Mixtape Sale 35% Off
 
 We recently asked some passionate readers of SPD’s books
(most of whom just happen to be writers)
to make a mixtape of some of their favorite titles.

Lizzy AckerRosa AlcaláBlake ButlerCorina CoppNicolle ElizabethKevin KillianAmy KingMiranda MellisBarbara Jane ReyesElizabeth RobinsonEvie ShockleyMonica StorssStacy SzymaszekRobin Tremblay-McGawDana WardJoshua Marie WilkinsonTyrone Williams
 
 
 All “mixtape” books 35% off! 
 
  Here’s the Promotion Code to use to get 35% off when you checkout:
 
MIX
 
Offer expires January 15, 2013!
 

 


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Monica Storss
PORTLANDIA!
"You’ve probably heard a lot about Portland lately, and it’s all true. Portland 2012/13 is the new Greenwich Village c. 1962, but with cheaper cost of living and more vegans. Here’s what’s coming out of this left-coast cultural epicenter, besides beer, coffee, Gus Van Sant, sustainable architecture, every band ever, and an IFC show."
 
Eyelid Lick | Donald Dunbar | Fence Books

Eyelid Lick | Donald Dunbar | Fence Books

Best drunk-read. Immaculate poetic psychedelic illumination/narrative from the co-curator of IF NOT FOR KIDNAP (Fence Modern Poets Series winner, booyah).

   
Fjords Vol.1 | Zachary Schomburg | Black Ocean

Fjords Vol.1 | Zachary Schomburg | Black Ocean

Schomburg blows your mind with Fjords. He also collaborates on very good video poetry.

   
The Waste Land and Other Poems | John Beer | Canarium Books

The Waste Land and Other Poems | John Beer | Canarium Books

That’s right. Even John Beer is in Portland now. Memorize this book backwards & forwards. It even left D. A. Powell a little speechless.

   
Real Indian Junk Jewelry | Trevino L Brings Plenty | The Backwaters Press

Real Indian Junk Jewelry | Trevino L. Brings Plenty | The Backwaters Press

I had the biggest crush on Trevino Brings Plenty when I was an undergrad. So when they let me teach college, I brought him in to discuss his work & works. Real Indian is what Sherman Alexie wishes he could do with his poetry. Urbanization, storytelling. Rock & roll. The frost on grass. Subtleties. This is a must-read. I’ll shut up now.

   
Remember to Wave | Kaia Sand | Tinfish Press

Remember to Wave | Kaia Sand | Tinfish Press

Kaia Sand singlehandedly changed the way I think about place, public & private space, and stuff. She’s probably responsible for me becoming a performance poet. This book could do the same for you. Read it on your visit to the Rose City.

   
Baltics | Tomas Tranströmer | Tavern Books

Baltics | Tomas Tranströmer | Tavern Books

Winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature, Tranströmer brought it. Tavern Books, which is now a Portland joint, put out this new, immaculate translation of Baltics. It is my favorite not just for the sextant on the cover, but for the book length poem which reimagines the landscape of the self.

   
The Name of This Intersection Is Frost | Maryrose Larkin | Shearsman Books

The Name of This Intersection Is Frost | Maryrose Larkin | Shearsman Books

I recommend this book for anyone who ever thought language poetry was inaccessible. It’s more like post-avant lyric, but no one says that any more. Read it as a narrative long poem, or break it up into chunks. Choose your own adventure.

   
Portland Noir | Kevin Sampsell, Ed. | Akashic Books

Portland Noir | Kevin Sampsell, Editor | Akashic Books

Read this on the flight (along with Kaia Sand’s book) to Portland. Part of Akashic’s Noir cities, Kevin Sampsell, king of the small press world at Powell’s Books, curated a great collection of stories to read to get you hyped for coming to visit us. Consider it a guidebook. Feel free to crash on my couch.

   
Legs Get Led Astray | Chloe Caldwell | Future Tense Books

Legs Get Led Astray | Chloe Caldwell | Future Tense Books

Sampsell also runs Future Tense books, which published Chloe Caldwell’s Legs Get Led Astray. LGLA is the memoir you wanted to read when you were a 21 year old girl, or 24 year old girl, or 35 year old girl. A memoir of foibles & exploits that make you feel less alone.

   
Hider Roser | Ben Mirov | Octopus Books

Hider Roser | Ben Mirov | Octopus Books

If Lockwood’s poems are exciting, Ben Mirov’s poems are haunting. They stick to your bones. I mean, you really can’t go wrong with an Octopus title.

   
The Grief Performance | Emily Kendal Frey | Cleveland State University Poetry Center

The Grief Performance | Emily Kendal Frey | Cleveland State University Poetry Center

A finalist for the Oregon Book Award, The Grief Performance is one of those books you turn to when you got a case of the specters at 3:00 am and the bar is closed. A study of loss & lightness, you may also read this at a leisurely brunch. You have permission, not that you needed it.

   
I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Say | Anthony Madrid | Canarium Books

I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Say | Anthony Madrid | Canarium Books

What I love about forms is that they provide the constraints, allowing content to be marvelous, saturated, and as windwhipped as it wants to be. Anthony Madrid’s book of ghazals is my favorite book this year, by one of my favorite poets ever. He does not currently live in Portland, but should seriously consider it.

   
  BONUS TRACKS!!!
   
Other Suns | Patricia Killelea | Swan Scythe Press

Other Suns | Patricia Killelea | Swan Scythe Press

Straddling worlds, Other Suns is supremely accessible in its lyrical explorations of the liminal.

   
a/s/l | Uyen Hua | In Girum Imus Nocte et Consumimur Igni

a/s/l | Uyen Hua | In Girum Imus Nocte et Consumimur Igni

This book is a hilarious, face-melting milestone to what is possible with poetry (language poetry with a sense of humor and really excellent fashion sense).

