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Showcase Selects: 2019 Showcase Picks from Steven Alvarez

Steven Alvarez, a presenting poet in Poets House’s Spring 2019 season, weighs in on his favorite selections from the Poets House Showcase, an annual exhibition of over 3,000 poetry books published in 2018 and 2019, on view through August 17. Come by and find these gems for yourself! 

The Poet X, Elizabeth Acevedo, Harper Teen, 2018

Winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, Acevedo’s lyrical bildungsroman is a novel-in-verse focusing on a young poet’s path to poetry in New York City. This book has expanded poetry readership across generations and will have lasting impacts for inspiring future poets—of all ages.

Lake Michigan, Daniel Borzutzky, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018

Borzutzky’s latest collection directly confronts militarized policing in Chicago, the brutality of privatized incarceration, and the violence of free-market economics in a series of scenes along a dystopic Lake Michigan. Borzutzky’s long, prose-versed lines are hypnotic.

Skins of Columbus, Edgar Garcia, Fence Books, 2019

The 2018 Fence Modern Poets Prize winner, Garcia’s experimental work is a three-month dream journal based on Columbus’s first voyage to the Americas and the navigator’s own chronicles over the same three-month span. Garcia’s “dream ethnography” undercuts the narrative of European “discovery” in a decolonial assemblage across media, languages, levels of consciousness, and histories.

Lima :: Limón, Natalie Scenters-Zapico, Copper Canyon Press, 2019

This exciting new book by Scenters-Zapico lyrically delivers the dignity, beauty, and contradictions of the borderlands, with attention to the power dynamics of gender, race, and history. The movements across and between Spanish and English in this book will be important for poets to study, as Scenters-Zapico is one of the most talented bilingual poets writing today.

New and Selected Poems of Cecilia Vicuña, Cecilia Vicuña, Rosa Alcalá (ed.), Kelsey Street Press, 2018

This fantastic edited bilingual collection of Vicuña’s recent body of work performs poetic visions grounded in lands, textiles, languages, and mythologies. There is a journey of healing and intimate transformation through art in this collection, a journey that stretches across generations but that is always of the earth.

Steven Alvarez is the author of The Codex Mojaodicus, winner of the 2016 Fence Modern Poets Prize. He has also authored the novels-in-verse The Pocho Codex (2011) and The Xicano Genome (2013), and the chapbooks Tonalamatl: El Segundo’s Dream Notes (2017), Un/documented, Kentucky (2016, winner of the Rusty Toque Chapbook Prize), and Six Poems from the Codex Mojaodicus (2014, winner of the Seven Kitchens Press Rane Arroyo Poetry Prize). His work has appeared in the Best Experimental Writing (BAX), Asymptote, Berkeley Poetry Review, Fence, Huizache, The Offing, and Waxwing.

Posted In: Lists