In her sardonic, thus melancholic, Silent Anatomies, Monica Ong brilliantly skews the marking of surfaces. Writing—yes—but also defacement/effacement, surgical incision, racism. With text, photography, collage, and illustration, she maps the twisting way of familial shame; dissects metaphor; and hawks (and hocks) “Ancient Chinese Secrets” as medicinal cakewalks (who’s selling what to whom?). Slippery.—Douglas Kearney
The mysterious power of the scorpion, both animal and constellation, informs the complex emotions of wrenchingly ongoing departure in this beautiful collection of odes to distance, absence, connection, and memory. The scorpion is the "miniature vessel of time" that both poisons and heals: the gorgeous poetry around it is the "house of hope/constructed solely of words." In this world of departures, Browne allows us to "Say possibly nothing is forgotten.—Marcella Durand
Carolyn Hembree rips into language almost physically to make new phrasing out of her Southern lexicon. Skinny, an autobiographical tour de force, arrives full of swagger: In this debut volume of poems, Hembree gets as close to the original words for things as I can remember anyone doing in a long time.—Jane Miller
In this vivid, near-submerged world, I paid particular attention to the ways in which containment and incompetence were worked out by the writer. Chan Brown sets a strict boundary--"Don't wait"--only to assess its transgression: "Come quickly." Go. Come back. Stay. Double Agent is a flip-book of the very best kind.— Bhanu Kapil
The skill of versification in these poems is what makes us hear them—and what we hear gives pleasure, even when it’s dark. Barber’s poems have a tragic grandeur. Natural description exhibits poise and tensile strength: ‘I don’t know/whether the freckled light//has swallowed the white arms//of the birch tree whole/or if the birch is light//bending the end of summer through its leaves.’ This is beautiful work.