Partial Genius by Mary Biddinger

"regardless of previous circus employment"

PARTIAL GENIUS by MARY BIDDINGER / Where prose may imply narrative, the content within each “stanzagraph” defies the narrative. By telling fragmented stories, these poems keep their distance somewhat. Like teenagers. The narrative kind of “ghosts” us in these poems; its delightful, intriguing and tantalizing.

Garments Against Women by Anne Boyer

"hugging the duct tape replica"

GARMENTS AGAINST WOMEN by ANNE BOYER / The opening poem seems to describe both degrees of suffering and our attachment to suffering, and in this way, the rest of the collection continues conversations in which the narrator argues both for and against herself. It’s partly how Boyer is able to implicate both structures (like capitalism) and the self at the same time: systems are so internalized as to be indistinguishable from our human nature.

Save Our Ship by Barbara Ungar

"limp away blessed"

SAVE OUR SHIP by BARBARA UNGAR / “Save Our Ship” is a cry for the planet. And not just environmentally. It’s an SOS for our species (dear God, what we inflict on one another in relationships and global conflicts).

Oceanic by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

"every mighty beast"

OCEANIC by AIMEE NEZHUKUMATATHIL / I want to return to this book to study the “self portrait” poems more closely. Very often with persona poems, I’m too distracted by the device/set-up that I can’t get lost in the language/effect. But the persona poems in this makes the cloak invisible, and I’m curious how it’s achieved.

Sweet Insurgent

"tourists of destruction"

SWEET INSURGENT by ELYSE FENTON / Even as we are shown how volatile and precarious life can be, Fenton delivers lines that are tender both in what they reveal and in how they convey vulnerability: “I never planned to love like this.”

The Galaxy Is a Dance Floor

“punch drunk on gravity”

THE GALAXY IS A DANCE FLOOR by BIANCA LYNNE SPRIGGS / Sketches — moth, narwhal, astronaut, etc. — appear in a series of “reverie” poems and contribute to the dreamlike, disorienting quality of those poems, which are numbered but presented out of order.