Katherine Larson is the winner of the 2010 Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition. With Radial Symmetry, she has created a transcendent body of poems that flourish in the liminal spaces that separate scientific inquiry from empathic knowledge, astute observation from sublime witness. Larson’s inventive lyrics lead the reader through vertiginous landscapes—geographical, phenomenological, psychological—while always remaining attendant to the speaker’s own fragile, creaturely self. An experienced research scientist and field ecologist, Larson dazzles with these sensuous and sophisticated poems, grappling with the powers of poetic imagination as well as the frightful realization of the human capacity for ecological destruction. The result is a profoundly moving collection: eloquent in its lament and celebration.
A remarkably mature first collection of poems, Heidy Steidlmayer’s Fowling Piece is the debut of a highly original voice. As they search for meaning in both the extraordinary and the everyday, these poems, in exquisitely compressed language, display a fierce attention to the history of individual words and a surprising wit. In Steidlmayer’s poetic landscape, words strike the reader as at once familiar and exotic, becoming instruments through which she is able to access and make sense of the most profound, irreducible aspects of human experience. Her mastery of and experiments in form are exceptional for a poet of any age. Fowling Piece offers the rare gift of a new poet whose work is truly new.
Romey’s Order is an indelible sequence of poems voiced by an invented (and inventive) boy called Romey, set alongside a river in the South Carolina lowcountry.
As the word-furious eye and voice of these poems, Romey urgently records—and tries to order—the objects, inscape, injuries, and idiom of his “blood-home” and childhood world. Sounding out the nerves and nodes of language to transform “every burn-mark and blemish,” to “bind our river-wrack and leavings,” Romey seeks to forge finally (if even for a moment) a chord in which he might live. Intently visceral, aural, oral, Atsuro Riley’s poems bristle with musical and imaginative pleasures, with story-telling and picture-making of a new and wholly unexpected kind.
Temper is at once violent and controlled, unflinching and unforgiving in temperament. The poems are mercilessly recursive, placing pressure on the lyric as a mode of both the elegiac and the ecstatic. The result is an enforced silence, urgent with grief.