15 Books Published by Copper Canyon Press on AALBC — Book Cover Collage

Click for more detail about Content Warning by Akwaeke Emezi Content Warning

by Akwaeke Emezi
Copper Canyon Press (Apr 05, 2022)
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The first book of poems from an acclaimed young author, whose meteoric rise has already landed them on the cover of Time Magazine. In their bold debut poetry collection, Akwaeke Emezi—award-winning author of Freshwater, PET, The Death of Vivek Oji, and Dear Senthuran—imagines a new depth of belonging. Crafted of both divine and earthly materials, these poems travel from home to homesickness, tracing desire to surrender and abuse to survival, while mapping out a chosen family that includes the son of god, mary auntie, and magdalene with the chestnut eyes. Written from a spiritfirst perspective and celebrating the essence of self that is impossible to drown, kill, or reduce, Content Warning: Everything distills the radiant power and epic grief of a mischievous and wanting young deity, embodied.

Click for more detail about Library of Small Catastrophes by Alison C. Rollins Library of Small Catastrophes

by Alison C. Rollins
Copper Canyon Press (Apr 23, 2019)
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Alison Rollins, a librarian by trade, disrupts the canon by re-cataloging language, culture, and history in her debut collection.

"Rollins debut is a book of dissonance, with race and women’s bodies proving two unyielding concerns throughout this four-part work. In poem after poem, Rollins demonstrates that she is finding her own way, shining a light, making darkness apparent." ―Publishers Weekly "The range of Rollins’ poetic skill is remarkable. The result is a collection of poetry which is magnificently crafted, readable, and crucially important." ―New York Journal of Books Library of Small Catastrophes, Alison Rollins’ ambitious debut collection, interrogates the body and nation as storehouses of countless tragedies. Drawing from Jorge Luis Borges’ fascination with the library, Rollins uses the concept of the archive to offer a lyric history of the ways in which we process loss. "Memory is about the future, not the past," she writes, and rather than shying away from the anger, anxiety, and mourning of her narrators, Rollins’ poetry seeks to challenge the status quo, engaging in a diverse, boundary-defying dialogue with an ever-present reminder of the ways race, sexuality, spirituality, violence, and American culture collide.

Click for more detail about The Tradition by Jericho Brown The Tradition

by Jericho Brown
Copper Canyon Press (Apr 02, 2019)
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“By some literary magic—no, it’s precision, and honesty—Brown manages to bestow upon even the most public of subjects the most intimate and personal stakes.” —Craig Morgan Teicher, "I Reject Walls: NPR 2019 Poetry Preview" "A relentless dismantling of identity, a difficult jewel of a poem."—Rita Dove, in her introduction to Jericho Brown’s "Dark" (featured in the New York Times Magazine in January 2019) "Winner of a Whiting Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, Brown’s hard-won lyricism finds fire (and idyll) in the intersection of politics and love for queer Black men."—O, The Oprah Magazine Featured in NPR’s "I Reject Walls" A 2019 Poetry Preview" Named a Lit Hub "Most Anticipated Book of 2019" One of Buzzfeed’s "66 Books Coming in 2019 You’ll Want to Keep Your Eyes On" The Rumpus poetry pick for "What to Read When 2019 is Just Around the Corner" One of Book Riot’s "50 Must-Read Poetry Collections of 2019"

Jericho Brown’s daring book The Tradition details the normalization of evil and its history at the intersection of the past and the personal. Brown’s poetic concerns are both broad and intimate, and at their very core a distillation of the incredibly human: What is safety? Who is this nation? Where does freedom truly lie? Brown makes mythical pastorals to question the terrors to which we’ve become accustomed, and to celebrate how we survive. Poems of fatherhood, legacy, blackness, queerness, worship, and trauma are propelled into stunning clarity by Brown’s mastery, and his invention of the duplex—a combination of the sonnet, the ghazal, and the blues—is testament to his formal skill. The Tradition is a cutting and necessary collection, relentless in its quest for survival while reveling in a celebration of contradiction.

