short Stories 2015. He cofounded and coedits the literary journal Waxwing and makes his home in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he teaches at Northern Arizona University. His poems “Three Rivers” and “Prayer After Refusing to Pray” appeared in NER 33.4.
Mad River can be purchased at your local independent bookseller or online.
Rachel Hadas’s new translation of the Iphigenia plays carves out its own space among recent translations of Euripides. None of them are quite so vivid, so contemporary, or (above all) so full of poetic interest. For those serious readers of poetry, Hadas’s translation will also stand out as constantly intriguing, inventive, and various.—John Talbot, author of Rough Translation: Poems
From the publisher: Poet and translator Rachel Hadas highlights the lyricism, emotion, and sheer humanity of Euripides’s plays. Mordant humor is here; so are heartbreak and tenderness. Hadas offers an Iphigenia story that resonates with our own troubled times and demonstrates anew the genius of one of the world’s supreme dramatists.
Rachel Hadas is a professor of English at Rutgers University–Newark, and is the author of many books of poetry, essays, and translations, including Questions in the Vestibule (Northwestern, 2016) and Strange Relation: A Memoir of Marriage, Dementia, and Poetry. She is the editor (with Peter Constantine, Edmund Keeley, and Karen Van Dyck) of the anthology The Greek Poets: Homer to the Present. Her work, both poetry and nonfiction, has appeared in many issues of NER to list, most recently in 36.1.
The Iphigenia Plays can be purchased at your local bookstore or directly from the publisher.
Hayes addresses this marvelous series of 70 free-verse sonnets to his potential assassin: a nameless, faceless embodiment of America’s penchant for racially motivated violence. The poems are redolent of his signature rhythmic artistry and wordplay . . . Inventive as ever, Hayes confronts America’s myriad ills with unflinching candor, while leaving space for love, humor, and hope. —Publishers Weekly
From the publisher: In seventy poems bearing the same title, Terrance Hayes explores the meanings of American, of assassin, and of love in the sonnet form. Written during the first two hundred days of the Trump presidency, these poems are haunted by the country’s past and future eras and errors, its dreams and nightmares. Inventive, compassionate, hilarious, melancholy, and bewildered—the wonders of this new collection are irreducible and stunning.
Terrance Hayes is the author of Lighthead, winner of the 2010 National Book Award; Wind in a Box; Hip Logic; and Muscular Music, winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. In 2014 he was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowshop. He teaches at the University of Pittsburgh. Several of his sonnets from this collection were published in NER 39.1.
American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin can be found at your local bookstore or online.
Hummel . . . presents a polished, droll, and provocative art-world thriller . . . With a cast of strong and complicated female characters, headed by a determined, reckless, funny, and imperiled amateur sleuth, Hummel crafts a shrewd and suspenseful inquiry into womanhood and the dark side of the art market, punctuated by striking variations on identity, portraiture, and “still lives.”—Booklist
“In this taut take on noir, misogyny, and the art of responsible storytelling, Hummel (Motherland, 2014, etc.) balances the glitz and glam of the Los Angeles art world with the town tourists don’t often see, from peeling, postwar bungalows to skid row tent cities and suffering junkies . . . This is a whip-smart mystery and a moving meditation on the consumption of female bodies all rolled into one.” —Kirkus Reviews
Maria Hummel is the author of the poetry collection House and Fire, winner of the 2013 APR/Honickman First Book Prize, and two novels: Motherland (Counterpoint, 2014) and Wilderness Run (St. Martin’s, 2003). Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in Poetry, Narrative, the Sun, the New York Times, and the centenary anthology The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of Poetry Magazine. A Stegner Fellow, she taught at Stanford for nine years. She lives in Vermont with her husband and two sons, and teaches at the University of Vermont. Her short story “No Others Before Me” appeared in NER 31.2.
Still Lives can be purchased at your local bookstore or online.
