Book Review - A field guide to Coconut Poetry

The Atlanta indie poetry press will be releasing nine poetry collections throughout 2013. Here's the skinny on what they have in store.

By the time 2013 comes to a close, Bruce Covey and his editorial team at Atlanta's Coconut Books will have published 750 pages of new work from 10 different authors, no small task for a small, independent publisher. To help you keep track of the publisher's varied, fascinating taste, we compiled this guide to what they've released so far and what is to come.

Hold It Down by Gina Myers, 102 pp.

Description: An exploration of environment and context in long-form poems, Gina Myers takes us into Saginaw, Mich., when spring is in full bloom as the city itself rots ("False Spring") and into New York City in the late summer and early fall ("Behind the R"). She establishes strain through situation and setting, illustrating the narrator's struggle to engage with her environment when her instinct is to retreat. Tensions build. Cities erode. Time passes. Life carries on and elsewhere.

Recurring imagery/subjects: fear, the city, summer, September, buildings, hangovers, the bus.

Quote: "Sometimes your environment makes you hate yourself."

This Human: A Poem In Seven Parts by Serena Chopra, 116 pp.

Description: This Human is a study of human nature through logical and scientific analysis. Chopra's curiosity cannot be quenched. The pages overflow with biological sketches, logical premises, and nature studies. She leads us through her unstated hypothesis: sometimes empirical data paves a path to mysticism.

Recurring imagery/subjects: beauty, senses, clutter, beasts, negative space, organisms.

Quote: "The body, in its entirety is a sensory organ/detecting and interpreting beauty."

In Anima: Urgency by Amber Nelson, 64 pp.

Description: This text seems ancient. A cornucopia of rich imagery — gunslingers and Delphi, explorations of heaven and time — and experiments with language in a way that few of Nelson's contemporaries would dare. These playful and taunting poems take on new life when read out loud.

Recurring imagery/subjects: leaves, blood, field, grass, blossom, nipples, Delphi, honey.

Quote: "blood june or brain/as in to or too, as in much/ado—a fury pursues,/in a tricky wilderness,/a viol's lance"

I Was Not Even Born by Wendy Xu and Nick Sturm, 42 pp.

Description: A collection of collaborative poems spanning the 611.5 miles between Northampton, Mass., and Akron, OH, over the course of three months — I Was Not Even Born is an equal exchange between authors and reader (everyone gives and everyone gets!). These poems are brimming with joy, amazement, and longing.

Recurring imagery/subjects: sandwiches, pizza, deer, birthdays, roses, hugs.

Quote: "I like you best when at best, you are a verb enacting/the parts of me I forgot."

Of The Mismatched Teacups, Of The Single-Serving Spoon by Jenny Boully, 107 pp.

Description: Over the years that these poems evolved they took on a life of their own. Boully gives us humanity at its most candid — failures and embarrassments in love, in writing, in life and career alongside success, dreams, and ambition.

Recurring imagery/subjects: love, bed, flowers, knife, guitars.

Quote: "What causes sadness is to live in a different place each August, and each August having fog and rain instead of the Perseid Meteor shower."

Dust Jacket by Alexis Orgera, 66 pp.

Description: Orgera's voice is playful and honest. Each poem is a portrait ripe with detail: a caveman cooks his dinner with newly-harnessed fire and burns for something more; a narrator is filled with admiration for Leonardo da Vinci's revelations; a little girl is filled with expectations in October of 1989.

Recurring imagery/subjects: bridges, water, fish, fire, cavemen, da Vinci.

Quote: "She projects safe, unpaved days to ward off the fears that bounce across the windshield in little finch-sized epiphanies."

The Arrow by Lauren Ireland, 78 pp.

Description: There couldn't be a more fitting title for Lauren Ireland's cutting wordplay. Even during its more heart-wrenching moments of honesty there is a slice of humor ("Everyone is dead/at least I hope. I wore the shine right off/my pants..."). Ireland offers little ego and a lot of charm to each page.

Recurring imagery/subjects: New York, sunlight, blankets, boyfriends, LOLA LOLA

Quote: "I dream of a kind of Perrier that I know is going to save my life."

Foreigners's Folly: A Tale of Attempted Project by Jiyoon Lee, 77 pp.

Description: Foreigner's Folly is a series of reflective case-studies about race, culture, and self-perception. At times hilarious and slightly self-deprecating ("Obviously, I don't have an unsophisticated mind. Duh."), Lee maintains an approachable voice that does not shy away from the hard stuff.

Recurring imagery/subjects: project, poetry, tongues, machine, breasts, copies.

Quote: "Get your smarmy hand off me!/trans: My smudged lips and liquidated tongue work perfectly fine, thank you."

Dork Swagger by Steven Karl, 98 pp.

Description: Here we have social commentary from a Generation X-er, accented with illustrations. Reminisce over the gamut of pop culture from the '70s, and '80s — analyze the decades' icons alongside Steven Karl, feel wronged and delighted. Take a stand! Do a line! Drink a beer!

Recurring imagery/subjects: planets, green, swagger, Jim Morrison, bottom, hippies.

Quote: " My shirt says I.O.U./But it's the age/Where you owe/Me everything"

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