Summer is almost here, a season when many people find a little more time than usual for reading!
Whether you’ll get some vacation time this summer, or whether your schedule simply slows down a bit, we hope that you will find some extra time for reading.
Here are 30 new-ish books that would make for superb summer reading!
Tracy K. Smith
( Graywolf Press )
In Wade in the Water, Tracy K. Smith boldly ties America’s contemporary moment both to our nation’s fraught founding history and to a sense of the spirit, the everlasting. These are poems of sliding scale: some capture a flicker of song or memory; some collage an array of documents and voices; and some push past the known world into the haunted, the holy. Smith’s signature voice―inquisitive, lyrical, and wry―turns over what it means to be a citizen, a mother, and an artist in a culture arbitrated by wealth, men, and violence. Here, private utterance becomes part of a larger choral arrangement as the collection widens to include erasures of The Declaration of Independence and the correspondence between slave owners, a found poem comprised of evidence of corporate pollution and accounts of near-death experiences, a sequence of letters written by African Americans enlisted in the Civil War, and the survivors’ reports of recent immigrants and refugees. Wade in the Water is a potent and luminous book by one of America’s essential poets.
( Penguin )
A powerful, timely, dazzling collection of sonnets from one of America’s most acclaimed poets, Terrance Hayes, the National Book Award winning author of Lighthead
In seventy poems bearing the same title, Terrance Hayes explores the meanings of American, of assassin, and of love in the sonnet form. Written during the first two hundred days of the Trump presidency, these poems are haunted by the country’s past and future eras and errors, its dreams and nightmares. Inventive, compassionate, hilarious, melancholy, and bewildered–the wonders of this new collection are irreducible and stunning.
( Paraclete )
What Will Soon Take Place is an imaginative journey through the book of Revelation. It offers a poet’s view of the prophetic, not in the sense of seeking out clues to the “end times,” but a means of taking this strange, fantastic book of scripture and letting it read its way into personal lives. This is not prophecy as foretelling, but forth-telling: telling us the truths of our lives in the light of God’s light. But rather than escape into some safe, heavenly realm, the poems return to our homes and meet us in the form of our neighbors, persecuted believers, and in shopping malls with vivid, edged-up language and the authority to believe and doubt at once.
( Cascade Books )
Habitation of Wonder is an offering of poems that travels the intersection of the natural landscape and the landscape of spirit. Here, the moon is a “white comma / in the breath of space.” Crocuses are “ephemeral prophets, first of the sun’s spring projects.” The ocean is “a vast / perpetual sacrifice on the altar / of the shell-glittering shore.” The collection opens with “Genesis,” a reimagining of the creation story with song as the divine instrument of creation. Five themed sections flow from “Genesis” like a musical thread, investigating the material elements from which we originate and in which we take shelter, as well as the gifts of language and faith, which make us more than merely “a constellation of salts.” In its own way, each poem invites the reader to “tenant beauty”–as well as to tenant uncertainty. When beauty and uncertainty collide, they spark wonder. As these poems suggest, wonder is simply another name for the world in which we live–and the world that lives in us.
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