Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Is Poetry Month!

The award-winning author of The Yellow Birds returns with an extraordinary debut poetry collection.
National Book Award finalist, Iraq war veteran, novelist and poet Kevin Powers creates a deeply affecting portrait of a life shaped by war. Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting captures the many moments that comprise a soldier's life: driving down the Texas highway; waiting for the unknown in the dry Iraq heat; writing a love letter; listening to a mother recount her dreams. Written with evocative language and discernment, Powers's poetry strives to make sense of the war and its echoes through human experience.

Just as The Yellow Birds was hailed as the "first literary masterpiece produced by the Iraq war," this collection will make its mark as a powerful, enduring work (Los Angeles Times).
All of the published poetry of James Baldwin, including six significant poems previously only available in a limited edition

During his lifetime, James Baldwin authored seven novels, as well as several plays and essay collections, many of which were published to widespread praise. Baldwin’s novels and essays brought him respect as a public intellectual and admiration as a writer. However, Baldwin’s earliest writing was in poetic form, and some argue that even Baldwin considered himself a poet first and foremost. One can see this inclination in the poetic rhythms of his prose. Nonetheless, his single book of poetry, Jimmy’s Blues, published only a few short years before his death in 1987, never attracted as much of the spotlight as his novels and nonfiction did and has been unavailable for many years.

This new collection celebrates Baldwin the poet. Including the nineteen poems from Jimmy’s Blues, the collection also features his poems from a limited-edition art book called Gypsy, of which only 325 copies were ever printed. Known for his relentless honesty and startlingly prophetic insights on issues of race, class, poverty, and sexual orientation, Baldwin is just as enlightening and bold in his poetry as in his famous novels and essays.

"Grown men don't cry."

But in this fascinating anthology, one hundred men--distinguished in literature and film, science and architecture, theater and human rights--confess to being moved to tears by poems that continue to haunt them. Representing twenty nationalities and ranging in age from their early 20s to their late 80s, the majority are public figures not prone to crying. Here they admit to breaking down when ambushed by great art, often in words as powerful as the poems themselves.

Their selections include classics by visionaries such as Walt Whitman, W.H Auden, and Philip Larkin, as well as contemporary works by masters including Billy Collins, Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, and poets who span the globe from Pablo Neruda to Rabindranath Tagore.  Seventy-five percent of the selected poems were written in the twentieth century, with more than a dozen by women including Mary Oliver, Elizabeth Bishop, and Gwendolyn Brooks. Their themes range from love in its many guises, through mortality and loss, to the beauty and variety of nature. Three men have suffered the pain of losing a child; others are moved to tears by the exquisite way a poet captures, in Alexander Pope's famous phrase, "what oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd.

From J. J. Abrams to John le Carre, Salman Rushdie to Jonathan Franzen, Daniel Radcliffe to Nick Cave, Billy Collins to Stephen Fry, Stanley Tucci to Colin Firth, and Seamus Heaney to Christopher Hitchens, this collection delivers private insight into the souls of men whose writing, acting, and thinking are admired around the world.

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