New Books in Poetry: The Spinning Place by

Chelsea Wagenaar-The Spinning Place

A new episode of the New Books in Poetry podcast is up. I had a delightful conversation with Chelsea Wagenaar about her new book The Spinning Place (Southern Indiana Review Press).

Chelsea Wagenaar is the author of two collections of poetry, most recently The Spinning Place was winner of the 2018 Michael Waters Prize. Her first collection, Mercy Spurs the Bone, was selected by Philip Levine to win the 2013 Philip Levine Prize. She holds degrees from the University of Virginia and the University of North Texas, and currently teaches at Valparaiso University. Her recent work appears or is forthcoming in Image and The Southern Review.

“Moon-sliced star-pocked
streetlit bleat, coal train moving
like its own ghost along the tracks.
2:00, 3:000, my shadow sways
as I catch myself, hand on the wall,
pulled from bed by your nocturnal haunt,
you at your crib rail, blanket clutched,
more sound than body.”

— from “Night Shift”

You can listen to the interview here or on the podcast app of your choice.


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New Books in Poetry: Black Was Not a Label by Kathryn H. Ross

Black was not a label by Katheryn H Ross

A new episode of the New Books in Poetry podcast is up, in which the fabulous Athena Dixon speaks with Kathryn H. Ross about her book Black Was Not a Label (Pronto, 2019).

Athena writes:

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 lenses of natural hair, faith, and microaggressions, she lights a path to what it means to seek self while still honoring the past lives, personal and historical, that connect us all.

Black Was Not a Label (Pronto, 2019) is as soft as it is sharp. Ross is a writer of humanness, one who finds more interest in what we feel than theme. Yet, even in this general warmth, she manages to hone in on topics that have rippled throughout generations. Readers are not allowed to look away from the sometimes ingrained expectations of assimilation nor are we allowed to put down the weight of all that came before us. What she gives us in this collection are the means to carry it with grace and the hope it will become a little lighter.

You can listen to the interview here or on the podcast app of your choice.


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New Books in Poetry: The Lampblack Blue of Memory by Sarah Adleman

Sarah Aldman-The Lampblack Blue of Memory-My Mother Echoes

A new episode of the New Books in Poetry podcast is up, in which the fabulous Athena Dixon speaks with Sarah Adleman about her book The Lampblack Blue of Memory: My Mother Echoes (Tolsun Books, 2019).

Athena writes of the book:

Adleman’s collection, a gorgeous hybrid of poetry and memoir, is a journey through grief and forgiveness. The author’s debut book uses both the personal and the informative to examine and preserve the loss, grief, and cleansing set in motion by her mother’s death. She honors her mother not only in the crafting of these shared memories, but also in the actual formatting of the text itself. Adleman gives her mother voice by including her own work interwoven throughout the retelling. The author does not shy away from the heaviness of absence, her personal reaction to the events, and especially not the profound changes to her father. She unfurls these emotions in the light and scrubs away the haze. She leaves us with the “bliss at the core of our beings” and challenges us to walk beside her to the other side.

You can listen to the interview here or on the podcast app of your choice.


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New Books in Poetry: Mary Shelly Makes a Monster by Octavia Cade

Octavia Cade-Mary Shelley Makes a Monster

A new episode of the New Books in Poetry podcast is up. Despite some technical difficulties, I had a delightful conversation with Octavia Cade about her book, Mary Shelley Makes a Monster (Aqueduct Press, 2019).

In Octavia Cades’ brilliant collection of poetry Mary Shelley Makes a Monster, the famous author of Frankenstein crafts a creature out of ink, mirrors, and the remnants of her own heartbreak and sorrow. Abandoned and alone after Shelley’s death, the monster searches for a mother to fill her place. Its journey carries it across continents and time, visiting other female authors throughout the decades — Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Octavia Butler, and others. Pulling from the biographical accounts of these amazing authors, these poems beautifully examine the nature of art and creation, reading and consumption, and how monsters are really reflections of ourselves.

You can listen to the interview here or on the podcast app of your choice.


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New Books in Poetry: If Men, Then by Eliza Griswold

if men then by eliza griswold

A new episode of the New Books in Poetry podcast is up, in which the fabulous Athena Dixon speaks with Eliza Griswold about her book If Men, Then (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020).

Eliza Griswold writes in Snow in Rome, “we hate being human,/depleted by absence.” In her latest poetry collection, If Men, Then (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020), Griswold grapples with a world that is fracturing at its foundation. In this series of poems, all at once dark. humorous and questioning, the author moves from the familiar to the unjust to hope with a keen eye. She guides readers through a world that at times strips the humanness from our bones with embedded violence and disconnection, but also calls for us to reconnect by reminding us to be a bridge out among the flames.”

You can listen to the interview here or on the podcast app of your choice.


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