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DRIVING INTO BLACK MOUNTAINS
(Flowersong Press, 2020)

Sarah Joy Thompson

Interwoven throughout the pages of DRIVING INTO BLACK MOUNTAINS, you will find Sarah Joy Thompson's poignant songs, stories, and meditations, as her poetry journeys through various landscapes of the heart and the physical world. Travel across the lush landscapes of her youth in the Philippines to remote national parks in the United States, where the author's voice soars to discover the strength and the comfort needed for everyday life. DRIVING INTO BLACK MOUNTAINS asks both simple and profound questions about our direct connection to all that exists around us and the footprints we leave behind. In the words of author Mobi Warren, "This is a collection that does not hesitate to look at difficult truths, but is so imbued with the transcendent power of love—for spouse, for family, for the natural world." Thompson's disarmingly honest perspectives direct our thoughts towards the homelike atmospheres, created by nature's outdoor spaces and secluded landscapes. This heartfelt poetry collection provides a much-needed breath of fresh air and a salve for the soul. Author Jim LaVilla-Havelin provides early praise for the collection: "Relax into this loving book of our connection to earth, this compendium of prayers and hopes and touches and journeys."



MOONDRIFTER REVERIE: A POETRY NARRATIVE OF 1970s HOUSEBOAT LIFE
(Red Mountain Press, 2017)
Keith Emmons

Life in the Waldo Point houseboat community was much like Moondrifter, the author's own houseboat, swinging free in its mooring and subject only to the daily rhythms of wind and tide. Keith Emmons recalls a utopian, civic experience that flourished briefly in the 1970s in Sausalito on San Francisco Bay. This nostalgic tribute to a youthful interlude steeped in flower power and cannabis reflects a storied moment in American history.



ASHORE
(Tupelo Press, 2021)
Laurel Nakanishi

From the waters of Waikīkī, to the forests outside Honolulu, and across the Pacific ocean, the poems in Laurel Nakanishi's debut collection consider the relationships between place and story. In estrangement and intimacy, at home and away, on the surface and in the depths, these poems level a steady gaze on the world and ask, "And yet, what do I really know?" The answer comes in memory and geography, in old songs and moments folded into a larger time. These poems ask us to live deeply on the earth, to attend to the "stories at work in us," and known ourselves anew.




CALLING THROUGH WATER
(Tebot Bach, 2020)
Kim Hamilton

"This is a book of poetry that looks at all the world, whether out of the way or iconic places, with reverence. The resulting poems are facets of what we might see by turning a metaphysical kaleidoscope as light breaks and renews itself. The geographical movement is coupled with the enchanting chorus of voices the poet has summoned, to sing of where we are, and how recognizing our togetherness, is the way we belong. Nothing in this book is lightly handled, but the poet is bound to shine a light on hope."—Maurice Manning




NIOQUE OF THE EARLY-SPRING
(The Song Cave, 2018)
Francis Ponge

Translated from the French by Jonathan Larson. On the 50th anniversary of its publication,The Song Cave is honored to publish the first English translation of Francis Ponge's NIOQUE OF THE EARLY-SPRING. Ostensibly a book written to honor the season itself and the cycle of time, upon its first publication in Paris, May 1968, these notes took on a greater metaphorical meaning within this context, addressing the need for new beginnings and revolution.



SWEET HERBACEOUS MIRACLE
(BkMk Press at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, 2018)
Berwyn Moore

SWEET HERBACEOUS MIRACLE won the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry, selected by the renowned poet and editor Enid Shomer. Berwyn Moore not only observes myriad botanical wonders of nature, but she unlocks their significance for human self-understanding. Shomer writes in her foreword to the book, "Moore is an accomplished poet with striking verbal facility whose poems offer the usual pleasures of language that poetry provides. But how she perceives the world, her sensibility, is another attraction for her readers... On a basic level, she demonstrates a way to be in the world." Poet Naomi Shihab Nye calls the book "absolutely gorgeous writing," and poet Alan Michael Parker writes, "Elizabethan elegance, light, and fire-crack pervade this terrific collection."




WILD PEACH
(Futurepoem Books, 2020)
S*an D. Henry-Smith

Finalist for the 2020 Pen Open Book Award. WILD PEACH is a multisensory roaming of landscape and interior, often (but not always) in near stillness and varying light. The power to disrupt and obscure language is an essential tool in protecting this multimodal endeavor; in this project, poetry and photography warm the taste of memory, exploring nonlinear, non-narrative time through the sonic offerings of image and text—and the Outdoors, the interpersonal, and all offered onto. Black Secrecy demands and provides a spirit of collaboration, study, and play. Rest without guilt. Two steppin' in the parking lot. Screaming into the night sky. In the garden and the noise, what must be learned from the garble? We listen. The ocean is always just over your shoulder.