Lisa Lewis writes of complex women as friends, mothers, sisters, “cat ladies,” dog walkers, and lovers. She writes with an astute awareness of class dynamics, the earth’s peril as a result of our violence, and our violent America—past and present. —Denise Duhamel
From the publisher: In Taxonomy of the Missing, Lisa Lewis’s sixth collection of poetry, the past is present, finely-detailed and filtered, but never diminished by, the kind of tender regret that accrues only after decades of lived experience.
Lisa Lewis‘s previous books include The Unbeliever (Brittingham Prize), Silent Treatment (National Poetry Series), Vivisect, Burned House with Swimming Pool (American Poetry Journal Prize), and The Body Double. A chapbook titled Story Box was also published as winner of the Poetry West Chapbook Contest. Lewis’s poem “Dry Hollows” appeared in NER 36.4.
Taxonomy of the Missing can be purchased directly from the publisher.
The Bible of Dirty Jokes is a bawdy and absorbing read—a madcap mystery about family secrets, small time stand-up comedy and big-time crimes. Visit the back alleys of the Borscht Belt and the underworld beyond with Eileen Pollack, one of our finest, and funniest, writers.—Claire Vaye Watkins
From the publisher: In The Bible of Dirty Jokes, Eileen Pollack (Breaking and Entering, A Perfect Life) brings to life the hilarious and moving history of Borscht Belt comedy, Catskills resorts, and the notorious Jewish mob, Murder Inc. In a novel that reads like a cross between The Sopranos and a Sarah Silverman special, Pollack bestows on American literature a protagonist for the ages, the wisecracking, starry-eyed, endlessly generous and forgiving Ketzel Weinrach.
Eileen Pollack is the award-winning author of nine books of fiction and nonfiction. In addition to The Bible of Dirty Jokes (Four Way Books 2018), Breaking and Entering (2012), she has published In The Mouth (2008), and is the recipient of various fellowships. Her stories and essays have appeared in the Best American series and elsewhere; she has been published by NER multiple times, most recently in 32.4. Pollack lives in Manhattan and Ann Arbor, where she teaches on the faculty of the Helen Zell MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan.
The Bible of Dirty Jokes can be found at your local bookstore or online.
All the distinguishing characteristics we’ve come to associate with Elizabeth Spires’ poems—their shimmering clarity, verbal restraint, and self-interrogations—are enacted in this new work of meticulous surfaces and surprising depths… — Michael Waters, author of Celestial Joyride
From the publisher: In A Memory of the Future, Elizabeth Spires details the search for a core identity, meditating on the necessary divide between the social persona who navigates the world and the artist’s secret self. As the poems move from Zen reflections outward into the identifiable worlds of Manhattan and Maryland’s Eastern shore, houses, both real and imagined, become metaphorical extensions of the self and psyche.
Elizabeth Spires is the author of seven poetry collections, including Worldling and The Wave-Maker. Her poetry has appeared in the Atlantic and the New Yorker, among others. A professor at Goucher College, she lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Her poetry was featured in NER 35.1.
A Memory of the Future can be purchased directly from the publisher.
C. Dale Young’s stories masterfully illuminate the moments in which regret and longing and grace powerfully collide—and transform the topography of a life. The Affliction is an exhilarating collection: I emerged deeply grateful for the existence of this book.—Laura van den Berg
From the publisher: Young writes of people who know what it is to be disappeared—desaparecidos—and of those who know what it is to have to hide. He renders the grueling, distorting effect of such disappearances on individuals and on those who know them in love or fear or wonder. The Affliction provides powerful testament to the notion of stories as resistance to loss. This is a book of necessary, clear-hearted affirmation in troubled times.
C. Dale Young practices medicine full-time and teaches in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. He is the author of four poetry collections, most recently The Halo (Four Way Books, 2016); The Affliction: A Novel in Stories (Four Way Books, 2018) is his first fiction collection. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. His fiction and poetry have appeared in many publications, including the Atlantic Monthly, Guernica, the Hopkins Review, Normal School, the Paris Review, and Ploughshares, as well as anthologies and several editions of The Best American Poetry.
The Affliction: A Novel in Stories can be purchased at your local independent bookseller or online.