Once again our poetry contributors will fill the year ahead with wonderful new books, from debut collections to much-anticipated titles from those whose books we know and love. My anticipated books list for 2016 is dedicated to a baker’s dozen of our Memorious poetry contributors who have books on the way.
When I came across Derrick Austin’s poem “Effigy without a Body” in our submission system, I immediately wondered who would be smart enough to snatch up his first book. Thankfully, it wasn’t a long wait: this year Mary Szybist selected his book Trouble the Water as the winner of the BOA Editions 2015 A. Poulin Jr Prize. The poems I’ve read so far are gorgeous poems: read this.
I’ve been following Paula Bohince’s work since I included two of her poems in our 5th issue, over ten years ago. Since then, her work has been championed in the form of such awards as an NEA fellowship, an Amy Lowell Traveling Fellowship, and residencies from the Amy Clampitt House and the MacDowell Colony. Thanks to Sarabande Books, who published her previous two collections, we will get Swallows and Waves this year.
2016 also brings a third book from contributor Lauren Camp, whose poem “Instead—Small, Rather Huddled and So On” appeared in one of our more recent issues. Her new collection, One Hundred Hungers, draws on her experience as a first generation Arab-American, the daughter of Jewish-Iraqi parents. David Wojahn selected it as the winner of the 2014 Dorset Prize, and One Hundred Hungers will come out from Tupelo Press this year.
When you start a magazine, you ask friends and strangers for work, and you open up to submissions not knowing who will find you when you have got nothing to show them yet. I can remember the thrill we felt when Maggie Dietz’s poems arrived in our then email submission box; they were the first unsolicited submission that we fell in love with. Why I don’t Piss in the Ocean and Altos III were then the first poems we said yes to from a stranger, and they appeared in our first issue. And now, in 2016, University of Chicago is bringing out her second collection, That Kind of Happy.
Carolina Ebeid recently completed a Stadler Fellowship and has been granted a 2015 NEA Fellowship in Poetry. But we’ve been reading her poems since 2007 when she appeared in Issue 8 with two poems, including the memorable “Something Brighter than Pity.” I was delighted to see that her first book, You Ask Me to Talk About the Interior, has found a home with Noemi Press, and that we can all read more of her work in 2016.
Megan Grumbling has been quietly publishing and winning awards for a while now. Back in 2007, A.E. Stallings, Joshua Mehigan, and Christian Wiman selected her as one of two winners of the Ruth Lilly Fellowship. Her poem “Leaving the Room” from Issue 14 was our nomination to Best New Poets, for which she was selected by Claudia Emerson, and this year she received a St Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award. Her transition from emerging writer to debut author happily occurs this year: Booker’s Point will be released from the University of North Texas Press as the winner of the Vassar Miller Prize, selected by Morri Creech.
If you’ve never been to Martha’s Vineyard, or if you would like to revisit it from the view of someone who has been raised there, you’ll need to read Keith Leonard’s Ramshackle Ode, which will be released from Houghton Mifflin in Spring 2016. YesYes Books published a chapbook of his, Still, the Shore, but it was time for a full-length from this young poet, who brings us lively and personable odes and lovely lyrics. Read the blurbs for this book and you’ll see that they speak to the spirit of this poet’s work: it’s a book you want to love before you even get your hands on it. (This is the one book on this list I’ve got an advanced copy of.) You can sample some of the poems in our twentieth issue.
Amit Majmudar’s latest book, Dothead, is out from Knopf this March. You may be familiar with him as fiction writer from issue 17 of Memorious, or from his well-received novels, but this is his third collection of poetry: the first was a finalist for the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award, and the second won the Donald Justice Prize. You can read the title poem of Dothead in the New Yorker. Oh, and did I forget to mention that he’s also a diagnostic nuclear radiologist?
Full disclosure: Gail Mazur is my former teacher. But you don’t have to be a friend to notice the richness and significance of the latest work from this National Book Award finalist who has appeared in four of our issues over the last decade, including with a series of drafts of “The Mission” she revealed to us all in Issue 4 and four striking new poems in our latest issue. You can read–or listen to–the title poem of her forthcoming collection, Forbidden City, due out from the University of Chicago Phoenix Poets series this Spring here.
The next book technically came out in November 2015, but I’ve always hated the way end of the year books can fall between the years. And if you’ve just read the New York Times review of Ed Pavlic’s Let’s Let That Are Not Yet : INFERNO (Fence), selected by John Keene for the National Poetry Series, you probably already have it on order. I have been a fan of his work since he sent us work for Issue 6 in 2006, and if you haven’t read the opening poem of his last book Visiting Hours at the Colorline (Milkweed 2013), another winner of the National Poetry Series, take some time to read it in issue 19, here.
If you were disappointed by the recent movie In the Heart of the Sea, take heart: Melville spreads his influence in another new work in 2016, Rachel Richardson’s second collection, Hundred-Year Wave (Carnegie Mellon University Press). The poems move among the worlds of Melville, with forays into whale fishery, and motherhood and everyday life. You can sample more poems in Issue 21. (Richardson very recently joined us as a contributing editor, and you may have seen her own Anticipated Books of 2016 list last week. But we encountered her first as a contributor in 2008, before her first book was published.)
I want to start out with a shout out to this next collection’s fantastic cover, designed by Michaela Sullivan. And yes, I’m betting that you can judge a book by its cover– Rivard has an unmatchable voice and style that is sure to carry us eagerly through this newest collection, Standoff, from Graywolf Press. He is one of the poets who was generous enough to share his work with us way back in Issue 4, when we were still just getting started, and he returned to us with three standout poems in Issue 23.
We’ve got another gorgeous cover coming our way with Tess Taylor’s second collection of poems from Red Hen Press, Work and Days, which emerged from her time spent interning at an organic farm while a fellow at the Amy Clampitt House. She first appeared in Memorious in Issue 8 back in 2007, well before her debut collection The Forage House, which received much attention and was shortlisted for The Believer Poetry Award. (You also may know Tess Taylor from hearing her work as a poetry critic on NPR.)
Just in case that’s not enough of a taste of our talented poetry contributors, the sprinkle on top of our baker’s dozen goes to poets to watch out for in 2016: contributors Diana Khoi Nhuyen, Phoebe Reeves, Hafizah Geter, Michael Peterson, and Tara Skurtu. The best part of this job is discovering new poets and watching their first books find good homes. Let’s see what 2016 brings! Happy New Year, dear readers!
Rebecca Morgan Frank is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of Memorious. Her second collection of poems, The Spokes of Venus, is forthcoming from Carnegie Mellon University Press in 2016.