In this first, full-length collection of provocative, lavish verse, the mystical Islamic poet Saba Syed Razvi draws contemporary currents of political concern and cultural identity through the sieve of inherited mythos and ecstatic awareness. The poems of In the Crocodile Gardens blossom out of the liminal moments in which familiar narratives begin to unravel, exploring the nature of transgression in emotionally contractual situations that have not retained their structural integrity. The poetry of In the Crocodile Gardens was nominated for a 2016 Rhysling Award and won the 2016 Best Independent American Poetry Award. In the Crocodile Gardens was also a finalist for the 2017 Elgin Award.
In Historians of Redundant Moments, two sisters—twins—grow up in post-1977 Kolkata, ruminating on the meaning of home, political dissent, history, and memory. Narrated primarily through prose poems, this collection gazes at the ideologies of middle-class secular-Hindu Bengali domesticity through children’s eyes. In maximalist language that piles one image on another, the poems in this book couch the perspectives of these little girls at its very center. The twins observe horrors that turn adult women into objects, and objects into living beings, as they try to find a space of their own within larger political histories of radical resistance and state violence. Historians of Redundant Moments compels the reader to regard domestic spaces with a sense of the uncanny, to admit horror, and to reflect on the processes through which little girls become political subjects, in hitherto uncharted ways.
Melding scholarship and artistic reflection, Anaïs Nin: An Unprofessional Study guides readers through the movements and architectures of Nin’s writing. This dense, melodic book combines critical essays with prose poems, a film treatment for A Spy in the House of Love, a concept for choreography based on Children of the Albatross, and instructions for a conceptual art installation centered around Nin’s life, energy, and aesthetic. Using his own lyric sensibilities and love of language as a compass, Kazim Ali explores what possibilities Nin’s body of work might hold, and what limitations it might transcend.
The poems in Girl Torpedo address gendered injustice, and the ways in which violence against women is often condoned or ignored. Rife with sass and swagger, these poems are reclamation spells, war cries, elegies for girlhood stolen, and amulets for the unborn. They chart the delights and dreads of mother-love, and wrestle with the responsibility of living in both privilege & marginalization, especially in terms of negotiating power of the body. Invoking a sisterhood of survival with language rendered in velocity and volatility, Girl Torpedo wants to sink the old battleship and resurface whole.
Strut, Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie’s second book of poetry, emerges from an intense engagement with our historical moment. These poems are just as much about injustice, struggle, and survival as they are about transcendence and love. Readers will find themselves immersed in the intersections that connect climate change, capitalism, genocide, racism, misogyny, and mental illness. This work honors the gorgeousness of life, even while bearing witness to the ugliness that accompanies—and often seems to permeate—the human experience. Strut is a celebration of self-acceptance, ancestry, love, sensuality, and resilience. It’s not a book of answers, but a blessed, influenced weaving together of shadow and light.
Come Along With Me to the Pasture Now,
by Arielle Greenberg
Described by the author as “my dropping-out book,” Arielle Greenberg’s Come Along With Me to the Pasture Now recounts (and interrogates) her decision to leave a cosmopolitan lifestyle and academic career, and to relocate with her family to a rural area. Throughout this book, the poet returns again and again to the concept of community: what relationship(s) do we have with the people and environments that surround us? How do we collectively define our spiritual and cultural priorities? How can we do so in ways that increase our awareness of ourselves and of others—and without causing harm? These poems frequently remain uncomfortable in the face of accepted social certainties—and invitingly comfortable in moments of mystery and not-knowing.
turn around, BRXGHT XYXS, by Rosebud Ben-Oni
Down: The Alice Poems, by Erin Elizabeth Smith
These poems look at divorce through the lens of Alice’s journey through Wonderland, as the protagonist is propelled not by noble vision or quest, but rather because continued forward momentum is required for her survival. Down: The Alice Poems meditates on themes of desire and identity informed by a sense of place, while contemplating love, heartache, and the concepts of relinquishing and moving on.