Wade in the Water: Poems


Tracy K. Smith - 2018
    Smith, the Poet Laureate of the United StatesIn 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.

Picnic, Lightning


Billy Collins - 1998
    Annie Proulx admits, "I have never before felt possessive about a poet, but I am fiercely glad that Billy Collins is ours." John Updike proclaims his poems "consistently startling, more serious than they seem, they describe all the worlds that are and were and some others besides." This special, limited edition celebrates Billy Collins's years as U.S. Poet Laureate. Picnic, Lightning--one of the books that helped establish and secure his reputation and popularity during the 1990s--combines humor and seriousness, wit and sublimity. His poems touch on a wide range of subjects, from jazz to death, from weather to sex, but share common ground where the mind and heart can meet. Whether reading him for the first time or the fiftieth, this collector's edition is a must-have for anyone interested in the poet the New York Times calls simply "the real thing."

1919


Eve L. Ewing - 2019
    In 1919, award-winning poet Eve L. Ewing explores the story of this event—which lasted eight days and resulted in thirty-eight deaths and almost 500 injuries—through poems recounting the stories of everyday people trying to survive and thrive in the city. Ewing uses speculative and Afrofuturist lenses to recast history, and illuminates the thin line between the past and the present.

Recyclopedia: Trimmings / S*PeRM**K*T / Muse and Drudge


Harryette Mullen - 2006
    These prose poems and lyrics bring us into collision with the language of fashion and femininity, advertising and the supermarket, the blues and traditional lyric poetry. Recyclopedia is a major gathering of work by one of the most exciting and innovative poets writing in America today.

Elegy On Toy Piano


Dean Young - 2005
    Daffy Duck enters the Valley of the Eternals. Faulkner and bell-bottoms cling to beauty's evanescence.Even in single poems, Young's tone and style vary. No one feeling or idea takes precedence over another, and their simultaneity is frequently revealed; sadness may throw a squirrelly shadow, joy can find itself dressed in mourning black. As in the agitated "Whirlpool Suite": "Pain / and pleasure are two signals carried / over one phoneline."In taking up subjects as slight as the examination of a signature or a true/false test, and as pressing as the death of friends, Young's poems embrace the duplicity of feeling, the malleability of perception, and the truth telling of wordplay.

Words Under the Words: Selected Poems


Naomi Shihab Nye - 1994
    This long-awaited collection draws from Naomi Shihab Nye's three critically acclaimed books: Different Ways to Pray, Yellow Glove, and National Poetry Series winner, Hugging the Jukebox.

The Business of Fancydancing


Sherman Alexie - 1991
    Fiction. Published in 1992, well before Sherman Alexie became well-known as the screenwriter for the film SMOKE SIGNALS, THE BUSINESS OF FANCYDANCING has now been turned into a film with none other than Alexie himself in his directorial debut. The screenplay for the movie, which recently won the Audience Award at the San Francisco Film Festival, is loosly adapted from this book. Many film-goers will want to visit or revisit the elegaic poems and stories that set the tone for the film itself. "In an age when many 'Native American' writers publish books that prove their ignorance of the real Indian world, Sherman Alexie paints painfully honest visions of our beautiful and brutal lives" Adrian C. Louis."

Half-Breed


Maria Campbell - 1973
    At 15 she tried in vain to escape by marrying a white man, only to find herself trapped in the slums of Vancouver—addicted to drugs, tempted by suicide, close to death. But the inspiration of her Cree great-grandmother, Cheechum, gives her confidence in herself and in her people, confidence she needs to survive and to thrive.Half-Breed offers an unparalleled understanding of the Métis people and of the racism and hatred they face. Maria Campbell's story cannot be denied and it cannot be forgotten: it stands as a challenge to all Canadians who believe in human rights and human dignity.

