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Poetry

American Poetry: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

American Poetry: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

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This groundbreaking Library of America volume offers a fresh look at early American poetry, charting its evolution over a span of almost two centuries, from the first years of English settlement in the New World to the death of George Washington. Gathering the work of more than 100 poets--including many poems never previously anthologized and some published here for the first time--it is the most comprehensive collection of its kind ever assembled, a celebration of the rich, varied, and often surprising beginnings of American poetry.

The range of voices is unprecedented: broadside and newspaper satires, epitaphs, children's verse, popular songs, ballads, and Christian hymns evoke the vital currency of poetry in daily life; exhortatory elegies for public figures and historical epics declaimed on occasions of state stand alongside intricate meditative lyrics and private epistolary verses. The dramatic unfolding of American history is made immediate and vivid in the words of the participants: William Bradford reflects on the growth of New England's first colonies; Roger Wolcott recounts the incidents of the Pequot War; Thomas Paine hails the victories of the American Revolution; Ann Eliza Bleecker describes her flight from General Burgoyne's invading army; loyalist Jonathan Odell bitterly mocks the new Continental Congress.

The first comprehensive anthology of early American poetry in more than a generation, this volume incorporates recent scholarly discoveries that have altered our understanding of the early American literary landscape. Alongside generous selections from long admired New England poets such as Anne Bradstreet, Edward Taylor, and Michael Wigglesworth are poets from the Middle Colonies and the South, newly emerged from the archives. Along with familiar favorites by Phillis Wheatley, celebrated pioneer of the African-American tradition in poetry, are little-known verses by Benjamin Banneker, known as "the Sable Astronomer," and African-American Minuteman Lemuel Haynes. The anthology includes hymns recently attributed to Mohegan preacher Samson Occom and the earliest known translation of a traditional Native American chant, Henry Timberlake's Cherokee "War-Song."

The unpublished poems of Henry Brooke, Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson, Joseph Green, Hannah Griffitts, Margaret Lowther Page, and Annis Boudinot Stockton, among others, reflect the rediscovered vitality and importance of manuscript exchange as a form of publication in an era when it was sometimes considered indecorous, especially for women, to appear in print.

Unprecedented in its textual authority and unrivaled in its scope, the anthology includes newly researched biographical sketches of each poet and extensive notes.

LIBRARY OF AMERICA is an independent nonprofit cultural organization founded in 1979 to preserve our nation's literary heritage by publishing, and keeping permanently in print, America's best and most significant writing. The Library of America series includes more than 300 volumes to date, authoritative editions that average 1,000 pages in length, feature cloth covers, sewn bindings, and ribbon markers, and are printed on premium acid-free paper that will last for centuries.

American Primitive

American Primitive

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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
Mary Oliver's most acclaimed volume of poetry, American Primitive contains fifty visionary poems about nature, the humanity in love, and the wilderness of America, both within our bodies and outside.
American Primitive enchants me with the purity of its lyric voice, the loving freshness of its perceptions, and the singular glow of a spiritual life brightening the pages. -- Stanley Kunitz
These poems are natural growths out of a loam of perception and feeling, and instinctive skill with language makes them seem effortless. Reading them is a sensual delight. -- May Swenson
American Smooth: Poems

American Smooth: Poems

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An occasion to celebrate: a new collection by the Pulitzer Prize-winning former poet laureate; her first since On the Bus with Rosa Parks. With the grace of an Astaire, Rita Dove's magnificent poems pay homage to our kaleidoscopic cultural heritage; from the glorious shimmer of an operatic soprano to Bessie Smith's mournful wail; from paradise lost to angel food cake; from hotshots at the local shooting range to the Negro jazz band in World War I whose music conquered Europe before the Allied advance. Like the ballroom-dancing couple of the title poem, smiling and making the difficult seem effortless, Dove explores the shifting surfaces between perception and intimation.
American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin

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Finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry

One of the New York Times Critics' Top Books of 2018

A powerful, timely, dazzling collection of sonnets from one of America's most acclaimed poets, Terrance Hayes, the National Book Award-winning author of Lighthead

Sonnets that reckon with Donald Trump's America. -The New York Times

In seventy poems bearing the same title, Terrance Hayes explores the meanings of American, of assassin, and of love in the sonnet form. Written during the first two hundred days of the Trump presidency, these poems are haunted by the country's past and future eras and errors, its dreams and nightmares. Inventive, compassionate, hilarious, melancholy, and bewildered--the wonders of this new collection are irreducible and stunning.

