Joyelle McSweeney

Cribs

Yunte Huang

Cribs spits tart pips of pithy, punny language, so it’s no surprise to find ecstatic blurbs glancing off the book’s back. Yet it is surprising that these blurbers fail to mention the one characteristic that separates this book from most others on the market—an insistent,…

Coming After: Essays on Poetry

Alice Notley

“It should be the poet’s business to test, continuously, current assumptions, rather than assume them. I find being a poet something that must start again all the time[…].” —from “Thinking and Poetry” The above passage from Alice Notley’s Coming After: Essays on Poetry should come…

Fourier Series

Josh Corey

Folded into an outsize, intricate engraving of a gorgeous (if bizarre) desert flower, Fourier Series is a lavish affair, a pleasure for the eye and the hand. The winner of the Fitzpatrick-O’Dinn Award for the Best Book Length Work of Constrained English Literature (!), the…

Guess Can Gallop

Heidi Lynn Staples

From the incestual mingling of verse and perversity, spring the delightfully monstrous poems of Heidi Lynn Staple’s Guess Can Gallop. Here, the dictions and directives of the dominant paradigm are reshaped to admit their covert content of hostility, prurience, and slippery fun. The volume opens…

Blackboards

Tomaz Salamun and Metka Krasovec

Over the past two decades, Tomaz Salamun has won an American following of a size and warmth rarely enjoyed by contemporary poets not writing in English and hailing from a country few U.S. readers could reliably locate on a map. It was not luck (alone)…

Shut Up Shut Down

Mark Nowak

Shut Up Shut Down is a book of powerful unities, in which academic methods and materials are put to passionate political use. These five documentary poems harness the energies of photography, narrative and dramatic form, syntactic fragmentation, anecdote and testimony, intertextuality, chronology and journalistic fact…

OXO

Pierre Alferi with photographs by Suzanne Doppelt, trans. by Cole Swensen

Three cheers for Cole Swensen and her consistent effort to bring contemporary French poetry to an English-reading audience. Her latest labor, OXO (the French title is the more pungent Kub Or), is the second Pierre Alferi title Swensen has translated, and it renovates the space-…

Born Two

Allison Cobb

Whereas most bildungsroman and autobiographies begin “I was born” and proceed to rattle off the date, the place, and the whole damn story, Allison Cobb’s Born Two won’t even take that much on faith. Its title, which is rendered born2 on its cover and Born…