New reads for the New Year! Here are four new and recent books from New England Review authors to add to your to-be-read pile.
Not Yet Transfigured (Orison Books) is the latest poetry collection from Eric Pankey. Seeing itself becomes a metaphysical activity in these poems, whether the object in view is the unmediated natural world or a work of art. Concluding with a major new prose poem, “Landscape in Theory: A Meditation,” Not Yet Transfigured is an essential volume for every lover of contemporary poetry. Pankey’s poems have made multiple appearances in the pages of NER, most recently in NER 34.1.
During lockdown, poets Marilyn Hacker and Karthika Naïr began writing Renga—a collaborative form of Japanese poetry—to each other, eventually building the collection A Different Distance, out now from Milkweed Editions. At turns poignant and playful, the seasons and sessions of A Different Distance display the compassionate, collective wisdom of two women witnessing a singular moment in history. Their poem “Renga Summer 2020” appeared in NER 42.2.
The stories in Hisham Bustani’s The Monotonous Chaos of Existence (Mason Jar Press) explore the turbulent transformation in contemporary Arab societies. With a deft and poetic touch, Bustani examines the interpersonal with a global lens, connects the seemingly contradictory, and delves into the ways that international conflict can tear open the individuals that populate his world—all while pushing the narrative form into new and unexpected terrain. Bustani’s story “Packing for a Trip to the Sea,” appeared in NER 42.3.
NER Nonfiction and Drama Editor J.M. Tyree’s latest book, Wonder, Horror, Mystery (Punctum Books) is a dialogue between two friends, both notable arts critics, that takes the form of a series of letters about movies and religion. One of the friends, J.M. Tyree, is a film critic, creative writer, and agnostic, while the other, Morgan Meis, is a philosophy PhD, art critic, and practicing Catholic. The question of cinema is raised here in a spirit of friendly friction that binds the personal with the critical and the spiritual. What is film? What’s it for? What does it do? Why do we so intensely love or hate films that dare to broach the subjects of the divine and the diabolical?
Visit our page on Bookshop.org for cumulative seasonal lists of NER author releases.