In his electric debut collection, Maldonado bends poems through bilingual lyrics that present spartan observation as evidence for its exacting verdict, “We never leave when life is elsewhere. The clemency of men disappears / as does the light, tarring the roofs.”
Pavlić’s lyric lines are equal parts introspection and inter-spection, a term he coins for the shared rumination that encourages a collective “deep think” about the arbitrary boundaries that perpetuate racial and geographic segregation and the power of words to transcend those differences.
Lippman’s poems are wildly inventive yet grounded in the 21st century dailyness of parenting and dinner parties and Dunkin Donuts, all of which serve as launch pads into perennial questions of mercy and trust.
“Because it is easier to miss a stranger / with your mother’s name,” Allison Benis White instead writes about five women named Wendy as a way into the complex grief that still lingers after the death of a sixth Wendy, the author’s long-absent mother.
These poems consider how one becomes the parent of another when their own uncertainties, their own wounds — intergenerationally from war, from strained race relations, from constantly being denied a place to belong — are still healing.