Announcing the 2016-2017 Free Verse Editions

Series Editor: Jon Thompson
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Ana Cristina César, At Your Feet, edited by Brenda Hillman and Katrina Dodson. Translated by Brenda Hillman, Helen Hillman, Sebastião Edson Macedo, and Katrina Dodson
Ana Cristina César (1952-1983) has posthumously become one of Brazil’s best known avant-garde poets. After her suicide in 1983, her innovative, mythic, and dreamlike poetry has greatly influenced subsequent generations of writers. At Your Feet was originally published as a poetic sequence and later became part of a longer hybrid work— sometimes prose, sometimes verse—documenting the life and mind of a forcefully active literary woman. César, who also worked internationally as a journalist and translator, often found inspiration in the writings of other poets, among them Emily Dickinson, Armando Freitas Filho, and Gertrude Stein. Her innovative writing has been featured in Green Integer's Nothing the Sun Could Not Explain—20 Contemporary Brazilian Poets (2000). Poet Brenda Hillman and her mother Helen Hillman (a native speaker of Portuguese) worked with Brazilian poet Sebastião Edson Macedo and translator/editor Katrina Dodson to render as faithfully as possible the intricately layered poems of this legendary writer.

Hannah Craig, This History That Just Happened [New Measure Poetry Prize Winner, selected by Yusef Komunyakaa].
"Hannah Craig's This History That Just Happened places the reader at the nexus where rural and city life converge, bridging a world personal and political, natural and artful, in a voice always uniquely hers. Every word here is earned. And little, if anything, escapes this poet's heart, mind, or eye. History works through a keen imagination. These poems make us feel and listen differently, and images coalesce line by line and dare us to reside where fierce empathy and beauty abide."—Yusef Komunyakaa

Derek Gromadzki, Pilgrimage Suites
Reading itself is travel in Derek Gromadzki's first book, Pilgrimage Suites, an outing across an insular medieval landscape as rich in its registers of language as in its flora or fauna. This book is neither history nor story, though it retains characteristics of each. Like history, it perpetuates retrograde speculation while maintaining the narrated sequencing of incident that is the common stock and trade of story. In the heyday of medieval pilgrimages, English underwent radical changes. The Latinate speech of Church officialdom ran roughly up against a vernacular with deep Germanic and Brythonic roots. These suites track an imagined journey over the landscape that staged the violence of this conflict, whereon strikingly beautiful monuments stood in the aftermath. To the cultural clashes and assimilations materially manifest in the Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals travelers still venerate today, Gromadzki offers an overlooked parallel through creative strife with sound. He uses the momentum generated in running the lexical and rhythmic possibilities of English's varied sources together to stretch and sustain the lyric over a pastoral background to push each of these two modes past its respective limits.

Geraldine Monk, They Who Saw the Deep
At the heart of They Who Saw The Deep are poems concerning rivers and seas. From the Libyan Sea south of Crete to the savage tidal bores of Morecambe Bay in the North of England, our relationship with these vast tracts of water is benign and lethal in equal measures. The title sequence is set against the hypnotic backdrop of the British shipping forecast as the world grows increasingly troubled with wars and wild weather events. It weaves deluge myths with tales of migrations and invasions down the ages. "Geraldine Monk's poetry is a treasure, and They Who Saw the Deep is extravagant proof. A vocabulary ripe to the point of ferment. Lines lithe and various. Gritty dazzle. Vertiginous control. The title sequence is a water-torn triumph, a mercurial inventory of birds, wars, seas, weathers, vegetables and wrecks. With kinetic brilliance and valorous abandon, Monk forages the deeps."—Catherine Wagner

Nicolas Pesquès's, Overyellow, translated by Cole Swensen
This is a book about a color—the vivid, explosive yellow of the English broom that blooms outrageously, uproariously, all over the mountain that dominates the view from Nicolas Pesquès' window. In this loping long poem, Pesquès views this color as installation art—as if the word YELLOW were written in enormous letters covering the hillside. It's an installation that brings issues of language to the fore, offering an occasion for the writer to juggle the immediate presence of color with the more mitigated presence created by language.

Donald Platt, Man Praying
In his sixth book, Donald Platt starts a poem by exclaiming, "The days are one thousand / puzzle pieces."  He gathers up the days into this book of terrors and ecstasies decanted in seamlessly reversing tercets of long and short lines, syllabic couplets, and lyric prose.  The puzzle pieces include a dying father-in-law, AIDS, maimed World War I veterans, Caravaggio's painting of the beheading of St. John the Baptist (his largest canvas), and the story of a gay boxer who KOs and kills the opponent who has called him a faggot at the weigh-in.  It is a book that encompasses contradictions.  The poet writes about his bisexuality, his close and intimate marriage, Rudolf Nureyev, a daughter with manic depression, a painting by James Ensor entitled Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889,and la Playa los Muertos, the Beach of the Dead in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  The poet puts these fragments of a life together into a thousand-piece jigsaw, a self-portrait of the artist in middle age, and calls it unabashedly Man Praying.

Ethel Rackin, Go On
The miniature poems that comprise Go On, Ethel Rackin's second collection, constitute distilled moments in time that paradoxically extend our field of concentration and vision. Focusing on various kinds of survival—personal, political, environmental—Go On asks what it means to endure in unsure times. By turns collaged, diaristic, and panoramic, the poems that make up this collection combine to form a kind of crazy-quilt of lyric association and connection.

Christopher Sindt, System and Population
Christopher Sindt's System and Population returns to the primary theme of Sindt's earlier collection, The Bodies: the impact of human desire on the natural world.  System and Population focuses on the proposed damming of the American River canyon in northern California—working with source texts such as geologic studies, government documents, and the diaries of gold miners—to study the intersections of personal experience, scientific study, and the politics of rivers and dams.  It is a personal eco-poetics that embraces the tradition of the lyric, experimenting with collage and the explicit inclusion of historic and scientific data.  System and Population meditates on human experiences, such as parenthood and loss, and also studies the dissociative effects of environmental damage and disaster.