There’s also a generous and thoughtful review by Maya Catherine Popa of several new volumes, including those by three poets whose work I deeply admire – Alan Gillis, Billy Ramsell, Tara Bergin – and my own book, Clasp. Popa writes-
I also contributed to Poetry Magazine’s Contributor Reading List, where I touch on the very difficult months that preceded this publication.
“My fourth child was born prematurely earlier this summer and I spent weeks by her incubator in the NICU. In one of the quiet, terrible moments when I was asked to wait in the corridor during yet another horrific procedure, my phone beeped with the daily poem email from poets.org—Idra Novey’s “Still Life with Invisible Canoe.” This poem became a well to which I returned again and again. I still can’t read the text without crying, it brings back all of the anxiety of the NICU and my loneliness for my other children. “Levinas asked if we have the right / To be the way I ask my sons / If they’d like to be trees” The second poem that sustained me through our time in hospital was “Train Ride” by Ruth Stone—“Release, release; / between cold death and a fever, / send what you will, I will listen. / All things come to an end. / No, they go on forever.” All summer, these two poems nourished me through joy and fear. Now that our daughter is home, I’ve been revisiting my favorite collections. I choose a book a week and dip in and out as I feed the baby. So far I’ve been re-reading work by Natalie Diaz, Sarah Howe, Brenda Shaughnessy, Biddy Jenkinson, Mary Szybist, and Katharine Kilalea. This autumn, I’m very much looking forward to Fur by Grace Wells and Tost agus Allagar by Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh. I’m late to Dorianne Laux, but I ordered Facts about the Moon today and I’m very excited to read that. I’ve been working on translating the poems of Caitlín Maude for the past year and this week I returned to her. My copy of her collected poems is beginning to fall apart but it feels like coming home to an old friend.”