Poetry

The following is a list of our current in-print poetry books. You can order them online by clicking on the highlighted links. Or click here to view all your buying options.

For other current in-print books, see our Prose page .

Cover image of THREE DAYS WITH THE LONG MOON, a collection of poems by Adrian Koesters. A full moon shines over silhouetted treetops. Adrian Koesters – Three Days with the Long Moon – 2017

* New Release *

Adrian Koesters’ riveting second collection of poems has already received rave reviews, and has been nominated for a National Book Award!

Buy Now!

 

41exzpoekal-_sx331_bo1204203200_ Peter Weltner The Return of What’s Been Lost 2016

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The Return of What’s Been Lost’s fourteen stories and fourteen “choral” poems mediate on loss, personal and cultural, and on how mourning embodies in the self, incarnate and haunting, the hugeness of what is missing. The book begins during the Second World War, moves into the years immediately after it, enters into the era of Vietnam and later the AIDs epidemic, and ends with the wars in Iraq. Not all losses are absolute; joy also returns.

 

gray_cover_front (2) Aaron Axhoj Bond In Gray 2015

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surge_cover_front (2) Richard J. Fein Not A Separate Surge 2015

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green_cover_front (2)Elizabeth Stevens A Green Isle In The Sea, Love 2015

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 uppity blind girl coverKathi Wolfe The Uppity Blind Girl Poems 2015

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Screenshot 2015-10-21 10.55.37Gary Blankenbrg Above All Things 2015

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If you knew and loved Gary for being irreverent, sometimes raunchy, always sexy, a kind of bittersweet amalgam of Berryman, Bukowski, O’Hara, and of course his unique self, you will be interested but not at all disappointed to hear him as he looks Upward and prepares himself for, in his words, ”The Great Perhaps.” And you may be amazed to discover that he is an extraordinarily talented visual artist. His work has all the pizazz of his poetry and the colorful eye of a visionary. His paintings make a joyful noise.

Screenshot 2015-11-01 23.14.54Hope Coulter Wheel of Light 2015

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The Wheel of Light illuminates both the ”lounge with leather bar stools” and the ”swallowtails, in morning coats,” which means that everything cast in the sublime glow of Hope Coulter’s gaze can shine.

Screenshot 2015-11-07 16.04.42Donald Richardson Love Is Yes 2015

Email CHarriss@towson.edu to purchase

“Love is yes except when it’s no,” says the author.   His latest collection reflects both aspects–love of family, love of life’s quirks, lost loves, loves never to be lost.  His seemingly simple and sometimes earthy diction quietly belies the deeply surreal nature of many of the poems–dream sequences masquerading as the mundane.  The author’s occupations have ranged from riding the hunting circuit in the US and Ireland to teaching college poetry classes.

Screenshot 2015-11-01 23.03.31Brad Sachs Why Am I Telling You This? 2015

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“Since first undertaking the on-going endeavor of composing poetry as part of my clinical documentation, I have often asked myself this question and the most comprehensive answer I have been able to come up with is…I’m not absolutely sure. However, I do have some ideas as to what prompted me to begin taking notes, and ‘taking note’, in poetic fashion.” – Dr. Brad Sachs

Elisabeth Stevens American Nocturne 2015Screenshot 2015-10-21 11.11.04

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American Nocturne, Elisabeth Stevens’ sixth book of poetry, is unfettered, wide-ranging. Unlike her fifth collection, Sirens’ Songs, which was selected by Kirkus Reviews as one of the hundred best indie books of 2011 and focused intensely on romantic and sexual liaisons, American Nocturne explores a world-wide geography and more, ranging expansively from continent to continent, from reality to dream.

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Ivan Young Smell of Salt, Ghost of Rain 2014

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In pool hall and tenement, pine forest and ocean depths, these poems reclaim the abandoned moment from chalk and rust, shadow and silence. Young summons forth the grit and the ghost, the breakable and the beautiful to show us how we are ”one thing breathing” in an earthly elegance that is surely the language of grace.

