Announcing the 2018 Free Verse Editions

Series Editor: Jon Thompson
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Elizabeth Jacobson Not into the Blossoms and Not into the Air  [New Measure Poetry Prize, selected by Marianne Boruch]

Elizabeth Jacobson's Not into the Blossoms and Not into the Air is a collection of poems wealthy with the speaker's intimacy with nature, and with the philosophical and spiritual insights that emerge from a deep practice of close observation. In a manner that is wonderfully relaxed and conversational, Jacobson's poems enter into the most venerable and perennial of our human questions, like, 'Why is human consciousness confused and forgetful?' 'What is the distance between nature and ourselves?' 'Why is solitude so rich?'  Jacobson's subject matter, ingenuity, and style invite comparison to the work of some of our most luminous poetic contemporaries, like Linda Gregg and Jane Hirschfield. Passionate, lucid and meticulous, this collection of poems represents the emergence of a remarkable poet.

Joshua McKinney, Small Sillion

Joshua McKinney's fourth collection, Small Sillion, enacts a lyric struggle to perceive the numinous in a world marked by violence. The term sillion, as used by Hopkins in his famous poem, "The Windhover," refers to a furrow turned over by a plough. For McKinney it is both prelude to fertility, and wound, a scarring of the land. Maintaining a tension between the visionary and the mundane, between joy and despair, these poems posit a border between language and the living world; they constitute a personal eco-poetics of skepticism, one that respects language's utility and radiance, while acknowledging that the world's complexity lies beyond the grasp of language

F. Daniel Rzicznek's Settlers

Transversing the territory between the pastoral and the elegiac, F. Daniel Rzicznek's Settlers inhabits the hidden, wild places of the American Midwestern landscape. The idea of "settling"—that a landscape can be tamed, that a human consciousness can fall back into immobility—is one these poems grapple with and resist, all the while charting the cathartic effects of the natural world on a collective imagination dually wounded by the madness of the post-industrial era and the multiplication of tragedy via media saturation. Within the  "settled" landscape, it becomes clear that nothing, in fact, can be settled. Love, compassion, forgiveness, and transcendence all turn out to be moving targets and Settlers offers glimpse after glimpse of an unstable world in whirling, mesmerizing motion. Where the exterior landscape of weather, light and water skirts the interior wilderness of dream, vision, and prayer, these poems go out walking with their feet in the marsh and their hats in the infinite clouds, hoping to find what exactly it means to be human in a world imperiled by humans, and the all the fascinating and frustrating complexities contained therein.