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Io Poetry Series

Found in Poetry
Westport Poems by Jonathan Towers
Jackleg Opera: Collected Poems, 1990 to 2013 by BJ Ward
Relations with the Natural World by Jonathan Towers

Io Poetry Series : Titles in Order

Book 8
A beloved, familiar figure known as “Jon the Walker” for his daily appearances traversing the marshes and waterways of various Connecticut towns, Jonathan Towers composed brief, emotionally evocative poems until his suicide in 2005 after years of struggle with mental illness. His work was fueled by reading and a rich inner life exploring the tarot, medieval history, courtly love and relationship, and the pre-Socratic philosophers. These poems beautifully evoke a sense of place, while also powerfully critiquing the forces of modern life that threaten it.
Book 7
BJ Ward, an award-winning poet whose poetry and essays have been featured on National Public Radio and in publications such as The Sun Magazine, TriQuarterly, The Literary Review, and the New York Times, has brought together in one volume the fruits of his labor spanning over twenty years. Winner of the 2014 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence, this rich collection of thoughtful and often ironic reflections reveals both the reverence and irreverence of human experience. Jackleg Opera contains material from Ward’s three previous books Landing in New Jersey with Soft Hands, 17 Love Poems with No Despair, and Gravedigger’s Birthday, as well as thirty-five new poems that are reminiscent of the clear simple style of Poet Laureate Billy Collins.

Under the Elm
We left the party, walked / beneath a moon that seemed / more a spotlight than night, / until we found a tree. / We pressed against it / and the grass rose against us, / the sky continued to darken, / and soon days, weeks, migrations, / and metamorphoses passed / as we kissed ourselves out / of our bored lives. / Us–two thousand miles away now, / the grass still growing wild around our feet.

“In poems that both honor and transcend his blue-collar roots, BJ Ward blends poignancy and humor with downright good storytelling, and takes his place among the brightest voices of his generation.”–Stephen Dunn, winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
Book 6
Joanna McClure’s poems reveal the story of a central woman writer of the San Francisco Beat generation counterculture. Married to Beat poet Michael McClure soon after she arrived in San Francisco in 1954, Joanna McClure became a significant figure in the Beat poetry scene.

Growing up on a ranch in the Arizona desert, Joanna developed early on a deep sensitivity to the beauty of nature. Her move to San Francisco as a young woman in 1951 launched a lifelong love affair with that city and the poetry it engendered. Thriving on the energy of the Beat movement, the young poet found herself inside a circle of famous poets and great writers in American poetry and American literature, including San Francisco Renaissance poet Robert Duncan and his lover, artist Jess Collins, as well as the Beats Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, and Gary Snyder. She heard Ginsberg’s first public reading of “Howl” at the Six Gallery in 1955, and the home she shared with Michael became a gathering place for beatniks.

Meanwhile, Joanna was developing own body of poetic work, allowing her clear inner voice to guide her. Her poems ardently claim the freedoms her generation struggled to achieve, yet they often do so in a playful and generous voice, reveling in the beauty of the natural world and everyday moments and elegantly celebrating sensuality and intimate love. In the late 1950s she began publishing her work in literary journals and chapbooks, and her first book of poems, Wolf Eyes, was published in 1974.

Like many of her female Beat poet contemporaries, and American women writers throughout the 20th century, Joanna McClure wrote prolifically yet quietly year after year, even as her life shifted focus to a career in early childhood development and she and Michael divorced. “Poetry is where I keep company with myself,” she declares. Now for the first time the full range of McClure’s voice is accessible in one volume, spanning the poet’s entire writing life.
Book 5
Jack Kerouac immortalized her in his novel Big Sur. A student of Zen, she hung out with Gary Snyder and Allen Ginsberg and was a speaker at San Francisco’s Human Be-In. But Lenore Kandel was no muse or hanger-on; she was a brilliant lyric poet, often unabashedly erotic, and that’s where her legacy lies.
 
Collected Poems of Lenore Kandel contains 80 examples of her art, from the “holy erotica” of her early years to later, more contemplative works. Many of the poems have never been published, others only in rare ephemeral publications. Some are explicit, celebrating carnal love as part of the divine. Others are humorous and cover more quotidian subjects. A recurring theme is the “divine animal” duality. The collection includes poems written from the early fifties up until Kandel’s death.

