Drapetomania by Cynthia Parker-Ohene
Like a traditional griot, Cynthia Parker-Ohene creates a world of wonder(ment). “Core Black Lives” are depicted in striking images that highlight places and pieces of history. The poems in Drapetomania are composed of a lush, crisp language that allows the reader to inhabit lands where “sons will not be stopped by 5 0” and where “dna leaches into birchbark.” Raw and polished, truth and sardonic, these poems unabashedly shine “in the stubborn light.”
Memory of a Girl by Aozora Brockman
In Memory of a Girl, memory loss is magnified through narrative poems wrought with intimate, familial Japanese terms & cultural customs. There’s the anguish of witnessing and caring for someone losing memories, but along with despair and frustration, Brockman extols the grace, bond, and strength that lingers through debilitation. She is an elegant storyteller.
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Strange-tongued Names by Aaron Counts
With big guts Counts writes poems that are vivid—the language, sometimes a distinct mixture of empathy and gore. On subjects of hip-hop influence, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and his sparse Central District “Love Story” postcard poems, he is resolute in his depictions and accounts of dearth and inner-city blues. Strange-tongued Names represents an eloquent reflection on urban life.
7 x 7 kwansabas by Tara Betts
7×7 kwansabas brims with flashes of imagery. Words slam into each other as if in a race against time to define the characters she embodies her poems with. She primes her pen, revealing intricate details into the lives of the famous. The likes of Katherine Dunham, Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson, and Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan rise up on the page, allowing the reader to discover and rediscover them.
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Laundry by C.P. Mangel
Laundry is a stunning poetry chapbook, filled with memorable characters and tons of artful turns of phrases. The narrative language never stops short or becomes laborious to read. Mangel has chosen a difficult subject matter to explore––prison life, and in particular, she deftly delves into the nature of hate crime within the prison system she imagines. She does so with aplomb, never resorting to cliché.
In the Land of Tropical Martyrs by Dariel Suarez
Though In the Land of Tropical Martyrs is a chapbook, it has the heft and authority of a full volume of poetry. Each of these poems is rich with the ache of urgent memory, living memory, memory that sings as the opposite of nostalgia and wakes us more fully to our own lives. ~Michael Hettich, author of Systems of Vanishing and The Animals Beyond Us
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Sea Island Blues by Tyree Daye
“…Daye writes of his home in the south, his family, his loves and losses, all with a grace and accuracy of image and language. Daye sings of hurricanes and hydrangeas, pond fishing, sun tea and the North Star, “that doesn’t lead to freedom anymore/ but you can follow it and still get killed.” ~Dorianne Laux, author of Facts About the Moon and The Book of Men
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Trace Particles by Allison Joseph
“…poems that are both smart and sensitive, Joseph sings of America’s promises, those broken, those kept, and
those just recently made. These are the poems of America’s heartland and America’s heart.” ~Gerry LaFemina, author of Notes for the Novice Ventriloquist.
Affairs With Men In Suits by Eric Tran
With exquisite wit, Eric Tran turns the dirty secret of being in thrall to the creepiest guys into a wrenching meditation about power and its inexhaustible allure. ~Paul Lisicky, author of Unbuilt Projects
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