Brilliant Book Titles #81


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

Nocturnal Omissions: A Tale of Two Poets – birthed through correspondence between authors Gavin Geoffrey Dillard and Eric Norris – is an unabashedly erotic, romantic, poetic, sometimes even philosophical dialogue on love, sex, and art’s glorious afterlife. You will never pick up a pen, a lover, or a book of poetry quite in the same way again.

5 New Poetry Collections

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.jpg
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.

Clean by David J. Daniels

clean daniels

I love a poet who is unafraid to use rhyme. Daniels clearly loves rhyme and uses it forcefully and skilfully throughout this, his first collection.

The poems within are largely astonishing – there are a few, mostly in the middle where the quality dips a little, but I think that’s only perceived as such because the work around it is so strong. Daniels is unafraid to deal with difficult topics – poems dealing with public indecency, racism, religion (which looms large throughout the first section of the book) – and does so with aplomb.

Like all poets, they fly or fall on their use of language and his skill and craft is evidenced throughout this book:

“Whereas darkness surrounds us; or other bodies, if we’re fortunate; or one body in particular, if we conceal our neediness; whereas these things, as well as skyscrapers, clouds, and broken windows surround us, the nail // goes in, drives in, enters”
– The Nail

“We’ve just made love in the fumes of gasoline. / By the light of that hovering shell, you sleep. Here are my teeth, the illness I made you keep. // I’ll take your shit. For my jaw that never healed. Here. Take my hand. Let me feel / That scar in the shape of Mexico again.”
– Shell Station

I found Daniels’ poetry dizzying, intoxicating, and eminently relatable. The centrepiece of the book is a ten part poem called ‘Danny Starr: A Lament’, where each section starts with the couplet “I gave you my copy / of Thom Gunn’s Boss Cupid”. The late great Gunn, a very precise poet who also skilfully used rhyme, would no doubt be a fan of Clean and I certainly will be keeping an eye out for any future books of Daniels.

5 New Poetry Collections

ted hughes bestiary
A Ted Hughes Bestiary
(12 Jul 2016)
This selection of Ted Hughes’s poetry is arranged chronologically and brings together poems that embody animals, rather than just describe them. Some poems are here because, although not strictly speaking animal, they become so in the process of writing; and in keeping with the bestiary tradition there are plenty of imaginary animals – all concentratedly coming about their business.

half light
Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 by Frank Bidart (13 Jul 2016)
Gathered together, the poems of Frank Bidart perform one of the most remarkable transmutations of the body into language in contemporary literature. His pages represent the human voice in all its extreme registers, whether it’s that of the child-murderer Herbert White, the obsessive anorexic Ellen West, the tormented genius Vaslav Nijinsky, or the poet’s own. And in that embodiment is a transgressive empathy, one that recognises our wild appetites, the monsters, the misfits, the misunderstood among us and inside us. Few writers have so willingly ventured to the dark places of the human psyche and allowed themselves to be stripped bare on the page with such condor and vulnerability. Over the past half century, Bidart has done nothing less than invent a poetics commensurate with the chaos and appetites of our experience. Half-Light encompasses all of Bidart’s previous books, and also includes a new collection, Thirst, in which the poet austerely surveys his life, laying it plain for us before venturing into something new and unknown. Here Bidart, finds himself a “Creature coterminous with thirst,” still longing, still searching in himself, one of the “queers of the universe.” Visionary and revelatory, intimate and unguarded, Bidart’s collected works are a radical confrontation with human nature, a conflict eternally renewed and reframed, restless line by restless line.

Six by Julie Marie Wade (22 Aug 2016)
Why”SIX”?Because the collection is comprised of six poems.And because the perspective in this collection shifts like a kaleidoscope, each image viewable from six possible angles.And because these poems, like the prevalent hexagons of the natural world honeycombs, for instance derive strength from their compression and their accumulation. I call six times just to be sure you heard, this speaker announces on the first page.These poems are also the six calls calls to attention, calls to action, calls to account for something of our own.The speaker in”SIX”is insistent, scrupulous, and unflinching as she plumbs six essential aspects of human experience that have shaped us all: art, language, desire, vocation, faith, and life-changing love.

The Greatest Films by Faizal Deen (1 Sep 2016)
A gay poet deeply influenced by films, Faizal Deen attempts to retell a story of adoption and immigration through filmic language and through the violence of sharp edits and splices. He explores what it means to live in identities that are truncated and where, rather than mourn such slicings, individuals come to celebrate states of becoming something else entirely. There is, of course, a sadness to his poems, a melancholy and even states of madness, but there are acceptances of diasporic struggles, and for this poet those acceptances are the result of his sexuality, his desire to make art, and a curiosity about the ways in which the Caribbean and its signifiers might spill out into the larger world.

i must be living twice
I Must Be Living Twice: New and Selected Poems by Eileen Myles (13 Sep 2016)
A collection of thrilling verse, including both new poems and beloved favorites, from the celebrated poet, modern cult icon, and author of Chelsea Girls.

Eileen Myles work is known for its blend of reality and fiction, the sublime and the ephemeral. Her work opens readers to astonishing new considerations of familiar places, like the East Village in her iconic Chelsea Girls, and invites them into lush and sometimes horrid dream worlds, imbuing the landscapes of her writing with the vividness and energy of fantasy.

I Must Be Living Twice brings together selections from the poet s previous work with a set of bold new poems that reflect her sardonic, unapologetic, and fiercely intellectual literary voice. Steeped in the culture of New York City, Myles milieu, I Must Be Living Twice is a prism refracting a radical world and a compelling life.”