BOA Editions welcomes five new books to the world from our Fall 2021 Collection! Tenderness by Derrick Austin, Ceive by B.K. Fisher, Diamonds by Camille Gutherie, and A Cluster of Noisy Planets by Charles Rafferty join our American Poets Continuum Series, and Among the Elms in Ambush by Bruce Weigl continues the American Reader Series. Learn more and buy a copy below!
Winner of the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award
In a country where violence and the threat of violence is a constant weather for queer Black people, where can the spirit rest?
With lush language, the meditative poems in the Isabella Gardner Award-winning Tenderness examine the fraught nature of intimacy in a nation poisoned by anti-Blackness and homophobia. From the bedroom to the dance floor, from the natural world to The Frick, from Florida to Mexico City, the poems range across interior and exterior landscapes. They look to movies, fine art, childhood memory, history, and mental health with melancholy, anger, and playfulness. Even amidst sorrow and pain, Tenderness uplifts communal spaces as sites of resistance and healing, wonders at the restorative powers of art and erotic love, and celebrates the capaciousness of friendship.
Ceive by B.K. Fisher
A poetic retelling of Noah’s Ark set in the near future, Ceive is a novella-in-verse that recounts a post-apocalyptic journey aboard a container ship. The narrative unfolds through poems following the perspective of a woman named Val, who is found in the wreckage of her flooding home by a former UPS delivery man. As environmental and political catastrophes force them to flee the Eastern Seaboard, Val and her rescuer take refuge alongside a group of pilgrims seeking refuge from the catastrophic collapse of a civilization destroyed by gun violence, climate crisis, and social unrest. The ship of cargo and refugees is run by the captain Nolan and his wife Nadia, who set sail for Greenland, now warmed to a temperate climate. The couple place Val in charge of caring for a neurodivergent young boy who holds knowledge of analog navigation. Mourning her missing daughter, Val experiences both isolation and a wellspring of compassion in survival, an indefatigable need to connect. She and the other pilgrims weather illness and peril, boredom and conflict, deprivation and despair as they set sail across stormy, unfamiliar waters.
Drawing from the Anglo-Saxon poem The Seafarer, the Bible, and the Latin root word in receive, Ceive is a vision of eco-cataclysm and survival—inviting meditations on biodiversity, illness, social law, sustenance, scripture, menopause, sensory perception, human bonds, caregiving, and loss, all the while extending a call for renewal and hope.
Diamonds presents a woman in midlife on the edge. In hilarious and heartbreaking poems, Camille Guthrie writes about the trials and surprises of divorce, parenting, country life—and the difficulties and delights of being alone, looking at art, and falling in love. Witty resilience abounds in these irreverent poems about grief and desire—in which the poet meditates upon gender roles, history, pop culture, and academia. Guthrie subverts and teases traditional forms in an elegy about Sylvia Plath’s prom dress, a dating profile for Hieronymus Bosch, a sestina about beauty and power—with radical dramatic monologues in the voices of Madame du Barry, a Pict Woman, and more. Unlike Virgil, who refuses to guide this poet through her journey at midlife, Guthrie leads readers by the hand into a provoking, affecting journey of a break-up and a reconciliation with love.
Charles Rafferty’s latest collection of prose poems turns philosophical. In A Cluster of Noisy Planets, Rafferty captures the rhythms and patterns of life as a lover, father, and poet, distilling each moment to its essence and grounding them collectively in the wider perspective of a changing world, the constant turning of the stars and the changing seasons of the New England countryside. With a knowing nod to the passage of time—day to day, year to year, epoch to epoch—these lyrical poems form a record of the profound, ephemeral joys, losses, and echoes of commonplace moments.
This powerful new work by Bruce Weigl follows the celebrated poet and Vietnam War veteran as he explores combat, survival, and PTSD in brief prose vignettes.
In compact, transcendent, and poetic prose, Bruce Weigl chronicles somber observations on the present day alongside painful memories of the war. Reflections on school shootings and the lightning-fast spread of news in the 21st century are set alongside elegies for forgotten soldiers and the lifelong struggle of waiting for the trauma of war to fade. Haunting and nuanced, Among Elms, in Ambush carries readers through meditations and medications, past the shapes of figures in the dark rice fields of Viet Nam and the milkweed pods in the frost-covered fields of Ohio, toward a hard-won determination to survive.
How to Carry Water by Lucille Clifton, edited with a Foreword by Aracelis Girmay
Now Available in Paperback!
How to Carry Water: Selected Poems of Lucille Clifton celebrates both familiar and lesser-known works by one of America’s most beloved poets, including 10 newly discovered poems that have never been collected. These poems celebrating black womanhood and resilience shimmer with intellect, insight, humor, and joy, all in Clifton’s characteristic style—a voice that the late Toni Morrison described as “seductive with the simplicity of an atom, which is to say highly complex, explosive underneath an apparent quietude.” Selected and introduced by award-winning poet Aracelis Girmay, this volume of Clifton’s poetry is simultaneously timeless and fitting for today’s tumultuous moment.
And in case you missed our spring titles, check out: Welcome to Sonnetville, New Jersey by Craig Morgan Teicher, I Am Not Trying to Hide My Hungers from the World by Kendra DeColo, How to be Better by Being Worse by Justin Jannise, The Naomi Letters by Rachel Mennies, and Alien Stories by E.C. Osondu!
Compiled by Kai Coleman, BOA Intern, Fall 2021