Thicket by Cate Peebles

Winner of the 2017 Besmilr Brigham Women Writers Award - selected by Andrea Rexilius & Eric Baus

"What a masterful, mysterious first book. I love these poems for their totally clear, dream-like permeability. I am particularly blown away by the long poem that anchors the book, 'The Woodlands,' which has an extraordinary, tender wildness: it reminds me of my favorite surrealist novels, while also managing somehow to be deeply personal. I look forward to reading these poems, again and again, with growing admiration and joy." —Matthew Zapruder


Participant by Linda Russo

Winner of the 2016 Besmilr Brigham Women Writers Award - selected by John Keene & Eleni Sikelianos

"In her new collection, Linda Russo shows how to distill and clarify perception as a method of lyric practice in order to render "a world made sharp." This long poem of observation, edged with philosophy and critique, floats effortlessly across the page, yet anchors in the consciousness like a vital point on a map of a still not fully visible present and future. Participant's speaker worries the division between natural and built environments around her, "into the undertone of the other world," while demonstrating how poetry fuses the line between being the observer and the one who makes language bring the invisible into view." —John Keene


Common Sense by Jessica Baran

"Funny and sad, the poems in COMMON SENSE sound the gulf between wants and obligations, adolescence and adulthood, love and politics. They speak to the absurdities and desperations of contemporary America, where common sense proves as scarce as its invocations are numerous. These are poems of keen irony and even satire, addressed to the wish fulfillment of presidential elections and the insurgency of teenage lust. They capture the dislocations of common life, the detritus of our days, alert to the strange fictions and contradictions we live within." —Devin Johnston


Sweet Velocity by Rachel Moritz

Winner of the 2015 Besmilr Brigham Women Writers Award - selected by Aaron McCullough and Kristin Prevallet

"Rachel Moritz's poems are a presence, and in being so they reflect all that is absent from them. Absorbed by their language and their mystery, I think of Wallace Stevens who writes about the 'Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.' As Moritz writes, this is the magic of poetry: 'Something transparent, / we know, / still contains.' In Sweet Velocity, the nothing that is appears as footnotes that act the way light does when casting a shadow: people, reflections, and observations appear, cohering at thresholds but not fully coming into view. There are silhouettes of a mother, a child. And there is everything else that comes into these poems as the space that surrounds them. Moritz's poems are exquisitely crafted reminders that our inner self is a 'figment of making.' There is such sweet velocity in following how her figments subtly transform through the lines of her language, which seem to mark and erase at the same time. Exquisite!" —Kirstin Prevallet


Hick Poetics, edited by Shelley Taylor & Abraham Smith

Hick Poetics is an anthology of contemporary American poets connected to rural landscapes. In addition to poems this book includes short essays by a wide variety of established and emerging writers including Michael Earl Craig, Juliana Sphar, G.C.Waldrep and Mei-mei Berssenbrugge to name a few. There is no other assemblage of rural voices this broad; there is no other collection so fully exploring and celebrating Nowhere, USA.


Temper & Felicity Are Lovers by kathryn l. pringle

Winner of the 2014 Besmilr Brigham Women Writers Award - selected by Brian Blanchfield & Arda Collins

Imagine the most transformative single moment of the Occupy movement or the Not in Our Name protests of the Bush agenda after September 11. Imagine, further, that that quickening moment, thrumming with potential, were itself an entity—transhistorical—which had special perspective on individual experience and the united "body" of a republic, the contractual terms that constitute us. That, approximately, is the speaker of kathryn pringle's Temper & Felicity Are Lovers, a deeply inventive and fascinatingly unsteady American book. "when the voice speaks the machines engage—a jettisoned unison. speaking shoulds. the dis-ease of former places eradicated: a past respoken. the one above all becomes us. you can see it now." —Brian Blanchfield


Run Through Rock: Selected Poems by Besmilr Brigham

Asked why she wrote poetry, Besmilr Brigham said "I found it was a game. A very serious game. ...In the late 'sixties and early seventies, there was interest in poetry by women . . . When work was requested, she supplied the pages. So, one finds her represented in Mexico City-based El Corno Emplumado, Harper's Bazaar, Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, and New Directions' annuals.  —C.D. Wright 


Equivalents by Jessica Baran

Winner of the 2012 Besmilr Brigham Women Writers Award - selected by Danielle Pafunda & Prageeta Sharma

“These poems are evidence of a mind that emits thought the way a quick-spinning, millisecond pulsar emits radio waves—with devastating precision. They form a record of incisive looking, and of the tumultuous perceptions sight provokes. They are lyric paradoxes, mostly packaged in prose boxes. They imitate the speed of light and yet, if we look up when we're told to, we find we're standing still while everything that can be observed rushes behind us. They are perfect examples of how well the lyric mode can succinctly interrogate existence. They are distinctive, inventive, intrepid, and discerning. Their rebellious intelligence is irrefutable—I found myself saying 'yes' to every word." — Mary Jo Bang


Trench Town Rock by Kamau Brathwaite

“Trench Town Rock tells us to ‘See see see until you bline.’ It is document, but also vision, as facts are amassed, faces seen and torn apart, typography assembled, destroyed, melted away. This work by Kamau Brathwaite is our twentieth century Inferno, yet its beauty, rather than lifting the suffering to the level of art, is the way in which it makes terror tangible. This may be the Inferno, but there is no Paradiso to come.” —Charles Alexander


Standing Wave by John Taggart

The de-arranging effect of repetition is...reached through communal canting, gospel hymns, mantras, nursery rhymes, Gamelan drumming and jazz such as the driving, dervish solos of John Coltrane and McCoy Tyner . . . What all this work shares is the repetition of tiny cells gradually permutated into blocks of sound with no fixed destination, reiterated until they gain ritual force: more a way of moving than a state of being. For poet John Taggart, "the goal is still transformation."  —Rochelle Ratner & Karl Young


The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You by Frank Stanford

“Most poets would give their left eye to have written this, and their other eye to have done what you’ve done… “
—John Berryman

”This is better than good, it is great. Publish it with a small press, now, as is, no revision. One day it will explode.”
Alan Dugan

”[This poem] is told from the point of view of a twelve-year-old clairvoyant, Francis Gildart; as one reviewer wrote it reads "as if Huckleberry Finn had been written by Andre Breton." Indeed between the early Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf and The Battlefield the genetic code goes uninterrupted. No other poem in Western literature maintains continuity to this extreme.” —C.D. Wright


The Singing Knives by Frank Stanford

“Stanford brings an entirely new aspect to poetry, and newness rides, as it did in Stanford's case, on an intense energy shared between writer and reader, a human connection for which the young
often hunger.” —Matthew Henricksen 


You by Frank Stanford

“When I first encountered Frank Stanford's poetry . . . I felt a fine rush of hope and envy I feel occasionally whenever a poet's language pushes me far beyond my own. Unruly and urgent, the poems stood out from the quieter meditations around them as pure dream, possibly nightmare, curiously lit from within.” —Leslie Ullman


Conditions Uncertain and Likely to Pass Away by Frank Stanford

“Stanford's fiction resembles that of Carson McCullers and Flannery O'Connor, or the contemporary novelist Harry Crews, what we might loosely call the Southern 'freak' writing...Stanford's characters seem to move in some dark, viscous medium, as if damped, insulated from us and each other. Rather than parables or cartoons, each Stanford tale is like a flicker, stifled spark.... ‘Tale’ connotes the oral, something 'told'; these tales bring us voices in the darkness, echoes in echolessness.” —Richard Silberg