For The Love Of Poetry: Penguin Poets

Since 1993, the Penguin Poets series has been committed to publishing a broad range of contemporary poetic voices, with the belief that poetry is an essential force that enriches the larger culture and can both comfort us and challenge us to read and think in new ways. Penguin champions formal innovation, diverse voices and perspectives, technical grace, and emotional heft. The collections in the series address a wide array of topics, from race, gender, migration, social justice, and cultural inheritance to science, nature, and climate change; from domestic life and family bonds to spirituality and popular culture; from the real to the imagined; from the past to the infinite possibilities of the future.

All The Flowers Kneeling by Paul Tran

Visceral and astonishing, Paul Tran's debut poetry collection charts the rebuilding of a self in the wake of extremity. How, it asks, can we reimagine what we have been given in order to make something new: an identity, a family, a life, a dream? At once virtuosic and vulnerable, confessional and profoundly defiant, All the Flowers Kneeling revels in rediscovering and reconfiguring the self, and ultimately becomes an essential testament to the human capacities for resilience, endurance and love.

Lean Against This Late Hour by Garous Abdolmalekian

In spare lines, Abdolmalekian conjures surreal, cinematic images that pan wide as deftly as they narrow into intimate focus. Time is a thread come unspooled: pain arrives before the wound, and the dead wait for sunrise. Lean Against This Late Hour illuminates the images we conjure in the face of abandonment and ruin, and finds them by turns frightening, bewildering, ethereal, and defiant.

Sightseer In This Killing City by Eugene Gloria

Through the voice of Nacirema, the central persona of the collection, who is a Filipina American woman with an ambiguous sexual identity, we are introduced to a character who chooses mystery and inhabits landscapes fraught with brutality and beauty. Flawed like America, Nacirema embodies ideas of wanderlust and self-discovery. In poems that recount her journey, Gloria invokes the spirit of 1970s soul music and of jazz, blending the urban lament of Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane with the idiom of Stevie Wonder and Fela Kuti.

The Life by Carrie Fountain

The poems in Carrie Fountain's The Life exist somewhere, as Rilke says, between "our daily life" and "the great work"--an interstitial space where sidelong glances live alongside shouts to heaven. In elegant, colloquial language, Fountain observes her children dressing themselves in fledgling layers of personhood, creating their own private worlds and personalities, and makes room for genuine marvels in the midst of routine. Attuned to the delicate, fleeting moments that together comprise a life, these poems offer a guide by which to navigate the signs and symbols, and to pilot if not the perfect life, the only life, the life we are given.

Museum Of The Americas by J. Michael Martinez

Engaging beautiful and otherworldly Mexican casta paintings, morbid photographic postcards depicting the bodies of dead Mexicans, the strange journey of the wood and cork leg of General Santa Anna, and Martinez's own family lineage, Museum of the Americas gives accounts of migrant bodies caught beneath, and fashioned under, a racializing aesthetic gaze. Martinez questions how "knowledge" of the body is organized through visual perception of that body, hypothesizing the corporeal as a repository of the human situation, a nexus of culture.