NER congratulates U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey on the publication of a new poetry collection, Thrall (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). Included in the book is the poem “Elegy,” which originally appeared in this magazine’s pages in 2010. “Elegy” has been frequently republished (including in The New York TImes and The Guardian), and was the subject of a recent essay on its origins and composition at The Atlantic. More excerpts from Thrall, including “Elegy,” “Mano Prieta,” and “Mythology,” may be found online at the book’s ordering pages at Barnes & Noble and Powell’s. As the magazine noted in June, Trethewey began contributing to NER in 1999, and has published poems in issues 20.2, 22.4 (“The Southern Crescent”), 23.4 (“Translation,” “After Your Death”), 25.4 (“Genus Narcissus,” “Myth”), 27.2 (“from Taxonomy”), 30.4 (“Elegy,” “Knowledge”), and 32.3 (“Dr. Samuel Adolphus Cartwright on Dissecting the White Negro, 1851”).
“Another writer with Paula Bohince’s gift for the ravishing image—and such writers are very few—would have us on our guard. We are wary of beauty; we have seen too often what beauty leaves out. But Bohince, in her magical capture of the material world, scorns all euphemizing edits; ‘the condom listing against milk-/weed’ is registered as scrupulously in these pages as are the combs of the abandoned hive. Which makes these poems transformative in the true and difficult sense: they bestow on the world the blessing of having-been-seen. And beauty too: ‘Something to recall / as beautiful, in the future. As the sewer was / in summer. Little childhood river.'” (Linda Gregerson)
“It is a great boon that British biographer Gordon Bowker, who has written lives of Malcolm Lowry, George Orwell and Lawrence Durrell, should have taken on this task, and better yet that he has produced such a fine portrait of the artist and the man who was James Joyce . . . Instead of being daunted by Joyce having in a sense got there before him, Bowker makes this a strength, as he skillfully presents incidents and experiences both as they happened in life and, suitably transformed to varying degrees, on the page . . . the reader has the best of both worlds, being informed—or in the case of those already familiar with the books, reminded—both of the glories of Joycean fiction and of their roots in his life. Never reductive, genuinely attuned to both Joyce’s fictive methodology and his human qualities, Bowker manages to be immensely sympathetic to his subject while managing to preserve necessary critical distance and acuity.” (Martin Rubin, San Francisco Chronicle)
“Collier’s sixth collection engages with childhood, fatherhood, and family life, in the living present and memorial past, a history explored with brilliantly precise detail and originality of perspective.” (Publishers Weekly)
“[W]e can make of what would blind us a conduit for changed vision, suggests Corral. In these poems, a cage implies all the rest that lies outside it; any frame frames a window through which to see other possibilities unfolding… Like Hayden, Corral resists reductivism. Gay, Chicano, ‘Illegal-American,’ that’s all just language, and part of Corral’s point is that language, like sex, is fluid and dangerous and thrilling, now a cage, now a window out. In Corral’s refusal to think in reductive terms lies his great authority. His refusal to entirely trust authority wins my trust as a reader.” (Carl Phillips, from the Foreword)
“Lock’s work seems to emanate…from an essential strangeness, an estrangement from easily agreed-upon psychologies, from popular culture, from anything resembling a zeitgeist. It is marked by an eerie tonality and an intense, unsettled intellectual curiosity—a Lock novel might take place during any time period, anywhere in the world.” (Dawn Raffel)
“Wonderful…You & Me is by turns hilarious, depressing, gnomic, smutty, and just a far better Saturday night than anything to be had in Jacksonville and Baskersfield combined.” (BookForum)
“…swaggering genius and ribald wit.” (Vanity Fair)
“Inukshuk is a feat of empathy and honesty, a taut tale of fear and resentment and other threats from within, meticulously observed and fearlessly rendered in vivid, authoritative, gripping prose. It’s a virtuoso performance.” (Doug Dorst)
“A liberating push-back against the idea of economy. More play, more improvisation, and more defiantly deadpan humor – this is the vital shot-in-the-arm American poetry needs.” (D. A. Powell)
“If Fred Astaire could write, it might sound like this: practiced, complex, graceful…These are a sequence of anecdotes daring to love again, dreaming in daylight.” (Grace Cavalieri)
“Manguso’s writing manages, in carefully honed bursts of pointed, poetic observation, to transcend the darkness and turn it into something beautiful.”—Heller McAlpin, Barnes and Noble
Winner of the 2011 Barnard Women Poets Prize, Our Lady of the Ruins tracks a group of women through their pilgrimage in a mid-apocalyptic world. Exploring war, plagues, and the search for a new God in exile, these poems create a chorus of wanderers haunted by empire, God, and personal trauma.
“…part Dylan Thomas, part saint’s legend and part Tolkien.” —Publishers Weekly Review
“Lucia Perillo isn’t just a strikingly original poet; she’s a top-notch fiction writer as well. The stories in this bleakly funny and harrowing collection are reminiscent of both Raymond Carver and Denis Johnson, but the vision than animates them is Perillo’s own, unique and unmistakable.” —Tom Perrotta
“Perillo’s poetic persona is funny, tough, bold, smart, and righteous. A spellbinding storyteller and a poet who makes the demands of the form seem as natural as a handshake, she pulls readers into the beat and whirl of her slyly devastating descriptions.”—Booklist
“Nowhere else in American poetry do I come across a passion, a cunning, and a joy greater than his. And a deadly accuracy. I see him as one of the supreme poets of his generation.”–Gerald Stern
“(Holdefer’s) funny novel describes a maturing pro athlete’s often bumpy transition from youthful dreams to mainstream American life.” —Publisher’s Weekly
“Paisley Rekdal’s quiet virtuosity with rhyme and cadence, her syntactic fidelity to thought and sensation, her analytical intelligence that keeps homing in and in, her ambitious sentences and larger formal structures that try to embody with absolute accuracy the difference between what we ought to feel and what we really do feel—all these make her unique in her generation . . .”—Tom Sleigh
From his early spare poems written in Spain to the recent ruminative work exploring language, tradition (often Jewish and diasporic) and the self, this book collects four decades of Michael Heller’s “tone perfect poems” as George Oppen described them. Enriched with the detailed landscapes of the phenomenal world and mind, This Constellation Is a Name confirms Michael Heller’s place at the forefront of contemporary American poetry.