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Holly V.'s Reviews

Promises of Gold written by José Olivarez and translated by David Ruano

José Olivarez writes with masterful complexity, yet his poems are accessible even to the “I don’t understand poetry” readers of the world. In Promises of Gold, he has odes to brotherhood, heartbreak, Mexican culture, and the idea of punching Jeff Bezos. In a casual tone reminiscent of Ross Gay and Danez Smith, Olivarez invites his readers to dance, grieve, and laugh alongside him. José Olivarez makes good on his word: Each poem in this collection is dripping with gold. 

—Holly

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Promises of Gold By José Olivarez, David Ruano (Translated by) Cover Image
By José Olivarez, David Ruano (Translated by)
$24.99
ISBN: 9781250878496
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - February 14th, 2023

Rose Quartz: Poems by Sasha taqwšəblu LaPointe

There is something so unflinchingly naked about Sasha taqwšəblu LaPointe’s writing that I found myself wanting to look away at times, only to be pulled back into her treacherous and majestic language. LaPointe draws inspiration from folklore, tarot, and Indigenous heritage to craft a sort of manual for healing. This collection feels like a tapestry of womanhood—and of the violence, beauty, and hunger that comes along with it.

—Holly

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Rose Quartz: Poems By Sasha Taqwsəblu Lapointe Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781571315434
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Milkweed Editions - March 14th, 2023

Big Swiss by Jen Beagin

A sordid love affair. A midlife crisis you want to look away from, but can’t. An awful sex therapist named Om. Complex reckonings with gender, sexuality, and female relationships. What more could you want? You know how people always say there are only seven stories in the world? Well, this book may be the eighth. A truly original, cringe-worthy, awkwardly romantic romp, Big Swiss had me laughing from start to finish. There may have been some tears in there as well.

—Holly

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Big Swiss: A Novel By Jen Beagin Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781982153083
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Scribner - February 7th, 2023

Inciting Joy: Essays by Ross Gay

In this new collection of essays, Ross Gay invites us to interrogate the joy that exists in all facets of our lives—to coax it out from grief, from mundanity, even from the irritation of an invasive weed in our garden. In his signature candid and circuitous prose, Gay reminds us that leaning into joy is not only a privilege, but a form of survival.

—Holly

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Inciting Joy: Essays By Ross Gay Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781643753041
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - October 25th, 2022

The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On by Franny Choi

This world simply does not deserve Franny Choi. And by that I mean, where would we be without her poetry—anomalous as it sometimes is? In this latest collection, Choi considers the singularity of death, the science fiction of survival, the anachronism of love amidst the end of the world. Each poem is a life raft and also a knife. This is the book you hand someone who tells you, “poetry can’t change the world.”

—Holly

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The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On By Franny Choi Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780063240087
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - November 1st, 2022

Alive at the End of the World by Saeed Jones

“The end of the world leaked music like radiation, and we loved the neon echo.” In this devastating yet illuminating collection, Jones asserts that we are living through small apocalypses every day. He pulls no punches in his naming of racism, violence, and power, and his lyricism and unflinching honesty make this collection utterly necessary.

—Holly

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Alive at the End of the World By Saeed Jones, D. a. Powell (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Saeed Jones, D. a. Powell (Foreword by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566896511
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - September 13th, 2022

Time Is a Mother by Ocean Vuong

In this second collection of poetry, Ocean Vuong looks at the intimacy of memory and the fleeting nature of self through the lens of his mother’s recent passing. Vuong writes with a noticeably matured and sharper voice, while playing with some more stylistically formal choices. At times quiet and always brutally honest, Time Is a Mother is another of Vuong’s masterpieces. 

—Holly

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Time Is a Mother By Ocean Vuong Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593300251
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - June 6th, 2023

The Path to Kindness Poems of Connection and Joy Edited by James Crews

James Crews has given us all the chance to breathe deeply with this follow-up to How to Love the World. Each poem in this anthology is a warm sweater, a soft hug, a glimmer of hope. Drawing from the works of veterans of the craft as well as emerging poets, The Path to Kindness walks us through themes such as motherhood, friendship, and the tenderness of our mortality. This is a collection that belongs on your bedside table, always within reach. 

—Holly

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The Path to Kindness: Poems of Connection and Joy By James Crews (Editor), Danusha Laméris (Foreword by) Cover Image
By James Crews (Editor), Danusha Laméris (Foreword by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781635865332
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Storey Publishing, LLC - April 12th, 2022

Are We Ever Our Own by Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes

In this surrealist collection of short stories, Fuentes takes us on an odyssey through multiple generations, geographies, and spiritual dimensions. Following different women who all share a common lineage, these stories grapple with themes of corporeal violence, complex identities, and the meaning of being alive in a world of ghosts. With a voice reminiscent of Gabriel García Márquez and Federico García Lorca, this is a tapestry worth unraveling, though it may unravel you in the process. 

—Holly

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Are We Ever Our Own By Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781950774616
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: BOA Editions - May 24th, 2022

Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley

Kiara is a girl on the precipice of womanhood, barely scraping by in East Oakland. Tormented by familial traumas and crippling poverty, she decides to sell the only thing she has left: her body. What follows is a harrowing journey through sexual exploitation, the (un)justice system, and the complex nature of family. With lyricism so rich it’ll warm your throat and a staggeringly strong voice, this debut novel belongs in the spotlight. 

—Holly

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Nightcrawling: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club) By Leila Mottley Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780593312605
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 11th, 2023

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