Staff Pick

This is the kind of book I want to read and write: a meditation on poetics of person, ancestry and place; Hayes opens the world of Etheridge Knight, a "black poet, ex con, conman, teacher, junkie, son” who influenced and was influenced by Gwendolyn Brooks, Sonia Sanchez, Robert Bly, Claudia Rankine, and Terrance Hayes, among others. This is a book where if you did not know who Etheridge Knight was, you want to read him. And if you did, you want to re-read him, and those who are his contemporaries. Hayes gifts us a homage and a master class on poetry of the soul and the flesh; a collection of essays as “motley, adrift” as a poet's life can be. 

To Float in the Space Between: A Life and Work in Conversation with the Life and Work of Etheridge Knight (Bagley Wright Lecture) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781940696614
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Wave Books - September 4th, 2018

Staff Pick

The Milk Bowl of Feathers is “Essential Surrealist Writings”, all the more so for being made of so many underrecognized creators and works. It’s poetry; it’s stories and their excerpts; it’s manifestos and niggling obsessions. It’s an excellent primer: short and diverse, with every piece adding something that could only be added by that piece in particular. It’s a great reminder that the most radical writers and thinkers were responsible for the most beautiful love notes (see: Breton’s “Dear Hazel of Squirrelnut, see: Robert Desnos’s “I Have Dreamed of You So Much”, see: everything by Paul Eluard). And it’s a refreshing and perfectly unconventional gift book.

The Milk Bowl of Feathers: Essential Surrealist Writings Cover Image
By Mary Ann Caws (Editor)
ISBN: 9780811227070
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: New Directions Publishing Corporation - September 25th, 2018

Staff Pick

The single false note in this exuberant, moving, and endlessly fascinating book is the title: Letters from Max also includes letters from Sarah, and not only letters. Both writers contribute poems, songs, dialogues, dreams, thoughts, fears, and jokes. They engage, challenge, and support each other on any number of topics, from soup to the afterlife, Buddhism to writing, children to the nature of listening. This collection packs a tremendous emotional and intellectual punch. Ritvo’s cancer was steadily gaining on him throughout the period he and Ruhl corresponded (during which he nonetheless graduated from Yale, earned an MFA at Columbia, got married, published a chapbook and a book), and this adds great poignancy to the already moving account of a vital friendship. The depth of affection these two people felt for each other comes through clearly; it lives and breathes in their writing, and is inextricably bound up in their wide-ranging and passionate curiosity. While this collection is an intimate portrait of courage on both sides (it surely takes as much courage to lose a valued friend as it does to endure the relentless, debilitating rounds of radiation and chemo Ritvo did), it’s also a spirited writing workshop and philosophical debate. Nearly every page offers something irresistibly quotable, whether for its wisdom, its language, or its spirit: “when we ask about the afterlife, we’re conquering death,” Ritvo declares. And, “pain is just panic sitting still a moment.” Ruhl, inspired by Max to resume writing the poetry she gave up for plays, celebrates his life and work by asking “What is love, if not boundless imagination?/ What is imagination, if not boundless love?” The voices here are so warm and vital they embrace the reader as they do each other, and there’s a sad silence when you finish the book.

Letters from Max: A Poet, a Teacher, a Friendship Cover Image
ISBN: 9781571313690
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Milkweed Editions - September 18th, 2018