THE COLOUR OF CLOUDS
(Inanna Publications, 2019)
Linda Martin

THE COLOUR OF CLOUDS features poems that focus on the Greater Toronto area, which includes a variety of towns, hamlets, cities, and landscapes with a rich history and culture. In a poetic and introspective style, this book explores the loss of our links to the past and how the pace of development threatens the beauty of our heritage, both built and natural. Featured in the poems are writers from Stephen Leacock to Lucy Maude Montgomery to Mazo de la Roche, and artists such as Milne, Gladstone, Varley, and Macdonald, who were also inspired by the landscapes of these regions. The central themes in this collection are: losses and gains over time in the places where we reside, the interplay between our natural world and the built environment, the often tenuous connection between the present and the past in the spaces that we inhabit, and ecofeminist theories relating to the exploitation of the natural world and the significant connection of women to nature.




(aviary)
(Veliz Books, 2020)
Genevieve Kaplan

The poems in (AVIARY) circle themes of enclosure, feminism, and the natural world. Much of the collection was initially composed in local public gardens, lending these poems an air of urgency, the stink of voyeurism, and the hum of participation. This collection owes much, too, to Mina Loy's prose poem "Ladies in an Aviary," which lends language and thematic play to Kaplan's (AVIARY).




THE SISSIES
(Futurepoem Books, 2016)
Evan Kennedy

"Composed on bicycular excursions through San Francisco, Evan Kennedy's THE SISSIES aims to 'be subjugated' and speak as animal—wolf, ox, sheep, donkey. A ballpark seagull settling on the Giants' outfield. The casual, mannered pun on St. Francis of Assisi (patron saint of the city and of animals) and 'a sissy' undergirds Kennedy's argument against the 'crummy superiority' of humans, and for the 'dissolution of animal taxonomy.' The speaker strives toward, but does not reach, a creaturely transfiguration: 'when I say wolf I mean something else I want to reach,' a horizon continually vanishing. Amid echoes of the medieval argument against homosexuality as 'contrary to kynde' or against nature, Kennedy suggests that our species-exclusivity (homo, human) is our apparent peril—'we have only kept identical to ourselves.' Like the troubadour's desire for another's spouse, by definition unobtainable, or the longing for one's creator and that-other-shore, these poems bray and graze toward a fuller empathy with creatures, a beatific meekness in the face of queer-bashing, where the body can be 'stilled as meat.'"—Julian Talamantez Brolaski




LIGHT IN ITS COMMON PLACE
(Broadstone Books, 2020)
Michael Joyce

In the foundational Western origin myth, the first order of creation is light, which is described as good, and ever since light has been associated with goodness. It is light that reveals and thus brings into being everything else, and in the same way this profound new poetry collection from Michael Joyce is itself an act of revelation, of creation. These poems concern themselves with light, and what it reveals. Light in its common place, that is to say, everywhere—except where it is not, in the shadows (which also serve to delineate reality); and (in an example of the wordplay that is a delight in so many of these poems) also light in its commonplace, its everyday-ness, it's casualness. "The sun pays no mind as it prowls the house / stenciling dark parallel bars upon a white plastic / wastebasket"—the sort of thing we, equally mindless, might not notice if our eyes were not directed to it by one more observant.

And Joyce observes everything. And seemingly everything he has observed over a lifetime, ranging over landscapes variously intellectual and physical (both sublime), over myriad languages and cultures, East and West, culture high and pop, often blended together in a single poem, or even line, all this is transfigured in these poems. The results are breathtaking in their audacity, and heartrending in their tenderness. "God is distant in these days," he tells us, "on whose account, his or ours, an open question / one worth addressing by someone somewhere but not here now where we are / left with the dark and the dream of emerging again and again into alien light..."

The light emanating from these poems may indeed be alien, in the sense of the strange, the unknown and unexpected, perhaps even a bit intimidating, but in the absence of God we are called to make our own new creation. If light was present at the first moment of creation, St. John reminds us that so was the word. And what wonderful words are here, in these poems, and what an amazing world they create, in no way common, but in their way, familiar, comforting, commonplace.



WINGS OR DOES THE CATERPILLAR DREAM OF FLIGHT
(Dos Madres Press, 2020)
Cathryn Essinger

Monarchs are the most iconic of the North American butterflies and the only butterfly that migrates. Every fall, Monarchs travel to a winter home among the oyamel firs in Mexico, a journey of over 2,000 miles. This annual migration is threatened, however, by pesticides, climate change, and land development. Their numbers have plummeted by 80% in the last 20 years. Naturalists and citizen scientists (and poets!) are working to preserve this migration by increasing awareness of the Monarch's life cycle and preserving the habitat needed for its survival. These poems explore the myths and traditions associated with Monarch butterflies, while following their extraordinary journey from egg to caterpillar, to chrysalis and butterfly.



THE BRIGHT FIELD OF EVERYTHING
(Kore Press, 2014)
Deborah Fries

In THE BRIGHT FIELD OF EVERYTHING, Deborah Fries builds upon the long-line, lyric narrative style of her first volume of poetry, Various Modes of Departure, to address familiar themes of place, love, mortality and modern life. Place plays a major role in this collection: from the ennui of a Massachusetts suburb and the transience of a town in shale country to the fresh joy found on a Minnesota hiking trail, Fries nurtures a sensibility shaped by surroundings. Love, however, is most often out of place or ill-timed in this second book, where dolphins shape-shift their way into women's beds, bucks drive does into oncoming traffic and men are as habituated as elephants. Love and loved ones are both constant and ephemeral in these poems, as the body becomes less reliable, friends are lost and yet, as in the field of everything, they remain with us.



