…and on stormy Thursdays like today, you need a little poetry and a cup of hot tea in your life. So check out these recent titles:
When All the World Is Old
At the age of 29, just five years after they met, John Rybicki’s wife, the poet Julie Moulds, was diagnosed with cancer. Here, in poems raw and graceful, authentic and wise, Rybicki pays homage to the brave love they shared during her 16-year battle and praises the caregivers—nurses and doctors and friends—who helped them throughout. He invites readers to bear witness to not only the chemotherapy, the many remissions, and the bone marrow transplants, but also the adoption of the couple’s son, the lifted prayers, the borrowed time, and the lovers’ last touches. A husband smashes an ice-cream cone against his forehead to make his wife laugh. He awakens in the middle of the night to find their dog drowsing atop a pile of her remnant clothes.
The lamentations and celebrations of When All the World Is Old create a living testament to an endless love. Braided with intimate entries from Moulds’s journal, these poems become the unflinching and lyric autobiography of a man hurtling himself headlong into the fire and emerging, somehow, to offer a portrait of light and grace.
Rybicki’s hymns rest in the knowledge that even though all love stories one day come to an end, we must honor the loving anyway
Home is Where: An Anthology of African American Poetry from the Carolinas
Kwame Dawes compiles the work of more than two dozen African American poets from the Carolinas, showcasing a vast array of original voices writing on subjects ranging from Jim Crow to jazz, haunted landscapes to romantic love—all in an attempt to define the South as home. The poets range in notoriety from National Book Award winner Terrance Hayes, PEN American Open Book Award winner Nikky Finney, and Ansfield-Wolf Book Award winner A. Van Jordan to poets less recognizable by name whose work readers will immediately recognize as powerful, musical, and accomplished.
What is in these pages is nothing less than a significant part of the contemporary poetry scene in America, as well as a piece of American history that in the past has not received its due credit. With Home is Where, that credit is finally bestowed.
Rooted in places like Watauga County, Goshen Creek, and Dismal Mountain, the poems in Ron Rash’s fourth collection, Waking, electrify dry counties and tobacco fields until they sparkle with the rituals and traditions of Southerners in the stir of their lives.
In his first book of poetry in nearly a decade, Rash leads his readers on a Southern odyssey, full of a terse wit and a sense of the narrative so authentic it will dazzle you. As we wake inside these poems, we see rivers wild with trout, lightning storms, and homemade churches, nailed and leaning against the side of a Tennessee mountain.
A two-time PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, Rash has been compared to writers like John Steinbeck and Cormac McCarthy. With his eye for the perfect detail and an ear for regional idiom, Rash furthers his claim as the new torchbearer for literature in the American South.
Here is a book full of sorrow and redemption, sparseness and the beauty of a single, stark detail—the muskellunge at first light, a barn choked with curing tobacco, a porch full of men and the rockers that move them over the same spot until they carve their names into the ground, deeper, even, into the roots where myths start, into the very marrow of the world.