At the end of every year at Connotation Press we highlight the work of writers in our many columns. It’s not easy to make these choices at the end of every year because we love all of the work we publish. And yet we want to give a shout out to the words that wouldn’t let us go and the lines or phrases we kept in our heads long after we stopped reading.
We start this look back with the work of Jessica Lynn Suchon. Her poems narrate the ways trauma affects the body, and the imagery in her lines left us breathless. We hope you’ll also revisit Suchon’s interview where she discusses how trauma survivors navigate both the exterior and interior worlds.
Chris Campanioni’s poems made us think about how we engage with one another through 21st century technology. This work takes you inside a world that wants to engage with living and breathing bodies but is interrupted by the electronic.
Hannah Oberman-Breindel’s poems are beautifully structured but also heartbreaking, taking us through loss while giving us hope. They’re also filled with sound and rhythm, so take a moment of an August afternoon and speak these poems aloud.
Sevé Torres’ work is filled with music as well; Associate Poetry Editor Davon Loeb notes, “His poems are jam-packed with percussion and rhythm, as if the pen was a drum pedal.” As these lines sing to us, they also impart the necessity of weaving stories into our lives so that we take notice of ourselves and others.
We had some wonderful poems from Michael Boccardo this year about how the mind works, both under the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and outside the disease. These poems are gorgeous narratives about family and memory, and finely wrought.
Nandidi Dhar brought us a wonderful poem that recreates ideas about lineage by creating a new landscape. Dhar’s use of form in this poem is exquisite as it becomes a landscape of its own.
I love what Davon Loeb says about Sam Herschel Wein’s poems: “There are no unnecessary words or punctuation; rather the diction and syntax is calculated in order to engage the ear and the heart.” Wein indeed puts us at full attention in these poems that traverse landscapes while discussing fear and the paths we take in dreams.
We close our retrospective with Margaret Cipriano whose poems are “windows into childhood, womanhood, and the transitions between,” as Davon mentions. Here we encounter drowned and hunted girls, and the bodies women become trapped within. These haunting poems will remain with you long after you’ve left the page.
Thank you so much for revisiting these poets with us! A great many thanks to Davon Loeb for his fantastic work on this column and to Ken Robidoux for his continued support. As always, we appreciate all of our contributors and readers for following us on this journey that has so far spanned eight years. We couldn’t do this without you.