April Showers, May Flowers: 3 Recommendations from the Poetry Reviews Editor

Hafiz’s Little Book of Life (Translated by Gary Gach and Erfan Mojib), Hampton Roads Publishing (2023) Spring can make me want poems whose pleasure comes as quick and unexpected as the purple burst of a crocus. Luckily for me, a new translation of Hafiz, Hafiz’s Little Book of Life, has been at hand for many months, […]

Further Adventures

Norman Finkelstein’s Further Adventures is the last of a trilogy of collections centered around Pascal Wanderlust, a “strange, androgynous protagonist” whose “fate is bound to the Immanent Foundation.” We begin with the “Prologue” and are first introduced to the Arch-Mage, who immediately situates us in world of hierarchies and roles: The Arch-Mage of Nonsense is […]

Negro Mountain

The titular Negro Mountain in C.S. Giscombe’s latest collection is, foremost, a real place: a long ridge in the Allegheny Range of mountains, southwest Pennsylvania, situated directly atop the Mason-Dixon Line. According to word-of-mouth histories that Giscombe includes in the book, Negro Mountain gained its name in the 1750s when a “gigantic African” died in […]

The Book

Flipping through a beautiful new collection of poetry to find that it is actually a collection of prose poems is a little daunting. I worry that it will require a kind of energy that I don’t usually tap into when reading verse poetry. But from the first, Mary Ruefle’s new collection, The Book, turns that […]

The Dreams We Share

Raphael Block’s new collection, The Dreams We Share, is a work of sustained and reverent attention to the natural world. The poet’s fifth book, it contains eighty-nine poems in five sections, and names over a hundred different plants and nearly as many species of birds, animals, and insects. This abundance might suggest the volume reads […]

Tiny Extravaganzas

Diane Mehta’s Tiny Extravaganzas is an exploration of muses and isolation, and with references to Milton, Dante, and Whitman, her imagistic poems push language and forms to their extremes. Uniting the poems and creating a deep sense of fluidity is the inherent focus on the role art plays in living and existing in a world […]

If Some God Shakes Your House

Franklin reminds us that Tragedy may be the most appropriate response to tragedy in this fierce and accomplished work. Living with past trauma enlightens the present day at every turn, showing itself in small things. We contain tragedy, give tragedy a different voice, bounce tragedy off our environs and our reading lists, and still, there […]

The Upstate

In a time of environmental and civic toxicity, Lindsay Turner attends to our flailing integrity in her second collection, The Upstate, which opens with a screencast image of contemporary Eden and closes in contemplation of human need. Between, Turner introduces the effects of industrial pollution, seeks to weave protective spells in her community, and ultimately […]

Soft Apocalypse

Leah Nieboer’s stunning debut collection of poems, Soft Apocalypse, captures the visceral experience of a body—cosmically alone, contending with illness, often on the move—as her dislocated speaker passes through a series of fractured sites and shadowed scenes. Spare, crystalline lyrics with minimal capitalization and punctuation are scaffolded by prose poems at irregular intervals, each one […]

A Face Out of Clay

*** FORTHCOMING JUNE 2024 / THE MOUNTAIN/WEST POETRY SERIES *** Written at the convergence of imagination and memory, A Face Out of Clay delves deep into childhood experiences and cultural identity. Through eloquent verses and poignant imagery, alternating between narrative and lyric poems, the book paints a complicated portrait of a bi-national speaker. The poems […]