New & Noteworthy Poetry Books


DEEP GOSSIP: New and Selected Poems, by Sidney Wade. (Johns Hopkins University, paper, $19.95.) With short lines and sly, syncopated rhymes, Wade’s nature poems contain bliss and terror all at once, as when a vole plays in “fluid light / that screens the cryptic cat.”

INDIGO, by Ellen Bass. (Copper Canyon, paper, $18.) Bass’s work — about marriage and parenting, illness and recovery, small daily pleasures — cultivates an exuberance that’s born of, and balanced by, close watchfulness. “That anyone is born,” she writes in the title poem, “is a wonder. / And here I am, alive.”

BEFORE THE FEVERED SNOW, by Megan Merchant. (Stillhouse, paper, $17.) The opening poem of Merchant’s beautifully somber fourth collection sets the mood: “This coming of winter,” it intones. “Last night, a pack of coyotes chewed a raven until / black feathers blessed the ground.”

THE MALEVOLENT VOLUME, by Justin Phillip Reed. (Coffee House, paper, $16.95.) Reed, who won a National Book Award in 2018, blends intersectional politics and bodily hunger in precise, thorny language: “My horror and my need made sour housemates.”

YEAR OF THE DOG, by Deborah Paredez. (BOA Editions, paper, $17.) Paredez’s second collection looks back to 1970, the year she was born and the year her father, a Mexican-American immigrant, prepared to deploy to Vietnam.

I imprinted on “The X-Files” in the ’90s and devoured my local library’s stock of books on psychic phenomena, ghosts, U.F.O.s and other spooky stories. Michael Rutger’s caper THE ANOMALY is in that vein: It’s a voyage deep into the Grand Canyon with Nolan Moore, an Indiana Jones-style fringe archaeologist with a YouTube show called “The Anomaly Files.”

Nolan and his crew are used to filling their low-budget airtime with flickering shadows and wild conjecture. So imagine their shock when a routine adventure — a quest to find a fabled cavern, described in old newspaper clippings as a treasure-filled tomb — turns up actual evidence of supernatural mysteries and an unknown civilization. And monsters. Definitely monsters.

I love that Rutger (a pen name for the prolific Michael Marshall Smith) based this wild tale on actual hoax news stories from 1909. I’m about to dive into the sequel, “The Possession,” in which the surviving heroes pursue a fresh mystery.

—Stacy Cowley, finance reporter



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