Contributor Reads

The poems in Janelle Adsit’s Unremitting Entrance take root in and spring from the wedge driven between the living and the loved one lost to sudden death. The desire to dissolve the divide, at once futile and incessant, turns each poem into a study of the intimate and unbridgeable space between the I and the irretrievable other. The poems seek wisdom from color, from the objects left behind by and in lieu of the loved one, and from the body—the site of contact and separation—to give the disappearance that is beyond negotiation a form, to make it perceptible and, if possible, comprehensible. A love letter to the dead, this book inhabits the need to memorialize while recognizing the fictions it constructs. A love letter to the living, the book rehearses the efforts of those who remain to fill in the impenetrable absence and to resurrect themselves, however provisionally, from another death, the kind that unbearable grief brings. —Conchitina Cruz,  author of Dark Hours and elsewhere held and lingered

Is it okay to write about people of other genders, races and identities? And how do I do this responsibly?

Whether you are working in fiction, poetry, drama or creative non-fiction, becoming conscious of how you represent people of different social identities is one of the most important responsibilities you have as a writer. This is the first practical guide to thinking and writing reflectively about these issues.

Carrie Shipers’s Cause for Concern traverses a landscape of assorted disasters—such as overwork and layoffs, the ill-fated explorer, circus mishaps, nuclear disaster and radiation—but at its heart is the personal disaster of spousal illness. While a spouse might avow faith in the sentiment of love in sickness and in health, the practice of such faith might come undone when faced with the reality of the ravages of illness on the stricken body of the beloved, alongside the caregiving mate who “could love/ [her] husband but distrust his body,/ expect betrayal at every turn.” Full of incisive meditations on frailties and fortitude often delivered with visceral honesty, Cause for Concern is spellbinding from start to finish and, deservedly, the winner of the 2014 Able Muse Book Award for Poetry.

“She knew / that beauty alone cannot heal a blinded world.” This line comes in the center of this (yes) beautiful sequence of poems, and radiates its complications out from it. For here are poems—strong, wild poems—about a past that is fading away, paintings that are full of shadows, objects that contain whole lifetimes, and yet, yes—somehow, still—a world that is worth all our attempts to honor it.  —Nick Flynn

From peacocks, paintings and persimmons, to wars, the warming sea and the weight of what is inherited, A Net to Hold the Wind grapples with both holding on to and letting go of the rich and sometimes painful histories we carry. Tucker’s intelligence and sharp eye, the precision and beauty of her language, and her masterful storytelling serve as her net to ‘gather in what used to be.’ To read these poems is to see ‘behind everything a radiance.’  —Tara Bray