Click for more detail about The New Testament by Jericho Brown The New Testament

by Jericho Brown
Copper Canyon Press (Sep 16, 2014)
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Honored as a ""Best Book of 2014"" by Library JournalHonored as a ""Standout Book of 2014"" by American Poet magazineWinnner of the Thom Gunn Award for Gay PoetryPaterson Award for Literary Excellence, 2015 NPR.org writes: “In his second collection, The New Testament, Brown treats disease and love and lust between men, with a gentle touch, returning again and again to the stories of the Bible, which confirm or dispute his vision of real life. ‘Every last word is contagious,’ he writes, awake to all the implications of that phrase. There is plenty of guilt—survivor’s guilt, sinner’s guilt—and ever-present death, but also the joy of survival and sin. And not everyone has the chutzpah to rewrite The Good Book.€¯—NPR.org“Brown’s is a necessary art in an era that has seen lingering racial conflict and growing acceptance of gays in America, as well as extreme intolerance and homophobia in many countries overseas. These poems work because while they emanate from an intimately personal place, social concerns loom as large as the barber in Bonnat’s painting. To merge the private with the public so seamlessly is an enviable feat.€¯ —The Antioch Review""Erotic and grief-stricken, ministerial and playful, Brown offers his reader a journey unlike any other in contemporary poetry.""—Rain Taxi""To read Jericho Brown’s poems is to encounter devastating genius.""—Claudia RankineIn the world of Jericho Brown’s second book, disease runs through the body, violence runs through the neighborhood, memories run through the mind, trauma runs through generations. Almost eerily quiet in even the bluntest of poems, Brown gives us the ache of a throat that has yet to say the hardest thing—and the truth is coming on fast.Fairy TaleSay the shame I see inching like steam Along the streets will never seep Beneath the doors of this bedroom, And if it does, if we dare to breathe, Tell me that though the world ends us, Lover, it cannot end our love Of narrative. Don’t you have a story For me?—like the one you tell With fingers over my lips to keep me From sighing when—before the queen Is kidnapped—the prince bows To the enemy, handing over the horn Of his favorite unicorn like those men Brought, bought, and whipped until They accepted their masters€™ names. Jericho Brown worked as the speechwriter for the mayor of New Orleans before earning his PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Houston. His first book, PLEASE (New Issues), won the American Book Award. He currently teaches at Emory University and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Click for more detail about King Me by Roger Reeves King Me

by Roger Reeves
Copper Canyon Press (Nov 19, 2013)
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On the ?Best Poetry Books of the Year” list from Library Journal ?A sophisticated and breathtaking writer, Reeves takes the reader on a harrowing journey: each poem comes packed with arresting imagery, relentless in its examination of how tragedy and trauma become internalized ? cleaning out the wounds to understand the pain.”?Los Angeles Review of Books?Roger Reeves’ King Me stitches together many worlds into one startling and visceral book. His ranging, encyclopedic knowledge crosses history, medicine, biology, metapoetics and more, but he tackles it all with a bold and sonorous surrealist flow.”?American Microreviews From a horse witnessing the lynching of Emmett Till to Mikhail Bulgakov chronicling the forced famines in Poland in the 1930s, King Me examines the erotics of care and the place of song, elegy, and praise as testaments to those moments. As Roger Reeves said in an interview, "While writing King Me, I became very interested in the mythology of king, the one who is sacrificed at the end of the harvest season… . For me, the myth manifests in the killing of young black men, Emmett Till, and in the ways America deems young, black male bodies as expendable?Jean Michel Basquiat, Mike Tyson, Jack Johnson. These are the young kings whom we love to kill?over and over again."From "Some Young Kings":The hummingbirds inside my chest,with their needle-nosed pliers for tonguesand hammer-heavy wings, have left a messof ticks in my lungs and a punctured lullabyin my throat. Little boy blue come blowyour horn. The cow’s in the meadow. And Dorothy’s alone in the corn with Jack, his black fingers, the brass of his lips, the half-moons of his fingernails clickingalong her legs until she howls?Charlie Parker. Charlie Parker. Charlie Parker … Roger Reeves earned his MFA from the James A. Michener Center for Creative Writing and his PhD from the University of Texas. His poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, and Boston Review. He teaches at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Click for more detail about The Crossed-Out Swastika by Cyrus Cassells The Crossed-Out Swastika

by Cyrus Cassells
Copper Canyon Press (May 08, 2012)
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"Cassells is a passionate poet whose poems touch the core of human connection through which can flow union with the infinite. Highly recommended."-Library JournalCyrus Cassells’ fifth book commemorates the blazing integrity of young people caught in the vise of World War II. In its journey through the "anti-miracle" of Europe’s embattled past, The Crossed-Out Swastika follows the lives of historical and semi-fictional characters to unearth and amplify moments of almost impossible music, bravery, beauty, and redemption, illuminating the human spirit against unspeakable tyranny.Poet, from cellar to cellar, I remember I held onto, of all things,a picture book about a magical goat, inscribed by my witty father:This storybook belongs to Mademoiselle Sabinethe way Paris once belonged to Marie Antoinette-Somehow having that book helped me to endure.Cyrus Cassells grew up in the Mojave Desert. He graduated from Stanford University and has worked as a translator, film critic, and actor; he currently teaches poetry in the MFA program at Texas State University-San Marcos. He lives in Austin, Texas. "

