Kaveh Akbar – Calling a Wolf a Wolf

This book takes a stark look at addiction, specifically alcoholism, and recovery, but so beautifully, with an eye turned towards transcendence. I found every single poem breath taking, resonant with personal experiences, and ultimately, hopeful.

All the Names They Used for God – Anjali Sachdeva

Though this is a short story collection, I am including it because it is so incredibly poetic and inspiring to me. Every story in this book is a tightly woven little world, that I continually want to re-inhabit, often from the impulse to look at fear in the face. There is a dream-like quality to her narrative style that I admire.

Pockets – Stuart Ross

This breathless look at loss is both novel and poem, in little lyrical chunks of prose, a form that reminds me of the way grieving and memory pop up in unexpected moments. I love the way this book slips through time, creating threads, snipping them, asking you to walk between.

Hard Child – Natalie Shapero

The book doesn’t balk at saying exactly what it wants. I admire the directness, the precision, the hard truths it contains, the seamless interweaving of birth and death and mundanity.

Dark Ecologies – Natalie Hanna

Everything Natalie Hanna feels important and urgent, and she somehow writes into darkness with both gentleness and power. This book encourages you to look, to not turn away, and for me, gives me the strength to do so.

Conyer Clayton has 6 chapbooks, recently Trust Only the Beasts in the Water (above/ground press, 2019). She won The Capilano Review’s 2019 Robin Blaser Poetry Prize, and writes reviews for Canthius. Her debut full-length collection of poetry, We Shed Our Skin Like Dynamite, is forthcoming May 2020 with Guernica Editions.

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