Recommendations

The 45th edition of the most celebrated literary series in America. Pushcart Prize XLV is continuing evidence that much of today’s vibrant writing appears only in small journals and book presses.The series has been selected for Publishers Weekly Carey Thomas Award, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof citation, and the Poets and Writers/Barnes and Noble “Writers For Writers” award among others.Here are 70 authors from more than 50 presses as selected from the nominations of 220 distinguished Contributing Editors and 800 participating presses.Recent reviews include: “Essential.” Library Journal“Must reading” Kirkus Reviews“Distinguished.”

New York Times Book Review

Paperback, 600 Pages, Pushcart Press, December 2021

When Dobreer comes to the poetry party, she brings her gypsy wagon with her, her vardo, lovingly carved from a life of élan. Dobreer wraps her lyric scarves around the reader’s psyche where one is drawn into the dance. And this dance is never stilted or predictable. It only asks the reader to meet its rhythms, the rock and sway, the tango-laced eroticism that threads Forbidden Plums. She works an almost cerebral mysticism into the lines as she tightropes our desires and reminds us that there is sustenance in longing. Like the “one bright flower in a crib of soft mud, like a solitary cloud wisping for miracles”.

-Lois P. Jones, author of Night Ladder

Paperback, 62 Pages, Glass Lyre Press, May 2021

‘A bold and necessary correction to the subcontinent’s poetry canon.’ – Jeet Thayil This first-of-its-kind anthology brings together the best of contemporary queer poetry from South Asia, both from the subcontinent and its many diasporas.The anthology features well-known voices like Hoshang Merchant, Ruth Vanita, Suniti Namjoshi, Kazim Ali, Rajiv Mohabir as well as a host of new poets. The themes range from desire and loneliness, sexual intimacy and struggles, caste and language, activism both on the streets and in the homes, the role of family both given and chosen, and heartbreaks and heartjoins. Writing from Bangalore, Baroda, Benares, Boston, Chennai, Colombo, Dhaka, Delhi, Dublin, Karachi, Kathmandu, Lahore, London, New York City, and writing in languages including Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Urdu, Manipuri, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, and, of course, English, the result is an urgent, imaginative and beautiful testament to the diversity, politics, aesthetics and ethics of queer life in South Asia today.

Hardcover, 240 Pages, Harper Collins, September 2020

A literary landmark: the biggest, most ambitious anthology of Black poetry ever published, gathering 250 poets from the colonial period to the present.

Across a turbulent history, from such vital centers as Harlem, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and the Bay Area, Black poets created a rich and multifaceted tradition that has been both a reckoning with American realities and an imaginative response to them. Capturing the power and beauty of this diverse tradition in a single indispensable volume, African American Poetry reveals as never before its centrality and its challenge to American poetry and culture.

Hardcover, 1170 Pages, Library of America, October 2020

‘Night Surgery’ marks the first full-length collection by Julianna McCarthy. In it we discover the strange combinations of wonder and precision needed to repair the heart, to separate humor from pain, and stitch the night together. “By noon light / or moonlight the way home is always long…” Whether the subject is love or music or the history of loss, McCarthy’s work allows us to savor the world in real time. “Night falls as the wind rises. Front doors open all along the block, people / rushing, crowding, embracing their way to one another…” The only cure for beauty is more of it. The healing starts with ‘Night Surgery.’

Paperback, 86 Pages, Blue Horse Press, May 2021

Sh!t Men Say to Me: A Poetry Anthology in Response to Toxic Masculinity features the work of over 70 poets from across the country (and some even beyond it) who have all been struck by the sharp tongue of toxic masculinity, and have something necessary to say about it. Poets of different backgrounds, genders, sexualities, creeds, and colors unpack deeply personal stories about weaponized power, engrained misogyny and finding one’s complete personhood in a system that tries to make you less. This is their book.