Review:

Memory is one of the most uniquely human attributes. We learn and improve our lives, enrich and deepen our current experiences through remembering the past. Much, if not most of the poetry that we write and read, quote and re-quote is rooted in the using of the past to illuminate our present. Some poets do this much better than others.

One of those poets is P. Ivan Young, and in his recent collection, Smell of Salt, Ghost of Rain from BrickHouse Books, we witness a wondrous poet going about his poetry work with such craft and emotion we linger and return to his poems time and again.

Young’s talents are on display in the very first poem, “Contortion,” a poem that begins innocently with the lines

The apartment doors
open like boxes
and we unfold.

and proceeds to unfurl the bodies of the stories behind the doors in the speaker’s apartment complex. It is those stories that twist us, tangle our lives, and somehow we are able to contort our days into some semblance of a life.

Young chooses to write this poem with short lines, none longer than seven words, which reinforces the metaphor and title. The short lines unfold into longer significance: how we must bend our lives, bend in life, willingly or not, in order to accommodate the ugliness and pain that sometimes finds us. Later in the poem, he uses Lunga the Snake Girl, to further amplify the image. The most brilliant line occurs almost half way through the poem. “Beauty is this flexible/world.” A lesser poet would have ended the poem with line. Young knows his craft.

The book is divided into three sections. The first focuses on the speaker’s early years. However, poems concerning those years are sprinkled throughout this collection. These aren’t the white-picket-fence, scraped-knee years of a suburban upbringing. These formative years are spent in “the Complex,” with “an upended couch/tilted into a ditch and a washing machine/gleamed avocado beneath pine needles” as in the poem “Visiting the Neighborhood.” There are universal moments too, as in the next poem, ‘Breakable Things,” which details the painful, unvoiced good-byes of childhood.

There is real life in these poems, not the tidy lives whose contents stay inside their bottles, beer that is never spilled. The world inside these poems is sometimes messy. The liquidity of life spills out of their containers. The killing of a deer in “Deer-Unspoken” gives us these lines:

We are shattered. My closed eyes see
nothing, but the skin knows

the body is lying in a heap, blood
and air rivering the field into blooms

of bone and flesh

There is joy and delicious pleasure in this collection, too, as in the sexy love of “Dress.”

fresh insight into your body’s curves,
the attitude of a scarf as telling as anything

you could whisper. I run my fingers over rows
of you

and in “Live Bait”:

Crickets insisted¬—your hand
sliding the narrow between jeans and stomach,

your breast as much moonlight as I would ever need.

This joy of a collection appropriately ends with the poem, “A Lesson on the Use of an Oyster Knife,” and some of the most beautifully written lines in the book.

The clouds are pearl and burnish,
smell of salt, ghost of rain.
The night sometimes comes apart,

one layer upon another, hard as stone

This book of memory, this gathering of recollection does indeed deepen and enrich our current lives. It is a book you should seek out and enjoy. I look forward to the next time Young puts pen to paper.

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Andrei Guruianu Made in the Image of Stones 2014

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In Made in the Image of Stones the past is not something you can learn about. It is the burden of inheritance, of a consciousness that we stand upon stones, that our foundations are shaky but they are all we have, that the image we have of ourselves is carved in the likeness of others. For more than eighty pages Guruianu carries the weight of this burden through poems where the surreal meets the painfully real, the strikingly vivid, a kinship that reveals the imperfect nature of memory as well as the limitations of individual consciousness and cultural identity. The signs are everywhere and they are chiseled in marble and molded in bronze. But we are also stubborn, the lap of history is not enough to hold us. Ultimately, while the poems bow to lineage and roots in our acceptance and humility, there is a refusal, a stubborn hope that the future isn’t yet written in stone.

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Andrei Guruianu Portrait Without a Mouth 2014

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Throughout the poems that make up Portrait Without a Mouth, a follow up to Guruianu’s Made in the Image of Stones, the Angel of History finally turns his head towards the present and lifts his eyes to the future. He sees the same ancient stones dotting the fields, the same ruins dusted off and resurrected only to be toppled again. Of those he meets he asks a single question: Where does history end, and where do we begin? Silence, a shrug of the shoulders. At the end of the day he shakes his head and mutters underneath his breath. Maybe a prayer. Language rearranged into a different version of tomorrow.