The Poets' Corner: The One-and-Only Poetry Book for the Whole Family


John Lithgow - 1994
    Ever since, John has been an enthusiastic seeker of poetic experience, whether reading, reciting, or listening to great poems. The wide variety of carefully selected poems in this book provides the perfect introduction to appeal to readers new to poetry, and for poetry lovers to experience beloved verses in a fresh, vivid way. William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, and Dylan Thomas are just a few names among Lithgow's comprehensive list of poetry masters. His essential criterion is that "each poem's light shines more brightly when read aloud." This unique package provides a multimedia poetry experience with a bonus MP3 CD of revelatory poetry readings by John and the familiar voices of such notable performers as Eileen Atkins, Kathy Bates, Glenn Close, Billy Connolly, Jodie Foster, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Lynn Redgrave, Susan Sarandon, Gary Sinise, and Sam Waterston. Every reader will enjoy reciting or listening to these poems with the entire family, appreciating how each one comes to life through the spoken word in this superlative poetry collection.

Thomas and Beulah


Rita Dove - 1986
    A collection of poetry by Rita Dove.

The Way to Rainy Mountain


N. Scott Momaday - 1969
    One should not be surprised, I suppose, that it has remained vital, and immediate, for that is the nature of story. And this is particularly true of the oral tradition, which exists in a dimension of timelessness. I was first told these stories by my father when I was a child. I do not know how long they had existed before I heard them. They seem to proceed from a place of origin as old as the earth."The stories in The Way to Rainy Mountain are told in three voices. The first voice is the voice of my father, the ancestral voice, and the voice of the Kiowa oral tradition. The second is the voice of historical commentary. And the third is that of personal reminiscence, my own voice. There is a turning and returning of myth, history, and memoir throughout, a narrative wheel that is as sacred as language itself." —From the new Preface

1000 Poems from the Manyōshū


Ōtomo no Yakamochi
    The 1,000 poems (out of a total of more than 4,500) in this famous selection were chosen by a distinguished scholarly committee based on their poetic excellence, their role in revealing the Japanese national spirit and character, and their cultural and historical significance. The acclaimed translations artfully preserve the simplicity and direct quality of the originals, and encompass an enormous range of human emotions and experiences. Text is in English only

The Niagara River


Kay Ryan - 2005
    Her poems-which combine extreme concision and formal expertise with broad subjects and deep feeling-could never be mistaken for anyone else's. Her work has the kind of singularity and sustained integrity that are very, very rare…. It's always a dicey business predicting the literary future…[but] for this reader, these poems feel as if there were built to last, and…they have the passion, precision and sheer weirdness to do so."Salon compared the poems in Ryan's last collection to "Fabergé eggs, tiny, ingenious devices that inevitably conceal some hidden wonder." The exquisite poems in The Niagara River provide similarly hidden gems. Bafflingly effective, they seem too brief and blithe to pack so much wallop. Intense and relaxed at once, both buoyant and rueful, their singular music appeals to many people. Her poems, products of an immaculately off-kilter mind, have been featured everywhere from the Sunday funnies to New York subways to plaques at the zoo to the pages of The New Yorker.

Kettle Bottom


Diane Gilliam Fisher - 2004
    These people organized for safe working conditions in opposition to the mine company owners and their agents. Fisher listened closely and the result is a book of vivid, rhythmic, heartfelt poems that address a violent time with honesty, levity, and compassion. Kettle Bottom is about how a community lived in the presence of constant danger and the choices the residents made. These are people to look to today.

The Ramayana: A Modern Retelling of the Great Indian Epic


Vālmīki - 2004
    Still an integral part of India's cultural and religious expression, the Ramayana was originally composed by the Sanskrit poet Valmiki around 300 b.c. The epic of Prince Rama's betrayal, exile, and struggle to rescue his faithful wife, Sita, from the clutches of a demon and to reclaim his throne has profoundly affected the literature, art, and culture of South and Southeast Asia-an influence most likely unparalleled in the history of world literature, except, possibly, for the Bible. Throughout the centuries, countless versions of the epic have been produced in numerous formats and languages. But previous English versions have been either too short to capture the magnitude of the original; too secular in presenting what is, in effect, scripture; or dry, line-by-line translations. Now novelist Ramesh Menon has rendered the tale in lyrical prose that conveys all the beauty and excitement of the original, while making this spiritual and literary classic accessible to a new generation of readers.