Indiana Review is honored to be part of The Creative Process, an exhibition and international educational initiative traveling to leading universities. As part of the exhibition, portraits and interviews with writers and creative thinkers are being published across a network of university and international literary magazines. The Creative Process is including work by Indiana Review contributors in the projection elements of the traveling exhibition.
For each day in April, we Tweeted a debut poetry collection that we love. Here’s the full list, with links where you can purchase the books. Read and enjoy!
1) Rummage by Ife-Chudeni Oputa (Little A, 2017)
“Her poems explore the eternal themes of the human condition—nature, origin, shame, identity, desire, mortality—with sensitivity and specificity. They illuminate and interrogate the ways that her characters inflict and experience pain, ultimately revealing how we must all face our shame in order to grow.”
2) I Know Your Kind by William Brewer (Milkweed Editions, 2017)
“Uncanny, heartbreaking, and often surreal, I Know Your Kind is an unforgettable elegy for the people and places that have been lost to opioids.”
Cilia knew they were in for it when they found the mother on the good couch in the living room, sipping wine, looking at old photos in her college yearbook. “Look at that waist,” she said. “I was something.”
The older daughters, Margaret and Theresa, looked over the mother’s shoulders at the photos: skirt below the knees, freshly ironed shirt buttoned to the neck, relaxed hair curled under. “Were you really that dorky?” they asked at the same time. They looked at each other and laughed, proud of themselves, as if they had planned it.
“I was something,” the mother repeated, not as strong. Her words slipped and slid into one another, like a train wreck.
Margaret and Theresa laughed again. They were “almost seventeen” and “almost sixteen,” as they liked to remind everyone. They spent most of their time on the phone, giggling, a sheet over their heads for privacy, which made them look like giggling ghosts.
Anne and Cilia sat on either side of the mother. They had seen the photos before, but each time the pictures startled and confused Cilia. The mother had gone to a segregated school in New Orleans. Even though she had been segregated, the mother looked young and happy. She had a nickname typed next to her photo: “Bootsy.” It was full of promise, like a pair of new, black, patent leather shoes. Cilia didn’t understand who this “Bootsy” woman was. “That’s you? That’s really you?” she asked. Cilia turned to Anne. “Can you believe it?”
If you aren’t already aware: it’s National Poetry Month! This month we’ve been tweeting recommendations of first books by astounding poets. Check out our Favorite Debut Poetry Collections for more info. We’ve seen a lot of great responses to these tweets–so we’ve decided to ramp up our game. We’ve asked our staff to think back to a time when they were unfamiliar with poetry–is there a poem or poet that spoke to them? Which collections would they recommend to new poetry readers? Their answers are below.
In those days thought hung
like one rotted bulb of light
quiet and cold past glowing.
I loved a man who moved
over me like a horsehair bow
bent on still and silent strings.
Each morning sour cans lined
the shelves and my eyes slid oily over.
We smoked naked at the windows
and swallowed oysters for breakfast,
greedy as salt biting tongue.
I lost track of myself, but nothing else
seemed to forget what it was.
The street remained a hard back.
The accident on my leg healed
into a muted seam.
I wanted love to be an end
to the days, which I kept
door after door.
Some nights the man hauled
I looked in him for something
more than mere sensation
which is what ghosts are.
That searching was almost
like being seen.