Bestiary: Poems - Donika Kelly

Staff Pick

A debut work, Donika Kelly’s Bestiary is filled with poems of imaginary creatures, of real animals acting in imagined ways -- yet her words and vision remain firmly rooted in the endless realm of possibility.  Life is filled with transformations; those who try to freeze moments (or people, or ideas, or relationships) fail to understand the world of pain and yearning around them -- a world that comes vividly alive in this slender volume.  She says in the last stanza of her poem “Commandments”:

Wings mean you are alive
and someone is not.  Alive means
you swallow each day like a stone.

Nothing neat, nothing easy, nothing final.  Instead we have poems that, though written in absolutely clarity, are hard to grasp -- and thus last longer, and provoke more reflection, than the repetition of simple verities.

Bestiary: Poems By Donika Kelly Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977580
Availability: Backordered
Published: Graywolf Press - October 11th, 2016

At Home in the World - Thich Nhat Hanh

Staff Pick

While best known for his commitment to Zen Buddhism and nonviolence, Thich Nhat Hanh is also a prolific author.  His latest is presented to us as his memoirs, but readers will soon discover that the book is less a straight-ahead autobiography than his accumulated 90 years of wisdom through vignettes of daily life and lessons learned.  Thich Nhat Hanh takes us from his childhood in Vietnam and his days at a monk novice to the establishment of Plum Village in France and his international travels and meetings with Martin Luther King Jr. and Thomas Merton.  However, these events themselves are always tangential to how they deepened his practice and furthered his commitment to building a true, lasting peace in the world.  During a time where many of our customers have come in sharing feelings of deep anxiety over the recent political developments and in society’s collective ability to take care of all its members, many readers may appreciate the deep well of compassion and knowledge contained herein.

At Home in the World: Stories and Essential Teachings from a Monk's Life By Thich Nhat Hanh, Jason DeAntonis (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Thich Nhat Hanh, Jason DeAntonis (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781941529423
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Parallax Press - November 1st, 2016

Homegoing - Yaa Gyasi

Staff Pick

Ambitious in scope and impressive in execution, Homegoing (Knopf, $26.95) begins in eighteenth-century Ghana with the stories of Esi and Effia, half-sisters—though they don’t know that—whose lives take wildly different paths. Deftly charting parallel histories, debut novelist Yaa Gyasi follows Esi as she is captured by British slave-traders, taken across the Atlantic, and sold into bondage, and, without missing a beat, also traces Effia’s more materially comfortable fate as the wife of the white British governor in charge of overseeing operations related to the export of human chattel. The narrative chronicles both sides of the women’s sundered family, tracing their descendants through seven generations and three hundred years of American and Ghanaian history. In alternating perspectives, Gyasi introduces Esi’s and Effia’s many children, cousins, and spouses, narrating their various experiences and fortunes. These richly told episodes could stand alone as satisfying short stories; as parts of Gyasi’s colorful epic-scale project, they echo larger themes in telling and surprising ways. The combination of Gyasi’s often lyrical prose, the brutal events and lasting joys she recounts, and the diverse, personable characters, make this a haunting and powerful tale of African American life from the collapse of the ancient Ashanti Empire and the callousness of European colonialism to the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance, and post-colonial Ghana.

Homegoing: A novel By Yaa Gyasi Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101947135
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - June 7th, 2016

Homegoing By Yaa Gyasi Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101971062
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Vintage - May 2nd, 2017