April is National Poetry Month!
Although poetry is not easy read in our age of lightning-fast communications and instant gratification, it is an important way of learning to slow down and pay attention to the beauty and the brokenness of the world around us.
We all would do well to infuse our lives with more poetry!
Here are 10 new poetry books that will be released in 2017 and that we are super-excited about!
(Including collections by Christian Wiman, Mary Oliver, Tania Runyan, and MORE)
Angela Alaimo O’Donnell
Paraclete Press, March 2017
Still Pilgrim is a collection of poems that chronicles the journey of life as seen through the eyes of a keenly-observant friend and fellow traveler. The reader accompanies the Still Pilgrim as she maps universal terrain, navigating the experiences that constitute her private history yet also serve to remind the reader of his or her own moments of enlightenment, epiphany, and encounter with mystery. Each of the 58 poems of the collection marks a way station along the pilgrimage where the Pilgrim and reader might pause and ponder before continuing with the inevitable march forward.
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Layli Long Soldier
Graywolf Press, March 2017
WHEREAS confronts the coercive language of the United States government in its responses, treaties, and apologies to Native American peoples and tribes, and reflects that language in its officiousness and duplicity back on its perpetrators. Through a virtuosic array of short lyrics, prose poems, longer narrative sequences, resolutions, and disclaimers, Layli Long Soldier has created a brilliantly innovative text to examine histories, landscapes, her own writing, and her predicament inside national affiliations. “I am,” she writes, “a citizen of the United States and an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, meaning I am a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation―and in this dual citizenship I must work, I must eat, I must art, I must mother, I must friend, I must listen, I must observe, constantly I must live.” This strident, plaintive book introduces a major new voice in contemporary literature.
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Tin House Books, May 2017
Nature Poem follows Teebs―a young, queer, American Indian (or NDN) poet―who can’t bring himself to write a nature poem. For the reservation-born, urban-dwelling hipster, the exercise feels stereotypical, reductive, and boring. He hates nature. He prefers city lights to the night sky. He’d slap a tree across the face. He’d rather write a mountain of hashtag punchlines about death and give head in a pizza-parlor bathroom; he’d rather write odes to Aretha Franklin and Hole. While he’s adamant―bratty, even―about his distaste for the word “natural,” over the course of the book we see him confronting the assimilationist, historical, colonial-white ideas that collude NDN people with nature. The closer his people were identified with the “natural world,” he figures, the easier it was to mow them down like the underbrush. But Teebs gradually learns how to interpret constellations through his own lens, along with human nature, sexuality, language, music, and Twitter. Even while he reckons with manifest destiny and genocide and centuries of disenfranchisement, he learns how to have faith in his own voice.
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IMAGE CREDIT: Detail from cover of Still Pilgrim: Poems By Angela Alaimo O’Donnell