Synopses & Reviews
Whether exploring the porous borders between sin and virtue or examining the lives of saints and mystics to find the human experiences in stories of the divine, the poems in No Confession, No Mass move toward restoration and reunion.
Jennifer Perrine’s poems ask what healing might be possible in the face of sexual and gendered violence worldwide—in New Delhi, in Steubenville, in Juárez, and in neighborhoods and homes never named in the news. The book reflects on our own complicity in violence, “not confessing, but unearthing” former selves who were brutal and brutalized—and treating them with compassion. As the poems work through these seeming paradoxes, they also find joy, celebrating transformations and second chances, whether after the failure of a marriage, the return of a reluctant soldier from war, or the everyday passage of time.
Through the play of language in received forms—abecedarian, sonnet, ballad, ghazal, villanelle, ballade—and in free verse buzzing with assonance, alliteration, and rhyme, these poems sing their resistance to violence in all its forms.
"This debut does many things: there are melancholy poems about love between men in the age of HIV, sonnets in strict and forceful rhyme, poems addressed to paintings and art installations, poems that mix English and Spanish, elegies and protests, and difficult family memories. Corral rarely repeats a form: beyond sonnets, there are clipped, blocklike texts, page-long chants, lines squeezed down to nothing ('The soul,/ like semen,/ escapes/ the body/ swiftly') and hard-edged, digressive free verse: 'The sand calls out for more footprints./ A crack in a boulder/ can never be an entrance/ to a cathedral/ but a mouse can be torn open/ like an orange.' There is outrage against the border-related policies that keep on killing Mexicans and other immigrants, and there is tenderness expressed toward erotic partners and toward artistic allies, from Frida Kahlo to the avant-garde disco cellist Arthur Russell. Finally the binational struggles of migrants can seem to stand for other struggles in life, erotic, familial and literary: 'my love took me through the desert. My breath/ crumbling like bread.' Corral's first book is also the first pick for the venerable Yale Series of Younger Poets from new judge Carl Phillips." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Winner of the 2011 Whiting Writers Award, as given by the Whiting Foundation. Whiting Writers' Award
"[W]e can make of what would blind us a conduit for changed vision, suggests Corral. In these poems, a cage implies all the rest that lies outside it; any frame frames a window through which to see other possibilities unfolding…Like Hayden, Corral resists reductivism. Gay, Chicano, “Illegal-American,” thats all just language, and part of Corrals point is that language, like sex, is fluid and dangerous and thrilling, now a cage, now a window out. In Corrals refusal to think in reductive terms lies his great authority. His refusal to entirely trust authority wins my trust as a reader."—Carl Phillips, from the Foreword Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation
“[Corral] seamlessly blends English and Spanish in Slow Lightning.”—Craig Morgan Teicher, Publishers Weekly Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation
"He mixes colloquial Spanish and English, and he packs many, many lines with sharp, sensual, specific imagery—this is Technicolor poetry. . . . Very engaging."—Ray Olson, Booklist Craig Morgan Teicher - Publishers Weekly
“A classic in the making.”—Rigoberto González, El Paso Times
Ray Olson - Booklist
“When I finished [Slow Lightning
] I bawled. Wise and immense.”—Junot Diaz, The New York Times Book Review
Rigoberto Gonz�lez - El Paso Times
Honorable Mention, Poetry category at the 2013 New York Book Festival sponsored by JM Northern Media LLC.
“Connie Wanek’s beautiful poems travel effortlessly among our various realms—the human, the natural, and the cosmic, inhabited by gods who may have some resemblance to ourselves. The light is wonderfully clear in these accounts, as is the darkness, each one illuminating the other.”—Charles Baxter, author of There’s Something I Want You to Do
“Connie Wanek is one of the best poets of our time, and this new book, Rival Gardens, certainly demonstrates that. These selections . . . are works of wit and subtlety, of clarity, great generosity, and precise vision, and make this book a treasure to read again and again.”—Louis Jenkins, author of Before You Know It and Tin Flag
“In Wanek’s earth-proud, glorious work, all elements are in communication: a chimney offers ‘a plume of smoke hand-feeding the wind,’ a radish ‘bites you back,’ and a moose’s ‘grave eyes’ are ‘reminiscent somehow of Abe Lincoln.’ The first time I found her poems I phoned them to friends before making it past the library stairs. Rival Gardens offers a thrilling gift to anyone who loves metaphors, human beings, compassion and the revelation of sly observation—I’m sending out a cosmic call: these lyric narratives bring you life through a consciousness you wish you had lived.”—Jessica Greenbaum, editor of upstreet and author of The Two Yvonnes
“No Confession, No Mass is lyrical, inventive, and full of surprises, offering us fresh ways of seeing old stories. The music is a delight throughout—agile and apt—language enjoying itself! Jennifer Perrine writes: ‘and returned her whole, startled raw, launched her back into the world.’ This is what fine poetry can do—and No Confession, No Mass does it.”—Ellen Bass, author of Like a Beggar
Announcing the newest winner of the oldest annual literary prize in the United States
Eduardo C. Corral is the 2011 recipient of the Yale Series of Younger Poets award, joining such distinguished previous winners as Adrienne Rich, W. S. Merwin, and John Ashbery. Corral is the first Latino poet to win the competition.
Seamlessly braiding English and Spanish, Corral's poems hurtle across literary and linguistic borders toward a lyricism that slows down experience. He employs a range of forms and phrasing, bringing the vivid particulars of his experiences as a Chicano and gay man to the page. Although Corral's topics are decidedly sobering, contest judge Carl Phillips observes, "one of the more surprising possibilities offered in these poems is joy."
From "Self-Portrait with Tumbling and Lasso"
I'm a cowboy
My soul is
above my head like a lasso.
My right hand
a pistol. My left
automatic. I'm knocking
on every door.
I'm coming on strong . . .
For decades a restorer of old homes, Connie Wanek shows us that poetry is everywhere, encountered as easily in the waterways, landscapes, and winters of Minnesota, as in the old roofs and darkened drawers of a home long uninhabited. Rival Gardens includes more than thirty unpublished poems, along with poems selected from three previous books—all in Wanek’s unmistakable voice: plainspoken and elegant, unassuming and wise, observant and original. Many of her new poems focus on the garden, beginning with the Garden of Eden. A deep feeling for family and for the losses and gains of growing into maturity mark the tone of Rival Gardens, with Wanek always attending to the telling detail and the natural world.
About the Author
Eduardo C. Corral
's poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, New England Review, Ploughshares,
as well as other journals and anthologies. He received a Discovery/The Nation
award and was selected for residencies at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. He lives in southern Arizona.
Carl Phillips is the award-winning author of eleven books of poetry, including Speak Low, which was a National Book Award finalist. He teaches at Washington University in St. Louis. This is his first year as judge of the Yale Series of Younger Poets.