Saturnalia Books

New Book :: Dolore Minimo

Dolore Minimo poetry by Giovanna Cristina Vivinetto published by Saturnalia Books book cover image

Dolore Minimo
Poetry by Giovanna Cristina Vivinetto
Translated by Gabriella Fee and Dora Malech
Saturnalia Books, October 2022

In Dolore Minimo, Giovanna Cristina Vivinetto attends to her own becoming in language both tender and fierce, painful and luminous. This collection, Vivinetto’s first, charts the course of her gender transition in poems that enact a mutually constitutive relationship between self and place, interrogating the foundations of physical, cultural, and emotional landscapes assumed or averred immutable. Her imagination is rooted in the Sicilian landscape of her native Siracusa, even as that ground shifts under foot in response to the poet’s own emotional and physical transformations. Vivinetto engages with classical mythology, Italian feminist theory, and received constructs of family, religion, and gender to explore the terrors and pleasures of a childhood that culminates in a second birth, in which she must be both mother and child. Fee and Malech’s collaborative translations reflect the polyvocal and processual qualities of Vivinetto’s poetry, using language that foregrounds an active liminality and expresses the multiplicities of the self in dynamic conversation over the course of the collection. In Dolore Minimo, the lyric “I” is a chorus, but an intimate one.

New Book :: This We in the Back of the House

The We in the Back of the House poetry by Jacob Sunderlin published by Saturnalia Books book cover image

This We in the Back of the House
Poetry by Jacob Sunderlin
Saturnalia Books, October 2022

Winner of the Saturnalia Book Editors Prize, Jacob Sunderlin’s first book of poems is measured in long shifts, out of sight of customers, written out in bleach, cigarette butts, and cheers to that we who work in the back of the house. Poems written the way stock pots are scoured with steel wool, the way bricks are laid with violent precision and exhausted resignation. These poems were dreamed by a head stuck inside a cement mixer, drunk on the language of work and the spoken we language creates. This is not the romanticized imaginary “Midwest” exploited by cynical politicians but a lyrical and even occult working-class landscape. Its we is made gentle by listening, by being in garages with apple-juice jugs of antifreeze underneath a sky hazed by contrails in the shape of Randy Savage and bootlegged diamonds of anti-helicopter lights while Appetite for Destruction whispers from a pile of burning leaves. This we is made of brothers, of the teenage bricklayer scamming free nuggets from Mickey Dees. These poems are sharp but loving, spoken in the light of a Coleman lantern from a boombox spread out on a blanket down by a river Monsanto owns. This we rides in a 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air left parked out in a shed, windows half-down.

New Book :: The Bright Invisible

The Bright Invisible poetry by Michael Robins published by Saturnalia Books book cover image

The Bright Invisible
Poetry by Michael Robins
Saturnalia Books, October 2022

The Bright Invisible, the fifth collection from Michael Robins, investigates domesticity and desire, reenactment and reclamation, as well as the promise of love alongside the certainty of absence. “Sometimes the sun,” Robins writes, “elbows the ordinary, archival cloud” and sometimes we “close our eyes / & describe for each other what colors appear.” These poems are imbued with the “soft collisions” of our dazzling existence, and they offer the possibility for even the darkest season to guide us once more into spring. Michael Robins is the author of four previous collections, including In Memory of Brilliance & Value and People You May Know, both from Saturnalia Books. He lives in the Portage Park neighborhood of Chicago.

New Book :: Spooks

Spooks by Stella Wong book cover image

Spooks
Poetry by Stella Wong
Saturnalia Books, March 2022

Winner of the Saturnalia Books Editor Prize, Stella Wong’s debut book of poems playfully subverts and willfully challenges any notions we might have about Asian Americanness and its niceties. While her previous chapbook stunned her admirers and adherents into an almost fawning incredulity, this outing eviscerates. More like getting struck with Chinese stars right between the eyes. TKO with a mean left hook to boot. And if you manage to get back up on your feet again, if your dare dance around in the haunted ring that American poetry is, be certain that this most un-model minority bard will teach you not to ever read the same way again.

New Book :: Greyhound Americans

Greyhound Americans by Moncho Ollin Alvarado book cover image

Greyhound Americans
Poetry by Moncho Ollin Alvarado
Saturnalia Books, March 2022

Winner of the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize, this collection is “dazzlingly queer, inclusive, celestial, with indigenous ancestral heart.” Through his verse, poet Moncho Alvarado confronts a family history of borderland politics by discovering a legacy of violence, grief, trauma, and survival through poems that have an unmistakable spirit, tenderness, intimacy, and humility. These poems’ persistent resilience creates a constellation of songs, food, flowers, family, community, and trans joy, that, by the end, wants you to feel loved, nourished, and wants you to remember to say, “I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive.”

New Book :: Tribar

Tribar by Andra Rotaru book cover image

Tribar
Poetry by Andra Rotaru
Translated by Anca Roncea
Saturnalia Books, March 2022

Winner of the Malinda A. Markham Translation Prize, translated from Romanian by Anca Roncea, Tribar starts from the geometrical concept of an impossible triangle whose three sides do not connect but still exist in the form of a triangle, creating a direction for movement. Andra Rotaru’s poetic work has developed from some of her encounters with modern dance choreography: her poems simultaneously mimic and track the body in motion. Her “connections” become joints or articulated bones that work together to carry the body along. This translation recreates this embodiment in English by focusing on the minute details of movement and sound in Andra’s language and on the “kinetic air” of Romanian.