Avowed by Julie R. Enzer (8 Nov 2016)
Bold and wise, compassionate and erotic, the poems in Avowed explore aspects of a contemporary lesbian life within a committed relationship and as a citizen in the larger community. The narrator celebrates (“We break a glass. Mazel tov! We cry”) and mourns her losses (“Sometimes, between three and four a.m./on a break from her game/of bridge, your dead mother visits.”) Riffing on Jewish liturgy, the feminist declares “everyday/I thank God/I was born a woman.” Avowed delivers a complex, sustained vision of intimate partnership while celebrating the political changes that have secured LGBTQ visibility.
-Robin Becker, author of Tiger Heron
Avowed asks the critical question, “Is paper all that makes a marriage?” For the queer bride in a long-term relationship, the answer is as hard-won as the right to marry. Julie R. Enszer explores the bittersweet journey of a lesbian couple’s struggle through the happily ever after with an edgy and humorous perspective that dares to share deep truths about desire, sex, and love.
-Rigoberto González, author of Unpeopled Eden
Contradictions in the Design by Matthew Olzmann (15 Nov 2016)
“Matthew Olzmann’s poetry is that rare thing that embraces complication while, at every turn, filling us with wonder. “Contradictions in the Design “incorporates ‘patterns among celestial bodies, the mysteries of Christ, X + Y, crossword puzzles, free will, ‘ but also the playfulness and oddities of life that allow us to laugh hardest at ourselves. Desire, Supervillains, Moby, and ‘the idea of Moby’: prepare yourself to be dazzled.”C. Dale Young
These political poems employ humor to challenge the cultural norms of American society, focusing primarily on racism, social injustices and inequality. Simultaneously, the poems take on a deeper, personal level as it carefully deconstructs identity and the human experience, piecing them together with unflinching logic and wit. Olzmann takes readers on a surreal exploration of discovery and self-evaluation.
From: “Elegy Where Small Towns Are Obscured By Mountains”:
” There are all kinds
of stories eaten by history and silence
and neglect. Above a door, something stirs
the chimes, and reminds someone inside
that where there is wind: a song,
however faint. A man hears it, and passes
through a screen door into a night of fireflies.
He looks around as if called by a voice.
The wind has passed. The chimes are quiet.”
Matthew Olzmann’s first book of poems, “Mezzanines,” received the 2011 Kundiman Prize and was published by Alice James Books. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in “New England Review,” “Kenyon Review,” “Poetry Northwest,” the “Southern Review,” “Forklift,” “Ohio ,” and elsewhere. Currently, he is a visiting professor of Creative Writing in the undergraduate writing program at Warren Wilson College and co-editor of “The Collagist.””
My, My, My, My, My by Tara Hardy (15 Nov 2016)
Suddenly stricken by a life-threatening condition, the author finds she has slipped into an alternate reality one in which her life and her livelihood are no longer to be counted on. Oddly, she finds it s a place populated with not just hope, but a newfound appreciation for the splendors of the physical world. Her fight to stay alive, while terrifying, is deeply vibrant.”
Blindsight by Greg Hewett (29 Nov 2016)
Praise for Greg Hewett: 2010 Lambda Literary Award Finalist in Poetry 2007 Triangle Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry Finalist In poems that are full of wit, touching, and introspective, as well as formally inventive, we find the poet losing his sight, becoming a parent, and occupying middle age with a sense of calm and inevitability. From “Skyglow”: we spin filaments of light into profiles, drawing each other through something resembling time and space and dark. Let’s call this something something vague and mythic as the ether. Let’s say we’re ethereal.
Primer by Aaron Smith (30 Nov 2016)
In his third poetry collection, “Primer,” Aaron Smith grapples with the ugly realities of the private self, in which desire feels more like a trap than fulfillment. What is the face we prepare in our public lives to distract others from our private grief? Smith’s poetry explores that inexplicable tension between what we say and how we actually feel, exposing the complications of intimacy and the limitations of language to bridge those distances between friends, family members, and lovers. What we deny, in the end, may be just what we actually survive. Mortality in Smith’s work remains the uncomfortable foundation at the center of our relationship with others, to faith, to art, to love as we grow older, and ultimately, to our own sense of who we are in our bodies in the world. The struggle of this book, finally, is in naming whether just what we say we want is enough to satisfy our primal needs, or are the choices we make to stay alive the same choices we make to help us, in so many small ways, to die.