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Bradley R. Strahan A Parting Glass 2014

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These poems were inspired by our year in Mallow, County Cork (May, 2012 – May, 2013). They happened only because we were fortunate enough to participate in two very Irish communities: the congregation of St. James (Church of Ireland), where my wife Shirley filled the long-vacant position of organist, and the community of poets, particularly in Mallow and Fermoy.

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J. Tarwood And For The Mouth A Flower 2014

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“J. Tarwood’s “And For the Mouth a Flower” is the latest poetry collection by one of the nation’s most intriguing poets. In this slim volume, Tarwood writes of family, childhood, the natural world, and his travels throughout East Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. These are poems that grace us with the elegant interplay between the mundane and the exotic. The poet reaches deep within himself while simultaneously searching the globe for his material. These poems are a grand and explicit dialogue between self and world.” -Sonja James

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Doritt Carroll GLTTL STP 2013

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Free verse poems, highly regarded by formalists, brilliantly crafted by a musician/poet. Gutsy, sad, hilarious, elegiac: a walk on the side side (from around a corner.)

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Richard Fein My Hands Remember 2013

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Over the course of a lifetime’s worth of beautiful poems, as well as translations from Yiddish that read like beautiful poems in English, Richard Fein has created the song of himself and of his Brooklyn-Jewish world. It is a world preserved in lines that are a marvel of vigilant, always fascinated attention. In its sheer descriptive capacities, his verse is as open to radiant marvels and erotic candor as it is aware of the abrupt horrors of brute historical reality. Fein listens so closely and so deeply to the voices of filial memory that his Hebrew Bible poems speak to us in the same intimate and dramatic idiom as his family poems. This is poetry that in its undeviating focus of selfless attention enlarges our scope of human dignity and responsibility.

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Adrian Koesters Many Parishes 2013

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Koesters’ Many Parishes is an original. The poems seem to smack the hard-ass contemporary world up against a deep spiritual sense, until we see they’re one and the same. Adrian Koesters is able to write of men calling out to a ten-year old “spinster” to “come on down, sweetheart, I got something over here to show you,” and allow us to feel in her small, frightened heart the identical anguish of soul as in the nun who’s “divided from the principalities and goes in terror of them.” These poems, like the nuns, “take things personally.” They’re lyrical confessions of the deepest griefs—abuse, divorce, doubt, and loneliness. They provide absolution, and positively joy, in their skillful and lucid singing.

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Donald Richardson THEFT 2013

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THEFT subtly incorporates themes, imagery, and occasional phrases from other poems as well as tapping directly into his own very personal experiences. The author says: “I have stolen much more, and quite blatantly, in other books. I guess in titling this book ‘THEFT‘ I was thinking of those other earlier thefts along with current thefts such as those from Mona Van Duyn, Hart Crane, an old sailing expression, Marilyn Monroe, my friend’s dream, lines from a Joni Mitchell song, prayers, John Donne, the snows of yesterday, Thoreau inspecting snow storms, Roethke asking about the time and his heart. I suppose, like Stafford, I am just ‘traveling through the dark’: his dark, this dark, my dark.”

978-1-938144-14-1Peter Weltner To the Final Cinder 2013 

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To the Final Cinder captures what it is to be human. It is a humane poetry without artificiality, a poetry that accepts, without reservation, the whipsaw of joy and pain we all must live through. Despite its title there are no cinders here but live coals glowing with life.

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Wesli Court Epitaphs for the Poets 2012

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Wesli Court’s Epitaphs for the Poets consists of 100+ very short poems (in various forms including the limerick) encapsulating the lives (and often the manner of death) of poets ranging from the extremely well known, such as Christopher Marlowe—whose handsome and touchingly youthful portrait appears on the cover—to the gifted-but-obscure. Not all the poets included are quite ready for their tombstones to be carved; some are alive and well. But not a one of them is exempt from the mordant wit of Wesli Court, aka Lewis Turco.

