GRID VIEW LIST VIEW

Sorrow Bread

Description In this collection, poems selected from a distinguished thirty-year career converse with each other across books and across time. Soulful, artful and yet accessible, these poems explore essential connections–one’s relationship to poetic tradition, the reader, the natural world, other lives, language itself. Cox renews strategies that have served poets across centuries and international borders: voice, rhythm, image, vision, myth, humor, shrewd architectonics whether “free” or not, a willingness to bring the reader decisively into the transaction. The poems often generate dense, shifting constellations of metaphor, and Cox’s voice carries a dreamlike power, yet he stays close to daily existence, mines it, giving especially clairvoyant attention to the difficult, beautiful life of families and the challenges of our mortality. In doing so, he reminds us of what’s important, of the emotional and psychological inscapes that sustain us. About the Author Mark Cox has previously published four volumes of poetry: Barbells of the Gods (Ampersand Press), Smoulder (David R. Godine), Thirty-Seven Years from the Stone, and Natural Causes (both in the Pitt Poetry Series). Readiness, a new book of prose poems, is slated for publication in 2018. Cox has a 30-year publication history in prominent magazines and has received a Whiting Writers Award, a Pushcart Prize, and numerous fellowships for that work. He teaches in the Department of Creative Writing at University of North Carolina Wilmington and in the Vermont College MFA Program. Praise Cox essays a huge terrain of subject and feeling, from layered fury to astringent violence to lamentation, from guarded hopefulness to quiet, intensely stirring affirmation. A lesser poet might see all this fly apart; Cox establishes supple coherence through richly consistent artistic command and scrupulous honesty of vision and voice. Tony Hoagland has said Mark Cox is “a veteran of the deep water; there’s no one like him,” and Thomas Lux identified him as “one of the finest poets of his generation.” No one speaks more effectively of the vital and enduring syntaxes of common, even communal, life. —Richard Simpson In Sorrow Bread, Mark Cox is subtle—but never so much as to turn obscure; he is outspoken—but never so much as to turn didactic. His keen intellect shines all through the volume; but more important by my lights is the great heart that nourishes its every poem. Read more…

Hyacinths from the Wreckage

Madeleine Beckman’s Hyacinths from the Wreckage, her third book of poetry, is a glittering collection that embraces body and place, and the constantly changing geography of an emotional landscape. The language of these poems wrenches, arouses recognition and empathy, and, finally, sings a persuasive song with the promise of renewal. This is a book of sensual revelation, a journey through intersecting emotions of desire, strife, sorrow, and laughter. Beckman’s poems are fierce, vividly alive, and filled with passionate energy. She writes about love and loss in an original and startling way. Read more…

Like a Soprano

After the death of James Gandolfini in the summer of 2013, David Starkey decided to pay poetic homage to The Sopranos TV series and its star. Like a Soprano features one poem for each episode, with the poem sharing the episode’s title. Like the series itself, the poems are by turns violent and sexual, comic and absurd. Never before has an entire television program received such close attention from a serious poet: this is a landmark in the crossover between poetic and popular culture. Read more…

Ravenous: New and Selected Poems

Ravenous: New & Selected Poems by Rick Mulkey provides new and returning readers an opportunity to consider recent and previously published work in a collection containing wide stylistic variety with deep unifying themes and concerns. From an 18th Century Persian village to the porches and homestead’s of the Appalachian South, these poems counterpoint the sorrowful with the joyful, exploring how “even in the soul’s grim mines, one tuned string/perfectly plucked could make us believe all would be right. Read more…

Locals: A Collection of Prose Poems

Claire Bateman’s Locals is a narrative atlas of prose poems as intimate as they are unpredictable, each a keyhole glimpse into the life of a different realm where our normal logic doesn’t apply. Are we beholding magic? No, but through observing these strangers, we’re confronted by the extraordinary paradoxes within our own hearts. Read more…

Lost Transmissions

The poems in David Memmott’s poetry collection Lost Transmissions speak to the need we have to explore the depths of our own psyches, a need so insistent that many of us would sell our souls to unearth the answers to what motivates our lives—what motivates our actions. The poems express as well the power of verse, how it can help us rise above those experiences that might otherwise be crippling—war, death, brutality, loss of love, loss of voice and creativity, the soul’s variable value, the insecure body and mind never knowing where the doors to understanding are, nor how many dimensions surround us unexplored. Read more…

Between Frames

Mark Hillinghouse’s Between Frames integrates poems previously published in many magazines with more than twenty striking black and white photographs. These black and white photographs and poems reveal the cultural geography of a vanishing America, using images of New Jersey that look back to a place in our collective memory: old state highways, greasy roadside diners, abandoned movie theaters, the vanishing Main Streets of Woolworth’s five and dimes and of post-industrial inner-cities. It is an unusual collection in that the photographer is also a poet who documents the beauty amid the desolation of rust-belt America. In both verbal and visual imagery, Hillringhouse gives us a shadowed world caught between elegy and silence and that moves us from vastness to intimacy. Between Frames weaves family history, personal guilt, feelings of loss with meditations on the strangeness of being in a world fraught with beauty and decay. Read more…

What Island

What is it like to go abroad but not for vacation? What business do we have? What right-minded, haunted search for community, for family, for social justice takes us beyond our borders, domestic rooms, and familiar walls? What responsibility is there—those of us who’ve been to the two-thirds world, met the 99%, the uninsured, the impoverished—when we arrive and hear the planet’s last message: pay attention, live on me. What W. S. Merwin has done to elevate ecology to the poetic, P. K. Harmon now takes—without bravado, without exaggeration—to the source, the sun, the tropics we’ve wanted, adorned with fantasies of leisure, then ruined. But also, despite any American devastation, what we’ve loved and longed for: “how blue / and how we turned from one / another into blue—all so blue / those old beaks cutting ahead /the flapping somehow grace too // in the flight—those two into / a deeper and deeper blue and I / drifted closer and closer // to the rough and sharp until / finally the heavy air that is / coming into a lovely silence.” What island? The ultimate answer is earth. Read more…

What Can Buddha Teach the Rain?

The mythical T’ang poet Han-shan, placed somewhere between the camps of Daoism and Zen Buddhism and the alleged author of some three hundred poems, probably remains a post-T’ang literary invention – and a good one, it seems, since ‘his’ poetry is being read, translated and re-translated to this very day. In the present volume, Lars Rasmussen, whose collection of short stories, Come Raw, was published by Serving House Books in 2009, takes up the 900-year old tradition of ascribing newly composed poetry to Han-shan and gives a refreshing guess at what kind of lines the mad hermit would have produced, had he ever been alive. As a further addition to the Han-shan literature, the book also contains a number of homages to the master plus a selection of haiku-like miniature poems and a number of proverbs ascribed to him. Read more…

Lurid Confessions

Steve Kowit’s Lurid Confessions, his first full-length poetry collection, had two printings with Carpenter Press in 1983 but has been out of print for years. It’s been our loss not to have access to the wit and insights of so many excellent poems. Serving House Books is proud to be the publisher of a new edition. Read more…