Gorgeous, devastating and enrapturing, Brynn Saito's second collection of poems, Power Made Us Swoon, is a continuance of her profound talent. With the persona of Warrior Woman, Saito transports the reader with a Japanese-American family through time and physical distance with language and form precise and spare, yet lush with the detail she does give. The most powerful series of poems centers around the family visiting the Manzanar National Historic Site, one of the two Japanese internment camps. Saito is in full control of her voice, with a talent that is utterly tremendous.
Local favorite Sandra Beasley's inventiveness in full force in her latest collection, Count the Waves. Using The Traveler's Vade Mecum—an archaic text composed of phrases that were used for telegraphs and mailing letters—as the central vehicle of the book, Beasley's voice is both playful and profound. Her poems push the boundaries of narrative and her language is at times whimsical and haunting, then vivid and piercing. Much like her previous book, I Was the Jukebox, Count the Waves is a collection one can dive into and forget to come up for air.
One of the most accessible and profound poets of the 20th century, Jack Gilbert wrote with a deep, intense passion about every corner of human experience. His poems, at once beautiful and affecting, shape the narrative of his own life. From his boyhood home of Pittsburgh to the mountains of Greece, we follow him on a journey of love, passion, loss, contemplation and, finally, a solitude so long and sharp, it undoes the heart. His is a body of work that is a must read for anyone, especially fans of Billy Collins and Mary Oliver.