 

 

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Corina Copp
 
Nervous 
			Device | Catherine Wagner | City Lights Publishers

Nervous Device | Catherine Wagner | City Lights Publishers

An extraordinary work from Wagner, unafraid of its own dummkopf because it’s trumped by the poet’s gentle taking away of the means—placing exchange at the heart of all that’s text/actual, it challenges that we read into a poem, one in which, sad/good for us/her, “feeling’s unsellable.” This book is worth a lot more than I paid for it. A LOT.

   
Collected Poems | Veronica Forrest-Thomson | Shearsman Books

Collected Poems | Veronica Forrest-Thomson | Shearsman Books

For all her fidelity to artifice as the poetic subject (cf. also her critical work, a bit of which is here), VFT also created a social language in crucial conversation with itself (and certain recognizable others of literary history/present), especially the later poems...“I like kicking up larks or / Larking up kicks. So do most poets”; she also relates love to ought (or maybe I’m doing that in reading her) (“If we are going / to get up we ought / to get up, and // Thus we are derived from ought”).

   
Sorites | 
			Lawrence Giffin | Tea Party Republicans Press

Sorites | Lawrence Giffin | Tea Party Republicans Press

Speaking of ought, Giffin gives it its own “right[s] withou / t reason” (from “Axioms of Indifference”). I should be writing about his new book (Christian Name), and would like to—for now, this one has a perverse insistence on me understanding it as an object that is the subject, and what’s all paradoxical (pleasurable) naught.

   
VEL | P. Inman | O Books

 VEL | P. Inman | O Books

I’ve just started to read this for Inman’s poems after Agnes Varda’s Vagabond (“i never get to know where i am outside of her”); so admire the attempts to control duration/wandering with punctuation, even while it “amounts” to a travelogue.

   
Enthusiasm: Odes & Otium

Enthusiasm: Odes & Otium | Jean Day | Zephyr Press

This book is incredible and relentless: “...Forget diction; you might die / watching television and unable finally to ask / and is art nothing? Blank is blanc / is an overstatement, lyric / flayed. So let’s make a monument / to the cheap parts (someone might still be living there) and anyone / made uncomfortable by all the holes in me.”

   
Devotional 
			Cinema | Nathaniel Dorsky | Tuumba Press

Devotional Cinema | Nathaniel Dorsky | Tuumba Press

Beautiful writing on religion and cinema, invoking Bresson, Ozu, Dreyer, Antonioni—their shifts of light, cuts, confirmations of self-symbol, reliance on “Each moment opening in terms of what it actually is,” the screen as medium, and so on.

   
Under the Dome: Walks with Paul Celan
			Jean Daive | Burning Deck

Under the Dome: Walks with Paul Celan Jean Daive | Burning Deck

Solemn and intense (but for jokes like the one on pp. 21-22), in and out of linear time leading up to Celan’s suicide in 1970, and full of acute looks like “Paul stands before the fence: he takes on an air of extreme humility that I’ve sometimes spotted in his syntax, as if I didn’t know what grammarian’s mask used the detour of a sentence to project a feigned indifference toward the world.”

   
Crayon 5: On 
			Beauty | Andrew Levy and Bob Harrison, Editors | Crayon

Crayon 5: On Beauty | Andrew Levy and Bob Harrison, Editors | Crayon

Amazing issue of Crayon. I’m basically putting this one in so you can get a discount. I go back to Kristen Gallagher’s essay, which organizes excess and lack whether intending to or not; she “never truly accepted 'dilettante' as a pejorative,” and looks at Beauty as form-taking, hinting at what she’s about to do: “Yes, I am a woman & I have politics. But as a poet, my primary concern is the life of this medium.”

   
Thunderbird | 
			Dorothea Lasky | Wave Books

Thunderbird | Dorothea Lasky | Wave Books

Lasky is what they call a posthumous poet, right — and she is so still and focused that all dark or light material we occasion seems up for her locating/stabbing. In Thunderbird, it’s fast, emphatic, and often gorgeous. And not an uncomplicated subjectivity—from “Ugly Feelings,” after Sianne Ngai: “A voice is the new art / But it is rancid / A rancid tune / That I have worked out with care and concern / To make ragged.”

 

 

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Rosa Alcalá
Mothers/ Music/ Moons/ Maps/ Markets
 
As We 
			Are Sung | Christina Mengert | Burning Deck

As We Are Sung | Christina Mengert | Burning Deck

“Your body is a fermata over the small point of music.”

   
This Isa Nice Neighborhood | Farid Matuk | Letter 
			Machine Editions

This Isa Nice Neighborhood | Farid Matuk | Letter Machine Editions

“I know something about race and something about sex and I obey/ the market imperative/ to keep things moving./ But it’s such a beautiful giant, you can bother with the critique.”

   
Selenography | Joshua Marie Wilkinson | Sidebrow Books

Selenography | Joshua Marie Wilkinson | Sidebrow Books

“weeping one would need / to coax / out the child / translator”

   
Utopia Minus | Susan Briante | Ahsahta Press

Utopia Minus | Susan Briante | Ahsahta Press

“One day I carved a whole landscape in the windowsill. Sun, willow, car, lady. Perhaps there were rabbits. My mother grabbed my wrist; rains broke; livewires writhed like eels through the streets.”

   
Cadastral Map | Jill Magi | Shearsman Books

Cadastral Map | Jill Magi | Shearsman Books

“landscape archeology / arrangements of affective / images is literature / a national consciousness begins”

   
Incantations: Songs, 
			Spells and Images by Mayan Women | Ámbar Past, Editor | Cinco Puntos Press

Incantations: Songs, Spells and Images by Mayan Women | Ámbar Past, Editor | Cinco Puntos Press

“Here’s your little tortilla / with three holes in it // so you will learn to speak, /so your mouth will be opened”

   
Sarah—Of Fragments and 
			Lines | Julie Carr | Coffee House Press

Sarah—Of Fragments and Lines | Julie Carr | Coffee House Press

“The body’s a hole through which other bodies move”

 

 

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Blake Butler
"I selected each of these books as recent books that seem to operate wholly on their own logic, intent, and tradition. I admire them each for that, among other things."
 
