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2024 Spring Poetry Collections from Laura Newbern & Alison C. Rollins

(l-r:) Laura Newbern (photo: Matisse Rogers), Alison C. Rollins (photo: Maya Ayanna Darasaw)

Laura Newbern (RJFWA ’10), A Night in the Country (Changes Press, March 2024)

“Selected by Louise Glück as Winner of the 2023 Changes Book Prize, Laura Newbern’s second collection is a work of burning, restrained urgency that looks at loss, isolation, the passage of time—and what endures despite. Written in a town that was once home to the world’s largest asylum, these poems are studies in the dual nature of that idea: asylum, always both a protection and an exile. A Night in the Country is haunted by figures of loneliness who attend to their isolation with a spirit of religiosity, for them a necessary art. This is a quietly astonishing book about the enduring discrepancy between what we hope for and what is possible.”

Laura Newbern is also the author of Love and the Eye, selected by Claudia Rankine for Kore Press. Her poems have appeared in The AtlanticThe Threepenny ReviewPoetry, and The Georgia Review, among others. She grew up in Washington, D.C. and currently lives and works in Georgia.

Alison C. Rollins (RJFWA ’18), Black Bell (Copper Canyon Press, April 2024) 

“Inspired by the nineteenth-century image of an enslaved woman wearing iron horns and bells, Alison C. Rollins’s Black Bell explores and catalogues both individual experience and collective memory. Poems travel across time and space, between the eighteenth century and futuristic fabulations, vibrating with fugitive frequencies, sounds of survival, and nerve-racking notes tuned toward love and liberation. Black Bell navigates what it means to be both invisible and spectacle, hidden and on display, allowing lyric language to become the material for fashioning wearable sculptures akin to Nick Cave’s ‘Soundsuits.’ Integrating performance art practices, metalwork, and sonics, Black Bell becomes a multimedia meditation on freedom seeking, furthering the possibilities of the canvas of the page as well as the poet’s body.”

Alison C. Rollins was awarded a 2023-24 Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellowship and named a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow in 2019. A Cave Canem and Callaloo fellow, her work, across genres, has appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry ReviewBlack Warrior ReviewGulf Coast, Iowa ReviewThe New York Times Magazine, and elsewhere. Her debut poetry collection, Library of Small Catastrophes (Copper Canyon Press, 2019) was a 2020 Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award nominee. Alison holds an MFA from Brown University and an MSLIS from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.



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