Voyage of the Sable Venus – Robin Coste Lewis
This stunning collection is anchored by a center poem that is comprised entirely from titles, catalog entries, and exhibit descriptions of Western art objects in which a black female figure is present, dating as early as 38,000 BCE to the present. Stacked between steady, lyrical poems in which the speaker navigates her own blackness, the middle section essentially “uncovers” and “rewrites” an oppressive national history.
Garments Against Women – Anne Boyer
A blend of prose, poetry, and subtle memoir, this collection persists by examining the very conditions that make writing almost impossible. Meta in its making, Boyer makes poetry out of the thought processes that allow us to survive in the world, but takes a step further by exploring how these thought processes are also something we must survive.
The Night Sky – Ann Lauterbach
This is a collection of essays written over the years by Ann Lauterbach on the Poetics of Experience, ranging from her notion of the “Whole Fragment” to the dynamic between knowledge and possibility. Artists choose their materials and from these decide how to put things together, resulting in an accrual of relationships, this expansive constellation of content within a frame of context moving us towards active participation rather than passive spectatorship.
Lisa Robertson as a whole has been an extremely influential writer in my life, some collections of hers I would recommend: Occasional Works and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture, The Weather, and Magenta Soul Whip. Her ability to create beautiful, present poems that engage with a variety of source texts as a means of pastiching memory and language in unexpected ways is riveting.
Spectra – Ashley Toliver
I just read this collection last week and I honestly don’t think I’ve read something that I wish I’d written myself so badly. Generous, tender, minimal, domestic, glittering, sonic, pulsing and constellated, Toliver examines the course of a marriage through sonic and linguistic pairings that allow the boundaries of the self to become blurred and bright.
Rachel Cruea is an MFA candidate at the University of Colorado-Boulder, where she is a graduate part-time instructor of creative writing. Along with serving as the managing editor of TIMBER journal, she is a poetry editor for GASHER. Ghost City Press recently published her micro-chapbook, The Flower Doesn’t Dream of the Bee, and she has work forthcoming in editions of Whiskey Island, The Hunger, and COUNTERCLOCK journal.