American Spikenard

American Spikenard

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2006 Iowa Poetry Prize winner

"If everyone decided to call themselves a girl / that word would stop." In this award-winning volume of authoritative and assertive poems, Sarah Vap embarks on an emotional journey to the land of America's female children. Questioning, contradicting, radically and restlessly demanding acceptance, she searches for a way to move from serious girlhood to womanly love. Demonstrating the seriousness of female childhood--which is as dangerous and profound as war, economics, and history, that is, as manhood, in her view--Vap reveals the extremes of self-doubt and self-righteousness inherent in being a contemporary American girl.
"When we're overcome / by everything we think we love--then by morning / we're adults." Just as the oil of American spikenard may provide relief from childhood, so does Sarah Vap provide the kind of holy and extravagant love and honor that can relieve the growing pains of "everyone's little girl."

American Sublime: Poems

American Sublime: Poems

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A brilliant new collection by Elizabeth Alexander, whose poems bristle with the irresistible quality of a world seen fresh (Rita Dove, The Washington Post)

Too many people have seen too much
and lived to tell, or not tell, or tell
with their silent, patterned bodies,
their glass eyes, gone legs, flower-printed flesh . . .
-from Notes From

In her fourth remarkable collection, Elizabeth Alexander voices the outcries, dreams, and histories of an African American tradition that goes back to the slave rebellion on the Amistad and to the artists' canvases of nineteenth-century America. In persona poems, historical narratives, jazz riffs, sonnets, elegies, and a sequence of ars poetica, American Sublime is Alexander's most vivid and varied collection and affirms her place as one of America's most lively and gifted writers.

Alexander is an unusual thing, a sensualist of history, a romanticist of race. She weaves biography, history, experience, pop culture and dream. Her poems make the public and private dance together. --Chicago Tribune

American Sunrise

American Sunrise

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In this stunning collection, Joy Harjo finds blessings in the abundance of her homeland and confronts the site where the Mvskoke people, including her own ancestors, were forcibly displaced. From her memory of her mother's death, to her beginnings in the Native rights movement, to the fresh road with her beloved, Harjo's personal life intertwines with tribal histories to create a space for renewed beginnings.

American Sunrise

American Sunrise

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In the early 1800s, the Mvskoke people were forcibly removed from their original lands east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory, which is now part of Oklahoma. Two hundred years later, Joy Harjo returns to her family's lands and opens a dialogue with history. In An American Sunrise, Harjo finds blessings in the abundance of her homeland and confronts the site where her people, and other indigenous families, essentially disappeared. From her memory of her mother's death, to her beginnings in the native rights movement, to the fresh road with her beloved, Harjo's personal life intertwines with tribal histories to create a space for renewed beginnings. Her poems sing of beauty and survival, illuminating a spirituality that connects her to her ancestors and thrums with the quiet anger of living in the ruins of injustice. A descendent of storytellers and "one of our finest--and most complicated--poets" (Los Angeles Review of Books), Joy Harjo continues her legacy with this latest powerful collection.

Americans

Americans

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David Roderick's second book, The Americans, pledges its allegiance to dirt. And to laptops. And to swimming pools, the Kennedys, a flower in a lapel, plastic stars hanging from the ceiling of a child's room, churning locusts, a jar of blood, a gleam of sun on the wing of a plane. His poems swarm with life. They also ask an unanswerable question: What does it mean to be an American? Restless against the borders we build--between countries, between each other--Roderick roams from place to place in order to dig into the messy, political, idealistic and ultimately inexplicable idea of American-ness. His rangy, inquisitive lyrics stitch together a patchwork flag, which he stakes alongside all the noise of our construction, our obsessive building and making, while he imagines the fate of a nation built on desire.

Winner of the 2014 Julie Suk Award for the best poetry book published by an independent press.

Amid Thirsty Vines

Amid Thirsty Vines

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Themes of self-discovery, tending the garden of the soul, and nurturing yourself into blossom, Amid Thirsty Vines by Instagram poetry star Alfa is the collection you need to feel the power of the beautiful flowers within you, and to find the love you deserve. This volume belongs in the collection of every modern poetry fan.
Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell

Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell

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She is a shimmering, tattooed, and acerbic angel, flown from Paradise to save him from the suburbs of hell. He, an accountant worn down by the day-to-day struggles of the nine to five, is dreaming of a white Christmas, a little garden and someone to love. She attempts, with scornful wit, to shock him out of his commuter's habits and into an experience of ecstasy.

Man Booker Prize shortlisted Deborah Levy whips up a storm of romance and slapstick, of heavenly and earthly delights, in this passionate work of dramatic poetry.

ever since i arrived
on your blue planet
most of it ocean

i hear the breath of an octopus
bigger than a car
eggs in her arms
calling for you

Deborah Levy writes fiction, plays, and poetry. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her most recent novel, Swimming Home (2011 And Other Stories UK publication and 2012 Bloomsbury US publication), was shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize, 2012 Specsavers National Book Awards (UK Author of the Year), and 2013 Jewish Quarterly Wingate Prize, while her most recent collection of short stories, Black Vodka: ten stories, was shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and its title story Black Vodka shortlisted for the 2012 BBC International Short Story Award. An Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell was first published in 1990 in the United Kingdom and appears now in a new edition, its first US edition.


