Following are a few of my recommendations for recent titles and articles to add to your reading list.
✭ Li-Young Lee's lovely chapbook of eight new poems, The Word from His Song (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2016), was released earlier this year in a limited edition of 1,000 in celebration of the press's 40th anniversary. The collection is part of the excellent BOA Pamphlet Series begun in 1978. As of this writing, copies are still available from the publisher.
Chapbook Cover Art
✭ In her thoughtful interview at Michigan Quarterly Review, Jenni B. Baker of The Found Poetry Review talks about erasure poetry, at which she herself excels, the OuLiPo project, and the journal she founded and heads. Read Ryo Yamaguchi's "The Riches of Erasure: An Interview with Jenni B. Baker".
✭ This spring, Portland, Oregon-based Tavern Books published Piotr Florczyk's translations of Anna Swirszczynska's Building the Barricade, a collection of poems about the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. The collection, in both Polish and English, is introduced by Eavan Boland, who describes it as "a masterpiece of concision and a breviary of comfortless images." Swirszczynska (1909-1984) was a member of the Polish Resistance and a military nurse. Her spare, matter-of-fact poems speak to the enormous destruction and suffering that Swirszczynska witnessed and that left "the earth and the sky / . . . silent". The toll of violence and loss rightly leave a reader deeply unsettled.
✭ "There's help for the poem that ends with a whimper instead of a bang," says poet and publishing maven Diane Lockward. Diane joins a number of other poets at Adele Kenny's blog, The Music In It: Adele Kenny's Poetry Blog, in offering excellent suggestions for "Bringing a Poem to Closure".
✭ The second edition of Philip Metres's award-winning, book-length poem A Concordance of Leaves was published by Diode Editions. Meant to mark the occasion of his sister's wedding in Palestine, Concordance demonstrates Metres's great skill in conveying historical, cultural, political, religious, and familial differences while remaining open to the possibilities of bridging what divides. His is a sensitive, forgiving, ultimately hopeful voice. I also recommend Metres's Sand Opera (Alice James Books, 2015) and abu ghraib arias (Flying Guillotine Press, 2011). Most recently, he published Pictures at an Exhibition (Akron Poetry Series, 2016).