BIG BRIGHT SUN
(BlazeVOX Books, 2010)
Nate Pritts

"Nate Pritts's BIG BRIGHT SUN probably feels so thoroughly lived because reading it feels so like living in it. Robert Creeley wrote that for him in poems 'the world came true.' In these poems the world comes true. And how! All this sky glued to the trees and the world surface by the resin of sun-soaked American speech! You can feel this book poised listening to itself and all the light, sound, thought and feeling passing through it. Passing through on its way towards all its directly addressed others, us readers included. 'Let's be everlasting today,' this book, at one point early on, proposes. Let's"—Anthony McCann.



GREEN HILL
(Able Muse Press, 2018)
Lorna Knowles Blake

Winner of the 2017 Able Muse Book Award. "In the poems in GREEN HILL, Lorna Knowles Blake takes the intimacies of human life and the riots of nature and transmutes them into forms that both discipline and liberate their beauty. By doing so, she also reveals the real, the secret, sovereign of that beauty—the human imagination, of which hers is a triumphant example."—Vijay Seshadri

"Whatever subject Lorna Knowles Blake turns her hand to, she displays a prosodic surefootedness and a continual freshness of perception. Poems as different from one another as 'Glosa' and 'The Allure of the Ledge' will find readers to admire not only Blake's skill but the literary culture that she makes her own."—Charles Martin, 2017 Able Muse Book Award judge



SURFERBOY
(PalmArtPress, 2018)
Kevin McAleer

Steve wants to be a surfer—one of those demi-gods who walk on water. But for a kid from the San Fernando Valley who's scared of the ocean this is no easy task. Through his encounters with tough Malibu locals, shady surfboard designers, haole-hating Hawaiians, uptight surf stars, sex-hungry surf groupies and stoned big-wave riders, Steve learns the humorous as well as the darker side of surfing. With finely honed irony and a lightness of touch, Kevin McAleer tells a story of friendship, coming of age in the 1970s, and the fascination of surfing—while also imparting a wealth of knowledge that can compete with any how-to book on the sport (including an extensive surf glossary as appendix).




BEACH LOVERS
(PalmArtPress, 2020)
Jorg Rubbert

Jörg Rubbert started in the early 80s with his long-running photo series about people on the beach. He might have felt the longing in himself and therefore approached the topic intuitively—but this remains pure speculation. In the end it all comes down to the same theme: resting on the beach—looking out to sea and gazing a view on the horizon. Throughout time people all over the world have yearned for leisure, freedom and happiness. What remains is this inimitable feeling of enjoying and holding on to the moment without appointments, without deadlines, without obligations.

The main intent of this photo book is to capture this feeling and put it on film—Jörg Rubbert used traditional film for the series—and to represent the very own satisfaction of needs and freedom of each of us. The picture series shown covers a period of more than 30 years and spans—even if on closer inspection the places seem to be interchangeable—from the board walks on Americas East and West Coast to the beach promenades along the Côte d'Azure. Rubbert took the pictures with 35 mm and mid-range cameras on traditional analog color film. He relies solely on the existing lighting—no artificial light, no flash or other technical finesse added. And even during the printing process there were no manipulation. The finished C-Prints are atmospheric pictures, mostly rich in contrast but sometimes somewhat grainy.




GARDEN PRAYERS: SPRING
(Pelekinesis, 2019)
T M Givens

GARDEN PRAYERS: SPRING is the second collection of drawings made at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont and in Cambria, California. These are "still part of the meditation I experience while looking at or experiencing or talking to or wondering about or thinking of these living places," says artist T.M. Givens.



GARDEN PRAYERS: SUMMER
(Pelekinesis, 2020)
T M Givens

 GARDEN PRAYERS: SUMMER is the third collection of drawings made at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont and in Upland, California. These are, as artist T.M. Givens states, "still based on the idea that they are prayers...what about if I don't have enough good words to let you know what I believe or that I'm thinking...can you understand that well enough?"


AN ORANGE
(Pioneer Works, 2021)
Ted Dodson

 "It would be too easy to say love vanished from the earth..." begins Ted Dodson's AN ORANGE, his thoughtful, experiential second collection of poems. It's a provocation to which AN ORANGE wholeheartedly responds. Dodson's work reroutes essay, narrative, and confessionalism, detouring from criticism into bisexual desire and navigating modernity as fluently as it imagines speculative destinations for language. From the graceful realism of the opening travelogues to its final long poem, "The Language the Sky Speaks," AN ORANGE guides memory and affect into cosmopolitan forms: disalienating, expansive, and tonic.



NOT FOR NOTHING
(Bordighera Press, 2018)
Kathy Curto

 "NOT FOR NOTHING transported me. Curto's gritty specificity with coming-of-age memories is humourous, gripping, and thought-provoking. NOT FOR NOTHING takes on the beauty, pain, tenderness, cruelty, passion, and love that often coexist in a jumble of childhood and family."—Ann Imig
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