Sara Deniz Akant's Babette, selected by Maggie Nelson for Rescue Press' Black Box Poetry Prize, mixes motor-thrum with incantation, promising to "make no pattern / known again." Perpetually on the move, Babette's populous—from Penny "turned into a toy" to the always absent, always there "gohst in the glare"—are machines of the living, at once spectre, shell, meat, and instrument. Uneasy in their habits, these poems transition between spaces "not made for inhabitants," sifting through manor walls as easily as fog banks. Babette is subversive, menacing, infectious. "There are hazards to Babette."
- Let me tell you some things about Babette. It doesn't sound like anything else… It is a deeply weird, expert emissary from a world already fully formed. - Maggie Nelson
- Sara Deniz Akant is visually and sonically arresting poet, pushing the limits of the knowable range of the imagination. - D.A. Powell
- Babette is the future of poetry. - Cathy Park Hong
Sara Deniz Akant’s Parades, selected by Gillian Conoley for Omnidawn’s Poetry Chapbook Prize, presents a world of pre-or-post apocalyptic limbo, where past is conflated with present and future; the known is embedded in the dark and unknown. Contained by seemingly inevitable geometric structures and driven by trance-like meters, hushing rhymes, the poems in Parades congeal to a substance more slippery than traceable: one that is cohesive, yet never static. Both surprising and itself surprised, this work suggests an affiliation with external forces just as it boasts its own internal logics. Here is a world, once again, that taps and harnesses our deeper vacillations: between the celebratory and the tragic, the singular and the plural, the human, the animal, and the machine.
- Parades feels entirely new... Parades is pure enchantment, pure surprise. - Gillian Conoley
- These beautifully entangled pieces find their roots in family, in memory, in childhood—especially in the purity of expression we find in childhood, which is all too soon lost. Always readjusting, these poems feel like a night of profound yet troubled dreaming about the past. - Jeff Griffin
- Latronic Strag has become part of my your our throats. - Adrienne Raphel