Povel | Geraldine Kim | Fence Books

Povel | Geraldine Kim | Fence Books

Insane talking-to-self brain explosion like a diary in bloody glitter.

   
Prostitution: An Excerpt | Pierre Guyotat | Red Dust

Prostitution: An Excerpt | Pierre Guyotat | Red Dust" title="Prostitution: An Excerpt | Pierre Guyotat | Red Dust

Piece of a much huger thing from the monolith of Guyotat, eating in big head bites.

   
Poemland | Chelsey Minnis | Wave Books

Poemland | Chelsey Minnis | Wave Books

Slick and white and dusty and diamondy and dizzy and funny and coy and hmm.

   
Entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate | Johannes Göransson | Tarpaulin Sky

Entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate | Johannes Göransson | Tarpaulin Sky

One of my favorite books of the past five years, easy, a wild thug party on paper.

   
The Platformist

The Meat and Spirit Plan | Selah Saterstrom | Coffee House Press

I learned the term "modular novel" earlier this year, this is one of those, it’s great.  

   
Beauty Was the Case that They Gave Me | Mark Leidner | Factory Hollow Press

Beauty Was the Case that They Gave Me | Mark Leidner | Factory Hollow Press

I don’t know how Mark gets to where he’s going in these things, exhilarating.

   
The Stupefying Flashbulbs | Daniel Brenner | Fence Books

The Stupefying Flashbulbs | Daniel Brenner | Fence Books

Weird cubic little machines of text that surprise me differently every time I read it, Lynchian.

 

 

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Nicolle Elizabeth
“As a DIY girl I have belonged to many by mail mixtape swaps over the years. My favorite tape was a mix of 98 different versions of ‘The Girl from Ipanema,’ by 98 different artists, on loop. I believe SPD to be the best independent distributor out there with a catalogue as varied and diverse as our interests as readers and growing minds should be. Nearly all of the books I purchase privately are through SPD. There are hundreds to choose from and it would behoove the vested reader to purchase them all.”
 
A Lesser Day | Andrea Scrima | Spuyten Duyvil

A Lesser Day | Andrea Scrima | Spuyten Duyvil

My choice, my favorite choice, among the many I love and respect so dearly.

   
The Explosions | Mathias Svalina | Subito

The Explosions | Mathias Svalina | Subito

Masterful wordage, always a floating atmospheric sense of pain.

   
We Are All Good if They Try Hard Enough | Mike Young | Publishing Genius Press

We Are All Good if They Try Hard Enough | Mike Young | Publishing Genius Press

Brilliantly entertaining, raw talent.

   
Sky Saw | Blake Butler | Tyrant Books

Sky Saw | Blake Butler | Tyrant Books

Simultaneously nightmare inducing, confusing, heartbreaking.

   
Texts on (Texts on) Art | Joseph Masheck | The Brooklyn Rail

Texts on (Texts on) Art | Joseph Masheck | The Brooklyn Rail

Lovely in general.

   
Sister Spit: Writing, Rants and Reminiscence from the Road | Michelle Tea, Editor | City Lights Publishers

Sister Spit: Writing, Rants and Reminiscence from the Road | Michelle Tea, Editor | City Lights Publishers

Not boring, for a fellow girl.

 

 

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Joshua Marie Wilkinson
 
The Explosions | Mathias Svalina

The Explosions | Mathias Svalina | Subito

New mashup of Svalina’s funny and haunted gems.

   
The Lust of Unsentimental Waters

The Lust of Unsentimental Waters | Rosa Alcalá | Shearsman Books

The follow up to Undocumentaries: plaintive, palpable, resonating lyrics.

   
Nervous Device

Nervous Device | Catherine Wagner | City Lights Publishers

Wagner is doing some of the strangest, strongest things around—I love her weird poems.

   
Work from Memory

Work from Memory | Dan Beachy-Quick & Matthew Goulish | Ahsahta Press

Beachy-Quick seems able to write about anybody and anything with perspicacity and beauty—this time it’s Proust, with Matthew Goulish.

   
The Platformist

The Platformist | Chuck Stebelton | The Cultural Society

Chuck Stebelton’s poetry—its intelligence, quirk, and slant—is singular.

   
The Vital System

The Vital System | CM Burroughs | Tupelo

Strong and cutting poems in Burroughs’ debut.

   
Exit Moonshine, Enter Wall

Exit Moonshine, Enter Wall | Rodney Phillips | Chax

Funny, lovely, forlorn.

   
This Can’t Be Life

This Can’t Be Life | Dana Ward | Edge Books

However long we had to wait for Ward’s debut, it was worth it: Ward is one of the best poets alive.

   
Nilling

Nilling | Lisa Robertson | BookThug

Excellent new book of prose essays on noise, pornography, and the codex among other pressing topics.

   
Partially Kept

Partially Kept | Martha Ronk | Nightboat Books

Slowly, steadily Ronk has been carving out a niche all her own in American poetry for the last few decades.

 

 

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Elizabeth Robinson
  10 Really Good Books by Women (Each from a Different Press)
 
Apocalypso | Evelyn Reilly | Roof Books

Apocalypso | Evelyn Reilly | Roof Books

This book revealed to me the possible intersection between elegy and really sharp humor.

   
The Port of Los Angeles | Jane Sprague | Chax Press

The Port of Los Angeles | Jane Sprague | Chax Press

An interrogation, both lyric and politically savvy, of how we understand our surroundings. 

   
The Practice of Residue | Kimberly Lyons | Subpress

The Practice of Residue | Kimberly Lyons | Subpress

The long title poem is remarkable; it haunted me.

