In addition to Karin Gottshall’s The River Won’t Hold You, the winner of the 2014 OSU Press/The Journal Wheeler Prize for Poetry, our poetry editors and readers are eagerly awaiting a number of poetry books in 2014.

An * indicates the writer’s work has previously appeared in The Journal.

David Winter, Associate Poetry Editor

Saeed Jones, Prelude to Bruise (Coffee House Press)

Matthea HarveyIf The Tabloids Are True, What Are You? (Graywolf Press)

*Michael Mlekoday, The Dead Eat Everything (Kent State University Press) (36.3)

Eugenia LeighBlood, Sparrows and Sparrows (Four Way Books)

*D. A. PowellRepast (Graywolf Press) (35.2)

Danez Smith, [insert] Boy (YesYes Books)


Janelle DolRayne, Art Editor

Jake Adam York, Abide (Southern Illinois University Press)

Jake’s work often asks us to abide in his light. In his poem “Narcissus incomparabilis” from Persons Unknown, he opens by asking us to “Lean down, lean down/ while the lights abducted.” In the poem “Letter Already Broadcast into Space” which appears in Abide, he asks, “Come down now,/ come down again,/ like the late fall light/ into the mounds along the creek.” Jake’s poetry gently invites us to follow him in his “exploration of contemporary Civil Rights memory.” It asks us to abide the way music asks the body to abide. And we should. If there is one thing I learned from Jake as his student, it’s to listen to him when he tells you to do something—read a poem, listen to a song, make a recipe. Because often, dare I say always, Jake knows what’s best for us. I still listen for Jake, in his poetry and in the wind, because I genuinely miss him telling me what’s good for me. This is why Abide, forthcoming this spring, is the book I most look forward to in 2014. And, in the spirit of Jake, you should too.


Mikko Harvey, Poetry Reader

Mike Young, Sprezzatura (Publishing Genius Press)

The book I’m most excited to read in 2014 is Sprezzatura, by Mike Young. Sprezzatura is the Italian word for “studied carelessness.” Reading his poetry is like being given a pregame speech in another language. Afterwards, you feel like you can do anything, as long as you’re nice about it. Sprezzatura will be his second book of poems. Here is a poem from his first, We Are All Good if They Try Hard Enough, entitled “For You to Finish While You’re Swimming.”


Jenna Kilic, Poetry Editor

*Tarfia FaizullahSeam (Southern Illinois University Press) (38.1)

Jake Adam York, Abide (Southern Illinois University Press)

*Caki Wilkinson, The Wynona Stone Poems (Persea Press) (37.4)

*Chloe Honum, The Tulip-Flame (Cleveland State University Poetry Center) (37.2)

Kendra DeColo, Thieves in the Afterlife (Saturnalia Books)

*Keetje Kuipers, The Keys to the Jail (BOA Editions) (36.4)

Spencer Reece, The Road to Emmaus (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


Shelley Wong, Poetry Editor

Cathy Linh CheSplit (Alice James Books)

*Tarfia Faizullah, Seam (Southern Illinois University Press) (38.1)

Eugenia LeighBlood, Sparrows and Sparrows (Four Way Books)

*Sally Wen Mao, Mad Honey Symposium (Alice James Books) (36.1)

*Cori Winrock, This Coalition of Bones (Kore Press) (38.1)

*Patricia Lockwood, Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals (Penguin) (35.1)

Joshua Clover, Red Epic (Commune Editions)

What a great poetry forecast for 2014! I look forward to slowly savoring and flat-out gorging on many collections this year.

I have lots of love for Cathy Linh Che, Tarfia Faizullah, Eugenia Leigh, and Sally Wen Mao, who are making their poetry book debuts this year. These four poets are taking America by storm this summer on The Honey Badgers Don’t Give A B**k Tour along with Michelle Chan Brown (follow them on Twitter @BadgersofHoney). Their work is unflinching, magnificent, and unforgettable. Check them out and thank me later. For a taste of Sally’s work, “Dirge with Cutlery and Furs” is one of my favorites for its reverence and sartorial wonder.

In addition to publishing poems by Tarfia and Michelle, I am excited to include four of Cori Winrock’s poems in the upcoming winter issue. Her work fills me with terror and worshipful awe, and I can’t wait to read her full collection. Patricia Lockwood has garnered much Internet fame for her Twitter sexts and the most viral poem of 2013, “The Rape Joke,” so I eagerly anticipate her amazingness in her epically titled new book. I also look forward to Joshua Clover’s upcoming release since he has recently published several long poems in Lana Turner on poetry and revolution, and who doesn’t want to read more about that? Be prepared, dear reader.

Shelley Wong is a Kundiman fellow, an MFA candidate at The Ohio State University, and a poetry editor at The Journal. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in Lantern Review, Kartika Review, Linebreak, Eleven Eleven, and Flyway.