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Holly V.'s Reviews

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
ISBN: 9780593300237
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Published: Penguin Press - April 5th, 2022

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)
ISBN: 9781635865332
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
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 (American Reader #38) By Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes Cover Image
ISBN: 9781950774616
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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 By Leila Mottley Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593318935
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Published: Knopf - June 7th, 2022

Radical Friendship by Kate Johnson

Radical Friendship brings us a much-needed practicum in forming meaningful bonds in the 21st century. Johnson draws from the five love languages, critical race theory, and mindfulness practices in shaping an all-encompassing guide to collective growth. This book is necessary for anyone trying to find meaning in a disconnected world. Radical Friendship shows us how to heal our societal wounds through honest communication, community support, and mutual aid.—Holly V.

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Radical Friendship: Seven Ways to Love Yourself and Find Your People in an Unjust World By Kate Johnson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781611808117
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Published: Shambhala - August 24th, 2021

Pilgrim Bell: Poems by Kaveh Akbar

Kaveh Akbar’s honest resonance is unmatched by any poet I have read in this decade. With an unflinching spirituality, Akbar takes us on a journey through discomfort, through holiness, through beauty in its ugliest forms. Often returning to the body, and always drawing upon his experience as a Muslim American, Akbar paints images so sharp they could cut skin. This collection of poetry is breathtaking, harrowing, and utterly necessary. —Holly V.

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Pilgrim Bell: Poems By Kaveh Akbar Cover Image
ISBN: 9781644450598
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Published: Graywolf Press - August 3rd, 2021

Playlist for the Apocalypse: Poems by Rita Dove

“Let it be said, while in the midst of horror, we fed on beauty—and that, my love, is what sustained us.” Rita Dove’s newest collection of poetry is a prayer for our collective future. Whether musing on love through the eyes of a cricket or investigating the wounds of racialized trauma, Dove writes with clever honesty and radical vulnerability. Playlist for the Apocalypse is the kind of book you clutch to your chest upon finishing, and pray that not a single word of it will be forgotten. —Holly

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Playlist for the Apocalypse: Poems By Rita Dove Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393867770
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - August 17th, 2021

Dreaming of You by Melissa Lozada-Olivia

Melissa Lozado-Oliva’s debut novella balances somewhere between memory and moment, between story and verse, between selves and non-actors. With a form reminiscent of Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House and a voice laced with hints of Kurt Vonnegut, Lozado-Oliva carries her reader through a surrealist dreamscape of dead singers, ex-boyfriends, and foggy mirrors that begs the question, “Where does the skin end and the dream begin?” —Holly V.

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Dreaming of You: A Novel in Verse By Melissa Lozada-Oliva Cover Image
ISBN: 9781662600593
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Published: Astra House - October 26th, 2021

Be Holding by Ross Gay

Starts with a significant moment in basketball history and turns into a lyrical masterpiece about connection, loss, and the intimacy of human witness. Gay writes with urgency and attention, you'll find yourself in tears over a moment from the 1980 NBA finals. For fans of Hanif Abdurriqib and Ocean Vuong, this book-length poem will break your heart in all the right ways, only to put it back together again with force. - Holly

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Be Holding: A Poem (Pitt Poetry Series) By Ross Gay Cover Image
ISBN: 9780822966234
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Published: University of Pittsburgh Press - September 8th, 2020

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Lauren has "hyperempathy syndrome," rendering her incapable of witnessing pain. This is complicated by the fact that her world is nothing but pain: the novel is set against a dystopian backdrop in which water is reserved for the rich and suffering is rampant. To cope with her reality, Lauren is creating a new religion, wherein God is Change. - Holly

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Parable of the Sower By Octavia E. Butler Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538732182
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Published: Grand Central Publishing - April 30th, 2019

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