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Tracy Zeman, Empire [Winner of the New Measure Poetry Prize]

Tracy Zeman's first full-length collection, Empire, examines the European settlement and ecological devastation of the North American prairie. Her ecology-based serial poems employ collage, borrowed text and fractured narrative to probe the connections of humans to the natural world through the lens of culture, history and personal experience. Zeman uses image, juxtaposition and fragment to tell the story of a savage and intricate landscape, once conquered and now imperiled by forces such as climate change, invasive species and contemporary agricultural and land practices. Empire is a journey through an endangered world where beauty is enshrined and the lost, human and animal, is elegized. 

Tracy Zeman's poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Chicago Review, jubilat, TYPO and other journals. She has received a number of residencies, most notably six weeks at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology on the central Oregon coast. Currently, Zeman is a freelance writer and editor for a number of conservation organizations in the Midwest. She lives outside Detroit, Michigan with her husband and daughter.

Monica Berlin, Elsewhere, That Small

The ordinary becomes urgent in Monica Berlin’s Elsewhere, That Small. Each a landscape, these poems trouble over the cornering-in of any life and trace the modest square mileage of here. Tending to sky and to weather, turning streetscape to inscape and back again, this almanac, this journal of memory, lists toward the local—where even region can be made verb.

Monica Berlin is the author of Nostalgia for a World Where We Can Live (Southern Illinois University Press, 2018), No Shape Bends the River So Long, a collaboration with Beth Marzoni (Parlor Press/Free Verse Editions, 2015), and two chapbooks. A professor of English, Berlin also serves as associate director of the Program in Creative Writing at Knox College, in Galesburg, IL.

Bruce Bond, The Calling

In this series of open-field meditations, embodied in moments both personal and cultural, Bruce Bond’ new book The Calling explores the act of naming as critical to survival—biologically, psychologically, and ethically—and yet no less an obstacle to attention, empathy, and the realization of a functional republic.  To call is to summon, but also to obscure, to occasion, in times of greatest clarity, a keener sense of our connectedness, aloneness, dread, and limitations, of word and world and—as music among strangers teaches—the immensity between them.

Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-two books including, most recently, Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand (U of MI, 2015), Black Anthem (Tampa Review Prize, U of Tampa, 2016), Gold Bee (Helen C. Smith Award, Crab Orchard Award, SIU Press, 2016), Sacrum (Four Way, 2017), Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (L.E. Phillabaum Award, LSU, 2017), Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (Elixir Book Prize, Elixir Press, 2018), Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, 2018), and Frankenstein’s Children (Lost Horse, 2018).  Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at University of North Texas.

Kelvin Corcoran, Republic of Song

The sustained lyricism of The Republic of Song moves from abhorrence to its antithesis.  Poem by poem, by turns declarative, tender and oppositional, Kelvin Corcoran pursues what it is that poetry can do in the face of calamitous politics.  The journey explores abiding friendships, the ever present cultural and personal history and the inherent delight of poetry and music.  It arrives at an account of how the blueprint of mythology still plays in our lives and how the deep past and present conditions stand together in a renewed perception of the world.

Kelvin Corcoran lives in Brussels.  He is the author of numerous books of poetry, including most recently Facing West, 2017, the Medicine Unboxed sponsored Not Much To Say Really, 2017, and Article 50, 2018.  The sequence ‘Helen Mania’ was a Poetry Book Society choice and his work has been highly commended by the Forward Prize jury and is the subject of a study edited by Professor Andy Brown, The Poetry Occurs as Song, 2013. He is the editor of an account of the poetry of Lee Harwood in Not the Full Story: Six Interviews with Lee Harwood, 2008

Peter Kline Mirrorforms 

Peter Kline’s Mirrorforms is a daring, experimental collection of poems in which language reaches its most pressurized state. Kline has invented a new poetic form, the mirrorform, which he uses with musical verve to essentialize thought and intensify feeling. The result is that these poems achieve jewel-like precision: each darkly glinting facet reveals the nuances and ambiguities of longing, transgression, and faith.  In one section of the book, agnostic psalms unite the skeptical inquiry of Emily Dickinson with the bodily, passionate petition of John Donne's "Holy Sonnets,” while bringing a highly contemporary perspective to the tradition.  In another section, shadowy, madhouse speakers lay bare their worldview and turbulent inner weather in a series of incisive dramatic monologues. These poems are sharply ironic, darkly funny, and ferocious, and mark out a unique place in contemporary American poetry.

Peter Kline teaches writing at the University of San Francisco and Stanford University.  A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, he has also received residency fellowships from the Amy Clampitt House, James Merrill House, Marble House Project, Artsmith Orcas Island, and Kimmel Harding Nelson Foundation.  His poetry has appeared in PloughsharesFive PointsPoetryTin House, and many other journals, as well as the Best New Poets series, the Verse Daily website, and the Random House anthology, Measure for Measure.  Since 2012 he has directed the San Francisco literary reading series Bazaar Writers Salon.  His first collection of poetry, Deviants, was published by Stephen F. Austin State University Press in 2013.

Eric Pankey, Alias

Kevin Prufer has written, "Eric Pankey peers through the clarifying lens of metaphor and parable to meditate on mystery, human sympathy and the divine." Alias is Eric Pankey's second collection of prose poetry from Free Verse Editions. Like the first, Dismantling the Angel, Pankey continues his investigation of possibilities of the prose poem, an oxymoronic form, which subverts both the conventions of the lyric mode and of habits of prose genres. Roger Lathbury writing about the complexity of Pankey's prose poetry has said that the poems "yearn for completeness, unity, and, if not transcendence, still some condition that would provide what transcendence, or even a hint of transcendence, might offer: fulfillment, harmony, completeness, acceptance, understanding, universal love. With the tact born of honesty (the book never lies; you never feel “manipulated”) these poems refuse every answer they see offered."

Eric Pankey is the author of many collections of poetry. He is Professor of English and the Heritage Chair in Writing at George Mason University where he teaches in the BFA and MFA programs in creative writing.

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