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October 21, 2019

10/2/2019 2:39:00 PM
Poetry: Not Just for April Anymore
By Betsy Bird


Publishing runs in cycles, and libraries consciously and unconsciously follow those cycles. Because April is National Poetry Month, there is a temptation to just read all the poetry you like then, and forget about it for the rest of the year. Happily, that is not how Evanston operates. But while ours is a poetry-loving burg, even I sometimes forget that we can talk about the wonderful collections on our shelves any day of the year and not just in the spring. Here then are four recent poetry publications that you may have missed, but shouldn’t miss out on.

“Bullets Into Bells: Poets and Citizens Respond to Gun Violence”
Timely. Would that it were not so. If you’ve an interest in reading the poetry of Billy Collins, Patricia Smith, Natalie Diaz, Ocean Vuong, Danez Smith, Brenda Hillman, Natasha Threthewey, Robert Hass, Naomi Shihab Nye, Juan Felipe Herrera, Mark Doty, Rita Dove and Yusef Komunyakaa as they discuss gun violence, this book is for you. Poems, prose, and an ongoing discussion.

“No Secret Where Elephants Walk: Poetry”  by Carol and Arnie Kanter
No list is complete with the inclusion of our own local Evanstonian poets. Poetry and photography mix and meld for readers that are interested in wildlife, travel, and the fragile, vanishing places.

“Instruments of the True Measure” Poems by Laura Da’
Shawnee poet Da’ writes in a way that Publishers Weekly described as, “a metaphoric system that binds arithmetic, cartography, Indian removal, and personal legacy.” What does that look like? Narrative poems and short essays for the most part, with lines that jump out at you, “like a tongue/ poking around/ in the shrill vacancy/ of a shattered tooth.”

“You Darling Thing” by Monica Ferrell
“Every sixteen-year-old girl likes/ A murderer for an admirer.” This book has collected multiple stars from a wide array of different professional journals, and why not? This dangerous little collection is full of magnificent bites of sound. “Somewhere a mutiny is tearing loose from/ Its tree like ripe fruit.” One review called it striking. I can’t think of a better word.





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