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Eleven Poetry Recommendations for Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month

 

EACH MONTH, Orion’s poetry editor, Camille Dungy, and friends recommend environmentally engaged poetry collections they think our readers might enjoy. This month we’re honoring Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month with a fresh list of excellent recent collections from new and familiar poets. Take note and add some to your reading list! 

 

Camille Dungy Recommends:

 

 

Transversal by Urayoán Noel


That I am writing this mini-review only in English means I will leave out huge parts of what makes Transversal such a wonder and whopper to read. Moving fluidly between English, Spanish, Spanglish, and even more, this book uses language as a tool (read: monkey wrench; read: hammer; read: carabineer clip; read: steam engine; read: love). If the place we call New York is an archipelago . . . If one of the worst hurricanes in history shares a name with our grandmother . . . If the weight and worth of the bats under Congress Bridge are immeasurable . . . If a short poem written on a plastic bodega bag is a bagku . . . If what at first appear to be translations tell their own stories . . .  If rigidly adhering to received forms allows radical transformation . . . Then this . . . . (University of Arizona Press)

 

 

April on Olympia by Lorna Dee Cervantes


One of the major voices in Chicanx literature will publish a new collection this fall. April on Olympia is a keenly observed, politically charged, uncompromising tour of the poet’s mind and our world. “Save lives,” she writes in “Instruction Manual for the End of the World.” The poems in this collection reveal just what lives are most imperiled and how we might go about protecting them. “This is how / you save the world,” Cervantes declares at the end of one poem. This book might be the instruction manual we all need. (Marsh Hawk Press)

 

 

Guillotine by Eduardo Corral


From the Sonoran sands of the desert, the voices of these poems rise. Scarred and scared and thirsty, defiant or duplicitous or dear to someone’s heart, the voices gathered in Corral’s second collection are alive with complex passions, potential, and pride. The landscape in this book is haunted and harrowing and rendered so truthfully it hurts. (Graywolf)

 

 

Count by Valerie Martinez


Reading this book feels like looking at the photo album of a well-traveled, warm, and wise woman. In forty-three taut and tender poems, Martinez takes me around the world—to the Atacama desert, Baffin Island on the Arctic Archipelago, and the vast aspen groves of Utah—and all through time. She turns to websites and videos for news about the planet in one poem, and in another she shares the Wintun story of the first appearance of people on Earth. I learned things from these poems, not the least of which is how much empathy, concern, and attention a few couplets can contain. (The University of Arizona Press)

 

 

X/Ex/Exis by Raquel Salas Rivera


In the first poem in this Academy of American Poets Ambroggio Prize-winning collection, lions turn to snakes turn to spiders. As their cages and tanks grow smaller, the captive animals keep finding new ways to escape. The poems here resist subjugation, colonization, dismissal, and destruction. The poems here, and their animal bodies, spill from a militarized beach—where everything from shells to seagulls have been shot. They defy what would silence and deny them. Growing from strength to strength, they transmogrify. (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe)

 

 

I Always Carry My Bones by Felicia Zamora


The body is alive in these poems. The body is also, sometimes, dead. The body is the human body, and the Palo Verde beetle’s, the desert, a sheep’s, a Galápagos tortoise’s, the hummingbird’s, the coyote’s, many coyotes’, human and inhumane. The body connects us to what we always have been and what we want to be and never can be, what we reach for, and what we are. Who is “we”? These poems want to know the answer to that question, too. (University of Iowa Press)

 

 

Plagios/Plagiarisms by Ulalume González de León, with an Introduction by Octavio Paz


The English title for one selection in this bilingual presentation of poems is “The Fantastic Animal That Was Sure of Playing One More Part.” That seems like a good way of describing the shape-shifting, colorful, fantastic poems in this collection. Though they are all very short, these poems contain gardens and forests and dreams. Originally written between 1968 and 1971, published in 1978, again in 2001, and now, with English translations, in this 2020 edition, these poems contain what González de Leon calls “the spirit of language,” which means they “speak bird,” “speak wind,” “speak sea.” (Sixteen Rivers Press)

 


 

Recommended Collections from Established Poets: 

 

 

