Throughout Salt Moon, Raleigh native Noel Crook forges the kind of tragic vision Howard Nemerov described as the mark of our finest poets: Drawing on myth and memory, Crook’s fierce lyrics reveal a world that is at once “hopeless and beautiful…giving equal emphasis to both words.” Sacrifice and betrayal, parental love and patricide, unleashed desire and cornered despair—these antitheses fuel Crook’s Ovidian imagination, which ranges freely from Comanche raids in Texas to a slave plantation in North Carolina, from a carpet maker in Istanbul to the beggars in Delhi, from her daughter’s hospital room to the war in Iraq. Rendered in instantly unforgettable images, Salt Moon is that rare book which grows richer with each reading. Noel Crook is the winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry first book award, and the chapbook, Canyon (Red Dragonfly Press). Crook’s poems have appeared in Best New Poets, New Letters, Shenandoah and other journals. She is the poetry editor for Sun Editions.
In his third collection of poetry, Domestic Garden, John Hoppenthaler surveils the remnants of an American Dream. What devotion might mean and look like in our time is at the book’s heart. The poems, written in a variety of styles, offer testimony and uncover, row by row, what remains viable in a garden they hope to resurrect. John Hoppenthaler previously published Lives of Water and Anticipate the Coming Reservoir. With Kazim Ali, he has co-edited a volume of essays on the poetry of Jean Valentine, Jean Valentine: This-World Company. For the cultural journal Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, he edits “A Poetry Congeries.” He is Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at East Carolina University.