   
Partially Kept

Partially Kept | Martha Ronk | Nightboat Books

I am fascinated by the way Ronk’s work operates with such restraint and yet fulfills its own tensions, “the unsparing spare.”

   
Penury | Myung Mi Kim | Omnidawn Publishing

Penury | Myung Mi Kim | Omnidawn Publishing

This book merits much more attention than it’s gotten.

   
The Method | Sasha Steensen | Fence Books

The Method | Sasha Steensen | Fence Books

Gripping investigation and meditation.

   
Unbecoming Behavior | Kate Colby | Ugly Duckling Presse

Unbecoming Behavior | Kate Colby | Ugly Duckling Presse

Kate Colby entering the mind of Janes Bowles, “my one- / time choke-hold // becoming symbiotic.”

   
Scenes from the Life of Cleopatra | Mary Butts | Sun & Moon Press

Scenes from the Life of Cleopatra | Mary Butts | Sun & Moon Press

I’m obsessed with Butts’ work; let this be your gateway drug to The Taverner Novels. 

   
The Marvelous Bones of Time: Excavations and Explanations | Brenda Coultas | Coffee House Press

The Marvelous Bones of Time: Excavations and Explanations | Brenda Coultas | Coffee House Press

I have reread this book how many times? Coultas’ researches are the perfect mix of funny, spooky, and earnest.

   
A Reading 18-20 | Beverly Dahlen | Instance Press

A Reading 18-20 | Beverly Dahlen | Instance Press

Okay, I was one of the editors who published this, but I do reread it every year; there’s nobody quite like Dahlen.

 

 

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Evie Shockley
“I just picked one terrific book from (more or less) each year from the past decade (2003-2012), most of which I’ve either taught or written about (or both).”
 
The Activist | Renee Gladman | Krupskaya

The Activist | Renee Gladman | Krupskaya

Imagine a world in which political dissenters confronted maps that would alter right before their very eyes and presidents could change reality just by saying something was true....

   
Matadora | Sarah Gambito | Alice James Books

Matadora | Sarah Gambito | Alice James Books

Poetry that puts the ironies of immigration and imperialism, from a Filipina perspective, into clear relief.

   
case sensitive | Kate Greenstreet | Ahsahta Press

case sensitive | Kate Greenstreet | Ahsahta Press

Poetry of the keenest and most surprising observation, in a voice that with linger with you long after you’ve closed the book.

   
City Eclogue | Ed Roberson | Atelos

City Eclogue | Ed Roberson | Atelos

Urban pastoral that will remind you that anytime you’re breathing, you’re in nature. 

   
I’m the Man Who Loves You | Amy King | BlazeVOX books

I’m the Man Who Loves You | Amy King | BlazeVOX [books]

Poetry that leaps from image to image and idea to idea, carrying you along purely on the force of an utterly compelling voice.

   
Expressway | Sina Queyras | Coach House Books

Expressway | Sina Queyras | Coach House Books

A little bit NJ Turnpike, a little bit Dorothy Wordsworth.

   
A Toast in the House of Friends | Akilah Oliver | Coffee House Press

A Toast in the House of Friends | Akilah Oliver | Coffee House Press

Transcendent writing from a poet gone too soon.

   
Texture Notes | Sawako Nakayasu | Letter Machine Editions

Texture Notes | Sawako Nakayasu | Letter Machine Editions

Language you want to rub up against; syntax that is crunchy and slippery at once.

   
Red Missed Aches Read Missed Aches Red Mistakes Read Mistakes | Jennifer Tamayo | Switchback Books

Red Missed Aches Read Missed Aches Red Mistakes Read Mistakes | Jennifer Tamayo | Switchback Books

Mistranslation (of language, of identities) at its most hilarious and most painful.

   
The Vital System

The Vital System | CM Burroughs | Tupelo Press

Mourning, loss, and betrayal depicted in/on/through the gendered and raced body, in the most clear-eyed, economical, emotionally intelligent language I’ve seen in a long time.

 
 
 
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Miranda Mellis
Go (experi) Mental/Four Killer Scores from SPD
 
A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon: New (Soma)tics | CAConrad | Wave Books

A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon: New (Soma)tics | CAConrad | Wave Books

CAConrad’s activist aesthetics share modes of making that at once strengthens the fibers of interconnection and galvanizes the maker’s capacities for intelligent autonomy. Read these sterling poems and somatic scores, these dedications, rituals, and notations, if you desire poetic praxes that both demystifies insidious, quotidian oppressions & offers methods for political transformation via poetic action.

 
Event Factory | Renee Gladman | Dorothy, a publishing project

The Ravickians | Renee Gladman | Dorothy, a publishing project

Event Factory & The Ravickians | Renee Gladman | Dorothy, a publishing project

What is it when the world recedes to come clear, and there is a consciousness knowing itself as perception that reconstructs the world as gapped? Would you like to read story that is also phenomenology? How about description that is also ethics, or love that is also absence, or place that is also placeless? “Reality must be fictionalized in order to be understood,” Jacques Ranciere tells us. But not understood as itself, which it never is. Read Renee Gladman if you (don’t) know what I mean.

   
Answer to an Inquiry | Robert Walser | Ugly Duckling Presse

Answer to an Inquiry | Robert Walser | Ugly Duckling Presse

Newly translated from German by Paul North with illustrations by Friese Undine this imaginary epistolary of artistic mentorship might sit on your shelf next to Letters to a Young Poet just to balance the scales. Absurdist anti-authoritarianism is nearly never not a good idea. If you fall for this Walser even just a little then next go read brilliant The Assistant and hilarious Jacob von Gunten.  

 

 

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Barbara Jane Reyes
Books That Aid in Sorting Out Cultural Clusterf*ck
 
The Cancer Journals: Special Edition | Audre Lorde | Aunt Lute Books

The Cancer Journals: Special Edition | Audre Lorde | Aunt Lute Books

Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals. Not an easy read, but a necessary one, about body politics, literal and spiritual transformation, and mortality. Must we wait until we are dying, in order to speak the things we mean to speak?