Alberto Ríos recommends Now in Color by Jacqueline Balderrama 

While this book is often about the struggles of ethnic identity, it also embraces environment and the physical earth every step of the way—and why shouldn’t it?  The book seeks to naturally place itself in the real world, even when the real world includes imagination, the book’s poems sometimes speaking to the world and sometimes letting the world itself speak. While the poems get on with their immediate business, an omnipresent dialogue goes on in the background—ocean, desert, fire, lions—and that echo adds a dimension to this book that literally grounds us, whoever we are as readers. (Perugia Press)

 

 

David Thomas Martinez recommends: Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry by John Murillo


Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry, like the geography of Los Angeles itself, is located near the mountains, the desert, and the ocean. Winner of the Kinsley Tufts Poetry Award, this exceeding collection of poems has a climate for every reader, and is grounded by an ecological heart. Through Murillo’s dystopian narratives, the lives of Latinx & Black peoples are centered in a multifaceted invocation to poetry. Simultaneously heartbreaking and inspiring, this collection always has ten-toes solid on the fertile turf of Los Angeles. (Four Way Books)

 

 

Gloria Muñoz recommends Deuda Natal by Mara Pastor


Deuda Natal
calls us to carry the environmental disregard and abandon of Puerto Rico and of our entire planet. It is a loss we bundle and hold with care as we look into its face and wonder how and what if and what now? Pastor’s poems are maps to help us make sense of our past and future migrations. Feminism and environmentalism intersect on pages that assess our relationship to nature, materialism, hope, and ourselves as byproducts of history and society. Winner of the 2020 Ambroggio Prize of the Academy of American Poets, Deuda Natal is masterfully translated from Spanish by María José Giménez and Anna Rosenwong. (Arizona University Press) 

 

 

Felicia Zamora recommends Migratory Sound by Sara Lupita Olivares


Sara Lupita Olivares writes, “Each small thing that vanishes / takes up more space.” The poems in Migratory Sound (winner of the 2020 CantoMundo Poetry Prize) ache of landscapes omitted, of an inheritance of migration as a “singing still before opening,” and of voices haunted by fields “chewed down until motionless.” The metaphysical, sociocultural, and environmental coalesce in these pages, where the small and silent compound in worlds of hunger, interiority, unplacing, wilderness, and withoutness. Worlds as instinctual as the woods calling animals back, and error is both word and action left to those haunted by etymologies, language, and history. I carry Olivares’ book with me as a spell to cast—a spell to prevent the vanishing. (University of Arkansas Press)

 

Want more poetry recommendations from Orion poetry editor Camille Dungy? Click here

 

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Review: Bewilderment by Richard Powers

“I T IS NO MEASURE of health to be well adjusted,” goes the oft quoted but unverifiable aphorism from the Indian philosopher Krishnamurti, “to a profoundly sick society.”

Richard Powers’s new novel Bewilderment takes this notion and embodies it in the form of Robin, a nine-going-on-ten-year-old boy alert to the animated more-than-human world that surrounds him, and enraged when others don’t accept it. Recognizing life where others don’t is a tether between Robin and his father, Theo, an astrobiologist in search of life beyond the bounds of our home planet, who listens for biosignatures in what otherwise appears to be a void.

Two years earlier, an accident caused the boy to lose his mother and, for Theo, his beloved wife. Both are thick with grief. Yet the domestic tale reaches ambitiously beyond the traditional family bond to explore a country faltering as its citizens get lost in a mire of distractions, drowning in information but unable to recognize greater connections of kinship that support them.

The boy and the man sometimes seem to be versions of the same person, both at odds with most of the humans around them. Robin’s outbursts at school become violent and the answer, officials insist, is medication. Theo, Krishnamurti style, can’t figure out why he should force his son to become better adjusted to the culture they live in. He seeks medicine for his son in the woods and under the stars. But a medical trial offers promise to retrain Robin’s thinking using the recorded brain patterns of others, including those of his dead mother, at moments when she was prompted to think about ecstasy.

Even in its intimacy, as Theo and Robin’s lives unfold over the course of a year, readers find the larger recurring themes that thread throughout Powers’s work. Powers won the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction for his 2018 novel The Overstory, which told an epic tale of eight individuals who discover new worlds, and new conflicts, when they recognize the power of trees around them. What shifts when you start considering the lives and rights of those beyond humans? So too in Bewilderment, which also explores what can happen when an individual’s inexplicable joy for life becomes contagious, as in Generosity: An Enhancement, and how the frontiers of brain science, and all we know and don’t know, translate to our individual lives, as in The Echo Maker.

