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A Celebration of National Poetry Month

For National Poetry Month, the University of Notre Dame Press is proud to feature the excellent contributions of a diverse and inspiring group of poets. From debut publications to award-winning volumes, these poets amaze readers with their creativity in form, voice, stylistic expression.

My Kill Adore Him is a collection of poems from Paul Martínez Pompa. With a unique voice, Martínez Pompa interrogates masculinity, race, language, consumerism, and cultural identity in poems that honor los olvidados, the forgotten ones, who range from the usual suspects brutalized by police to factory workers poisoned by their environment, from the victim of a homophobic beating in the boys’ bathroom to the body of Juan Doe at the Cook County Coroner’s Office.


“i too have colonized. forgive my desire
to pour you. through me. embrace
the damaged parts. i am searching for
a way to fall. a way to bleed. him. me.”

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.

We Carve a Spell Gurl

“besides the serpents mother also sent venom from the hydra    hallucination
blindness    rage    bloodlust    all ground finely into a powder
   mixed with fresh blood her blood to a boil
 everything must come to a boil inside a great bronze kettle”

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.

In Search of Happiness

“Sometimes she is nothing but perfume and colours,
     And songs and lights.
She does not live except at the door of a palace,
     Raised by hands of wealth and plenty.”

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.

Pittsburgh Photographs

“A long white cumulus plume trailing beneath a hill
Whose blackness is blotter at this time of day,
Silhouetted houses above it crenellating the frame,
The train itself invisible and giving up the ghost.”

The Open Light celebrates the distinction and diversity of poets associated with the University of Notre Dame from 1991 to 2008. The twenty-four poets represented in The Open Light have all been students at Notre Dame, members of the faculty, or both. The plethora of voices included in this collection and the poems themselves provide a rich and vibrant legacy of poetry at Notre Dame.


“The ice-cream truck sings the little
song of my death. In a cloud
the Lord in his anger clothes
the daughter of Zion. In the pocket
of an old jacket: lint, handkerchief,
death. I have beaten death with a shovel”

Wild Track brings together the best of Kevin Hart’s work from eight collections. This volume reveals a poet capable of articulating genuine feeling and considerable philosophical depth. Hart’s poetry is lucid and accessible while giving voice to rich depths where mystery and being coalesce. It approaches the unapproachable, the impossible borders of experience, through praise and song, and sets the everyday experience of the real world in close proximity to a deeper world of spirit.

Her Name

“And everything she was and I could be
Seemed darkly written there and not in books:
A love to grow with us and judge us both,
A fire I felt when whispering her name.”

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.

onomasticon (or, I sing the names of our dead)

“I sing march, & the earth will tremble out a eulogy, a prayer, a promise
I sing how, & why, & when, & your name will wind my palm into a fist, &
I will hold it high”

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