All Blue So Late - Laura Swearingen-Steadwell

Staff Pick

“I don’t want to spare you any pain,” Swearingen-Steadwell warns her fourteen-year-old self. “I want the unbroken woman you will be to exist.” With the clear-eyed admission—no, the claim—of anger, need, fear, loss, and love, these are the poems of a survivor. In a series of fourteen masterful sonnets (in which she breathes fresh life into the old “fourteener,” a line of fourteen syllables), Swearingen-Steadwell tells the girl she was what the world has in store, good and bad. At the same time, she captures the charged, electric feel of life that may be the one saving grace of the fraught period known as adolescence. But these mature, controlled lyrics draw on the poet’s deepest emotions and experiences with none of an adolescent’s solipsistic angst. Swearingen-Steadwell is always looking beyond herself. She shows us the beauty of “the gentle hills of Umbria,/gold and orange, soaked in open sun”; speaks the tragedy of Native American women “who died/with an answer//a pine standing sentry, fur/crown and mantle.” She tells a lot of stories, paring down each adventure and misadventure to its bones, yet giving every detail. You feel you know her friends, lovers, the kids at school, the cafeteria ladies. You recognize the mother who “leans over your bed,” only now it’s the poet who holds “the illustrations up for you to see.”

All Blue So Late: Poems By Laura Swearingen-Steadwell Cover Image
ISBN: 9780810136342
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Northwestern University Press - December 15th, 2017

Electric Arches - Eve L. Ewing

Staff Pick

Evie L. Ewing uses poetry, prose, and artwork to write about black girlhood and black life in Chicago. She takes the difficulties of growing up as a black girl and makes them beautiful and poignant in this, her first collection of work. Writing odes to some of her favorite musical artists such as Prince and Erykah Badu, she shows the fullness of black life and the art that has influenced her. Those who love the poetry and prose of Claudia Rankine will also love this book.

Electric Arches By Eve L. Ewing Cover Image
ISBN: 9781608468560
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Haymarket Books - September 12th, 2017

Sky Country - Christine Kitano

Staff Pick

Kitano takes the title for her graceful, bittersweet poems from the English translation of the Korean word for “heaven,” a word also used by immigrants to mean the U.S. Though she set out to chronicle the history of her Korean grandmother’s immigration and her Japanese-American father’s internment during World War II, Kitano has only a handful of incomplete stories that, given her grandmother’s “metaphors// and my poor Korean commingle into myth.” Vivid and episodic, these myths sketch an ongoing experience of both love and loss, punctuated by the grandmother’s repeated  “you don’t know,” as if that is the elusive moral of her stories. Frustrated in her narrative effort, Kitano concentrates on moments of lyrical precision. With language that cuts through the fog of memory, she sees her father shot from “the slow drawn// bow” of the California coast to the camp in Utah; watches as a drowning woman’s “skirt blossoms around her lowering//head, a darkening halo”; and then, in America, searches for something genuine amid the lawn sprinklers “spitting fake rain” and the “Ferris wheel blinking in poor/approximations of stars.”

Sky Country (American Poets Continuum) By Christine Kitano Cover Image
ISBN: 9781942683438
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: BOA Editions - September 12th, 2017