But while this book’s message about learning how to listen—how to tune the brain to what is, and what may be, around us, and to be changed by the listening—is similar to The Overstory’s, it is a much quieter book with a smaller scope, and it lacks the same subtlety in its telling.

Then again, we don’t live in subtle times. The book’s backdrop of current events doesn’t veer far from the nightly news. A belligerent president who’s created a national broadcasting system to make tweet-like pronouncements. A contested election. A slew of extreme weather events and disease outbreaks. An inspiring European teen activist named Inga with a “superpower” that is not unlike Robin’s.

But it is by leaving this troubled world and taking us to interplanetary places that Powers brings Bewilderment home. “They share a lot, astronomy and childhood,” Powers writes. Both are voyages across huge distances. And Powers takes us on these journeys as Theo and Robin spend evenings venturing to other planets, fueled by knowledge from Theo’s work and a house full of science fiction novels and creative speculation. They try to answer the Fermi paradox: Where is everyone?

In the answering, they visit planets with beings so smart they might cloak themselves from probing human eyes. Another is deeply advanced in every way but technology. One planet’s inhabitants listen in color as the beat of their eight hearts tune them into time at an intricate level of synesthesia. They wonder if there are planets whose creatures went so wayward that their occupants created Earth as an Eden to start over, to see if we could get it right.

We’re not, according to Powers, proving up to the task.

 

 

Perhaps our exponentially exploding bits of information do not translate to knowledge. Perhaps it is creating a “power too precarious to last.” We experiment, ever hungry for more knowledge, more power, like the white-coated doctors in the 1958 short story “Flowers for Algernon,” which served as inspiration for Bewilderment.

“You know what’s happening,” Powers writes. “Everyone knows, despite the code of silence. This endless gift of a place is going away.” Bewilderment is an exercise in grief, personal and planetary. It is a practice in radical empathy. It is an exploration of what loneliness bears, whether an individual who has experienced a grave loss or an entire species on a singular planet that has lost its way, forgotten its connections, within and beyond its earthly bounds. 

For those who share the weight that Powers carries, about the future fate of this planet and all its inhabitants—from the rocks that humans stack into cairns to the mysterious songmakers of the forest to these familiar yet unknowable humans we give birth to—do not expect forgiveness or atonement in Bewilderment. Instead, this book will bewilder you in the best ways, not in some traditional definition of the word, but rather, as in be-wilder, to return to the wild, sometimes only possible by shifting your perspective rapidly from the astral plane to the microscopic. Powers takes us along as we travel the spectrum between these two vantages in an attempt to provide some antidote to the trouble we’re in. It’s a love without reassurance, but still a cracked-open door to possibility.

 

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When Nature Breaks the Law: An Interview With Mary Roach, Author of Fuzz

 

MARY ROACH IS A SCIENCE JOURNALIST, top-notch storyteller, and Orion advisor. She’s the author of six New York Times bestsellers, including STIFF: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, GULP: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, and PACKING FOR MARS: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. Orion editor Kathleen Yale connected with Mary about her latest publication, FUZZ: When Nature Breaks the Law, looking for a little extra insight into her writing, research process, and feelings on airplane seat ergonomics.

 

Kathleen Yale : How often do you set out to write about a particular topic, versus stumbling headlong into something unexpected and delightful? 

Mary Roach: It’s typically a headlong stumble preceded by months of blind groping. This book started out with a blind grope at the National Wildlife Forensics Laboratory. I’d stumbled onto a wildlife law enforcement guide entitled “Distinguishing Real vs. Fake Tiger Penises.” (Dried tiger penis is sold, illegally, as a virility booster in some parts of Asia.) I went up there thinking, maybe this wants to be part of a book—what book, I wasn’t sure. While I was there, I was told that for legal reasons, I would not be allowed to tag along with investigators on open cases. Which is a dead-end for me. So I sort of turned the topic inside-out: What about animals as perpetrators rather than victims? I was encouraged to head farther down this road by a blind grope on WorldCat, which led me to a strange 1906 book entitled The Criminal Prosecution and Capital Punishment of Animals. That’s when the idea gelled and started to make some sense, as much as my book topics ever really make sense. 