Paperback, 189 Pages, Moontide Press, March 2021

Amanda Gorman is the youngest presidential inaugural poet in US history. She is a committed advocate for the environment, racial equality, and gender justice. Amanda’s activism and poetry have been featured on The Today Show, PBS Kids, and CBS This Morning, and in The New York Times, Vogue, Essence, and O, The Oprah Magazine. In 2017, Urban Word named her the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate of the United States. After graduating cum laude from Harvard University, she now lives in her hometown of Los Angeles. The special edition of her inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb,” will be published in March 2021. Her debut picture book, Change Sings, and the breakout poetry collection The Hill We Climb and Other Poems will be published in September 2021.

Hardcover, 112 Pages, W. W. Norton & Company, February 2020

Amanda Gorman is the youngest presidential inaugural poet in US history. She is a committed advocate for the environment, racial equality, and gender justice. Amanda’s activism and poetry have been featured on The Today Show, PBS Kids, and CBS This Morning, and in The New York Times, Vogue, Essence, and O, The Oprah Magazine. In 2017, Urban Word named her the first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate of the United States. After graduating cum laude from Harvard University, she now lives in her hometown of Los Angeles. The special edition of her inaugural poem, “The Hill We Climb,” will be published in March 2021. Her debut picture book, Change Sings, and the breakout poetry collection The Hill We Climb and Other Poems will be published in September 2021.

Hardcover, 32 Pages, Viking Books, March 2021

Alexis Rhone Fancher tears the plain brown wrapper off erotica. She refuses to play safe, strips away pretense, intent on exposing the fragility, angst and longing lurking just below the sexual surface. EROTIC features poems and flash never before seen in any collection, as well as gems from Rhone Fancher’s first two erotic offerings, How I Lost My Virginity to Michael Cohen & other heart stab poems (2014) and Enter Here (2017). It includes the infamous “Sister Poems,” all together for the first time. With her “take no prisoners” attitude, Rhone Fancher spares no one, least of all herself.

Paperback, 144 Pages, NYQ Books, March 2021

Rolland Vasin (aka Vachine) , a third generation American writer of Romanian decent, was born into a literary family. His grandfather, John, a poet(unpublished), father, Ray, a newspaper reporter and editor, and dabbler in fiction(unpublished), and mother, Betty, the owner of Alphabooks, a retail rare and used book store, all with working-class occupations, had a strong sense of social justice and did not own a TV set until the 1960s. At dinner they debated the merits of political stories of the day from such as the Los Angeles Daily news and Nation magazine among many other sources. A family of American Patriots, all men served respective duty in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. A former Naval Officer Rolland returned from Vietnam to Graduate school and pursued a career as an external auditor in International and Local Accounting Firms. After a series of life-changing events he shifted focus to serving the Accountability needs of child and family-related not-for-profit organizations and embarked on a path of self-expression which passed through phases of Stand-up Comedy, Improvisational Theater, and Performance Poetry. Winning 3rd place in The Laugh Factory’s contest for the Funniest CPA in LA, Rolland’s poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies, as well as reading Open Mics from Cambridge MA to Big Sur CA. Out of these adventures arose the late-life desire to share his work with wider audiences from which arose this first book, Stitches & Scars, a chronology of experiences in war, love, and social justice advocacy. Published at Rolland’s age of 75 years to also honor the contributions of his family to the literary community.. A resident of Santa Monica, Rolland enjoys family gatherings with his two children and his grandsons. He plays the guitar, banjo, ukulele, and harmonica, but not all at the same time.

Paperback, 232 Pages, Lummox Press, January 2021

Poetry. Women’s Studies. “In Julie Danho’s THOSE WHO KEEP ARRIVING, the personal is political and the political is terrifying. Danho faces this terror and transcends it to make stunning poems about creating a home and family. She often employs the ekphrasis mode, seeing well-known visual pieces anew, using them as vehicles for exploration. She also writes her own character studies in American Landscape and other forms. In ‘Abstraction,’ a sonogram is imagined as art on a wall called ‘Moon, Clouds, / Volcano Taken From Above.’ The glittering surfaces of her elegant poems are as fascinating as their substance.”–Denise Duhamel

Paperback, 88 Pages, Silverfish Review Press, September 2020

Described by Robert Hass as “unquestionably one of the great living European poets” and by Charles Simic as “one of the finest poets living today,” Szymborska mesmerizes her readers with poetry that captivates their minds and captures their hearts. This is the book that her many fans have been anxiously awaiting-the definitive, complete collection of poetry by the Nobel Prize-winning poet, including 164 poems in all, as well as the full text of her Nobel acceptance speech of December 7, 1996, in Stockholm. Beautifully translated by Stanislaw Bara«nczak and Clare Cavanagh, who won a 1996 PEN Translation Prize for their work, this volume is a must-have for all readers of poetry.