The paradox of Lenore Kandel is that despite her prodigious talent, she was one of the least read and critically appreciated of modern poets. Kandel found her voice at a time when the Beat era was giving way to the countercultural age, and though she straddled both eras, it meant that she also fell through the cracks in terms of recognition. Now for the first time the full range of her work appears in one volume.
Book 4
Wild Horses, Wild Dreams follows a trajectory from the early seventies to the present, giving a generous overview of Lindy Hough’s intellectual world and emotionally evocative language. The book samples poems from previously published books along with new poems. Selections from Changing Woman, Psyche, The Sun in Cancer, and Outlands & Inlands show a delight in language and the transformative nature of art, grounded in place and sensuous detail. The narrator of Changing Woman is a young mother in her early twenties, steeped in the detail of life, questioning and ironic as she puzzles out truth and authenticity in Maine. In Psyche, she maps the inner life of a Vermont college town and its inhabitants, in a conceit based on Helen of Troy. In The Sun in Cancer, Hough begins to show a strong involvement in Buddhism and consciousness as she explores life on the West and East coasts. In Outlands & Inlands, dreams, dance, and obsession map changing human dilemmas. In the new poems, Hough continues her account of an attempt to square external reality with inner, digging deeper into human dynamics as history folds in on contemporary concerns. Linguistic nuance, surprising syntax, and the grounding of the breath poetics of projective verse are all richly present here, and show why she has gained acclaim as an important modern poet.
Book 3
***Winner of Poetry Society of America’s 2010 Shelley Memorial Award

Kenneth Irby has practiced his craft at the center of the American poetry scene for decades, yet is little known to the mainstream. An associate of the legendary Black Mountain poets as well as of the celebrated seventies L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E group of literary experimenters, he was a close colleague of writers such as Robert Duncan, Ed Dorn, and Robert Creeley. This comprehensive collection marks the first time the full range of Irby’s artistry has been presented in one place.

Irby’s early career, starting in the 1960s, paralleled the late Beat era and the counterculture, and his blend of innovative wordplay with personal and political themes made him an important voice of that era. At the same time, he was able to forge his own path, conjuring a style that was both universal and distinctly American. Critics and other poets especially have noted his avant-garde use of sound, silence, and unusual sentence structure to seduce readers. His surprising, incantatory style conjures the feel of jazz in a striking blend of heart and mind. As poet Robert Kelly has observed, “No one . . . has ever rooted down and plumbed the mystery of American places, land, name, history of our taking space, as Irby does. No one . . . has so clearly articulated the living fact, that America is an intelligent thing, and that . . . each human being has a root awareness of the inadequacy of this place, and that is vision.”
Book 2
This is the inaugural volume of a new series of literary hardcovers from North Atlantic Books. This series will collect the important work of writers who have served as major influences upon and contributors to the cultural and psychic milieu from which North Atlantic evolved.

A distinguished figure of American letters, whose work and spirit have bridged five decades of creativity, Gerrit Lansing provides a perfect launch for the series with this collected edition of his poetry, which astonishes by the variety of its poetic forms and concerns, lyrical and cosmological. It cannot easily be fitted into niches currently fashionable. Like a "seed growing secretly" (to quote a favorite poet of his, Henry Vaughan), it has influenced the American cultural underground since the late 1950s. Lansing was a friend and associate of generations of creative minds as diverse as the poet Charles Olson and the legendary filmmaker Harry Smith. Poet Robert Kelly notes that "he is the most learned among us, and the most fun."

Lansing has patiently fashioned a body of work that ranges from short poems such as "The Heavenly Tree Grows Downward" and "In Northern Earth," from which this collection takes its title, to longer cycles like the alchemical serial poem "The Soluble Forest." With themes at once personal and social, erotic and esoteric, Heavenly Tree, Northern Earth manifests the creative spirit of one of the important unheralded masters of modern poetry.
Book 1
A beloved, familiar figure known as “Jon the Walker” for his daily appearances traversing the marshes and waterways of various Connecticut towns, Jonathan Towers composed brief, emotionally evocative poems until his suicide in 2005 after years of struggle with mental illness. His work was fueled by reading and a rich inner life exploring the tarot, medieval history, courtly love and relationship, and the pre-Socratic philosophers. These poems beautifully evoke a sense of place, while also powerfully critiquing the forces of modern life that threaten it.

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