Altar for Broken Things

The element called Colonialism is composed of “toxic events,” Deborah Miranda says, so she urges us to choose “Indigenous elements/Story, Dance, and Song.” These elements allow Miranda to look on damage and still worship creation’s gorgeousness and life. Each poem is a ripeness offered -to unknown gods- in fruit, flower, feathers, even flesh ended in rampage, the burnt sacrifice implied in the word altar. Yet in these poems bees still pollinate, oysters still make pearls, women still yearn to scratch “the smell of exile” and … Learn more

Dark Braid

Winner of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry , selected by Doug Ramspeck. Dara Elerath is an immensely gifted poet who has written a memorable and highly quotable first book. I underlined many lines, dog-eared page after page. Her language glints and thrums and startles. Curiosity underscores her work—her imagination seeks new ways of seeing and understanding. It listens to “secrets told by cantaloupes,” notices “violence against apples.” It enters a glacier, its “milk-white center,” discovers “the coldest heart on earth.” Dark Braid is a … Learn more

Mozart’s Pigtail

Townley’s sure grasp of the telling detail, the precise word often shocking in its simplicity, gives power to these threnodies and serenades and downright love songs. His is a voice like no one else’s I hear these days. Robert KellyRed Actions If only every poet, musician, and teacher had a Townley to celebrate them. If only every mother, wife, or infant on the changing table inspired work like this. Here is a poet on whom, apparently, nothing is lost. Rachel HadasQuestions in the Vestibule Previous … Learn more

Can You Smell the Rain?

Can You Smell the Rain? poses the old theatrical question, Who wants what, and why can’t they have it? Her confused and characters take themselves seriously as they yearn for love. With wit and gently biting satire, the poet presents their struggles. Beware: a snicker at these characters is a snicker at yourself. Whether the scene is a French-speaking convent school in Kansas City or an Irish-American woman’s further coming of age as a Radcliffe student, wife, mother, poet, or world traveler, Miller’s true journey … Learn more

Latter Days of Eve

Winner of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry, selected by Patricia Spears Jones Burch imagines Eve’s life after Eden, in a world both ancient and contemporary, dystopian and redeemed. In Latter Days of Eve, Beverly Burch writes into the Eve myth as if Eve were a prism shining a multitude of reflections across the ages. “Oh Eve, every Eve,” she laments as we meet a cast of women in therapy offices, trashed campgrounds, old shrines, along the interstate, and we meet ourselves running from our … Learn more

Sweet Herbaceous Miracle

Winner of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry , selected by Enid Shomer Featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily Sweet Herbaceous Miracle is absolutely gorgeous writing. Attentive language, rich, provocative scenes with painterly light shining through . . . Berwyn Moore’s book takes the breath away. Naomi Shihab NyeCast Away: Poems for Our Time Elizabethan elegance, light, and fire-crack pervade this terrific collection. In sizzling couplets and delicious sonnets, Berwyn Moore is ever the melodist—and ever more the skeptical interrogator (of the body, of … Learn more

Crude Angel

In Suzanne Cleary’s moving new book of poems, Crude Angel, the imagination enters into a tender dialogue with the world. Now the world has the last word, as wish gives way to fact, and now the imagination steps forward to fill the landscape with what is missing. The poems seem so homely and open in the particulars used to ground their shifting perspectives that the reader can’t help but be drawn in. Carl DennisNight School In these headlong, often hilarious, intensely pleasurable poems, Suzanne Cleary … Learn more

Fable of the Pack-Saddle Child

Color illustrations by Nereida García Ferraz International Latino Book Awards, poetry in English award, second place Fable of the Pack-Saddle Child, an illustrated book-length poem for adults, lays bare the world of Micaela, ten, who lives in an unnamed Spanish-speaking city by the sea. Seeking emotional refuge after a traumatic assault, Micaela withdraws from the world of adults. Almost losing her burgeoning sense of self, she instead becomes enchanted by language, beginning with the tilde that sits atop the Spanish letter Ñ. Her new love … Learn more


Winner of the American Book Award Featured on Verse Daily It takes only the ring of the opening poems in Currents to realize this book does exactly what one hopes a first book will do, bring alive a new, original voice. It’s a voice Bojan Louis not only sustains, but builds, the way, say, a young Sonny Rollins, might shape and vary a singular solo that flows through song after song: raw, kinetic, authentic, a poetry in which language has in common with music the … Learn more

Feet of the Messenger

This book explores Palmer’s experiences as a medical doctor, especially as an army surgeon in the Vietnam War, and his feelings for and memories of his native Kansas, especially the Flint Hills. Although he has only been writing poetry for twelve years, Palmer’s work reflects decades of discovering how the war kept coming back to him, even on the prairie. Between the horrors of the Vietnam War and the pacific silences of the Kansas prairie, H. C. Palmer honors both the beauty of the English … Learn more

All That Held Us

Winner of the of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry, selected by Kate Daniels In this collection of linked sonnets, a young woman wrestles with the expectations of her repressive upbringing and Southern culture. Raised by a jaded and critical mother and haunted by an absent father, she constructs the myths and truths of home, family, and marital love that confine and release her to navigate her own sexuality and capacity for intimacy. A biting exploration of family and coming of age. The dad is … Learn more

The World Is One Place:
Native American Poets
Visit the Middle East

Eric Hoffer Award category finalist and da Vinci’s Eye finalist for cover art by Kim Shuck The anthology explores how the Middle East has captured the imaginations of a significant group of Native American poets, most of whom have traveled to the Middle East (broadly defined to include the Arab world, Israel, Turkey, Afghanistan). What qualities of the region drew them there? What did they see? How did their cultural perspectives as Native Americans inform their reactions and insights? Three thematic sections—Place, People, Spirit—feature poems … Learn more