The Performance of Becoming Human
Daniel Borzutsky
Brooklyn Arts Press, $18.00

If you tie a thread to a living fly, the fly will not die, though its flight will be severely restricted. The fly will no longer be simply a fly but now constitute a work of grotesque beauty. Yet someone inevitably will say, “Look! A fly on a thread!”

Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems
Robin Coste Lewis
Knopf $26.00

If only some enterprising young scientist could boil this book down to a serum and then inject it—quietly, unobtrusively—into Richard Spencer). Yes, as the test case for the antidote to his virus. Then the mass inoculations could begin.

Lacunae: 100 Imagined Ancient Love Poems
Daniel Nadler
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.00

Imagine a contemporary technologist (self-erased) imagining an ancient world (without time or place) imagining short love poems (all anonymous) filling lacunae (you know the type) left by the removal of technology (like the start-up the author runs). Imagine the nakedness of flesh and fruit and hair and poem. Imagine, if you can, the posturing.

New Life
Dan O’Brien
Hangling Loose Press, $18.00

“But I am the Poet,” said The War Reporter. “My life as war reporter is a poem.” “No,” said The Poet, “I am The Poet. Only I can make your war reporting into a poem.” “But without me, you are nothing,” said The War Reporter. “But without me,” said The Poet, “you are only a war reporter.”

Odes
Sharon Olds
Knopf, $16.95

O Sharon Olds of the Infinite Ode, who else could ode the hymen, the blow job, the tampon, the condom, the composting toilet, your very whiteness. Your douche bag cannot go unoded. Not even the mighty Pablo Neruda would dare to do that. Yet one ode is missing from your collection: the Ode to Narcissism.

21 Poems
George Oppen
New Directions, $10.95

“Why is it,” a friend once asked me, that Communist poets are so damn good? There’s César Vallejo, Pablo Neruda, Nazim Hikmet, Thomas McGrath, George Oppen. Why is that?” I’m still trying to find the answer to that question.

The Beautiful Poetry of Donald Trump
Robert Sears
Canongate Books, $12.95

A reader of poetry should always wear a biohazard suit, goggles, and suitable gloves for the task at hand. The suit indicates proper respect for the craft of poetry, while at the same time reflects preparedness for any unforeseen event while reading (sometimes involving fluids). There are times, however, when such prophylactic measures are not enough.

Look
Solmaz Sharif
Graywolf Press, $16.00

Rumor has it a company in Philadelphia, Mississippi, is designing a border wall for Trump that will be constructed with pulped books of poetry. Look is on the top of the list. Graywolf must be ecstatic—a poetry bestseller!

Life on Mars
Tracy K. Smith
Graywolf Press, $16.00

I have never been to Mars. I would very much like to, but not, alas, aboard a poem.

The Best American Poetry 2017
Guest Editor: Natasha Trethaway
Scribner, $18.99

Well, you could shellac it, frame it, and hang it on the wall. Or shred it and use it for mulch. Or better yet, donate it to a hurricane survivor, desperately in need of the best American poetry. The choice is yours.

Afterland
Mai Der Vang
Graywolf Press, $16.00

A Vietnam veteran once told me, “We may have lost the war, but we won every battle.” Sadly, this may well be the epitaph for our sixteen-years-and-counting war in Afghanistan. No doubt a poet will then compose an inevitable book of poems about the legacy of that war entitled, what else, Afterland.

Night Sky with Exit Wounds
Ocean Vuong
Copper Canyon Press, $16.00

It’s disappointing to see this book win so many awards, a friend of mine says, as it will only create a countereffect—there must be something wrong with it if so many literary critics wet their legs over it.

Blackacre
Monica Youn
Graywolf Press, $16.00

A lawyer who is a poet proposes: What if there was a tax break for businesses that hired a poet? The poet, paid a full-time salary, with benefits, would write one poem a year, which would be turned in as part of the tax return. Poets would have jobs! Business would have tax cuts! The Liberal Arts would suddenly be in demand! Writing programs would be chic! There would be a Secretary of Poetry! Who will be a poet!