As the poetry selection on our shelves was looking a bit sparse, for August we have decided to add four different poetry collections, starting with ESL or You Weren’t Here, the debut collection from Aldrin Valdez, a queer Pinoy writer and visual artist.
From the publisher: “ESL or You Weren’t Here tells the story of a queer Pinoy who immigrates to New York in the 1990s in order to be reunited with their parents. What follows is the poet’s awakening to the legacy of American imperialism & colonialism in the Philippines, and to the experience of living between languages, cultures, temporalities, and genders—untranslatable. ESL asks the reader to bear witness to embodied histories of forced immigration, separation and abandonment rooted in patriarchal racism.”
Next up is Homie by Danez Smith (a queer and non-binary African American poet and writer), a collection that springs from a personal loss and tragedy in the author’s life to explore injustice, resistance, and hope.
From the publisher: “Homie is Danez Smith’s magnificent anthem about the saving grace of friendship. Rooted in the loss of one of Smith’s close friends, this book comes out of the search for joy and intimacy within a nation where both can seem scarce and getting scarcer. In poems of rare power and generosity, Smith acknowledges that in a country overrun by violence, xenophobia, and disparity, and in a body defined by race, queerness, and diagnosis, it can be hard to survive, even harder to remember reasons for living. But then the phone lights up, or a shout comes up to the window, and family—blood and chosen—arrives with just the right food and some redemption. Part friendship diary, part bright elegy, part war cry, Homie is the exuberant new book written for Danez and for Danez’s friends and for you and for yours.”
In Dyke (geology), Sabrina Imbler (a half-Chinese writer and dyke based out of New York) focuses on a personified and newly queer Hawaiian volcano.
From the publisher: “Through intertwined threads of autofiction, lyric science writing, and the tale of a newly queer Hawaiian volcano, Sabrina Imbler delivers a coming out story on a geological time scale. This is a small book that tackles large, wholly human questions—what it means to live and date under white supremacy, to never know if one is loved or fetishized, how to navigate fierce desires and tectonic heartbreak through the rise and eventual eruption of a first queer love.”
And finally, A System of Satellites by queer and trans Vietnamese American poet Như Xuân Nguyễn is a slim chapbook that pushes form and voice in interesting ways.
From Adrian Matejka: “Extraordinary poems come together to build Như Xuân Nguyễn’s A System of Satellites, a chapbook that is relentless in its elegance, restless in its truths, and one that questions what we must do to remain our most permanent selves inside all the man-made gerrymanderings of gender, race, nation—false constructions that almost always refuse to see those of us on the margins, no matter how bright our reflections.”
Regardless of what your poetry inclinations are, there will hopefully be some works that fit, and we’re excited to be adding so many vibrant voices to the lending library!
And as an added treat, author Sam LaRose has donated their just-out Dylan Duology novels! These books are also part of the Dark Little Town setting, and are a continuation of Dylan's story. Honest Lies (book one) picks up on Dylan's story three years after the first series when he finally returns to Manhattan. But being back in familiar territory brings with it familiar faces and many decisions to be made. In Press Play (book two), Dylan continues to struggle with just what it is he wants out of life, and who. Consider checking out these books by a local author! Interested in learning more about Sam LaRose? Have a look at our author interview with them: https://www.cvlgbt.org/post/author-interview-sam-larose