The Boatloads, by Dan Albergotti
This book, which won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Award, tackles the big issues fearlessly and with such grace that you hardly realize how immense the journey has been until you reach the end of it. It asks questions I didn’t know I had but now can’t get out of my head—like the one in “The Age of Adam”: “how could the man/ have even been given a working penis, if God, unsure/ of the final product, had not yet decided upon Eve?”
I Was the Jukebox, by Sandra Beasley
In the author’s own words, this book moves outward from the personal; the poems take on a wild array of personas from a piano in love to an eggplant in a bar to a 21st century woman on a date with an ancient Greek hero. The voices are so full of life that I can’t resist reading the poems aloud (and laughing aloud, too). Have you ever felt sorry for a jukebox? If not, you haven’t read this book.
Logorrhea Dementia, by Kyle Dargan
I think titles like “Star-Spangled Sutra” and “Public-Verb Agreement” say it all. Dargan’s book is hip and profound, merging God and red onions into the same delicious and thought-provoking sentences.
Native Guard, by Natasha Trethewey
I’m not sure I need to say much about this one—it did win the Pulitzer. But the book will not let me go; I keep coming back to it for the relentless way it questions ideas of history, memory, and humanity.
Stateside, by Jehanne Dubrow
Dubrow’s newest book takes us inside the emotional life of a military wife in time of war, a life that (as one section of the book reminds us) traces its roots back to Odysseus’s Penelope. The book is not only emotionally powerful, but it is also a fantastic argument for the continued relevance of poetic form; Dubrow is such a master of form that you notice it only as a structure strong enough to support the raw energy driving the poems.
BIO: Holly Karapetkova’s poems, essays, and translations from the Bulgarian have appeared in a number of journals. Her first full-length collection of poetry is Words We Might One Day Say from Washington Writers’ Publishing House. She is also the author of over 20 books for children. She teaches at Marymount University in Arlington, VA.