Every year I go to the AWP bookfair with a list of books I know I want. Every year I buy a lot of books but fail to buy most of the books I want for the following lame reasons: Couldn’t find book, spend all book money at bar, got distracted by another handsome cover, got momentarily disgusted with the whole thing, ran out of time, intercepted by friend, confused book with another book etc. No more! Some dear people have books of poems coming out this year and dammit I want to read them and support those presses. Here they are in no particular order. What else should I put on this list?
Forty-One Jane Doe’s (Ahsahta Press) – Carrie Olivia Adams – I’m doing a bunch of readings with Carrie this summer. Jenny Boully’s blurb is pretty right on: “I am in love with how Carrie Olivia Adams captures the visible and the invisible, how she wonders about pinpricks and stars, possibility and fate, how she demonstrates that seasons are incidents, snowflakes are clues. Her world is one of startling moments and minutiae, the mystery of the sublime and the mystery of the everyday. Her poetry reminds us to always pay attention, to always be in awe.” —Jenny Boully
Rewilding (Ahsahta Press) – Jasmine Dreame Wagner - Jasmine hosted me for a reading once and I spent all of the non-reading parts sick. But I imagine the conversations we would have had were awesome. Check out this poem.
Eyelid Lick (Fence) – Donald Dunbar - I know psychedelic is used to describe Donald’s work but it’s a really peculiar, potent kind of psychedelia–what relationships between humans could be.
Thunderbird (Wave) – Dorothea Lasky – I probably don’t need to say anything. You know Dotty; you love her. I’ve just been waiting to get my hands on this.
Black God (Blue Square Press) – Ben Spivey – Prose Exception. Psychedelic probably fits Ben’s narrative too: houses in the sky, beaches with littered with living rooms, gorgeous recursive loops.
The Fact of the Matter (Milkweed Editions) – Sally Keith - I feel like Sally’s poems remind me how language works, down to the final pixel.
Bhanu Kapil – ANYTHING. I’m a dope for not having read any of her work. Here is part of her explanation for why she isn’t going to AWP this year:
6. I would strip off and cover myself in buffalo dung and lie down on the lobby carpet of the conference hotel. Understandably, it would be hard to obtain buffalo dung in Boston in mid-winter. So, would probably spend time in hotel room with a heated face flannel over my face.
7. Also, I got overwhelmed the last time. I remember talking to Myung Mi Kim about fragments: how they oscillate, quiver and cohere like radical, sloppy ice. She didn’t say sloppy ice. But maybe, in Boston, that is what fragments would be like. Anyway, I liked talking about fragments and drinking coffee with my real-life heroine.
8. Nothing is real.
Absent Receiver (SpringGun Press) – Michael Flatt – I know nothing about Michael’s work BUT he does have a mean beard, comes from Buffalo, might be coming to Buffalo, and is doing some readings with me this summer. So…
Night Moves (Publishing Genius) – Stephanie Barber - Composed from the YouTube comment thread of Bob Seger’s Night Moves. Stephanie is a hero and pillar of the port city of Baltimore. That’s all you need to know.
Tenuous Chapel (ABZ Press) – Melissa Tuckey - Clear-sighted, engaged, more human than humans, Melissa was a DC titan who has now moved on to the Elysian fields (Ithaca).
Too Rich For My Blood -
I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women – This is a blockbuster anthology. But I just can’t bring myself to buy one book for 40 bucks when I can buy eight books on the last day of AWP for 40 bucks.
What am I missing? What should I read? Who published something but didn’t spam it around?