1. BODY OF THE WORLD by Sam Taylor
Here's a debut collection from a poet whose East Coast beginnings and Texas/New Mexico existence are nearly invisible, as he probes love, strangers, and the resonance of form and line. Consider this portion of the poem "Arc":
And soon2. MINE by Tung-Hui Hu
you have forgotten that the world is new.
And in the middle, you will be a two piece suit
between traffic signals,
but in the end, the underside of ambrosia
and the breath of green tea.
In the middle, women will come to you naked
with hair clips given to them by their grandmothers,
a sari from the Indian coast,
a limp from when they fell running through the park.
Knowing someone by touch is like being able to move around a dark city without power or signs. And even when it is easy to move around it is always awful to be inside. One man proposed during the blackout, it was reported on the news. Another is inside, sitting quietly -- everybody can hear him thinking to himself, trying not to move, waiting for the morning to rise.3. ZODIAC OF ECHOES by Khaled Mattawa
Aisha's baby will not sleepAnd to satisfy that longing for a journey, here is the start of "Echo & Elixir 7":
and I am a monkey and I am good.
A cat meows. Ibrahim barks.
Who did the zebra bray?
Please trumpet like an elephant.
Please, please the owl's hoot.
The stories you believe are the stories you make.Last and perhaps best, surely most amazing in this volume, is the long "Dark Anthem" that concludes it. I quote here just one triplet of lines, one sequence that rings in me tonight: "my fingers loose but firm, / picking the air's locks, / unchaining a miracle from the dark."
So one enters a room alone.
People there and they see the dust
and they hear the echo of travel.
They remember distances and songs,
they read a script that befuddles the page:
trains, airports, short-term leases,
hawkers and dingy bars.