Tag Archives: Morgan Parker

Sara A. Lewis’s Anticipated Books of 2017

Always Happy Hour, Mary Miller (Liveright, January)

happymillerThis book’s cover image is a woman in a bathtub eating Chinese takeout and drinking wine straight from the bottle. These are stories I can get behind. If all of them are even half as good as “Little Bear,” which was published earlier this year in the Mississippi Review, this will probably be my favorite book of the year.

 
There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, Morgan Parker (Tin House, February)

there-are-more-beautiful-things-than-beyonce-by-morgan-parkerParker’s Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night was selected by Eileen Myles for the 2013 Gatewood Prize. Her new book has garnered praise from Roxane Gay, D.A. Powell, and Lena Dunham. These poems are timely and relevant; they engage and confront popular culture in ways that are both accessible and poignant. Tin House Books consistently puts out some of my favorite books each year, and I’m sure this one is no exception.

Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders (Deckle Edge, February)

saunderslincolnThe master of the short story has written a novel. While technically historical, Saunders claims this is mostly science-fiction. The novel centers around the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son Willie during the Civil War, an historical fact, which when put through the Saunders machine results in a story about ghosts, the struggle for Willie’s soul, and the bardo (Tibetan purgatory). Sold.

The Book of Joan, Lidia Yuknavitch (Harper, April)

lidiajoanYuknavitch is the queen of corporeal writing. In addition to the release of The Misfit’s Manifesto, a book based on her TED Talk, I’m looking forward to reading The Book of Joan, Yuknavitch’s speculative retelling of Joan of Arc. With each project, Yuknavitch has continued to redefine what a narrative can do, pushing the boundaries of perspective and resisting the tidy (or even discernible) conclusion. This book promises more badassery from the most badass writer around.

Talking Pillow, Angela Ball (Pittsburgh UP, Fall)

Angela Ball is my hero in poetry and in life; I’m so looking forward to the publication of her next collection. These poems, written after the death of her longtime partner, will rip your guts out in one line and make you laugh with the next. As all good humorists do, Ball melds the tragic and comic masterfully, recognizing the necessity of both. These poems are at once a celebration of her love for her partner and an exploration of the unpredictable (and often paradoxical) human experience.

Other Notables:

Difficult Women, Roxane Gay (Grove, January)

O Fallen Angel (Rerelease), Kate Zambreno (Harper Perennial, January)

South and West, Joan Didion (Knopf, March)

The Mother of All Questions, Rebecca Solnit (Haymarket, March)

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, Roxane Gay (Harper, June)

Sara A. Lewis is a doctoral candidate in fiction at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers. She has been an Assistant Editor for the Mississippi Review, and is currently the Managing Editor of the Memorious blog and an editor for the magazine. 

For original poetry, fiction, art song, and more interviews, please visit our magazine at http://www.memorious.org.

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Derrick Austin’s Anticipated Books of 2017

Into Each Room We Enter Without Knowing, Charif Shanahan (Southern Illinois UP, February)
In a geographically sprawling collection—set in Morocco, The United States, and Europe—Shanahan writes of the bond between all three regions, bonds established by the brutal legacies of slavery, colonialism, colorism, and racism. He writes through global history as well as family history as the biracial son of a black mother from Morocco and an Irish father from the US. The poems themselves are so fully thought through, poems that think and feel toward their conclusions in language that is spare and precise—and all the more emotionally rich for it. These are heavy subjects that often push to where language fails and wounds us. Yet, through these painful inheritances are legacies of love, hard-fought and hard-won: platonic, erotic, queer, and familial.

Magic City Gospel, Ashley M. Jones (Hub City, January)
Jones’s collection, Magic City Gospel, is so tender and knowing an exploration of her native Birmingham that it’s all the more impressive to remember that this is her first book. She has a knack for writing the pitch-perfect image or detail. The voice of these poems is at once warm and welcoming and clear-eyed about the historical legacies of racism and violence in Alabama. But what immediately won me over about the book is how the poems always centralize black women. These are their narratives, their songs, their joys and heartbreaks. Even when writing about the Ku Klux Klan or recipe books or male relatives, you never forget the black women who are too often forgotten.

Scale, Nathan McClain (Four Way, March)
With such vulnerability and compassion do the speakers of McClain’s poems bare themselves before the reader. With such clarity does McClain explore, dismantle, and subvert black masculinity. These poems are a welcome antidote in this climate of toxic masculinity. Self-assured and formally adept, the work is so precise and honest that even the shortest poems will leave you winded. I am in awe of the emotional work in McClain’s debut. These speakers aren’t afraid to fail even though the poems succeed.

simulacra, Airea D. Matthews (Yale UP, March)
There is so much to be excited for in Matthew’s debut collection of poetry, winner of the 2016 Yale Younger Poets Prize—for me that would be the vastness of her vision. There is nothing—no form, no subject—that is not worth consideration. Consider how the glory of opera intersects with the casual intimacy of a text message. Consider how mythology commingles with philosophy. The formal innovations support the emotional and intellectual inquiries of the poems. I love a poet whose work thinks and feels deeply but it don’t mean a thing if the work don’t sing—and trust me, Matthews has an exquisite ear. In what feels like an explosive few years in phenomenal African American poetry, this book is certainly one to remember.

A brief list of other collections to watch out for:
The End of Something, Kate Greenstreet
Music for a Wedding, Lauren Clark
Ordinary Beast, Nicole Sealey
Magdalene, Marie Howe
The January Children, Safia Elhillo
There Are More Beautiful Things than Beyoncé, Morgan Parker
Calling a Wolf a Wolf, Kaveh Akbar
Whereas, Layli Long Soldier

Assistant Poetry Editor Derrick Austin is the author of Trouble the Water (BOA Editions 2016), selected by Mary Szybist for the 2015 A. Poulin Jr Prize. A Cave Canem fellow, Pushcart Prize and four-time Best New Poets nominee, he earned his MFA at the University of Michigan where he also earned Hopwood Awards in poetry. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Best American Poetry 2015, New England ReviewImage: A Journal of Arts and ReligionMemoriousCallalooNimrodCrab Orchard Review, and other journals and anthologies. He is the 2016-2017 Ron Wallace Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing.

For original poetry, fiction, art song, and more interviews, please visit our magazine at http://www.memorious.org.

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