Amputees Guide to Sex

Amputees Guide to Sex

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A paradigm-shifting collection about disability and desire, recontextualized with an introduction by one of our most provocative contemporary poets.

When Jillian Weise wrote The Amputee's Guide to Sex, it was with the intention of changing the conversation around disability; essentially, she was tired of seeing cripples portrayed as asexual characters. The collection that resulted is a powerful lesson in desire, the body, pain, and possession.

These poems interrogate medical language and history, imagine Mona Lisa in a wheelchair, rewrite Elizabeth Bishop's poem In the Waiting Room, address a lover's arsonist ex-girlfriend, and show the prosthesis as the object of male curiosity and lust. Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, called the book a "charged and daring debut" and described Jillian Weise as an agile and powerful poet . . . speaking boldly and compassionately about a little-discussed subject that becomes universal in her careful hands.

In the years since its first publication, our culture continues to grapple with questions limned in this collection. In a new introduction, Weise revisits and recontextualizes her work, revealing its urgency to our present moment. What are the challenges of speaking for a community? How to resist the institutionalization of ableist paradigms? How are atypical bodies silenced? Where do our corporeal selves intersect with our technologies?

Anagnorisis

Anagnorisis

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Winner of the 2019 Academy of American Poets Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize

In Anagnorisis: Poems, the award-winning poet Kyle Dargan ignites a reckoning. From the depths of his rapidly changing home of Washington, D.C., the poet is both enthralled and provoked, having witnessed-on a digital loop running in the background of Barack Obama's unlikely presidency--the rampant state-sanctioned murder of fellow African Americans. He is pushed toward the same recognition articulated by James Baldwin decades earlier: that an African American may never be considered an equal in citizenship or humanity.

This recognition--the moment at which a tragic hero realizes the true nature of his own character, condition, or relationship with an antagonistic entity--is what Aristotle called anagnorisis. Not concerned with placatory gratitude nor with coddling the sensibilities of the country's racial majority, Dargan challenges America: "You, friends- / you peckish for a peek / at my cloistered, incandescent / revelry-were you as earnest / about my frostbite, my burns, / I would have opened / these hands, sated you all."

At a time when U.S. politics are heavily invested in the purported vulnerability of working-class and rural white Americans, these poems allow readers to examine themselves and the nation through the eyes of those who have been burned for centuries.

Analog

Analog

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Poetry. Gosslee's careful eye and skill for juxtaposition have yielded poems that surprise with revelations about the texture of experience. ANALOG brims with a keen awareness of human nature, even urbane gesture, as a product of the natural world.

From My Body is a System of Enlightenment from ANALOG:

I lope down the mountainside,
but my wings won't open.

Grey stone buildings freckle
the slope.

My feet are covered in scar tissue,
the toes are fused, where have I run?

Angels put their hands on my shoulders
and hold me in place.

The hatchet laid against the sapling
fuses into the trunk over time.
Analyst

Analyst

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When a psychoanalyst became a painter after surviving a stroke, her longtime patient, distinguished and beloved poet Molly Peacock, took up a unique task. Weaving an invigorating tapestry of images, Peacock's poetry bears witness to a profound role reversal as its author looks back on a forty-year relationship with her one-time analyst, now friend.
Anarcha Speaks

Anarcha Speaks

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The reimagined story of Anarcha, an enslaved Black woman, subjected to medical experiments by Dr. Marion Sims. Selected by Tyehimba Jess as a National Poetry Series winner.

In this provocative collection by award-winning poet and artist Dominique Christina, the historical life of Anarcha is personally reenvisioned. Anarcha was an enslaved Black woman who endured experimentation and torture at the hands of Dr. Marion Sims, more commonly known as the father of modern gynecology. Christina enables Anarcha to tell her story without being relegated to the margins of history, as a footnote to Dr. Sims's life. These poems are a reckoning, a resurrection, and a proper way to remember Anarcha . . . and grieve her.

Anatomy of Melancholy and Other Poems

Anatomy of Melancholy and Other Poems

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A powerful new collection from an award-winning poet Robert Wrigley has become one of his generation's most accomplished poets, renowned for his irony, power, and lucid style and for his ability to fuse narrative and lyrical impulses. Like its namesake--Robert Burton's seventeenth-century examination of human thoughts and emotions--Wrigley's new collection means to examine our world through the lens of melancholia. From imagined war memorials to insomniac chickens; from Descartes' lost daughter to a dreaming tree; from King Kong to Rush Limbaugh; and from Anna Karenina to a man named Lucy Doolin (short for Lucifer), these are poems that elegize and celebrate that most beautiful, exasperating, joyous, miserable, and perfectly imperfect of all creatures--the human being.

Ancestors in the Landscape

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