In this stunning collection of new poems, Mary Oliver returns to the imagery that has defined her life’s work, describing with wonder both the everyday and the unaffected beauty of nature. Herons, sparrows, owls, and kingfishers flit across the page in meditations on love, artistry, and impermanence. Whether considering a bird’s nest, the seeming patience of oak trees, or the artworks of Franz Marc, Oliver reminds us of the transformative power of attention and how much can be contained within the smallest moments. At its heart, “Blue Horses” asks what it means to truly belong to this world, to live in it attuned to all its changes. Humorous, gentle, and always honest, Oliver is a visionary of the natural world.
By Richard Renaldi
Since 2007, Richard Renaldi has been working on a series of photographs that involve approaching & asking complete strangers to physically interact while posing together for a portrait. Working on the street with a large-format, 8-by-10-inch view camera, Renaldi encounters the subjects for his photographs in towns & cities all over the United States. He pairs them up & invites them to pose together, intimately, in ways that people are usually taught to reserve for their close friends & loved ones. Renaldi creates spontaneous & fleeting relationships between strangers for the camera, often pushing his subjects beyond their comfort levels. These relationships may only last for the moment the shutter is released, but the resulting photographs are moving & provocative, & raise profound questions about the possibilities for positive human connection in a diverse society.
A searing new collection from one of our country’s most important poets.
Typically cryptic, God said three weasels
slipping electric over the rocks
one current conducting them up the tree
by the river in the woods of the country
into which I walked
away and away and away
Once in the West, Christian Wiman’s fourth collection of poetry, is as intense and intimate as poetry gets – from the “suffering of primal silence” that it plumbs to the “rockshriek of joy” that it achieves and enables. Readers of Wiman’s earlier books will recognize the sharp characterization and humor – “From her I learned the earthworm’s exemplary open-mindedness, / its engine of discriminate shit” – as well as his particular brand of reverent rage: “Lord if I implore you please just please leave me alone / is that a prayer that’s every instant answered?” But there is something new here, too: moving love poems to Wiman’s wife, tender glimpses of the poet’s children, and, amid the onslaughts of illness and fear and failures, “a trace / of peace.”
By Francesco Marciuliano
Just when we all thought things couldn’t get any cuter, from the author of the New York Times bestselling I Could Pee on This comes I Knead My Mommy, a book of confessional poems about the triumphs, trials, and daily discoveries of being a kitten. From climbing walls to claiming hearts, these little cats bare all in such instant classics as “And Then You Said ‘No,’” “Ode to a Lizard I Didn’t Know Is Also a Pet in This House,” and “I Will Save You.” With adorable photos of the poetic prodigies throughout, this volume gives readers a glimpse into their confused and curious feline minds as they encounter the world around them.
By Jeff McMahon
“So use your time as best you can, be happy when you’re done, and live your life with no regrets, they only give you one.”
Words of wisdom, whimsy and wonder fill this collection of tall tales and silly stories. As you wander through the pages you just may come across a rare Giraffapotamus, or meet The Remarkable Hector McTwee, and maybe even take a ride on a Unicornicycle. There are Cannonballs and Cartwheelers, Tree Climbers and Trampolinists, Moon Swimmers and Moose Riders, and an amazing assortment of funny, strange, and unforgettable rhymes that will have you wondering just what’s coming next. A timeless collection of poems and art keeping the tradition of hardcover books and bedtime reading alive. This is the first in a projected trilogy which will include the sequel Running To The Sun, to be followed by Sailing To The Stars.
In the spirit of the wonderful books by Shel Silverstein, these beautifully illustrated verses and story-poems come to life with memorable characters and messages that will appeal to youngsters, parents, grandparents, adults, teens, and basically children of all ages. This poetry collection will become a favorite that you will turn to again and again, for bedtime reading, family time, or if you just need a smile to brighten your day.
By Richard Blanco, 2013 inaugural poet
For All of Us, One Today is a fluid, poetic account of Richard Blanco’s life-changing experiences as the inaugural poet in 2013. In this brief and evocative narrative, he shares the story of the call from the White House committee and all the exhilaration and upheaval of the days that followed. For the first time, he reveals the inspiration and challenges – including his experiences as a Latino immigrant and gay man – behind the creation of the inaugural poem, One Today, as well as two other poems commissioned for the occasion (Mother Country and What We Know of Country), published here for the first time ever, alongside translations of all three of those poems into his native Spanish. Finally, Blanco reflects on his new role as a public voice, his vision for poetry’s place in our nation’s consciousness, his spiritual embrace of Americans everywhere, and his renewed understanding of what it means to be an American as a result of the inauguration. Like the inaugural poem itself, For All of Us, One Today speaks to what makes this country and its people great, marking a historic moment of hope and promise in our evolving American landscape.
By Patricia MacLachlan & Emily MacLachlan Charest, illustrated by Barry Moser
Princess Sheba Darling is a beauty queen. Romeo is a lover. Tuck knows the coziest spots to sleep. Eddie has a job to do.
From cuddler to troublemaker, kitten to tom, cats have a lot to say. Authors Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest and illustrator Barry Moser give voice to and celebrate our most opinionated furry friends in this spirited collection of feline poetry. Full of curiosity, mischief, and some secrets, too, Cat Talk is sure to make readers wonder what their own four-legged friends have to say.
Faster Than Light: New and Selected Poems, 1996-2011 by Marilyn Nelson, Connecticut poet and UConn professor
Conjuring numerous voices and characters across oceans and centuries, Faster Than Light explores widely disparate experiences through the lens of traditional poetic forms. This volume contains a selection of Marilyn Nelson’s new and uncollected poems as well as work from each of her lyric histories of eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and twentieth-century African-American individuals and communities, and The Cachoeira Tales, a long riff on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Poems include the stories of historical figures like Emmett Till, the fourteen-year-old boy lynched in 1955, and the inhabitants of Seneca Village, an African American community razed in 1857 for the creation of Central Park. Bivouac in a Storm tells the story of a group of young soldiers, later to become known as the Tuskegee Airmen, as they trained near Biloxi, Mississippi, “marching in summer heat / thick as blackstrap molasses, under trees / haunted by whippings.” Later pieces range from the poet’s travels in Africa, Europe, and Polynesia, to poems written in collaboration with Father Jacques de Foiard Brown, a former Benedictine monk who becomes the subject of Nelson’s playful fictional fantasy sequence, Adventure-Monk! Both personal and historical, these poems are grounded in quotidian detail but reach toward spiritual and moral truths.
By Langston Hughes, illustrated by Bryan Collier
The poetic wisdom of Langston Hughes merges with visionary illustrations from Bryan Collier in this inspirational picture book that carries the promise of equality.
“I, too, sing America.
I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.”
Langston Hughes was a courageous voice of his time, and his authentic call for equality still rings true today. Beautiful paintings from Barack Obama illustrator Bryan Collier accompany and reinvent the celebrated lines of the poem “I, Too,” creating a breathtaking reminder to all Americans that we are united despite our differences.
Recently named the 2013 winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for illustration!
The finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Awards for 2012 have been announced, and Byrd’s Books carries some of the top titles selected as nominees! You can browse them under the award nominee tag, or just check them out below:
Autobiography & Biography
- In the House of the Interpreter by Ngugi wa Thiong’o (autobiography)
- The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro (biography)
- The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo by Tom Reiss (biography)
Criticism & Nonfiction:
- Reinventing Bach by Paul Edie (criticism)
- Waiting for the Barbarians by Daniel Mendelsohn (criticism)
- Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo (nonfiction)
- Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity by Andrew Solomon (nonfiction)
Fiction & Poetry