Charles Jensen's selections:
I Was the Jukebox by Sandra Beasley (W.W. Norton)
She wears a variety of masks and speaks through voices from the archaic to the mundane, but each one has something unique and interesting to tell us, with beautiful and surprising turns of phrase.
The Dance of No Hard Feelings by Mark Bibbins (Copper Canyon)
A unique collection with a strong, trustworthy voice, Bibbins’s poems ply trauma, surrealism, satire, and love with equal measure.
Almost Dorothy by Neil de la Flor (Marsh Hawk Press)
A wholly original book that blurs fiction, the self, and memoir while trespassing across both genre lines and conventional notions of propriety, de la Flor’s collection is beautiful, sad, and impossible not to read in a single sitting.
God Damsel by Reb Livingston (No Tell Books)
Accumulating language from the realms of law, religion, and gender, this book weaves a lively—but ultimately melancholic and compelling—narrative of faith, love, and trust.
Destruction Myth by Mathias Svalina (Cleveland State University Press)
Svalina retells the greatest story ever told again and again, in ways you’d never imagine. The book ends with a crescendo of destruction that is icing on the cake. See my review here.
Faulkner’s Rosary by Sarah Vap (Saturnalia Books)
This cascading series of poems move intuitively through landscape and time as the speaker negotiates love, childrearing, and pregnancy in this unique and gorgeous collection that builds an intimate relationship between speaker and reader.
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Charles Jensen is the author of The First Risk, which was a finalist for the 2010 Lambda Literary Award. New poems will soon appear in Anti-, 32 Poems, and Barn Owl Review. He serves on the Emerging Leader Council of Americans for the Arts and is the founding editor of LOCUSPOINT, which he hopes will soon come out of its hiatus.