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They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry, They Kill You Because They’re Full

Mark Bibbins (Copper Canyon)

With a title that perfectly encapsulates its tone and potential energy, Bibbins harnesses his venom and directs it toward those social forces that serve to numb people to the violence of their stultified lives. There’s urgency even in its moments of quiet, and beauty in every explosion.

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Faithful and Virtuous Night

Louise Glück (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Balancing longer, flowing poems with prose blocks, Glück turns to the materiality of lived experience and takes on a conversational tone in this study of stillness, silence, and blankness. Beautifully enigmatic and enigmatically beautiful, Glück grasps the cycle of uncertainty and creation.

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If the Tabloids Are True What Are You?

Matthea Harvey (Graywolf)

Harvey combines poetry and visual art in a way that heightens the effect of every element. It’s playful and emotionally wrenching, as prone to sparking bouts of pleasure as to drawing tears. More than a hybrid collection, it’s a beautiful new creature that demands a new way to engage.

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Citizen: An American Lyric

Claudia Rankine (Graywolf)

Important and powerful, Rankine’s trenchant work on racism in the 21st century uses the innovative formal techniques she developed in Don’t Let Me Be Lonely to inspire sympathy, outrage, and the will to take a deep look at ourselves and our society.

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