   
Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, Fourth Edition | Gloria  Anzaldúa | Aunt Lute Books

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, Fourth Edition | Gloria Anzaldúa | Aunt Lute Books

I come back to this book all the time, to teach, to reread, to spark my own writing on mestizaje, hybridity, multilingualism.

   
Leche | R Zamora Linmark | Coffee House Press

Leche | R. Zamora Linmark | Coffee House Press

I’m coming into my third semester teaching Linmark’s novel, and loving every minute of it. Could it be that Linmark has written the Balikbayan Novel? He’s the one who’s come closest to exposing/capturing/recreating the hyperreality that is the exilic Filipino American bittersweet and insane “homecoming” to the motherland that’s constantly telling us, “f*ck you,” and “we love you,” at the same time.

   
One Tribe | M Evelina Galang | New Issues Poetry & Prose

 One Tribe | M. Evelina Galang | New Issues Poetry & Prose

Another teaching favorite of mine, in which a “whitewashed” Pinay finds herself immersed in a more “traditional,” rigid, and broken Filipino American community, obsessed with keeping up appearances at all costs. I want to say hijinx ensue, and perhaps that’s the case—Pinay feminist must negotiate the Imelda-esque beauty pageant is one example of said “hijinx.”

   
Lotería Cards and Fortune Poems: A Book of Lives | Juan Felipe Herrera and Artemio Rodriguez | City Lights Publishers

Lotería Cards and Fortune Poems: A Book of Lives | Juan Felipe Herrera and Artemio Rodriguez | City Lights Publishers

Ekphrastic and funky! One of my personal favorites by our California Poet Laureate.

   
Living Pidgin: Contemplations on Pidgin Culture | Lee A. Tonouchi | Tinfish Press

Living Pidgin: Contemplations on Pidgin Culture | Lee A. Tonouchi | Tinfish Press

“To imagine a language means to imagine a form of life,” yes? If so, then its opposites are also true—to deny, to erase a language means to deny, to erase a form of life.

   
Cantos to Blood & Honey | Adrian Castro | Coffee House Press

Cantos to Blood & Honey | Adrian Castro | Coffee House Press

I’m a fangirl. I just met him in Miami, and was struck mute. Seriously though, read everything by Adrian Castro, and do start with this excellent debut collection. Again as above, “To imagine a language is to imagine a form of life,” in which language is not only words but music.

   
City Terrace Field Manual | Sesshu Foster | Kaya Press

City Terrace Field Manual | Sesshu Foster | Kaya Press

I love this book, whose prose poetry form presents itself like a city sprawl’s grids on a map, and populates these neighborhoods with real people, laborers, the undocumented, the overlooked.

   
Red Missed Aches Read Missed Aches Red Mistakes Read Mistakes | Jennifer Tamayo | Switchback Books

Red Missed Aches Read Missed Aches Red Mistakes Read Mistakes | Jennifer Tamayo | Switchback Books

Brave, gritty, jagged-edged. I’m heartened and pleased when I find poetry which handles immigrant narratives in brash and innovative ways.

   
Horse, Flower, Bird | Kate Bernheimer | Coffee House Press

Horse, Flower, Bird | Kate Bernheimer | Coffee House Press

I’m really interested in women writers re-mythologizing, and re-imagining fairy tale (re-purposing fairy tale?), and Kate Bernheimer is a big part of that.

   
Instan | Cecilia Vicuña | Kelsey Street Press

Instan | Cecilia Vicuña | Kelsey Street Press

Lovely penciled, handwritten poetic threads, perhaps reminiscent of quipu. I think of these pieces as whispers, incantations.

   
Incantations: Songs, Spells and Images by Mayan Women | Ambar Past, Editor | Cinco Puntos Press

Incantations: Songs, Spells and Images by Mayan Women | Ambar Past, Editor | Cinco Puntos Press

Speaking of incantation, I love that women’s songs and oral traditions are not only full of stories of place and origin, but of body, and work, and wildness.

 

 

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Kevin Killian
New Narrative Mixtape (aka Intro to New Narrative)
 
Sherwood Forest | Camille Roy | Futurepoem Books

Sherwood Forest | Camille Roy | Futurepoem Books

Roy mixes genres and genders with equal fluidity, and this book may be her best yet.

   
REAL: THE LETTERS OF MINA HARKER AND SAM D’ALLESANDRO | Dodie Bellamy and Sam D’Allesandro | Talisman House, Publishers

Real: The Letters of Mina Harker and Sam D’Allesandro | Dodie Bellamy and Sam D’Allesandro | Talisman House, Publishers

A touching account of the friendship between two iconoclastic and very different writers torn apart by the AIDS virus.

   
Liar | Mike Amnasan | Ithuriel’s Spear

Liar | Mike Amnasan | Ithuriel’s Spear

Liar is a sterling example, not only of Amnasan’s work, but of the publishing mission of Ithuriel’s Spear, a San Francisco-based press driven by devotion to New Narrative principles old and new.

   
The Obituary | Gail Scott | Nightboat Books

The Obituary | Gail Scott | Nightboat Books

A novel with invisible lines and stripes and boxes; the back side of an old building; a ghost in heat; a crime to be committed.

   
Denny Smith (stories) | Robert Glück | Clear Cut Press

Denny Smith (stories) | Robert Glück | Clear Cut Press

In these short stories, the tigers come at night with their voices soft as thunder, as they tear your hope apart, as they turn your dream to shame....

   
Music for Porn | Rob Halpern | Nightboat Books

Music for Porn | Rob Halpern | Nightboat Books

Investigative poetry slips into compelling lyric work and a sociosexual disorder that mirrors our war.

