Look at Darla Himeles, there on the razor’s edge of survival as a Jew, note taker of past and future extinctions, a poet fearless of science, unafraid of love or laughter. Listen as she sings love songs to the cephalopod dead, the manatees’ eyes “cataracted by microplastics,” and the Colorado that “forgets it’s a river.” Smile as she imagines T.S. Eliot becoming a blue crab. Meditate with her on our own eyes, possible “reservoirs of the Anthropocene’s / last sunlit hours.” Himeles helps us know our place as specks of a star, kin to all animals, in poems that dance with the pleasure of language.
—Alicia Ostriker, author of Waiting for the Light (Pitt Poetry Series 2017).
Wild Invocations is that moment that happens sometimes at a bombazo when you realize that you’re watching a woman dance, but also witnessing the dancing of all the generations who meet inside her. And that their dancing is filled with both a listening for the routes and a burning of the routes. History blooming and being ravaged all at once. These poems are, for me, that moment: Mighty and elemental, inventive and imaginative—with an ear to the drum. They are fierce in their ability to render the catastrophes while simultaneously surviving them. Here Ysabel González chooses “to ruthlessly start / from the scratchy / throated beginning.” She writes: “Mother, teach me // teach me to unleash / unravel a memory / memory which kills a head.” This book is urgent, prayerful, fight-full. Alive. Every word and breath here is a mind willing itself to live. We are so lucky for this poet in the world.
—Aracelis Girmay, award winning poet and author of the children’s book Changing, Changing, and the poetry collections Teeth, Kingdom Animalia, and The Black Maria.
Stand Mute brings to the forefront things hidden and unsaid from abuse that often gets muffled and discarded. The poet is brave but the poems are braver. These confessions will break your heart, but in the breaking, there is rebuilding—for empathy, for human compassion for reshaping what we think we know of men. Victor Alcindor’s poems shatter the false narrative of masculinity. These poems scream We have to do better. Kids are cruel but humanity can be crueler. Sure, these are initiation and coming of age stories, but more importantly, these poems are baptismal and, if you listen carefully, you cannot emerge from this book unchanged. We often read blurbs with words like necessity and must read and they are actually not, but Stand Mute is the real deal.
—Randall Horton author of Pitch Dark Anarchy (Northwestern University Press 2013) and Hook: A Memoir (Augury Books 2015) Winner of the Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award for 2017.
Darla Himeles is a poet, translator, and essayist with roots in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and coastal Maine. A Pushcart-Prize and Best-of-the-Net nominee, Darla can be read in recent issues of Talking River, Naugatuck River Review, Storyscape, New Ohio Review, and Pittsburgh Poetry Review. She is an associate editor for The Stillwater Review and holds an AB in English from Bryn Mawr College and an MFA in poetry and poetry in translation from Drew University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in American literature at Temple University, where she is the assistant director of the Temple University Writing Center and has taught undergraduate poetry workshops, first-year writing, and literature classes. A 2018 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award recipient, Darla lives in Philadelphia with her wife and daughter.
Len Lawson's Chime is the rough melody reverberating from the whirlwind of these times and past times touching the singular and collective Black body. While the poems have a broad preoccupation with mortality and trauma, they are ultimately life-affirming. This collection reminds us that the grief and anxiety in the Black community are only recognition that what is far too often, too brutally and too unjustly lost is substantial, important and invaluable. Here are words that you need to read, that we all do.
—Cortney Lamar Charleston, author of 2016 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize winner, Telepathologies
Get Fresh Books believes in honoring the artistic and personal integrity of our writers. As such, the back cover of this poetry collection does not feature blurbs. Mr. Kirn preferred not to have blurbs and we respect his wishes. Please enjoy the poem below and consider this beautiful collection of poems based on its merits.
what is the meticulous knot being
tied by the six moths
weaving in the silent remaining
wilderness at dusk
what is this rise & fall game this spinning
ring they make of where they are
have been & will be
who would have thought it
the moth is omnipresent in its own lifetime
the silence beams it into my ear like a stream of breath
in my 27th year i am part of the unseen root system
of entangled wonder & desire in light
good & clean for drinking
good for sinking in
i believe in thriving in full sun
& prepare my cotyledons
for their spirit is forming
so i tell them about the ferns & the sedges
& the bog & the maples turning
for it’s gold in the month of our becoming
Tamara Zbrizher is a Ukrainian American poet. Her work ranges in subject matter from her Jewish heritage, motherhood, womanhood, immigration and the passage of time. Her work has appeared in Lunch Ticket, Naugatuck River Review, The New Engagement, Driftwood Press, and Lamplighter Magazine. Her poem “When the Holocaust Burns Your History You Grow Myth” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in New Jersey with her son and two overfed cats.
Lynne McEniry was born in Yonkers, NY and has lived much of her life in Northern NJ. Lynne is the associate editor for the recently relaunched OVS Magazine and has been a regular guest editor for Adanna Literary Journal, for which she edited several special issues including, How Women Grieve, Women and the Arts, and Women and Food. Her poems have been published in the Paterson Literary Review, Digging Through the Fat, The Lake Rises Anthology, The Wide Shore, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, 5 AM, Adanna, The Stillwater Review, and others. Some of her poems have been awarded both Honorable Mention, and in 2016, Second Prize, for the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Most recently her poem, “dried up things” was chosen as the Editor’s Choice poem for 2016 by Gessy Alvarez at Digging Through the Fat.
Marina Carreira is a Luso-American writer from Newark, NJ. Save the Bathwater is Marina’s first full-length collection. Finishing Line Press published her chapbook, I Sing to That Bird Knowing It Won’t Sing Back. Marina’s work is featured in Paterson Literary Review, The Acentos Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Hinchas de Poesia, Luna Luna, Harpoon Review, Green Mountain Review, and others.
Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @maketheunknown, and Instagram @thedreamisthetruth.
In this gorgeous new collection of poems, Marina Carreira breathes life into the bittersweet stories of family and culture, a sensory journey into the striking beauty and hard truths of the immigrant landscape cultivated as an American experience. Her poet soul sings—like a Portuguese saudade—in service to safeguarding what has been lost and what should never be forgotten, “to remember it all—sweat and tears, / Luso ancestry, to run roots through/ my future great-granddaughter’s bones.”
—Rigoberto González, author of over twenty books of fiction and non-fiction, four books of poetry, most recently Unpeopled Eden (Four Way Books 2013), winner of the Lambda Literary Award and the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets.
Michelle Chen is a contributing writer for The Nation, a contributing editor at Dissent magazine and contributing writer at In These Times. She is also co-producer of “Asia Pacific Forum” on Pacifica’s WBAI and Dissent’s “Belabored” podcast, and studies history at the City University of New York Graduate Center. Her poetry weaves together her reporting observations with other literary sensibilities. Michelle previously published with Red Bird Chapbooks and Anaphora, and was a 2017 finalist in the Eggtooth Editions Chapbook Contest.
The woman is singing and talking to you and she is urgent. This “whittled woman/this battered blue fragment” has traveled far, has burst through harsh iterations of time and experience. In searing poems carried from the wreckages of marriage, of trauma-memory, of self-doubt toxic as glue, of once-sacred homes now vanished, McEniry’s craft stays steady. Tough cadences and syllabic rigor thread themselves inside magic and enchanting music in a daughter’s Sunday meal, a sea floor, a community of poets, and a “honey-mint whisper/of eucalyptus.” There’s more: wit and bite in the short lyrics a la Stevie Smith; and sound-bursts inside the spacious prose poems. Just when we’re certain all is revealed of this wise and quirky soul-spirit-traveler, here comes young Eros, intoxicated by a lover’s hair and a dove high in a tree where the poet declares: “I built the foundation of my summer/on her creation.” This debut is a rare gift.
—Judith Vollmer, author of The Apollonia Poems (University of Wisconsin Press 2017), winner of the Four Lakes Prize.
Len Lawson is the author of the chapbook Before the Night Wakes You (Finishing Line Press, 2017) and co-editor of Hand in Hand: Poets Respond to Race (Muddy Ford Press, 2017). Len is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. He received fellowships from Callaloo, Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the inaugural 2018 Susan Laughter Meyers Poetry Fellowship at the Weymouth Center for the Arts from the North Carolina Poetry Society. His poems have appeared in The Baltimore Review, [PANK], Verse Daily, Winter Tangerine Review, Thrush Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. Len is a Poetry Reader & Book Reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly. He is a Ph.D. student in English Literature and Criticism at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.He currently teaches English at the University of South Carolina Sumter.
Praise for Peter Kirn:
"I have been waiting for this collection. Peter Kirn is a beautiful poet & I bet you've never heard of him. Because no FB, no social media at all. I often wonder if he even has a phone until I get a call & hear his voice & am reminded he's not the man of my imagination. His poetry transports me to the world I want to be a part of & reminds me of the world I am a part of and how not to look away."
Yesenia Montilla, author of The Pink Box ( Willow Books 2015).
From the avenues, expressways, and rooftops of NYC, to prison cells, hospice rooms, and the graveyards of cork boards, merciless seashores, borders, and war zones, Michelle Chen takes her readers from “Point A to Point B” and everywhere in between. In poems including “Wrecked” and “Body” Chen makes her reader realize how much we inhabit a body and how much that influences our emotional and intellectual lives along this journey. Her poems explore anticipated loss and sudden catastrophe wrapped in the undeniable instinct of seeking home. They provide us with a keen vision of the literal and metaphorical migrant experience. Migration, movement, and transformation happen for many reasons. Sometimes it is violent, other times it is philosophical, maybe it is the search for a dream or a better life, and sometimes it is just for the sake of change. We find all of these reasons and more within this fascinating chapbook that searches relentlessly, whether empathetically or in the not-always-safe haven of detachment, for homecoming.
Chen’s poems embody clarity of language and a unique eye for detail that readers will find both heartbreaking and pleasurable. These explorations present the reader ample opportunity to inhabit profound and deeply felt experience.
Victor Alcindor is an American poet of Haitian descent. Stand Mute is his first poetry collection. His poems have appeared in HIV Here & Now Anthology, Lunch Ticket, Insanity’s Horse Literary Magazine, The November 3rd Club, and in other places.
When he is not writing poems, Victor serves as an English teacher at West Orange High School in New Jersey. He completed his undergraduate studies in English and Elementary education at The College of New Jersey. In addition, he holds a master’s degree in criminology from Rutgers University and a doctorate of arts and letters from Drew University.
He resides in South Orange, New Jersey with his wife and two children.
Ysabel Y. Gonzalez was born in the Bronx, NY and raised in Newark, New Jersey. She received her BA from Rutgers University, an MFA in Poetry from Drew University and serves as the Assistant Director for the Poetry Program at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Ysabel is a CantoMundo Fellow and has received invitations to attend VONA, Tin House, Ashbery Home School and BOAAT Press workshops. Her poetry has appeared in Origins Journal, Nice Cage, Tinderbox Journal, Anomaly (FKA Drunken Boat), DMQ Review, If You Can Hear This: Poems in Protest of an American Inauguration, Vinyl, IMANIMAN: Poets Reflect on Transformative & Transgressive Borders Through Gloria Anzaldua's Work, El Centro: Nuyorican Women Writers, The Wide Journal, Waxwing Literary Journal, Acentos Review, Huizache, Kalyani Magazine, APIARY Magazine, phati'tude Literary
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