Ray McDaniel

L’Heure Bleue, or the Judy Poems

Elisa Gabbert

Neat encapsulation of a book’s central concept or conceit serves every genre well save poetry. The very idea of asking of a book of poetry “What’s it about?” is suspect. Though we can always answer that question in greater or lesser detail, it seems that…

Trouble the Water

Derrick Austin

I’m fascinated by the adjective inhuman. Applied to non-human subjects, it is redundant; applied to human ones, it is false by definition. It’s the tautology of how a thing is never more or less than itself that guarantees the falsehood. Nothing that is human can…

A Small Story About the Sky

Alberto Ríos

I cannot remember now where I first heard it or from whom, but as a dismissal of poets and poetry it made an impression: a poet is someone who sees a bird outside their window and makes a big goddamned deal out of it. The…

Garments Against Women

Anne Boyer

It’s hard to figure out exactly how to praise Anne Boyer, not because she doesn’t leave copious evidence of brilliance, diligence, wit, and ethical rigor, but because I can think of no poet who has less interest in or greater distrust of the ideas of…

Playtime

William Fuller

It is not a habit I would endorse, but sometimes I read poems as if they were records of actual proceedings, events provoked by circumstances other than those the poet occasioned simply for the sake of writing a poem. In other words, I choose to…

The Self Unstable

Elisa Gabbert

Although The Self Unstable is her third book, Elisa Gabbert’s dominant mode of publication is the tweet, of which she is queen. As of circa right this moment, she has composed almost 45,000 of them, and, happily, she knows no sign of stopping or slowing…

Hymn for the Black Terrific

Kiki Petrosino

Hymn for the Black Terrific is three tiny books bound together. The first section, “Oiseau Rebelle,” is as close as Petrosino comes to a miscellany, in that its poems don’t bear an obvious relationship to each other; the second section, “Mulattress,” is a ten-poem showcase…

Young Tambling

Kate Greenstreet

In lieu of blurbs, the back cover of Young Tambling simply reads Based on a true story. Thanks to the quality of the design, this humble claim is both comic and sort of sublime. It’s comic, of course, because being based on a true story…

Dear Editor: Poems

Amy Newman

It is a pity that Amy Newman’s Dear Editor sounds like such a terrible idea, because it is in fact a smart and beautiful book, one that proves no concept, however halt in principle, is a match for someone hellbent on its execution. In this…