KY: I love the title Fuzz and the play on words you often bring in your zippy titles. Your books bring so much humor and outrageousness, but they’re ultimately serious and reverent in their own way too. I remember that really standing out when I first read Stiff years ago. Does that kind of tonal balance come naturally to you, or is it something you find you need to consciously map out? 

MR: With Stiff, Grunt, and Fuzz, especially, the issue of that balance was always hovering close by. Though I don’t go through assessing and pinpointing places where I need to add pathos or humor. It’s more that there’s a sort of internal tone thermostat that sets itself naturally as a consequence of all I’ve learned in the reporting. For me, tone is a vector of two sometimes competing forces: the desire to entertain and amuse the reader, and at the same time to respect and take seriously the people and issues I’m writing about. It causes me a fair amount of stress.

KY: You have a particular gift for writing delightful footnotes. I got excited when I saw one at the bottom of a page, which is usually not the case. Do you think most people are doing it wrong? 

MR: No, I’m pretty sure I’m doing it wrong. But no one can stop me now!

KY: For every funny anecdote about forensic role-playing scenarios or scarecrow antics, there is a sad or disturbing incident of human/animal conflict that leaves one or both parties dead. I live outside of Glacier National Park and spent years working on wildlife field study projects, particularly on large carnivores. Just last week our local FWP officials had to put down a food-habituated grizzly family. I wept reading the account, and I’m sure those agents wept to do it. I know some of them. Is there a particular story from Fuzz that haunts you?

MR: I spent time driving around bear country with a Colorado Parks and Wildlife agent. I asked him about that part of his job. The mood in the truck quickly went dark. He told me about having to destroy a black bear and her cub because the pair were regularly breaking into houses looking for food. He talked about how he wasn’t sure how he would do it, as he didn’t want the cub to have to see its mother killed, or the mother to see her cub killed. He ended up tranquilizing one of them first. To this day, I have a pretty emotional reaction when I hear about people leaving food out on the deck of their vacation rental because they want to see a bear and take some videos for YouTube. 

KY: That passage stuck with me, too, and I feel the same way about food violations. Before you began researching Fuzz, did you have a sense of the depth and breadth of human/animal conflicts across the globe?

MR: Not at all. I remember being shocked to learn that snow leopards cause enough problems in the Himalayas that researchers felt a need for an acronym (HSLC—human-snow leopard conflict). I still can’t wrap my brain around the fact that elephants are a major conflict animal. Five hundred people a year are killed by elephants in India. 

KY: What’s the worst thing that has happened to you on assignment? 

MR: For me, nothing is worse than a reporting trip that yields little of interest. When things are awkward or disgusting or painful or embarrassing, I can console myself with the knowledge that it’s going to be a fun scene to write up—and, hopefully, read about. I once took an assignment that involved being a subject in an airplane ergonomics study. I don’t know what I was thinking. It was me and ten other people sitting and reading for six hours in an airplane seat. Why did I think I could make that fascinating?

KY: If you could be any animal for a day, what would it be? 

MR: Since it’s just for a day, I’d want to experience something utterly foreign and unimaginable. A fly, maybe, or a hammerhead shark or even some kind of bacterium.

KY: I love that thinking. No dolphin or falcon, give me a pair of compound eyes! You have such a curious mind and appreciation for wonder. To what degree do you think either can be taught or learned? 

MR: We all start out with curiosity and a capacity for wonder, but some of us seem to lose it as adults. In the 90s, I used to go down to Antarctica on an NSF reporting program. The first time I was accepted, I mentioned to a friend of my husband that I’d be doing some reporting at a remote field camp in Antarctica. He seemed puzzled by my excitement. “Why would you want to go there?” he said. “It’s just a bunch of snow and ice.” I was stupefied. How does a person end up like that? Was it something in his education? His upbringing? His genes? I really can’t say. 

 

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VIDEO: Walk Through This Socially Distanced Choir Forest

 

IN THE DEPTHS of the pandemic, when choral groups could not safely gather to sing indoors, The Crossing Choir of Philadelphia took their singing outdoors, into parks and open-air venues. Last October, they premiered a work entitled “The Forest” in Bowman’s Hill, a stand of mature trees, many over 200 years old, in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Mt. Airy.

