Breaking the Rules curates books that break genre boundaries between poetry, memoir, and fiction. From cut-up photographs to junk mail from false prophets to cyborg biographies, each book offers visionary alternatives to the traditional “poetry” collection. For readers and writers who like to go against the rules.
Dream of No One but Myself by D.M. Bradford
Dream of No One but Myself is a lyrical unravelling of the trauma-memoir-as-proof-it’s-now-handled motif. Using verse, transformed photos, self-erasure, and family keepsakes, this book asks instead what does it look like if we consider narrative as always in motion, unstable, and frayed?Get Your Copy
House Within a House by Nicholas Dawson (translated by D.M. Bradford)
In this book, an award-winning translation from Nicholas Dawson’s Désormais, ma demeure, prose poetry, essay, autobiography and photography cohabitate to relate what it is to live in a deep depression.Get Your Copy
Grey All Over by Andrea Actis
Late in the evening of December 13, 2007, Andrea Actis found her father, Jeff, facedown dead in her East Vancouver apartment. So began her passage through grief, self-reckoning, and graduate school in Providence, Rhode Island, where the poetics she studied (and sometimes repudiated) became integral to her gradual reconstruction of wholeness.
An assemblage of “evidence” recovered from emails about paranormal encounters sent and received by Jeff (firstname.lastname@example.org), junk mail from false prophets, an annotated excerpt from Laura (Riding) Jackson’s “The Serious Angels: A True Story,” and transcripts of Actis’ dreams, conversations, and messages to the dead, Grey All Over not only celebrates a rare, close, complicated father-daughter bond, it also boldly expands the empathetic and critical capacities of poetry itself.Get Your Copy
The Grey Islands by John Steffler
A “curious book” composed of census data, ghost stories, faux philosophical musings, tall tales, lyrics of natural description, yarns, journal entries, dramatics monologues, messages, and dreams,
The Grey Islands has usually been understood as a modern rendering of an old story – the quest of the individual who retreats from civilization to find a more authentic self in nature on islands off the coast of Newfoundland. But it’s also more than that; interrupting and challenging the authority of the narrator’s colonial mindset,” the book is about people and how culture helps us survive.Get Your Copy
The Cyborg Anthology by Lindsay B-e
Though it’s not your typical Norton Anthology of Literature, this book is organized like one–split into sections that include a biography of each poet and a sample of their poetry. Only this time, the poets are Cyborgs writing after a cataclysmic event and they are writing about loss and the world to come.
Showcasing a range of forms and ideas, the collection carries echoes of speculative fiction’s best: Le Guin, Brunner and Monáe.Get Your Copy
Riffs by Dennis Lee
It might seem too easy to make these musical analogies, but they fit so well.
Whenever I read Lee’s poems, I am reminded of Denise Levertov’s observation in her 1982 essay “The Poem as Score” that they “manifest a full awareness of the poem as a form of musical score, in which melody – the pitchpatterns of the voice – is indicated to the reader by the deployments of the words on the page.”Get Your Copy