Three New Pittsburgh Poetry Collections You May Have Missed | Literary Arts | Pittsburgh


The general chaos of 2020 has made it easy to miss the release of new books, movies, and other works. This is partly due to the fact that all promotional events, such as in-person readings or premieres, have been canceled or simply got lost in the reshuffle.

To compensate, Pittsburgh City Paper highlights three (almost) new collections of local poets, all of which were released in 2020.

The story of our wanderingsJason Irwin (Main Street Rag)
Jason Irwin delivers his third collection of deeply personal and evocative poetry with The story of our wanderings. Released on July 24, 2020, the book demonstrates Irwin’s incredible range and voice, the diverse selections brimming with imagery, dialogue and motif conveying the desire for escape, the strange drama of life in a small city ​​and the author’s own struggles with his health and body.

Irwin deftly creates a sense of place, time and tone, often with pop culture references and hopeless Bruce Springsteen romanticism (the poem “Someone Set My Cousin’s Car On Fire” shows this with lines like “On the edge of seventeen that summer — denim jacket, Motley Crue hairstyle with a desire to be anywhere but where she was — my cousin told her parents she was moving out.” The story of our wanderings is now available for purchase at Main Street Rag website.

Mostly humanSheila Squillante (BrickHouse Books)
Poet and essayist Sheila Squillante, a veteran of the Pittsburgh literary scene, has released her latest book Mostly human in October 2020. She admits to feeling like the book “disappeared in the pandemic.” Although it may have escaped readers (at least, according to Squillante), Mostly human certainly did not escape BrickHouse Booksa small Maryland press that awarded the manuscript its 2020 Wicked Woman Award, an honor that included a book release.

Beginning with a dedication that reads “for all the Gen X girls who yearned to escape,” the poems follow a character named Round Baby “through childhood and adolescence as she discovers desire and death and the limits of his physical and emotional being amid television shows and pop music and global catastrophe,” according to a description on Squillante website. Expect a lively, absurd collection full of sadly feminist energy. Mostly human is now available for purchase at White Whale Bookstore.

My daily actions or the meteoritesS. Brook Corfman (Fordham University Press)
My daily actions or the meteorites the last of the Pittsburgh-based poet S. Brook Corfmanhas garnered attention since its release in August 2020. My daily actions is the sequel to Corfman’s first collection, Luxury, Blue Lace (which won the 2018 Rising Writer Prize from the Pittsburgh-based press Autumn House), and was quoted by the New York Times as being among Best poetry of 2020.

“In these poems, a combination of dread (for something approaching) and anxiety (for what might be approaching but is not yet known) has undone a sense of the present distinct from climate change, global racial capitalism, of whiteness and gender-based violence, especially since I was writing as I tried to figure out how my own gender fit into the world,” reads a description of Corfman on the website. from Fordham University.

The structure of Corfman’s poems shines here, as many selections in My daily actions come in neat, tidy blocks of text as if literally trying to frame and contain the mess and confusion the author is dealing with. My daily actions or the meteorites is available for purchase at Fordham University Press website.


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