Harrowing poems from a dark corner of American history by the winner of the 2016 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry.
Harrowing poems from a dark corner of American history by the winner of the 2016 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry.
A police trooper inspects a car during a routine traffic stop and finds a vast cache of weapons, complete with automatic rifles, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and black ski masks-a veritable bank robber's kit. Should the men in the car be charged? If so, with what? A son neglects to care for his elderly mother, whose emaciated form is discovered shortly before she dies a painful death. Is the son's neglect punishable, and if so how? A career con man writes one bad check too many and is sentenced to life in prison-for a check in the amount of $129.75. Is this just? A thief steals a backpack, only to find it contains a terrorist bomb. He alerts the police and saves lives, transforming himself from petty criminal to national hero. These are just a few of the many provocative cases that Paul Robinson presents and unravels in Would You Convict? Judging crimes and meting out punishment has long been an informal national pasttime. High-profile crimes or particularly brutal ones invariably prompt endless debate, in newspapers, on television, in coffee shops, and on front porches. Our very nature inclines us to be armchair judges, freely waving our metaphorical gavels and opining as to the innocence or guilt-and suitable punishment-of alleged criminals. Confronting this impulse, Paul Robinson here presents a series of unusual episodes that not only challenged the law, but that defy a facile or knee-jerk verdict. Narrating the facts in compelling, but detached detail, Robinson invites readers to sentence the transgressor (or not), before revealing the final outcome of the case. The cases described in Would You Convict? engage, shock, even repel. Without a doubt, they will challenge you and your belief system. And the way in which juries and judges have resolved them will almost certainly surprise you.
In System of Ghosts, Lindsay Tigue details the way landscape speaks to isolation and personhood, how virtual and lived networks alter experience. She questions how built environments structure lives, how we seek out information within these spaces, and, most fundamentally, how we love. Rooted in the personal, the speaker of this collection moves through society and history, with the aim of firmly placing herself within her own life and loss. Facts become an essential bridge between spatial and historical boundaries. She connects us to the disappearance of species, abandoned structures, and heartbreak—abandoned spaces that tap into the searing grief woven into society’s public places. There is solace in research, one system this collection uses to examine the isolation of contemporary life alongside personal, historical, and ecological loss. While her poems are intimate and personal, Tigue never turns away from the larger contexts within which we all live. System of Ghosts is, at its core, an act of reaching out—across time, space, history, and across the room.
Longlisted for the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction One of America’s great miscarriages of justice, the Supreme Court’s infamous 1927 Buck v. Bell ruling made government sterilization of “undesirable” citizens the law of the land In 1927, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling so disturbing, ignorant, and cruel that it stands as one of the great injustices in American history. In Imbeciles, bestselling author Adam Cohen exposes the court’s decision to allow the sterilization of a young woman it wrongly thought to be “feebleminded” and to champion the mass eugenic sterilization of undesirable citizens for the greater good of the country. The 8–1 ruling was signed by some of the most revered figures in American law—including Chief Justice William Howard Taft, a former U.S. president; and Louis Brandeis, a progressive icon. Oliver Wendell Holmes, considered by many the greatest Supreme Court justice in history, wrote the majority opinion, including the court’s famous declaration “Three generations of imbeciles are enough.” Imbeciles is the shocking story of Buck v. Bell, a legal case that challenges our faith in American justice. A gripping courtroom drama, it pits a helpless young woman against powerful scientists, lawyers, and judges who believed that eugenic measures were necessary to save the nation from being “swamped with incompetence.” At the center was Carrie Buck, who was born into a poor family in Charlottesville, Virginia, and taken in by a foster family, until she became pregnant out of wedlock. She was then declared “feebleminded” and shipped off to the Colony for Epileptics and Feeble-Minded. Buck v. Bell unfolded against the backdrop of a nation in the thrall of eugenics, which many Americans thought would uplift the human race. Congress embraced this fervor, enacting the first laws designed to prevent immigration by Italians, Jews, and other groups charged with being genetically inferior. Cohen shows how Buck arrived at the colony at just the wrong time, when influential scientists and politicians were looking for a “test case” to determine whether Virginia’s new eugenic sterilization law could withstand a legal challenge. A cabal of powerful men lined up against her, and no one stood up for her—not even her lawyer, who, it is now clear, was in collusion with the men who wanted her sterilized. In the end, Buck’s case was heard by the Supreme Court, the institution established by the founders to ensure that justice would prevail. The court could have seen through the false claim that Buck was a threat to the gene pool, or it could have found that forced sterilization was a violation of her rights. Instead, Holmes, a scion of several prominent Boston Brahmin families, who was raised to believe in the superiority of his own bloodlines, wrote a vicious, haunting decision upholding Buck’s sterilization and imploring the nation to sterilize many more. Holmes got his wish, and before the madness ended some sixty to seventy thousand Americans were sterilized. Cohen overturns cherished myths and demolishes lauded figures in relentless pursuit of the truth. With the intellectual force of a legal brief and the passion of a front-page exposé, Imbeciles is an ardent indictment of our champions of justice and our optimistic faith in progress, as well as a triumph of American legal and social history. From the Hardcover edition.
