Shapeshifter by Sarah O’Brien

O’Brien’s work grounds the ephemeral and makes the everyday seem new again. She highlights contradictions and makes the personal universal.

Lord of the Butterflies by Andrea Gibson

I was lucky enough to attend one of Andrea’s events right before we entered mass lockdowns in March, and I was so moved I had to buy a copy of the book. I continue to be struck by how Andrea marries the personal, political, and philosophical into a heart-wrenching and heart-healing account of what it means to live.

The Summer of Dead Birds by Ali Liebegott

This is a moving account of the slow process of loss and grief, the ways we want to imprint the people and things we love on our hearts, the pain at never fully containing them. Liebegott’s images are haunting.

Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong

Vuong is an unflinching voice continually asking readers to see past the surface and to consider new dimensions of reality.

The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch

This one’s technically a prose memoir but the way Yuknavitch plays with language makes it feel like poetry. Her reflections reveal something new about humanity each time.

Jess Costello is a poet, fiction writer, and grad student based in Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in Boston Accent, Dirty Girls, and various other publications, most recently, the Blue Mountain Review. By day she works with kids at an alternative elementary school and studies for her master’s in clinical psychology. When she’s not studying or working on a novel, she’s probably reviewing new indie music or investigating some cool art for Boston Hassle.

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