   
The Lizard Club | Steve Abbott | Autonomedia

The Lizard Club | Steve Abbott | Autonomedia

Steve Abbott’s THE LIZARD CLUB is funny, angry, suspenseful and totally new. It’s like a Xerox of tragedy, Pandora without her box....

   
Century of Clouds | Bruce Boone | Nightboat Books

Century of Clouds | Bruce Boone | Nightboat Books

A young man’s commitment to Marxist theory is tested as he attends a country day school swarming with thinkers.

   
USERLANDS: NEW FICTION WRITERS FROM THE BLOGGING UNDERGROUND | Dennis Cooper, Editor | Akashic Books

Userlands: New Fiction Writers from the Blogging Underground | Dennis Cooper, Editor | Akashic Books

Before there was an "alt.lit" there was Dennis Cooper at the center of all things like a goddess with many hands and arms and knives in them.

   
Impossible Princess | Kevin Killian | City Lights Publishers

Impossible Princess | Kevin Killian | City Lights Publishers

City Lights wanted a book red hot with transgressive sex and daring formal moves, and that’s what I gave ‘em, oh, with some Kylie Minogue in it too.

   
Partially Kept

Partially Kept | Martha Ronk | Nightboat Books

Slowly, steadily Ronk has been carving out a niche all her own in American poetry for the last few decades.

 

 

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Dana Ward
  “I had a lot of ideas for this list once Brent asked me to do it, but none were capacious enough for me. Then I realized that, like list making, editing an anthology allows for the clarification & refinement of a certain frame or theme. Also, like list making, its quite good for exercising one’s aptitude for debilitating anxiety. Oh the graveyard of friendships such things leave in their wake! Maybe I’m being dramatic? Issues of exclusion/inclusion freak me out. That’s why I’ll never edit an anthology. But, thank god, the brave souls below just fuckin’ went for it & produced, through their courage, these wonderful anthologies you should buy from SPD.”
 
I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women | Caroline Bergvall, Laynie Browne, Teresa Carmody, and Vanessa Place, Editors | Les Figues Press

I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women | Caroline Bergvall, Laynie Browne, Teresa Carmody, and Vanessa Place, Editors | Les Figues Press

Looking at the names assembled for this book is like going out to the country, away from all the light pollution, gazing up, & seeing only stars. The various poetic undertakings assembled here under the sign of conceptual writing speak to the interstellar diversity & manifold gravities such a rubric might (or might not!) be able to contain.

   
Biting the Error: Writers Explore Narrative | Gail Scott, Mary Burger, Robert Glück, Camille Roy, Editors | Coach House Books

Biting the Error: Writers Explore Narrative | Gail Scott, Mary Burger, Robert Glück, Camille Roy, Editors | Coach House Books

Gluck’s "Long Note on New Narrative", Bellamy’s “Low Culture”, Eileen Myles’ “Long and Social”...I could just type up the table of contents because, like one of those NOW music collections, each piece here is a life-altering part of the fabric of our years. A book of inexhaustible horizons.

   
A Megaphone: Some Enactments, Some Numbers, and Some Essays about the Continued Usefulness of Crotchless-pants-and-a-machine-gun Feminism | Juliana Spahr and Stephanie Young, Editors | ChainLinks

A Megaphone: Some Enactments, Some Numbers, and Some Essays about the Continued Usefulness of Crotchless-pants-and-a-machine-gun Feminism | Juliana Spahr and Stephanie Young, Editors | ChainLinks

This book gets more important by the day. It offers a site of crucial resistance against the automated misogynies that often characterize cultural scenes of all kind & as such gives form to the ways in which feminist thought offers routes away from our miserable dilemmas. Plus, the extended title is so awesome.

   
Rainbow Darkness: An Anthology of African American Poetry | Keith Tuma, Editor  | Miami University Press

Rainbow Darkness: An Anthology of African American Poetry | Keith Tuma, Editor | Miami University Press

A terribly under-read book that grew out of a conference on diversity in African American poetry, held just up the road from me at Miami University. So much great work in here, tons of different contexts & aesthetics banging into one another, producing sparks & questions & pleasures.

   
The Angel Hair Anthology | Anne Waldman and Lewis Warsh, Editors | Granary Books

The Angel Hair Anthology | Anne Waldman and Lewis Warsh, Editors | Granary Books

What could be more legendary than Waldman & Warsh’s Angel Hair magazine? This beautiful compendium gives you a feeling for what certain classic poems looked like in their original habitat. Also, the bio section includes some priceless photos like Lorenzo Thomas as a little boy on an outing with his mom & brother, or Bob Rosenthal & Rochelle Kraut looking like total bad-asses in 1976.

   
Aufgabe No. 11 | E. Tracy Grinnell, Julian T. Brolaski, erica kaufman and Christian Nagler, Editors | Litmus Press

Aufgabe No. 11 | E. Tracy Grinnell, Julian T. Brolaski, erica kaufman and Christian Nagler, Editors | Litmus Press

While not properly an ’anthology’ each issue of Aufgabe brings together work in English translation from a region whose poets we might not be getting turned onto enough. In this case there’s a splendid section of work from El Salvador, translated by a variety of geniuses. All the back issues of Aufgabe are totally worth having.

   
Burning City: Poems of Metropolitan Modernity | Jed Rasula and Tim Conley, Editors | Action Books

Burning City: Poems of Metropolitan Modernity | Jed Rasula and Tim Conley, Editors | Action Books

Spent a morning pouring over this at a friend’s house & have been dying for my own copy ever since. Stoked that, by putting it on my list, it’ll be on discount. I’ll take the opportunity to cop one for myself. As should you.

   
Emergency INDEX 2011 | Yelena Gluzman and Matvei Yankelevich, Editors | Ugly Duckling Presse

Emergency INDEX 2011 | Yelena Gluzman and Matvei Yankelevich, Editors | Ugly Duckling Presse

Great collection of performance scores & documents from all over the world that gives you a feel for micro-trends & macro tendencies emerging on the international performance scene.

