Jordan Davis

Lifer

Annette Basalyga

The less I think I know about a poet, the better the chance I’ll take to the book, as long as I can work out what I’m looking at and sail between oh that and I don’t get it. (Sometimes I like the comforts of…

Lighthead

Terrance Hayes

When the books are closed, I have the idea Terrance Hayes’s more memorable poems use lust as an engine; when I actually look at his poems, though, something weirder and shyer is animated there. “Woofer (When I Consider the African American),” from 2006’s Wind in…

Memoir and Essay

Michael Gottlieb

Michael Gottlieb’s Memoir and Essay is equal parts love letter to New York and knifetwisting account of how underground writing gets made. The thing about love letters to New York, though, is that New York doesn’t read anymore, and if it did, it wouldn’t pay…

Ghost Fargo

Paula Cisewski

Missing brother Her child’s late father Recurring name (A city they made a movie about as a joke) Carnivals Blood oranges Winter as the unmentionable omnipresent (like skyscrapers and hostility in New York) Vanished sea Chuckling, disgusted “Gods are so cool” I’ve been trying to…

A Village Life

Louise Glück

Louise Glück’s poems are really good at feeling bad. In “Retreating Figure,” the best poem in her Pulitzer-winning collection The Wild Iris, Glück imagines what God might say about His absence. Her best known poem remains “Mock Orange,” a one-page lyric in which she says…