INTERROGATION ROOM By Jennifer Kwon Dobbs. (White Pine, paper, $16.) Korean reunification is the dominant metaphor in Dobbs’s timely collection, which combines poetry and prose, photos and handwritten documents, English and Korean calligraphy to turn repeatedly to the author’s search for her birth mother and lost past. KINDEST REGARDS By Ted Kooser. (Copper Canyon, $30.) Kooser’s greatest assets have long been his generous eye and his way with understatement, two qualities abundantly present in this book of new and selected poems. JUNK By Tommy Pico (Tin House, paper, $15.95.) Part breakup song, part defiant anthem of belonging, the long poem that makes up Pico’s third book is divided into sassy but vulnerable couplets. “I can’t even hear the cicadas over the sound of yr / judgment,” he writes. There’s also a lot about Janet Jackson. 4:30 MOVIE By Donna Masini. (Norton, $25.95.) As the title suggests, Masini’s new collection often engages with movies as a theme — “this burden of being watcher and screen” — but its darker, more intimate poems involve a sick sister. RADICAL LOVE Translated and edited by Omid Safi. (Yale University, $25.) Teachings from the Islamic mystical tradition celebrate God, community, romantic love and more, in verse.
In which we ask colleagues at The Times what they’re reading now.
“I often toggle between two books. The new piece of nonfiction I’m reading is Alexis Clark’s ENEMIES IN LOVE, which centers on an African-American nurse during World War II who falls in love with a German soldier interned at the prisoner of war camp where she works. It’s wild stuff. The book I just finished is Anthony Trollope’s 1875 novel THE WAY WE LIVE NOW, which is a grand satire about London society. The main character is a conniving financial type named Augustus Melmotte, who rises to power despite nagging questions about a criminal past, uncertainty over whether he was ever really ‘a rich man’ and a tendency for lying so extreme, Trollope writes, that ‘not a word that he said was worth anything.’ After Melmotte wins a position in Parliament, by making ‘clamorous assertions of his unprecedented commercial greatness’ and threatening his antagonists in the press with lawsuits, he continues to behave with a ‘special impudence.’ He belittles his wife and uses his daughter as ‘chattel for his own advantage.’ A shady real estate transaction returns to haunt him. As it comes time for Melmotte to face the music, he makes a grand display of himself before members of Parliament, smoking a cigar as if nothing is wrong. The size of Melmotte’s prop is described by Trollope as being ‘about eight inches long.’ Doesn’t it all sound familiar?”
— Jacob Bernstein, features writer, Styles