Each Ploughshares issue contains book recommendations from our Advisory Editors. Here’s an Editor’s Shelf selection from the Spring 2013 Issue. Enjoy these recommendations by Fanny Howe, Philip Levine, Joyce Peseroff and David St. John.
Fanny Howe recommends Summer of Hate by Chris Kraus: “The book, like her others, is an enlivened series of memories that take place on the Southwest border, and examine the prison system and real estate. Pretty stunning and very original.” (semiotext(e), August 2012)
Philip Levine recommends A Larger Country by Tomas Q. Morin: “What a pleasure to open a first book of poems & find a world, one somewhat like my own, but different in marvelous ways yet always a world that is true to its own laws of causality & fate, reward & punishment. This world is, of course, the invention of Tomas Q. Morin, a young poet who writes with startling intelligence & resourcefulness. In poem after poem the writing takes unexpected turns, yet somehow through his artistry he makes these surprises feel necessary. Morin is also a space & time traveler, for his memory is a catalog of who we are & what we’ve done, & he loves to enter the minds of others & render them for inspection, damnation, & sometimes love. Even in his dreamlike poems, the voice is steady, unrelenting, & at times hilarious yet always calm. I will call the voice of this poet a “common” voice, a voice that can speak for anyone, better still, an adult voice, one that is never clever, that never strains for attention or to be different, a voice a poet could take into an entire lifetime of memorable writing.” (American Poetry Review, November 2012)
Joyce Peseroff recommends Clangings by Steven Cramer: “This book-length collection invents, from the pretzel logic and language of manics and schizophrenics, a way of seeing the world that’s hilarious, heartbreaking, and utterly unique.” (Sarabande, October 2012)
David St. John recommends Quick Draw: Poems From a Soldier’s Wife by Abby E. Murray: “This remarkable chapbook is searing and heartbreaking, yet absolutely clear-eyed and fiercely present at every moment, as the poet records and reveals the intimacies of a husband and wife against the backdrop of war.” (Finishing Line Press, 2012)
David St. John also recommends That Said: New and Selected Poems by Jane Shore: “This gorgeous collection of more than thirty-five years of Jane Shore’s poetry feels long overdue. Her exquisite and formally poised poems reflect upon the passages of both the individual and the family. These poems, sometimes deceptively dressed in the reflective calm of Elizabeth Bishop, reveal a passionate mind always excavating the pressures of time.” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 2012)