English Without Borders

Fifty Fifty: Carcanet’s Jubilee in Letters 
Edited by Robyn Marsack, With interjections by Michael Schmidt
(Carcanet, 2019, 464 pp., $21.99)

Fifty Fifty: Carcanet’s Jubilee in Letters might be described as a victory lap for what Harold Pinter has called “a great publishing house.” It could also be read as a year-by-year epistolatory narrative of its publisher, Carcanet’s managing director Michael Schmidt. In either case, the fifty-year history of the press is of considerable interest well beyond the UK. In the US Carcanet has remained, relatively speaking, under the radar.  But not only does the Jubilee volume’s five-decade survey neatly illustrate the widening world of English-language literature, several ALSCW poets (Greg Delanty and Jee Leong Koh, to name but two) also form part of the Carcanet narrative.

Other People’s Children: Kate Daniels’s In the Months of My Son’s Recovery

In the Months of My Son’s Recovery: Poems
by Kate Daniels
(LSU, Southern Messenger Series, 2019, 116 pp. $ 19.95)

The poem “Molecules” anchors the latest collection by Kate Daniels, a volume whose subject of opioid abuse is approached through a mother’s intimate familiarity with human cravings:

Whether it’s true or not, that all our
molecules replace themselves each seven
years, his body seems halfway new again,
one year into sobriety.  I keep my distance now
but recall his painful, ten-pound freight, the torpor
of late-term pregnancy.  All those final weeks, I rested,
famished, calling for food I could spin into blood
and bones so he could thrive.