During the performance, the singers, unmasked, stood far apart among the trees, their voices amplified by specially-designed speakers, while audience members walked at safely-distanced intervals along a thousand-foot path through the forest. The libretto drew on the singers’ written accounts of life during the pandemic, along with excerpts from Scott Russell Sanders’ essay “Mind in the Forest,” which first appeared in Orion. Read the libretto, with excerpts from “Mind in the Forest” in italics.

 

The virtual walk takes twenty minutes. We recommend full screen and full sound. Enjoy.

 

 

Scott Russell Sanders is an Orion advisor, and his essay “Buckeye” is included in the new anthology, Old Growth, Orion’s best writing about trees.

 

Eleven Poetry Anthologies Handpicked for Orion Readers

 

EACH MONTH, Orion’s poetry editor, Camille Dungy, and friends recommend poetry collections they think our readers might enjoy. This month we’re recommending a host of anthologies, and with them an opportunity to meet a diverse range of new and familiar poetic voices.

 

 

 

All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis, edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson

One of the first pages of this collection of essays, poetry, and art asks, “Can you imagine/ trusting each other/ working together/ for our common home?” and the rest of the pages of the collections show just what such collective, intentional work can look like. Look for poems from the likes of Marge Piercy, Joy Harjo, Ada Limón, Ailish Hopper, Ellen Bass, Sharon Olds, Alice Walker, and Mary Oliver. (Random House)

 

 

 

 

Here: Poems for the Planet, edited by Elizabeth J. Coleman, with a forward by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

This anthology draws together over 125 writers ages, six to eighty-six, representing many regions, races, and walks of life, all deeply aware of the acute climate crisis facing the world we all share. Part praise song, part elegy, this anthology is a call for collective action and includes a guide for activists written with the Union of Concerned Scientists. Look for poems by Gary Snyder, Anne Marie Macari, Fadhil Assultani, John Calderazzo, Natasha Sajé, Tishani Doshi, Kamau Brathwaite, Adam Zagajewski, Lorna Goodison, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Mary Ruefle, Jesús J. Barquet, and many more. (Copper Canyon Press)

 

 

 

 

Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, edited by Lucille Lang Day and Ruth Nolan, with a foreword by Dana Gioia and introduction by Jack Foley

If you’ve been watching the news from the West and can’t quite figure out how the AQI there keeps topping out over 500, or why there are so many mudslides when there is also talk of drought, perhaps a poet’s view of California will help you understand what’s happening there, and how what’s happening affects the people, the animals, the plants, and the land. This gorgeous anthology is organized by region, to give a clear sense of what it is like to claim California as home in the midst of these perilous times. The 150 contributors to this anthology include Ursula K. Le Guin, David St. John, Jane Hirshfield, Ann Fisher-Wirth, Rebecca Foust, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Brenda Hillman, Ruth Bavetta, Jennifer K. Sweeney, Helen Wick, and Robert Hass. (Scarlet Tanager Books)

 

 

 

 

Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology, edited by Melissa Tuckey, with a foreword by Camille T. Dungy

This collection draws voices from all over the world who think carefully and broadly about what eco-justice looks like in action. Poems here look at farming, war, water, resource extraction, resistance, resilience, resurgence, and more. It is one of the most comprehensive and compelling environmental poetry anthologies available today. Poets in these pages include Dorianne Laux, Purvi Shah, Patrick Rosal, Sam Hamill, Ruth Irupé Sanabria, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Mahmoud Darwish, Jiang Tai, Tim Seibles, Homero Aridijis, Pippa Little, Tara Betts, Monika Sok, Linda Hogan, and Ross Gay. (University of Georgia Press)

 

 

 

 

The Ecopoetry Anthology, edited by Laura-Gray Street and Ann Fisher-Wirth, with a foreword by Craig Santos Perez and introduction by Robert Hass

This re-release of the indispensable compendium of ecopoetry should be a welcome addition to any bookshelf. The anthology includes a historical arc that collects many of the key antecedents to the contemporary ecopoetry movement—including work by Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and Ezra Pound—as well as work by early foundational practitioners like Robert Hayden, Muriel Rukeyser, Phillip Levine, Audre Lorde, Theodore Roethke, and C.D. Wright. And there are also over 150 contemporary practitioners such as Juliana Spahr, Gerald Stern, Jonathan Skinner, Patricia Smith, Evie Shockley, Benjamin Alire Saénz, William Pitt Root, Ed Roberson, D. A. Powell, Janisse Ray, dg nanouk okpik, Harryette Mullen, Arthur Sze, Sheryl St. Germain, and Sandra Meek. (Trinity University Press)