Paperback, 296 Pages, Mariner Books, November 2000

Ron Koertge’s Yellow Moving Van is a collection of relaxed and buoyant and sometimes very funny poems that address Desi & Lucy with the same courtesy as Walt Whitman. The author celebrates his roots in the Mid-West and a few pages later stops off in Transylvania. These poems like to sometimes embrace and sometimes confound expectations, and they all stand together as enemies of the murky and pompous. There is apparently no subject—Prometheus, a fifty foot woman, or Death himself—that is unwilling to fall under his spell.

“In the funhouse world of Ron Koertge, Mary’s halo is as big as an inner tube, Mrs. Death fills in for her dreaded husband, and it takes a whole day and a half to build Rome. These new poems will entertain you so well, you might not even notice how the poet is issuing everywhere little appeals to your heart.” —Billy Collins

Paperback, 80 Pages, University of Pittsburgh Press, October 2018

“Reading SPEAKING PARTS, I’m reminded of Marlon Brando’s response to the praise lavished on his (arguably spectacular) acting skills: ‘Everybody acts, ‘ he’d shrug. Precisely! In Beth Ruscio’s ingenious, turn-on-a-dime poems, performance is all. There is no ‘true’ self for her speaker to uncover, and no canned epiphanies for readers, either. There are only the unsparing imperatives of improvisation-timing, cunning, abandon, ruse. Each moment’s desire met and then deflected. What does it take to play our/selves? Everything.” 

-Dorothy Barresi, author of WHAT WE DID WHILE WE MADE MORE GUNS

Paperback, 116 Pages, Brick Road Poetry Press, Inc., September 2020

A Foreigner, Wherever I Go takes the reader across and around the globe with humor and sincere devotion to exploring the character and personalities of the cultures encountered. Many of these poems, written by a young man traveling extensively for the first time, have an air of naiveté that offers a refreshing vision at a time when the world’s dissimilar cultures, although seeming accessible, regain much of their unique mystery in these intimate quotidian rendezvouses. ~ Roger Apion, Editor: Waymark

Paperback, 88 Pages, Human Error Publishing, November 2020

Poetry. Art. “This collection is obsessed with the miracle of words and the mouths that say them, the bodies that carry them out and back in, deliciously, deliriously. FOOTNOTE reminds us that the act of saying is something we may never fully understand–and that is cause for whirling joy.”–Chen Chen

Paperback, 44 Pages, Lithic Press, December 2017

Billy Collins’s new collection brings together more than fifty poems and showcases his deft mixing of the playful and the serious that has made him one of our country’s most celebrated and widely read poets. Here are poems that leap with whimsy and imagination, yet stay grounded in the familiar, common things of everyday experience. Collins takes us for a walk with an impossibly ancient dog, discovers the original way to eat a banana, meets an Irish spider, and even invites us to his own funeral. Sensitive to the wonders of being alive as well as the thrill of mortality, Whale Day builds on and amplifies Collins’s reputation as one of America’s most interesting and durable poets.

Paperback, 144 Pages, Random House, September 2020

A relatively unhinged mashup of standup comedy, absurdist poetry and Dadaist nonsense, Comedy Album delivers a blast of humor without the aural distraction (which would also be a great name for a band.). Author Dan Hendrickson says, “Comedy is all about timing. And while some people might say now is the perfect time for such an offering, others would be quick to say, ‘No, Dan, that’s a really terrible idea.’ Those two points of view and where I’m at form a nearly perfect triangle.”

