I promise I’m not about to have a Julie Andrews moment, but one of my favorite things is reading a good book of poems on a porch during a thunderstorm. Luckily, thunderstorm season has begun here in Indiana, and Brittany Cavallaro has a few reading suggestions for us. Now I just need to buy a chair for my porch.
Little, Big by John Crowley: A contemporary fantasy epic in the same vein as Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, only published twenty years earlier. I’ve always had a soft spot for literary novels that edge and poke at genre conventions, so I’ve been meaning to read this for awhile; I’m about a chapter in, and the prose is limpid and dream-like, with well-drawn characters.
Water Puppets by Quan Barry: I carried around Barry’s first collection, ‘Asylum’, for the last two years of undergrad, and I was incredibly lucky to have her as my advisor in my MFA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This new collection, just out from Pitt, might blow it away–these poems are somehow both subtle and ferocious as they undertake subjects as diverse as pornography and international conflict. “Thanksgiving” is an intense, beautiful look at how we as a species absorb and deflect cruelty.
Chinoiserie by Karen Rigby: Lately, I’ve been developing crushes on small presses, one at a time — I figure that if I love two books I’ve ordered from, say, Canarium Books, I’ll love the next two as well. (And I do love Canarium!) Crushing hard on Ahsahta right now, particularly on this gem of a collection by Karen Rigby — lovely, bone-hard diction on an array of ekphrastic subjects, from anime to Marguerite Duras.