   
The Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater: 1945-19851 | Kevin Killian and David Brazil, Editors | Kenning Editions

The Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater: 1945-19851 | Kevin Killian and David Brazil, Editors | Kenning Editions

Hugely necessary book of (seemingly) lost treasures & historically important plays by poets. Indispensable intro as well by two editors whose erudition & intelligence comes together with Reece’s surpassing perfection.

   
An Anthology of New (American) Poets| Lisa Jarnot, Leonard Schwartz and Chris Stroffolino, Editors | Talisman House, Publishers

An Anthology of New (American) Poets| Lisa Jarnot, Leonard Schwartz and Chris Stroffolino, Editors | Talisman House, Publishers

A personal classic for me. Before everything was knowable through the internet I’d found myself stuck around, oh I don’t know, 1985, wondering where the lineage of poetry I so loved would lead in my own time. Then I found this book. Just thinking of it makes me want to go write poems, such is its hold on me, still.

 

 

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Tyrone Williams
 
Simply Separate People, Two | Lynn Crawford | Black Square Editions

Simply Separate People, Two | Lynn Crawford | Black Square Editions

Think Henry James filtered through the lens of a neo-surrealist sensibility.

   
Ascension | giovanni singleton | Counterpath Press

Ascension | giovanni singleton | Counterpath Press

I love these terse but spirited meditations on the lure of the post-identity.

   
N18 (Complete) | Hank Lazer | Singing Horse Press

N18 (Complete) | Hank Lazer | Singing Horse Press

Lazer’s looping mix of citation and meditation, philosophical speculation and theological assertion, is one of the surprises of 2012....

   
fault tree | kathryn l. pringle | Omnidawn Publishing

 fault tree | kathryn l. pringle | Omnidawn Publishing

I blurbed this so...but still, I was mesmerized by this immersion into, and emeregence from, the forest of language....

   
This Can’t Be Life

This Can’t Be Life | Dana Ward | Edge Books

Simply put: this is unadulterated thinking in the service of love....

 

 

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Robin Tremblay-McGaw
Books That Crack Your Head Open
 
Poems of the Black Object | Ronaldo V. Wilson | Futurepoem Books

Poems of the Black Object | Ronaldo V. Wilson | Futurepoem Books

A line from “Dream in a Fair” reads: “There was a dog around the corner, where the grounds keeper said: / ‘Everywhere is safe” (p. 2). Nothing could be further from the truth. Breaking, un-making, remaking, Wilson’s hybrid book of poetry and prose turns form and language inside out, shakes it shackles, rattles racism’s cage and sexuality’s syntax.

   
Censory Impulse | Erica Kaufman | Factory School

Censory Impulse | Erica Kaufman | Factory School

In censory impulse, kaufman provides her readers the great pleasure of accompanying her as she examines and shifts bodies, genders, identities, cells, cultures-in writing that vamps it up: “flagrant, ready to go outside / autosomal dominant / fashion. heeled and high” (p. 51).

   
Hughson’s Tavern | Fred Moten | Leon Works

Hughson’s Tavern | Fred Moten | Leon Works

Moten’s poetry takes the reader on a large and expansive fugitive run through history, across music and politics and racism; language proves elastic and full of surprise and surmise. You never know where you’ll end up. For sure, “you come / to something else from everywhere and here” (“What ya’ll need?” p. 43).

   
Tiresias: The Collected Poems of Leland Hickman | Leland Hickman | Nightboat Books & Otis Books | Seismicity Editions

Tiresias: The Collected Poems of Leland Hickman | Leland Hickman | Nightboat Books & Otis Books | Seismicity Editions

Hickman was perhaps best known as the editor of Temblor, an impressive journal that ran from 1985-1989, but he also wrote poetry. The Collected provides an ideal opportunity to get to know this incantatory work. It is dark, on the edge, operatic, and not to be missed.

   
There Are Things We Live Among: Essays on the Object World | Jennifer Moxley | Flood Editions

There Are Things We Live Among: Essays on the Object World | Jennifer Moxley | Flood Editions

This is a tender and smart collection of essays, each unfolding, echoing, and falling into one another. Some are brief, merely two pages, but rich and evocative. Through personal anecdote and via George Oppen, Balzac, Marx, Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, Plato, George Elliot, Herrick, Keats, and others, Moxley’s essays explore how things define and shape us, have a politics and function in literature and philosophy.

   
Somatic Engagement | Petra Kuppers, Editor | ChainLinks

Somatic Engagement | Petra Kuppers, Editor | ChainLinks

This slender volume includes essays by writers and artists exploring the possibilities of somatic engagements-poetic, artistic, political, performative—and is both an engaging read and a useful tool for thinking about “subjective experience...first-person knowledge” as complex, nuanced, and embodied experiments across “multiple membranes” (p. 17).

   
The Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus | Brandon Brown | Krupskaya

The Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus | Brandon Brown | Krupskaya

Watch out Anne Carson! Brandon Brown is a rival for taking a classic, in this case, the eponymous poems of Catullus, and translating it, carrying the poems from the ancient past to our own decadent and troubled present where Lindsay Lohan, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie smart and cavort alongside the transaltor’s wit and Catullus’s invective.

   
The Wide Road | Carla Harryman and Lyn Hejinian | Belladonna*

The Wide Road | Carla Harryman and Lyn Hejinian | Belladonna*

In prose, lineated poetry, letters, The Wide Road clears a space for a collaborative trek across the territories of experience, narrative, eroticism, the female body, and collaboration itself.

 

 

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Stacy Szymaszek
 
Homage to Etel Adnan | Lindsey Boldt, Steve Dickison and Samantha Giles, Editors | The Post-Apollo Press

Homage to Etel Adnan | Lindsey Boldt, Steve Dickison and Samantha Giles, Editors | The Post-Apollo Press

Adnan’s work removes my cultural blinders (and any other blinders) without fail.

