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Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, Susan Blackwell Ramsey’s A Mind Like This is a work of humor and wit, unexpectedly delightful and full of surprises as it reflects on the oddness of everyday life, the natural world, literary history, popular culture, and more. Everything is fair game for Ramsey, who finds poetry in love and sickness and life, of course, but also in knitting and unreliable bladders and the peculiar name of Kalamazoo. Neruda makes an appearance, as do Eric Clapton and Brahms, Leonard and Virginia Woolf, and Jimmy Stewart. Whether observing the pickled heads of Peter the Great’s offenders, wondering “How to Seduce Henry David Thoreau,” becoming the insecure voice of Kalamazoo, or puzzling over the intricacies of the mind that blocks a dear friend’s birthday while preserving the name of Emily Dickinson’s dog in perpetuity, Ramsey’s collection is wise and funny, allusive and deeply felt.
Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, Susan Gubernat’s The Zoo at Night reflects with subtle craft on the dark side of love, death, the family romance, carnality, and lofty aspirations. She thinks of her poems as “night thoughts” resembling nocturnes, in which “a bit of light leaks in.” Both experimental and classic, Gubernat’s poems combine formal and free verse elements. A (mostly) unrhymed sonnet sequence seeks to recall the world of a pre-digital childhood when physical objects—tactile, mechanical—took on totemic import and magical significance. Other poems echo the Rilkean principle that poetry can be empathetic by looking outward at the “thingness” of the world. In these works of love and longing, Gubernat enters through the doors of craft and exits with feeling.
In Kara Candito's prize-winning debut collection a "garish/human theatre" comes to life against richly textured geographic and psychic landscapes. These poems are high-speed meditations on a world where Walter Benjamin meets the "glitzy chain-link of Chanel scarves" and Puccini's Tosca meets the din of the Times Square subway station. Ferociously witty and intensely lyrical, Taste of Cherry speaks to us in a language that is simultaneously private and public, sensual and cerebral.
From sensual pleasures and perils, moments and memories of darkness and light, the poems in Orlando Ricardo Menes’s new collection sew together stories of dislocation and loss, of survival and hope, of a world patched together by a family over five generations of diaspora. This is Menes’s tapestry of the Americas. From Miami to Cuba, Panama to Bolivia and Peru, through the textures, sounds, colors, shapes, and scents of exile and emigration, we find refuge at last in a sense of wholeness and belonging residing in this intensely felt, finely crafted poetry.
A series of poems about ordinary women piecing together their own significance.
Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry, Shane Book?s collection, Ceiling of Sticks, is a powerful and unflinching sort of documentary poetics. It bears elegiac witness to the effects of global politics on individual lives. Book?s poems carry us to Uganda, Ghana, Mali, Trinidad, and Canada?s west coast; from a religious sacrifice in Tarahumara, Mexico, to Book?s ailing grandfather?s bedside. They bring an intimate vision of humanity to scenes of inhuman atrocity and suffering; a moment of clarity and empathy to individuals overwhelmed by war or other man-made catastrophes. The attentiveness of the poems and meditative lyrics reveal a careful allegiance to their subjects and a fearless refusal to turn away. Filled with experiences of Africa and Latin America, California and the Caribbean, family and lost love, these poems resonate with the intensity of truth as it is lived and written.
Colliding with and confronting The Tempest and postcolonial identity, the poems in Safiya Sinclair's Cannibal explore Jamaican childhood and history, race relations in America, womanhood, otherness, and exile. She evokes a home no longer accessible and a body at times uninhabitable, often mirrored by a hybrid Eve/Caliban figure. Blooming with intense lyricism and fertile imagery, these full-blooded poems are elegant, mythic, and intricately woven. Here the female body is a dark landscape; the female body is cannibal. Sinclair shocks and delights her readers with her willingness to disorient and provoke, creating a multitextured collage of beautiful and explosive poems.

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