 

 

 

 

Mourning Songs: Poems of Sorrow and Beauty, edited by Grace Schulman

While these poems are not all what we might think of as nature poems or ecopoems, several of the pieces collected here do take their cues from the greater than human world. As we enter a period of mourning— for the human losses suffered since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, for the state of the planet around us, and for so much more— it may be helpful to have poems to turn to that put words to grief. This pocket-sized collection offers many gems. Look for poems by William Carols Williams, Yusef Komunyakaa, Ezra Pound, H.D. James Laughlin, May Swenson, and Bei Dao. (New Directions)

 

 

 

 

Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, edited by Camille T. Dungy

Expanding the definition of what constitutes nature writing beyond wild or pastoral, this iconic collection features 180 poems from 93 poets who together provide unique perspectives on American social and literary history. Black poets have been writing about the natural world from the very beginning, and here you’ll find classic giants like Phillis Wheatley, Rita Dove, Yusef Komunyakaa, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Hayden, Lucille Clifton, and Richard Wright alongside more contemporary voices such as Major Jackson, Sean Hill, Natasha Trethewey, and Janice Harrington. (University of Georgia Press)

 

 

 

 

How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope, edited by James Crews, foreword by Ross Gay

Readers looking for poetic antidotes to today’s chronic anxiety and frenetic news cycle might enjoy turning to this new and highly readable collection. Spend some time with joy and gratitude through deeply felt work from some of poetry’s most trusted voices including inaugural poet Amanda Gorman, Joy Harjo, Tracy K. Smith, Ellen Bass, Ted Kooser, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jane Hirschfield, and others often featured in the pages of Orion. Interspersed with invitations to write and reflect, this book is designed for discussion and is classroom-ready. (Workman)

 

 

 

 

Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond, edited by Tina Chang, Nathalie Handal, and Ravi Shankar, with a foreword by Carolyn Forché

While not billed as a nature poetry collection, this ambitious and ranging anthology celebrates the artistic and cultural forces flourishing today in the East, and frequently speaks to place, home, and the natural world. Originally envisioned as a response to 9/11 that imagined a future of words over violence, you can approach this brick of a book as a type of global journey. Look for the likes of famous contributors like Michael Ondaatje and Li-Young Lee next to a vast host of likely new-to-you work by South Asian, East Asian, Middle Eastern, and Central Asian poets as well as those living in the Diaspora. (W.W. Norton and Company)

 

 

 

 

New Poets of Native Nations, edited by Heid E. Erdrich 

Gathered here is a deep and ranging well of traditional, experimental, and political work from a new and original generation of Native poets. Collected work from Natalie Diaz, Jennifer Elise Foerster, Layli Long Soldier, dg nanouk okpik, Craig Santos Perez, Tommy Pico, and others make this book sing with a chorus of languages, styles, and powerful words. As Erdrich says in her introduction, together “these poems create a place, somewhere we could go.” (Graywolf Press)

 

 

 

 

Gigantic Cinema: A Weather Anthology, edited by Alice Oswald and Paul Keegan

This astonishing anthology enters as disruptively (and thrillingly) as a thunderstorm. In order to talk about the weather, the book’s editors have compiled 300 entries of considerable variety and scope. Poems, essay excerpts, short notes, weather rhymes, letters, stage directions, and the fevered final journal entries of dying writers combine to describe the weather of all seasons, dawn to dusk. You’ll find the work of Virginia Woolf, Flaubert, Coleridge, Thoreau, Bishop, King Charles II,  the Book of Job, John Yau, Bertolt Brecht, Anon, Anon, Anon, Anon, Ruskin, Ryszard Kapuściński, Joan Didion, and Hölderlin, but each entry in this book appears without no formal announcement. All titles are removed, and the author’s names are not at the heads of the poems but instead scrawled in small print along the bottom of the page, so that one narration runs into the next the way a hailstorm might show up in the midst of fair weather. (W. W. Norton & Company)

 

Want more poetry recommendations from Orion poetry editor Camille Dungy? Click here

 

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