   
Bunting’s Persia | Basil Bunting | Flood Editions

Bunting’s Persia | Basil Bunting | Flood Editions

Translations of Sa’di, Hafiz, Rudaki and others by Basil Bunting, one of the best ears in poetry history.

   
The Practice of Residue | Kimberly Lyons | Subpress

The Practice of Residue | Kimberly Lyons | Subpress

Along with Greenwald and Godfrey, Lyons is one of the down-low sources of New York poetry power.

   
Clearview/LIE | Ted Greenwald | United Artists Books

Clearview/LIE | Ted Greenwald | United Artists Books

Hard to really proclaim such things, at least for me, but I’ll go ahead and say this was among my three favorite books of 2011. Delivers pure joy in language. Metabolic.

   
Tiny Gold Dress | John Godfrey | Lunar Chandelier Press

Tiny Gold Dress | John Godfrey | Lunar Chandelier Press

Short sexy poems from a tall sexy dude who walks a lot.

   
More Pricks Than Prizes | Tom Pickard | Pressed Wafer

More Pricks Than Prizes | Tom Pickard | Pressed Wafer

Prose beginning with “Do you think this hash is coated with opium, Basil?” as in Bunting. Will both fit in and burst from your pocket.

   
Apart | Catherine Taylor | Ugly Duckling Presse

Apart | Catherine Taylor | Ugly Duckling Presse

Totally compelling in subject (legacy of apartheid) and form (journal, poem, memoir, journalism).

   
The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment | Anne Waldman | Coffee House Press

The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment | Anne Waldman | Coffee House Press

This is Anne Waldman for the archive. I am in awe.

   
The Obituary | Gail Scott | Nightboat Books

The Obituary | Gail Scott | Nightboat Books

The book that most made me want to go into deep analysis, or let go and go deep into my crazy, or watch more Hitchcock movies.

 

 

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Lizzy Acker
Awesome Poets I Have Seen Read in Real Life So I Know for a Fact You Will Like Them Because I Barely EVER Like Poetry
 
The Firestorm | Zach Savich | Cleveland State University Poetry Center

The Firestorm | Zach Savich | Cleveland State University Poetry Center

Zach Savich and I once made shirts with crazy slogans and put them randomly into full driers in our freshman dorm. No hyperbole, he is the smartest, bravest poet I know.

   
Win These Posters and Other Unrelated Prizes Inside | Norma Cole | Omnidawn Publishing

Win These Posters and Other Unrelated Prizes Inside | Norma Cole | Omnidawn Publishing

Norma Cole turns words into feelings which makes her a hero.

   
The Haunted House | Marisa Crawford | Switchback Books

The Haunted House | Marisa Crawford | Switchback Books

Dear boys: Do you want to know what it is like to be a girl? Read The Haunted House.

   
The Takeaway Bin | Toni Mirosevich | Spuyten Duyvil

The Takeaway Bin | Toni Mirosevich | Spuyten Duyvil

I wouldn’t say Toni Mirosevich taught me EVERYTHING I know about writing about life, but I would say she taught me all the important things.

   
Hider Roser | Ben Mirov | Octopus Books

Hider Roser | Ben Mirov | Octopus Books

Ben Mirov is a scientist specializing in Ben Mirov studies. This is his very affordable advanced-level seminar.

 

 

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Amy King
4 Mini-Mixes
 
 

I GO BACK TO MY LIGHT AND DARK PARTS

Against Professional Secrets | César Vallejo | Roof Books

Against Professional Secrets | César Vallejo | Roof Books

Do Not Awaken Them with Hammers | Lidija Dimkovska | Ugly Duckling Presse

Do Not Awaken Them with Hammers | Lidija Dimkovska | Ugly Duckling Presse

 

MUMMIFIED, THE LIGHT

Stars of the Night Commute | Ana Božičević | Tarpaulin Sky Press

Stars of the Night Commute | Ana Božičević | Tarpaulin Sky Press

Mule & Pear | Rachel Eliza Griffiths | New Issues Poetry & Prose

Mule & Pear | Rachel Eliza Griffiths | New Issues Poetry & Prose

Selenography | Joshua Marie Wilkinson | Sidebrow Books

Selenography | Joshua Marie Wilkinson | Sidebrow Books

 

THE HANDS OF GOD ARE AS BIG AS CRAYONS 

I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women | Caroline Bergvall, Laynie Browne, Teresa Carmody, and Vanessa Place, Editors | Les Figues Press

I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women | Caroline Bergvall, Laynie Browne, Teresa Carmody, and Vanessa Place, Editors | Les Figues Press

The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral | Joshua Corey and G. C. Waldrep, Editors | Ahsahta Press

The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral | Joshua Corey and G. C. Waldrep, Editors | Ahsahta Press

 

BABY BLEU

The Bigger World | Noelle Kocot | Wave Books

The Bigger World | Noelle Kocot | Wave Books

Only Blue Body | Rosalynde Vas Dias | Anhinga Press Only Blue Body | Rosalynde Vas Dias | Anhinga Press
The Four Questions of Melancholy: New and Selected Poems | Tomaž Šalamun | White Pine Press The Four Questions of Melancholy: New and Selected Poems | Tomaž Šalamun | White  Pine Press
 

 

New Arrivals

It's night in San Francisco but it's sunny in Oakland
Otis Pig, emji spero, and Zach Houston, Editors

How to Feel Confident with Your Special Talents
Carol Guess and Daniela Olszewska

FENCE VOL. 16 NO. 2 SPRING/SUMMER 2014
Rebecca Wolff, Editor

Poetics of Wonder: Passage to Mogador
Alberto Ruy Sanchez

New American Writing 32
Paul Hoover and Maxine Chernoff, Editors

Waking the Bones
Melissa Mylchreest