"The poems in Fanatic Heart, Deborah Pope's remarkably accomplished first collection of verse, are distinguished by their sensuous language, assured voice, and surpassing intelligence. "These are poems with a definite edge to them," notes the poet Betty Adcock. Memory and identity, family and place, lives that encompass both "the wingsweep of joy" and "the fierce hug of grief" - these are Pope's concerns. Hers are poems of pain and loss, but they are also, and more tellingly, poems of wonder, of love and passion in their various guises, of the ambiguity in every human relation - an ambiguity skillfully evoked in "Signs": In these woods we have chosen / with scarcely more knowing / than we chose each other, / prospects will always promise / more than they come to. / The solidity of this house is surface, / the permanence of anything is myth. / We take our visions edged, / at home in a light that curves. / Still, as the gypsies say, / good road." "The poems are set in a carefully articulated natural world, whose sensual beauty Pope captures in such lines as these from "Peaches": They will be all over the ground, / gold-dusted, giving softly / under the balls of our feet, / size of apricots, no good for eating, / but the smell will be / delicious." "Deborah Pope's poems give voice to a life deeply felt and fully realized, whose very personal visions yield universal claims. At the heart of this poetry's fanaticism is the search for the ground of intimacy and the configurations of identity. It is a measure of Pope's skill that each recognition seems powerfully right, not sought but given."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
New work from one of America's most original experimental poets. Comprised almost entirely of never-before-collected poems, Scarlet Tanager is Bernadette Mayer's first collection of new work in nearly a decade. Mayer, "one of the most original writers of her generation" (The Washington Post), has mixed together here delightful epigrams ("The Mammal Epigram": "Sexually / it's cute"), long-line free verse, and her astonishing sonnets. There are also curious translations of Mayer poems into joking, free-styling French, which are then re-translated back into English, landing somewhere extremely witty and quite some ways from the original. There is no one writing today who can touch Bernadette Mayer for sheer pleasure and throw-away brilliance.
A ninth compilation of poetry by the award-winning author of Tantalus in Love explores the complexities of love and fear, hope and inevitability, of the modern world as it reflects on the nature of love, family, and art in a world torn apart by instability, violence, and deception.
A striking poetic reckoning, Teratology explores the psychic existence of physical abnormality and imperfection. Susannah Nevison's poems name and reclaim, making and unmaking the body and the “marvelous monsters” that inhabit them.
When her “smart” phone keeps asking her to autocorrect her name to Denise Richards, Denise Duhamel begins a journey that takes on celebrity, sex, reproduction, and religion with her characteristic wit and insight. The poems in Scald engage feminism in two ways—committing to and battling with—various principles and beliefs. Duhamel wrestles with foremothers and visionaries Shulamith Firestone, Andrea Dworkin, and Mary Daly as well as with pop culture figures such as Helen Reddy, Cyndi Lauper, and Bikini Kill. In dialogue with artists and writers such as Catherine Opie, Susan Faludi, and Eve Ensler, Duhamel tries to understand our cultural moment. While Duhamel’s Scald can burn, she has more importantly taken on the role of the ancient Scandinavian “Skald,” one who pays tribute to heroic deeds. In Duhamel’s case, her heroes are also heroines.
Centered on the experience of raising a special child and the cruelty we inflict on difference, this collection of poems will break and heal your heart.
A timely and gripping history of the controversial eugenics movement in America–and the scientists, social reformers and progressives who supported it.In Better for All the World, Harry Bruinius charts the little known history of eugenics in America–a movement that began in the early twentieth century and resulted in the forced sterilization of more than 65,000 people. Bruinius tells the stories of Emma and Carrie Buck, two women trapped in poverty who became the test case in the 1927 supreme court decision allowing forced sterilization for those deemed unfit to procreate. From the reformers who turned local charities into government-run welfare systems promoting social and moral purity, to the influence the American policies had on Nazi Germany’s development of “racial hygiene,” Bruinius masterfully exposes the players and legislation behind one of America’s darkest secrets. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Blending features of speculative fiction, the occult, and the spiritual quest, Paper Crown details an unusual story of initiation. Traumatized by the mysterious circumstances of his mother's death, Chuck runs away from his Southern California home and lands in Colorado Springs where he becomes involved with Frank Posner and his mother, Lyuba. Leaders of an ancient and highly secretive family of travelers who have incredible powers, they take Chuck on a psychological journey in which he must face his disturbing past and confront a frightening and uncertain future. With a cast of vivid and sometimes bizarre characters, Paper Crown unfolds a classic story of loss, struggle, and renewal.
Poetry. A girl laughs like the birds and rides a bicycle into "horizons sinking slowly on their centers," despite—or in spite of the—the chaos around her. In Matt Henriken's stirring follow-up to his debut, ORDINARY SUN, he writes with an uninhibited resolve to explore intimate, everyday struggles and capture their reality in amber. Brokenness, anger, and the light of innocence power the poems of THE ABSENCE OF KNOWING. Meanwhile, a new beginning is captured in raw, smoldering, and cathartic expression, leaving an aftermath of aria despite discordant events.
Poetry. Asian American Studies. BLIPSOAK01 is a creative endeavor not only in the use of the page as more than a backdrop for words. Lin plays with the effects that the visual placement of words has on the reader, adding an extra dimension to already fascinating poetry.