Paperback, 126 Pages, Flat Sole Studio, September 2020

“From floating lanterns at Hiroshima to the unstoppable petal storm of cherry blossoms, Mariko Kitakubo’s vivid imagery tugs at the full range of our emotions-from the horror of war to the joy of a new love, from redwood forests to dreams of Betegeuse, Indigo is a highly recommended journey you will never forget.” —Deborah P Kolodji, California Regional Coordinator, Haiku Society of America

Paperback, 152 Pages, Shabda Press, April 2016

“Matt Sedillo’s poetic work is full of history, struggle, tragedy, anger, joy, despair, possibility and faith inthe struggles of working class people to overcome the forces of capitalism and racism. If PatriceLumumba, Rosa Luxembourg, Emiliano Zapata and Ella Baker were alive today, they would all be readingand sharing Matt Sedillo’s work with their comrades in service of organizing the next revolution. He istruly the poet laureate of struggle.” – Paul Ortiz, Author of Emancipation Betrayed and Director of theSamuel Proctor Oral History Program

Paperback, 128 Pages, FlowerSong Books, December 2019

A collection of contrasts: 85 poems ̶ some erotic, some gritty, each of them mining the eccentricities of small moments, and making the common-place memorable. With remarkable photographic images by Jeffrey O’Connell.

Paperback, 137 Pages, Garden Oak Press, March 2019

Coffee House Confessions is a collection of poems written in and about coffee houses throughout the world.

“I know no one else who manages to combine quantity of poems with quality the way Ellaraine Lockie does. She is a font of creative ideas and brings the ultimate in craft and experience to the realizing of those products of inspiration, observation, and research. I admire her work immensely.” GERALD LOCKLIN, Professor Emiritus of English at California State University, Long Beach

Paperback, 44 Pages, Silver Birch Press, February 2013

Nearly ninety years after its first publication, this celebratory edition of The Weary Blues reminds us of the stunning achievement of Langston Hughes, who was just twenty-four at its first appearance. Beginning with the opening “Proem” (prologue poem)—“I am a Negro: / Black as the night is black, / Black like the depths of my Africa”—Hughes spoke directly, intimately, and powerfully of the experiences of African Americans at a time when their voices were newly being heard in our literature. As the legendary Carl Van Vechten wrote in a brief introduction to the original 1926 edition, “His cabaret songs throb with the true jazz rhythm; his sea-pieces ache with a calm, melancholy lyricism; he cries bitterly from the heart of his race.

Paperback, 128 Pages, Knopf, February 2015

Founded in 2009, the Second Sunday Poetry Series has become one of the leading poetry events in the Los Angeles area. This anthology collects 54 of the more than 100 poets who have appeared over the last ten years–from L.A.’s unofficial poet laureate, Brendan Constantine, to the spiritual and complex Meg Day, to the late Nita Donovan, converted from a Stepford Wife to published poet and spoken-word artist. This is an indispensable cross section of the poetry scene in L.A. in the second decade of the 21st Century.

Paperback, 115 Independently Published, November 2019

In his new collection, Jeffrey McDaniel confronts the insular and expansive qualities of loss. With electric language and surrealistic imagery, McDaniel’s poems deliver the quotidian elements of middle-age life while weaving us in & out of childhood and adulthood alongside body and mind. The tragic and life affirming share the same page and the same world, reminding us how close corruption can be to innocence; domesticity to fantasy; aging to youth.

Paperback, 65 Pages, Pitt Poetry Series, February 2020

In these poems, the joys and struggles of the everyday are played against the grinding politics of being human. Beginning in a hotel room in the dark of a distant city, we travel through history and follow the memory of the Trail of Tears from the bend in the Tallapoosa River to a place near the Arkansas River. Stomp dance songs, blues, and jazz ballads echo throughout. Lost ancestors are recalled. Resilient songs are born, even as they grieve the loss of their country. Called a “magician and a master” (San Francisco Chronicle), Joy Harjo is at the top of her form in Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings.

Paperback, 160 Pages, W. W. Norton & Company, January 2016