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Lesbian Books for Spring: More Than 150 Fascinating Finds

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Rubbing Mirrors, Brigitte Lewis (Detour Press)

With her unique blend of poetic form and narrative arc, Lewis truly makes you want to go to the land down under. An example of just how hot this Australian tale of love and lust gets: “She pushes another finger in me/and I realize/I can’t/stay in control/anymore.” 

Rounding the Human Corners:  Poems, Linda Hogan  (Coffee House Press)

For Chickasaw eco-poet and novelist Linda Hogan smoothing sharp human edges occurs with the recognition of and celebration of the natural world. The longtime single, adoptive mom of two describes the architectural endeavors of insects as though it were the Parthenon. Her lyrical language shares Native American wisdoms like, “the whales are children who died/and didn’t want to return as human.”

Humming the Blues, Cass Dalglish (Calyx)

Dalglish, a journalist turned women’s studies professor, spent more than 10 years studying Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform (a visual form of writing dating back to the 30th century BC) to discover early forms of women’s literature. Her new volume, inspired by Enheduanna’s Song to Inanna, infuses the traces of this ancient text with her own jazz riffs and innovates on feminist mythology for a modern age. Dalglish has discovered new possibilities for feminist poetry in these evocative, often daring poems.

Illuminated Heart:  Love Songs of a Zen Romantic, Joe Pulichino and Julie Higgins (Ravzen Press)

Award-winning collection of poems by Joe Pulichino illustrated by vibrant pastels of Julie Higgins.

Far Beyond Triage, Sarah Lantz (Calyx)

Remarkable poetry from Lantz—who lost her memory and now struggles to read the poems she wrote before the surgery that nearly cost her life while removing cancer from her brain.

Blood Dazzler, Patricia Smith (Coffee House)

Smith became a National Book Award finalist with this searing collection of poems, which chronicle the devastation of Hurricane Katrina by weaving together vivid depictions of the physical and spiritual crisis the storm brought with a clear-eyed indictment of political and bureaucratic culpability. The poems follow the path of the storm from its earliest gatherings as a tropical depression over the Bahamas to its hellish path through New Orleans and the human and urban ghosts it left hovering in its wake. Smith gives voice to Katrina’s villains, victims and survivors, and her love for the city shines through the storm: “And I crawl/through upturned rooms, humming gospel,/closing tired eyes against my home’s/languid rhythms of rot, begging/my new history to hold still.”

The Cosmopolitan, Donna Stonecipher (Coffee House)

Stonecipher has said she thinks of the “poem without line breaks” as more fugue than prose, and her book-length work reads almost like a newspaper serial, one that gives the reader space to reflect on each individual piece before moving on. This book, a winner of the National Poetry Series, feels at times like a paean to everyday experience even when it depicts the strange or extraordinary: “If you’ve been to a city’s airport, can you say you have been to that city?—It was like being in a silent film, where we spoke to each other with great emotion, but no words at all were coming out of our mouths.”

Body Clock, Eleni Sikelianos (Coffee House)

Motherhood has often been a subject for contemporary poetry, but has rarely been dealt with so inwardly. Sikelianos’s laser-precise poems use the space of the page as a vast and multilayered canvas on which to confront the interface of the body’s clock and the world’s. Her book’s engagement with the experience of pregnancy traces the intimate connections between language and the creation of new life: “World is weird, and so/what? Water this poem and watch it/take shape, it’s layers/of the born/world, heard/world.”

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