In celebration of National Poetry Month, the University of Notre Dame Press is proud to share the exceptional and moving works of some of our most inspiring poets. Debut publications, award-winning volumes, and cherished Press classics are all included here. These poets amaze readers with their nuanced beauty and creativity expressed in form, verse, and eloquent technique.
Many of the poets featured have received The Ernest Sandeen Prize in Poetry and The Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize. The Ernest Sandeen Prize is awarded to authors who have published at least one volume of poetry and is sponsored by the Creative Writing Program in the Department of English at University of Notre Dame in conjunction with The University of Notre Dame Press. The Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize supports the work of emerging Latino/a poets and has as its goal to nurture the various paths that Latino poetry is taking in the twenty-first century.
Of Form & Gather marks the dazzling debut of Felicia Zamora, whose poems concern themselves with probing questions, not facile answers. Where does the self reside? What forms do we, as human beings, inhabit as we experience the world around us? Privileging journey over destination, Zamora’s poems spur the reader to immerse herself in linguistic soundscapes where the physicality of the poems themselves is, in no small part, the point: poems that challenge us to navigate the word/world as both humans and things.
& WINGS MADE OF MATCH STICKS & how the page, before you, blots back vision with presence of all colors. Closer, in reflection, maker? Harsh & soft light, in simultaneous flux. It’s not that nothing exists first; instead the fullness consumes & requires speech: a hue completely desaturated…
In Magnificent Errors, Sheryl Luna’s third collection and winner of the Ernest Sandeen Prize in Poetry, Luna turns her gaze toward people living on the margins—whether it be cultural, socioeconomic, psychological, or personal—and celebrates their ability to recover and thrive. The poems in Magnificent Errors are lyrical, narrative, and often highly personal, exploring what it means to be the “other” and how to cope with difference and illness. With language that is fresh and surprising, Sheryl Luna shares these remarkable poems that bring a reader into the experiences of marginalization and offer hope that grace and restoration do indeed follow.
The Transgression We feel we learn our traumas too late, but we are as children. Our heart, some days, an orchestra suddenly aflame. Closing our eyes, we see our salmon-lit dawn, and it is no transgression to look towards ourselves with awe.
Filled with the nuanced beauty and complexity of the everyday—a pot of beans, a goat carcass, embroidered linens, a grandfather’s cancer—A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying journeys through the inherited fear of creation and destruction. The histories of South Texas and its people unfold in Laurie Ann Guerrero’s stirring language, including the dehumanization of men and its consequences on women and children. Guerrero’s tongue becomes a palpable border, occupying those liminal spaces that both unite and divide, inviting readers to consider that which is known and unknown: the body.
Sundays After Breakfast: A Lesson in Speech No importaba que no eras negro, pero que no eras gringo. No, it didn’t matter that you weren’t black, grandpa says pushing himself from the table, but that you weren’t white. He lived his life this way: silent, like every man after him: opening his mouth only to eat, holding his head above the cotton, between white men and black boys.
Winner of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, Stepmotherland, Darrel Alejandro Holnes’s first full-length collection, is filled with poems that chronicle and question identity, family, and allegiance. This Central American love song is in constant motion as it takes us on a lyrical and sometimes narrative journey from Panamá to the USA and beyond. The driving force behind Holnes’s work is a pursuit for a new home, and as he searches, he takes the reader on a wild ride through the most pressing political issues of our time and the most intimate and transformative personal experiences of his life. Exploring a complex range of emotions, this collection is a celebration of the discovery of America, the discovery of self, and the ways they may be one and the same.
African Klan Suit #2 What a revolution when such art paints history where it’s been erased and can be worn with a little elegance to give us life, a necessary grace.
The wildly unrestrained poems in Splinters Are Children of Wood, Leia Penina Wilson’s second collection and winner of the Ernest Sandeen Prize in Poetry, pose an increasingly desperate question about what it means to be a girl, the ways girls are shaped by the world, and the role myth plays in this coming of age quest. Samoan myths and Western stories punctuate this volume in a search to reconcile identity and education.
AM I THE WORLD OR THE GURL i bury a doll in the shape of myself i unlife them over and over again again homer’s child plato’s child those forms foregrounding another’s authority orpheus’ head floats off body off course i give up understanding o mother receive this prayer—happy cannibalism!
Among Ruins explores the industrial past and legacy of the old steel town of Homestead, Pennsylvania. Gibb makes poetry from ore and fire, slag and steel: from boyhood memories of small-city America to the middlish, late years of the twentieth century—the length of time it takes for a prosperous city to go through hell and begin a climb back. Whether dealing with the danger of steel or steam, the inescapable clamor of machinery, or the shenanigans of youth shadowed and bounded by factory life, Gibb’s fiercely elegant poems explore how a city, a landscape, a person could heal and yet still be broken.
INSOMNIA Pittsburgh, 4:00 A.M., I wake in the hold Of the neck-prickling hives of panic, Alone in the dark of the city I grew up in, And no closer, it would seem, to home.
The Inheritance of Haunting, by Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes, is a collection of poems contending with historical memory and its losses and gains carried within the body, wrought through colonization and its generations of violence, war, and survival. The driving forces behind Rhodes’s work include a decolonizing ethos; a queer sensibility that extends beyond sexual and gender identities to include a politics of deviance. In these poems, haunting is a kind of memory weaving that can bestow a freedom from the attenuations of the so-called American dream, which, according to Rhodes, is a nightmare of assimilation, conquest, and genocide.
til the taste of free in our mouths (brown baby lullaby) wake your umber velvet eyelids & cry the sun with us, these arms around you free these streets we march, sore grave shaking ground garnet flooded madness, we mourn we rake the gravel for teeth so we may have something to bury we sift the sand for remedy, we ghost-seers carrying our cinnamon dead we stir the news, history, like an oracle shimmering violent
Listen to the Mourners is one of the first book-length English translations of Nāzik Al-Malā’ika’s Arabic poetry. One of the most influential Iraqi poets of the twentieth century, Nāzik Al-Malā’ika pioneered the modern Arabic verse movement when she broke away from the formalistic classical modes of Arabic poetry that had prevailed for more than fifteen centuries and paved the way for the birth of a new modernist poetic movement in the Arab World. This accessible, beautifully rendered, and long overdue translation fills a gap in modern Arabic poetry.
Burnt Life These, O fire, are my joys, desires, and sorrows. I came to throw them between your jaws in my sorrowful dawn. Whatever misery or desire have passed through my heart Grab now, leave nothing, and do not wait for me.
Barefoot is Kevin Hart’s eighth collection of poems; it is rich in elegies, meditations on lost love, and celebrations of new love. The title speaks of mourning, pilgrimage, and the direct sensuous contact of flesh with earth. Never before has Hart stretched his range of inspiration quite so far; while continuing to draw from Christianity, he also responds to the rich heritage of American Blues, and reveals a wit as sharp as a razor’s edge. The poetry is at once religious poetry and love poetry; indeed, the “religious poetry” is itself love poetry. Always, Hart speaks to us in words that seem inevitable in their simplicity. As he himself has written, “The best conductor of mystery is clarity. The true bearer of complexity is simplicity.”
Barefoot Still of our world, dear father, in your grave Or at my winter window, looking hard Into a life you never knew in life: This house of books, this fire that cracks a whip At cats and shadows when they cross the room, Vast silences that swallow days alive.