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Warren Harris The Night Ballerina 2012

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The Night Ballerina is a fast-moving, cinematic word-montage that flows through seven uninterrupted sections to create what Dan Stryk calls an “artistically adventurous vision.” Its eclectic verse and occasional prose passages enact the rhythmic interplay of desire, anxiety, and elation in a journey of the psyche, melding together contemporary scenes with ancient parallels. Some of them are a crowded subway car racing under Manhattan, and a subterranean trance-journey in aboriginal Africa; a river baptism in the American South, and a Mithraic initiation rite in Roman Britain; a Freudian analysis of our perennial obsession with Sherlock Holmes, and a rain-soaked climb to a stone circle on a Yorkshire moor; a painter’s conception of a fire-ringed, Shiva-like Jesus calming the sea, and, in the book’s central metaphor, an ascetic ballerina framed in the window of a practice studio on a snowy night.

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Peter Weltner The Outerlands 2012

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San Francisco’s outerlands is where the city’s once barren dunes end at the Pacific. The poet walks there religiously most mornings, remembering his past, recalling some of the places and people, the art and the artists he has most treasured, while brooding on those ultimate concerns that have obsessed him since childhood, the oldest questions that have no answers. The Outerlands is where life, like the land, ends and finds itself at its outermost reaches where death, like the sea, begins.

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Elisabeth Stevens Sirens’ Songs 2011

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Sirens’ Songs is a facsimile edition of an unbound, limited collector’s-edition livre d’artiste containing original renderings of the drawings which illustrate BHB’s edition of Sirens’ Songs. The poems and drawings range from serious and even scary to comic, but all of them are erotic and all are brilliantly executed.

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Doritt Carroll In Caves 2010

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In her first book of poems, Doritt Carroll deals in simple, direct language with themes of isolation and longing. Like snapshots, her poems capture details that reflect a unique and quirky perspective. Whether it’s her sanity that “stalks out like a cat/its high tail/torquing” or her regrets that come home to roost “flapping on the fence posts/gossiping like sisters,” her poems confront in an honest yet humorous way the unbridgeable gaps that divide one human being from another.

C978-0-932616-98-2arlo Matos A School for Fishermen 2010

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At turns whimsical and philosophical, Carlo Matos’ debut collection presents family history alongside substantial discussion of heritage and identity. As he describes the stories we inherit from the generations before us, Matos creates a disconcerting dreamscape, in which “the locusts are gone, the lights are on/ and the sky is fallen.” Like only the best poets, he finds beauty in the wreckage. A School for Fishermen is a wonderful and moving book.

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John Mingo It Takes a Thief 2007

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John Mingo’s collection of poems and prose rises out of the author’s experiences with Jim Crow, drug use and users, and the prison system, and tracking the author’s rise from hell to redemption, from despair to hope.

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Jan-Mitchell Sherrill The Kit Poems 2007

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Powerful poems of love—man for man, for friends, for family—betrayal, resolution.

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Jan-Mitchell Sherrill Gunfire in Oz 2006

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Gunfire in Oz is a gay poetry collection that reflects the heartbreak of losing the love of one’s life to an extremely untimely death. Jan-Mitchell Sherrill has internalized most of contemporary and classic literature, metaphysics, and religion, and brought it to bear with steely passion on his grief and existential rage.

0-932616-76-3Brad Sachs In the Desperate Kingdom of Love 2004

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Author Brad Sachs is a psychologist specializing in clinical work with children, adolescents, couples, and families. In the Desperate Kingdom of Love was featured recently on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac on National Public Radio.

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Richard Fein B’KLYN 1970

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Richard Fein takes his poetic study of his Jewish heritage, his Brooklyn life, language in all its potency and silences, family and political dynamics, and, most of all, mortality, into his most powerful book yet. Skillfully wrought, deeply felt poems to enjoy, ponder, learn from, talk back to. And admire for their complexity, their toughness, their passion.