Eleni Kefala's book The Conquered: Byzantium and America on the Cusp of Modernity (Dumbarton Oaks, 2021) probes issues of collective memory and cultural trauma in three sorrowful poems composed soon after the conquest of Constantinople and Teno
Owed (Penguin, 2020) is the second collection of poems by Dr. Joshua Bennett, poet, professor, and artist. This volume is a wide-ranging, celebratory book focused on what Bennett calls "the Black quotidian," including the poetry of the barbersh
Alina Stefanescu posits that At First & Then by Danielle Rose is a collection in which “the feminine is reclaimed.” And it is. It is also a collection of lushly and cleverly crafted poetry that sees the self and the body as a multi-faceted stat
Visually arresting and utterly one-of-a-kind, Sarah J. Sloat's Hotel Almighty (Sarabande Books) is a book-length erasure of Misery by Stephen King, a reimagining of the novel's themes of constraint and possibility in elliptical, enigmatic poems
Compiled around 1235, the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu, or Ogura's 100 Poems by 100 Poets, is one of the most important collections of poetry in Japan. Though the poets include emperors and empresses, courtiers and high priests, ladies-in-waiting and s
In this episode, I interview Anna Veprinska about her book Empathy in Contemporary Poetry after Crisis (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021) recently published by Palgrave Macmillan. In it, Veprinska examines the representation of empathy in contemporary
Juliane Okot Bitek, of the Emily Carr University of Art and Design and writer-in-residence at Simon Fraser University, has written a terrific book of poetry on the 1994 Genocide of Tutsi in Rwanda. Published in 2016 by the University of Alberta
This episode covers a range of topics from Old’s use of line breaks (enjambment that runs contrary to the tedious, end-stopped rhyming lines of hymnals) to the degree to which any art work can be really considered to be autobiographical as arti
In 2013, poet Lauren Russell acquired a copy of the diary of her great-great-grandfather, Robert Wallace Hubert, a Captain in the Confederate Army. After his return from the Civil War, he fathered twenty children by three of his former slaves.
Tara Skurtu is an American poet and writer, writing coach, and public speaker. She speaks to managing editor Emily Everett about “Offering,” her poem from Issue 19 of The Common magazine. “Offering,” and many more of Skurtu’s poems, are set in
Roy G. Guzmán’s Catrachos (Graywolf Press, 2020) is a stunning debut collection of poetry that immerses the reader in rich, vibrant language. Described as being “part immigration narrative, part elegy, and part queer coming-of-age story,” this
Like a storm waiting to break over a plain, Shakira Croce pulls at tensions and heartstrings in a debut collection filled with longing, wit, and intelligence. Through masterful imagery, Croce floats between the rural and urban with ease, pullin
In Freedom Knows My Name (Xavier Review Press, 2020), Kelly Harris-DeBerry creates the world anew from scraps of memories and rhythm. She bounces between the pages, as well as the accompanying audio version of the poems, with confidence. Kalamu
A radical and vivid rendering of poetry from the first Buddhist nuns that brings a new immediacy to their voices.
The Therigatha ("Verses of the Elder Nuns") is the oldest collection of known writings from Buddhist women and one of the earliest
Yehoshua November's second poetry collection, Two Worlds Exist (Orison Books), movingly examines the harmonies and dissonances involved in practicing an ancient religious tradition in contemporary America.
November's beautiful and profound medi
Pamila Gupta’s Portuguese Decolonization in the Indian Ocean World: History and Ethnography (Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2020), takes a unique approach to examining decolonization processes across Lusophone India and Southern Africa, focusing on
In The Spinning Place (Southern Indiana Review Press, 2019), Chelsea Wagenaar explores the power of language—in terms of its possibilities and what it fails to express.
As a being with a body in the world, there are so many experiences that are
Jennifer J. Davis speaks with Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma, about The Age of Phillis (Wesleyan UP, 2020), Jeffers’s latest collection of poems centered on the remarkable life of America’s first poe
Devil's Lake (Tolsun Books, 2020), the debut collection by Sarah Sala, is an amalgam of American life. The poems move deftly within a world that is equal parts dangerous, celebratory, subdued, modern, and rural. Sala uses format and form to bri
Brian Greene is a Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Columbia University in the City of New York, where he is the Director of the Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics, and co-founder and chair of the World Science Fe
Kathryn H. Ross has found a balance. Between past and present. Between self and ancestors. Between self-discovery and continuous growth. In her hybrid collection, Black Was Not a Label, Ross invites readers into a life unfurling. Through the le
This is a book of encounters. Part memoir, part essay, and partly a guide to maximizing your capacity for fulfillment and expression, The Poetry of Everyday Life: Storytelling and the Art of Awareness (Cornell University Press, 2016) taps into
Slavery and the University: Histories and Legacies (University of Georgia Press, 2019), edited by Leslie M. Harris, James T. Campbell, and Alfred L. Brophy, is the first edited collection of scholarly essays devoted solely to the histories and
Endless Song (Oxford University Press, 2019) is Dr. Archana Venkatesan’s exquisite translation of the Tiruvaymoli (sacred utterance), a brilliant 1102-verse ninth century tamil poem celebrating the poet Nammalvar’s mystical quest for union with
The Houston Chronicle’s review of Sarah Adleman’s The Lampblack Blue of Memory: My Mother Echoes (Tolsun 2019) praises that the book “dissects the feelings that have been a part of her since her mother's death with the precision and brutality o
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