Tree of Heaven (Iowa Poetry Prize)

This second book by James McKean displays a large, dignified, and precise talent - McKean is always looking and reaching out to the difficult world, pulling it to him for examination. Although beginning with outward themes of travels and crossings, Tree of Heaven circles in the end to the journeys of the inner life: the struggle to understand, the ability to see, to suffer the trials of illness and death, to survive love and longing,...

Try (Iowa Poetry Prize)

Cole Swensen's beautifully exact and visionary meditations on specific paintings and sculptures give the venerable art of "ekphrasis" a new meaning. Whether focusing on a Siennese altar-piece, a 20th-century sculpture, or a river scene in the Loire Valley, Swensen "sees" with an uncanny X-ray vision that becomes the inward gaze. 'The difference, ' as Gertrude Stein once put it, 'is spreading.'

The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492

Hebrew culture experienced a renewal in medieval Spain that produced what is arguably the most powerful body of Jewish poetry written since the Bible. Fusing elements of East and West, Arabic and Hebrew, and the particular and the universal, this verse embodies an extraordinary sensuality and intense faith that transcend the limits of language, place, and time. Peter Cole's translations reveal this remarkable poetic world to English ...

The Lays of Marie de France (Mingling Voices)

The twelve “lays” of Marie de France, the earliest known French woman poet, are here presented in sprightly English verse by poet and translator David R. Slavitt. Traditional Breton folktales were the raw material for Marie de France’s series of lively but profound considerations of love, life, death, fidelity and betrayal, and luck and fate. They offer acute observations about the choices that women make, startling in the late twelf...

La Far (Iowa Poetry Prize)

How far are we from the Lake District? How far from the garden? Eric Linsker’s first book scrolls down the Anthropocene, tracking our passage through a technophilic pastoral where work and play are both forms of making others suffer in order to exist. In La Far, the world is faraway near, a hell conveniently elsewhere in which workers bundle Foxconn’s “rare earths” into the “frosty kits” that return us our content, but also the sea m...

Cardinal Points (Iowa Poetry Prize)

Combining incisive observation with vivid imagery, Pettit ( American Light ) builds this volume, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, around the leitmotif of flight, both actual and symbolic. He explores the soarings of birds, angels, planes; even the music of "Mighty Sebastian Bach" effects flight and transcendence: "What anchors / our bodies are. / So you bless the A Minor / solo for flute and the flutist, / a woman so clearly taken by...

Darwin's Bards: British and American Poetry in the Age of Evolution

This is a comprehensive study of Darwin's Legacy for religion, ecology and the arts. In Darwin's Bards John Holmes argues that poetry can have a profound impact on how we think and feel about the human condition in a Darwinian world. Including over 50 complete poems and substantial extracts from several more, Holmes shows how poets from Tennyson and Browning, through Hardy and Frost, to Ted Hughes, Pattiann Rogers and Edwin Morgan ha...

The Night Guard at the Wilberforce Hotel

The poems in The Night Guard at the Wilberforce Hotel navigate the evanescent boundaries between the public and the private self. Daniel Anderson’s settings are often social but never fail to turn inward, drowning out the chatter of conversation to quietly observe the truths that we simultaneously share and withhold from one another―even as we visit friends, celebrate a young couple’s union, or eavesdrop on the conversations of other...

Passion and Precision

Passion and Precision contains twenty essays on a range of major medieval and modern English and Irish poets. The first part consists of three chapters on Chaucer, including a substantial new study of Troilus and Criseyde, four on Chaucer's great contemporary the Pearl-poet, and one comparing the two poets. The core of the second part is six chapters on T. S. Eliot, three of them pioneering explorations of his poetic language. They a...

I Open Fire: Poems

David Pol presents an ontology of war in the form of the lyric poem. “Do you hear what I’m shooting at you?” In I Open Fire, all relation is warfare. Minefields compromise movement. Intention aims. Touch burns. Sex explodes bodies. Time ticks in bomb countdowns. Sound is sirens. Plenitude is debris. All of it under surveillance. “My world is critically injured. It was ambushed.” The poems in this book perform the reductions and repet...