Winner of the 2014 Brittingham Prize in Poetry, selected by Naomi Shihab Nye
The word “tyrant” carries negative connotations, but in this new collection, Joanne Diaz tries to understand what makes tyranny so compelling, even seductive. These dynamic, funny, often poignant poems investigate the nature of tyranny in all of its forms—political, cultural, familial, and erotic. Poems about Stalin, Lenin, and Castro appear beside poems about deeply personal histories. The result is a powerful exploration of desire, grief, and loss in a world where private relationships are always illuminated and informed by larger, more despotic forces.
Joanne Diaz is an assistant professor of English at Illinois Wesleyan University. She is the author of an earlier collection of poems, The Lessons, and her poetry has appeared in AGNI, The American Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner, among other publications. She is also a past recipient of writing fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Winner of the 2014 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, selected by Naomi Shihab Nye
Inspired by thrift store knit sleeves, punk rock record sleeves, and, of course, print book sleeves, Angela Sorby explores how the concrete world hails us in waves of color and sound. She asks implicitly, “What makes the sleeve wave? Is it the body or some force larger than the self?” As Sorby’s tough, ironic, and subtly political voice repeatedly insists, we apprehend, use, and release more energy than we can possibly control. This collection includes two main parts—one visual, one aural—flanking a central pastoral poem sung by Virgilian sheep. Meant to be read both silently and aloud, the poems in The Sleeve Waves meditate on how almost everything—like light and sound—comes to us in waves that break and vanish and yet continue.
Angela Sorby is an associate professor of English at Marquette University. She is the author of three books: Distance Learning: Poems; Schoolroom Poets: Childhood, Performance, and the Place of American Poetry; and Bird skin coat, winner of the 2009 Brittingham Prize in Poetry.
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