Click for more detail about Sanctificum by Chris Abani Sanctificum

by Chris Abani
Copper Canyon Press (Apr 01, 2010)
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“Abani … explores place and humor, exile and freedom with poems of experience and imagination … [he] enters the wound with a boldness that avoids nothing. Highly recommended.” —Library Journal“Stunning poems.” —New HumanistA self-described “zealot of optimism,” poet and novelist Chris Abani bravely travels into the charged intersections of atrocity and love, politics and religion, loss and renewal. In poems of devastating beauty, he investigates complex personal history, family, and romantic love.Sanctificum, Abani’s fifth collection of poetry, is his most personal and ambitious book. Utilizing religious ritual, the Nigerian Igbo language, and reggae rhythms, Abani creates a post-racial, liturgical love song that covers the globe from Abuja to Los Angeles.I say hibiscus and mean innocence.
I say guava and mean childhood.
I say mosquito netting and mean loss.
I say father and it means only that.
Happen that we all dream, but the sea is only sea.
Happen that we call upon God but it is only a breeze
ruffling a prayer book in a small church
where benches groan in the heat … Chris Abani was born in Nigeria in 1966 and published his first novel at sixteen. He was imprisoned for his writings, and after his release he eventually moved to the United States. He is the author of ten books of poetry and fiction, including the best-selling novel GraceLand. He teaches at the University of California-Riverside and lives in Los Angeles.

Click for more detail about Directed By Desire: The Collected Poems Of June Jordan by June Jordan Directed By Desire: The Collected Poems Of June Jordan

by June Jordan
Copper Canyon Press (Jun 01, 2007)
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Directed by Desire is a powerful addition to the entire canon of American poetry.”—BooklistNow in paperback, Directed by Desire is the definitive overview of June Jordan’s -poetry. Collecting the finest work from Jordan’s ten volumes, as well as dozens of “last poems” that were never published in Jordan’s lifetime, these more than six hundred pages overflow with intimate lyricism, elegance, fury, meditative solos, and dazzling vernacular riffs.As Adrienne Rich writes in her introduction, June Jordan “wanted her readers, listeners, students, to feel their own latent power—of the word, the deed, of their own beauty and intrinsic value.” From “These Poems”:

These poems
they are things that I do
in the dark
reaching for you
whoever you are
are you ready?

The cloth edition of Directed by Desire was selected as a Library Journal Poetry Book of the Year and received the Lambda Book Award for Lesbian Poetry. June Jordan taught at UC Berkeley for many years and founded Poetry for the People. Her twenty-eight books include poetry, essays, fiction, and children’s books. She was a regular columnist for The Progressive and a prolific writer whose articles appeared in The Village Voice, The New York Times, Ms. Magazine, and The Nation. After her death in 2002, a school in the San Francisco School District was renamed in her honor.

Click for more detail about Hands Washing Water by Chris Abani Hands Washing Water

by Chris Abani
Copper Canyon Press (Oct 01, 2006)
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“Chris Abani’s poetry resonates with a devastating beauty which cuts through to the heart of human strength.”—Pride
Hands Washing Water is Chris Abani’s fourth poetry collection—a mischievous book of displacement, exile, ancestry, and subversive humor. The central section, “Buffalo Women,” is a Civil War correspondence between lovers that plays on our assumptions about war, gender, morality, and politics.
Sweetest Henri,
I know we promised to be honest,
one to the other, but your recent missive,
though welcome as any epistle from you,
filled me with a dread that clung
like dampness to wet wood. I am terrified
for your immortal soul, dear sweet Henri.
This mad war of Lincoln is infecting you
with a sickness too depraved to even address…Abani’s writing is ruthless, at times traumatic, and consistently filled with surprising twists and turns.

Click for more detail about Mi Revalueshanary Fren by Linton Kwesi Johnson Mi Revalueshanary Fren

by Linton Kwesi Johnson
Ausable Press (Jan 01, 2006)
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“Few poets of the last thirty years have approached his diversity of formal innovations; few have communicated so intensively via performances and recordings, as often as not with integral musical settings; and few have proved so effective politically… a living modern classic for real.” London Magazine “You can just hear the reggae drumbeat as his verse vacillates among fire, anger, fear, profound loss, and victory.” Savoy Magazine, January 2007“The man writes some of the most moving poetry to be found in popular music.David Bowie in Vanity Fair
“His observations are the rich fruits of both a lyrical childhood on a Jamaican farm, and his bottled anger on the streets of London. During his teenage years in Brixton, Johnson witnessed serial episodes of racial abuse and joined the Black Panthers movement in protest. There, he learned his history and culture, but found his own outlet.”Caroline Frost, BBC Four
Linton Kwesi Johnson is the most influential black poet in Britain. The author of five previous collections of poetry and numerous record albums, he is known worldwide for his fusion of lyrical verse and reggae. Much of his work is written in the street Creole of the Caribbean communities in which he grew up in England. Mi Revalueshanary Fren includes all of his best-known poems, which concern racism and politics, personal experience, philosophy, and the art of music, among other things.
Contains a full-length CD of Johnson reading.

