“Creature coterminous with thirst,” Frank Bidart calls himself in a poem from Half-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016, which won the 2017 National Book Award for Poetry. “Bidart’s fiercely original poetry…has found again and again an entry into the heartbreak, pathos, plangency, rage, and depression into which the longing for perfection will lead anyone who finds compromise intolerable” (Helen Vendler).
Eleanor Chai’s debut, Standing Water, “creates a personal mythology of loss and longing rooted in a primal wounding: the separation of mother and child” (Natasha Trethewey), and even though “the void can never be overcome, the struggle unfurls as a beautiful catharsis―haunting, suffocating, and stunningly rendered” (Publishers Weekly).
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