Books to Watch Out For — October 2017

What are we at Anomaly excited about? It’s October, so pets dressed in Halloween costumes. But also, this avalanche of intensely amazing books.

1. Why Storms are Named After People and Bullets Remain Nameless, by Tanaya Winder.

Tanaya Winder’s latest independently-published chapbook Why Storms Are Named After People And Bullets Remain Nameless is a book of survival. Winder, as always, brings truth to issues of Native suicide, family, and belonging, as well as what it means to live as an indigenous woman, and to have hope. Her verse is accessible and clean, and reminiscent of the taste of the air after a storm:

“Is it possible to love the gun that shot you? / Or will you always blame the bullet?”

2. A TransPacific Poetics

Edited by Sawako Nakayasu and Lisa Samuels, this much-needed anthology from Litmus Press includes poetry and essays “committed to transcultural experimental witness in both hemispheres of the Pacific and Oceania.” This anthology boasts an impressive roster of stellar writers, including Jai Arun Ravine, Don Mee Choi, Sean Labrador y Manzano, and Craig Santos Perez.

3. Life in Suspension, by Hélène Cardona

New from Salmon Poetry, this bilingual edition of poetry in English and French has already drawn much praise from the literary world. Cardona joins the chorus of multilingual and multinational poets in challenging the notion that living “between” languages means living within a dilemma. Cardona instead embraces the fullness and complexity of language, place, and the self.

4. Unaccompanied, by Javier Zamora

Javier Zamora is one of the poets behind the UNDOCUPOETS campaign to eliminate citizenship requirements for literary contests that further marginalize writers who are undocumented. In his debut collection from Copper Canyon Press, Zamora has created a portrait that’s equally beautiful and politically-charged, travelling through borders, and written in both Spanish and English.

5. AMERIKKKANA: a multi-media digital chapbook, by jayy dodd

jayy dodd just wanted to take a train to LA. Instead, they ended up on a 50+ hour journey into inner America and our decaying infrastructure. As innovative as always, dodd used this opportunity to create a multimedia chap of flash poetry and gifs of their ordeal.

6. Dawn With Arms of Roses: An Anthology of Queer Joy

Edited and published by Lia Hagen, Dawn With Arms of Roses challenges the many cultural tropes that, to paraphrase The Celluloid Closet, queers need to be miserable. Too often, mainstream literature only gives space to queer writing when queer pain can be put on display. And fuck that. Plus, half of all sales are being donated to Sylvia Rivera Law Project.

7. A Dollhouse Built on Brimstone, by Lucas Dalilah Galvin

Lucas Daliah Galvin is a self-described “queer disaster,” but their debut collection is anything but a disaster. Unless you count blowing up cisheteronormativity and the stigma of mental illness. Out now from Black Napkin Press, this collection is a raw exploration of interior, and where the interior meets the external world, and a godsend for non-binary readers and writers alike.

8. Heaven Is All Goodbyes, by Tongo Eisen-Martin

Part of City Lights’ Pocket Poets Series, Eisen-Martin’s new collection has earned praise from luminaries like Claudia Rankine and Nikki Giovanni. Sonically stunning and liminally innovative, Heaven Is All Goodbyes dares to imagine and dares to name.

9. Kissing Caskets, by Mahogany L. Browne

YesYes Books shows up again for necessary poetry. Mahogany L. Browne transcends formal innovation. She doesn’t just use form — she makes form work for her. Browne writes in both doorways and catalysts, tackling gender, sexuality, racialization, the body, and the prison industrial complex.

10. Killing Summer, by Sarah Browning

From the Executive Director of the activist literary organization Split This Rock, Sarah Browning’s latest collection from Sibling Rivalry Press is as much a balm as a bomb in our current political situation. At times, Browning may be channeling Eileen Myles — but more accurately, Browning is in conversation with Myles, and the many women who write resistance in desperate times.

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