Click for more detail about More Than Peace and Cypresses by Cyrus Cassells More Than Peace and Cypresses

by Cyrus Cassells
Copper Canyon Press (Oct 01, 2004)
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A lyrical "book of heroes" about the role of art, creation, and inspiration.

Click for more detail about Waiting for Sweet Betty by Clarence Major Waiting for Sweet Betty

by Clarence Major
Copper Canyon Press (Oct 01, 2002)
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"I find myself writing poems about things I can’t paint," writes Clarence Major who, for 40 years, has been viewed by critics as a "polymorphous writer who has been iconoclast, black esthetician, modernist, surrealist, postmodernist, and deconstructionist" (World Literature Today).In Waiting for Sweet Betty, Major watches the world with careful longing to capture the exchanges and conflicts between person and place. Just as a painter juxtaposes colors and shapes, Major does the same with words, often writing as an outsider in foreign places. He shifts perspective away from the self, allowing words to play off one another subtly—with puns, inverted/subverted cliches, and sweet bop soundings—so that his vision might become anyone’s. His subtle, conversational style, is at once humble, playful, humorous, and studied, and his stories can be seen as well as heard:I ride backwards to see what I’m missing.Big pines and big skies ride up and down and around,
Up and down and around then for a straight stretch.A white pickup shooting along a white highway east with us.Note I’m trying to call home but cannot.Sky and brush and pine and salt-earth curving sharply, tilting away—from "Train Window Going and Coming""Clarence Major is a master of everyday language and textual fine-tuning, showing an indebtedness to the Harlem Renaissance, to the Objectivists, and to Black Mountaineers."—Publishers WeeklyClarence Major was a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry for Configurations: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon). He is the author of 10 books of poetry, nine novels, a short story collection, and several books of nonfiction. He is the subject of two recent books: Clarence Major and His Art (UNC Press) and Conversations with Clarence Major (Mississippi). Major teaches American literature at the University of California at Davis.

Click for more detail about Configurations: New & Selected Poems, 1958-1998 by Clarence Major Configurations: New & Selected Poems, 1958-1998

by Clarence Major
Copper Canyon Press (Sep 01, 1998)
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Finalist for the National Book Award

Drawing his most outstanding work from nine previous volumes of award-winning poetry, Clarence Major had added a substantial body of new work to present a clear assessment of his forty-year career. By turns humorous and serious, Major is always richly lyrical while remaining precise in his observations. Line by line, his poems insist upon their own integrity, driven on by music as equally inspired by blues and jazz as it is by the Cantos of Ezra Pound.

Born in Atlanta and raised in Chicago, Clarence Major is the author of eight previous volumes of poetry, eight novels, including Dirty Bird Blues (originally published in HC by Mercury House), several collections of short stories and nonfiction, and editor of two acclaimed anthologies of African-American literature. He teaches at the University of California, Davis.

"Like the finest blues, Clarence Major is, by turns, hypnotic, exotic, and healthily erotic."—Al Young

"[Clarence Major] writes poetry with the resistant, angular surface of tumbled brick. As if the poem had been literally smashed. An improvisational, jazz-like quality. Some tough, sharp observations."—Kirkus Reviews

"Passionate [and] controlled lyricism… The prevailing tonality of the poetry is quiet, almost philosophical."—Library Journal

Click for more detail about Beautiful Signor by Cyrus Cassells Beautiful Signor

by Cyrus Cassells
Copper Canyon Press (Jun 01, 1997)
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A trenchant search for beauty amidst a world ravaged by cruelty.

Click for more detail about Soul Make a Path Through Shouting by Cyrus Cassells Soul Make a Path Through Shouting

by Cyrus Cassells
Copper Canyon Press (Jul 01, 1994)
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Soul Make a Path Through Shouting is Cyrus Cassells’ second book. His first, The Mud Actor, was selected for the National Poetry Series by Al Young in 1982. Enriched both mythologically and experientially by world travels, Cassells makes the vital journey inward, a search for spiritual grace among "hen feathers, rubble, shards of broken dolls" in Afghanistan or among the vantage-points of the Pyrenees. He draws with equal ease from classical Greek mythology and experientially by his world travels, oral traditions, and others, and the result is an often hypnotic and rhapsodic interweaving of dramatic narratives forming a single whole. He celebrates the dignity and courage of a girl on her way to school in 1957, knowing as only an authentic poet can, that this is the real history, the real and necessary song of a world. Soul Make a Path Through Shouting is a virtuoso performance.