Issue 30 – 2019 – Recent & Notable

Recent & Notable


Ilya Kaminsky, Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press, 2019). As Forrest Gander says “The political begins in intimacy.” Deaf Republic is an allegory of resistance and love written in Saramago-esque lyrics that float against the weight of history. A tale of the contending forces of eros and thanatos in which art is salvational.—Jon Thompson

Allen Stein, Your Funeral is Very Important to Us (The Main Street Rag, 2019). Using retrospection as his primary modus operandi, Stein looks back at earlier selves and times with a mixture of pathos and understated humor. This is a collection that knows the past is not recoverable but, using the resources of poetry, memorably works to do so anyway.—Jon Thompson

Nathaniel Tarn, The Desert Mothers (Shearsman Library, 2018). Tarn’s book is a reprint of chapbooks from the 1970s-1990s, largely unavailable to non-collectors. Tarn’s eye is a restless one, going past national borders to locate the presiding spirits of earth and air, and in the political world, to the human imposters that usurp them. By turns philosophical and earthy, Tarn’s rich collection is in the Lawrence—Dorn—Tomlinson lineage.—Jon Thompson

Tracy Zeman, Empire (Free Verse Editions, 2019). “Zeman insists on the persistent presence of grassland ecologies and indigenous cultures as a way of “fixing the outside within the frame,” a subversion of settler culture’s ecocidal and genocidal frameworks. Empire‘s Objectivist method of splicing lyric language with research and quotation collapses past and present, archive and song, allowing us to see Manifest Destiny as a continuous project of violent erasure that depends upon perpetual forgetting for its continuation “tied/to the place that made us,” Zeman refuses to forget.”—Brian Teare