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Be With

Forrest Gander (New Directions)

Gander presses against boundaries both literal and figurative in this work haunted by the unexpected death of his wife, fellow poet C.D. Wright, and the expressive limits of language. While the grief and sorrow contained in this book can be difficult and overwhelming, it’s Gander’s ability to look toward hope, perseverance, and possibility that stands out in the end.

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The Carrying

Ada Limón (Milkweed)

In what’s arguably her most accomplished work to date, Limón demonstrates her aptitude for making readers attend to the world in ways they likely never imagined. This is an emotionally versatile collection in which the struggles and joys of the body, the oddities and wonders of nature, and the pains and pleasures of the social coalesce with verve.

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Moon: Letters, Maps, Poems

Jennifer S. Cheng (Tarpaulin Sky)

Cheng recasts elements of several woman-centered Chinese folk tales in a collection of exquisite imagination and graceful presentation. Readers will come to understand these formally varied pieces not necessarily as small stories—about belonging, displacement, wonder, and more—in themselves, but as questions about how we tell those kinds of stories.

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Real Life: An Installation

Julie Carr (Omnidawn)

A radically open and generous spirit animates Carr’s remarkable opus. Carr gathers the tangled cords of everyday existence and threads them symphonically; as readers wander around, they’ll marvel at how the pieces interact and support each other, rather than stand alone.

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Lo terciario/The Tertiary

Raquel Salas Rivera (Timeless, Infinite Light)

To say the personal meets political here would be an understatement—Rivera strikes a blow “against the piercing tedium/ of colonization” in this pointed response to the systematic exploitation by state and capital of of Puerto Rico and its people. Rarely do investigations into such concepts as commodification and exploitation read so lyrically, nevermind so heart-wrenchingly.

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