Tommy Pico’s “IRL” has an abbreviation for a title, yet the 70-page poem is everything but abbreviated. One page can contain a quote from a Beyoncé song and references to Ferguson, poet Tim Dlugos, and a “white actor-slash-personal trainer.” But “contain” is not the right word here, for the poem seeks not to hold or control but to release that which it speaks of. The line breaks are their own kind of current that pulls and pushes through the past, present, and poem, and “Art- / iculating that is a translation.” To read “IRL” is to move with the Muse in real life.
— Melissa Hohl, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200,
Community Bookstore’s pick: “Something for the Pain” by Gerald Murnane
Why on earth would you want to start the new year with a memoir about horseracing — or about a man watching horseracing, or a man thinking about watching horseracing? Because it was written by Gerald Murnane. “Something for the Pain” explores the reclusive Australian author’s childhood obsession with the turf, set amidst sublime sentences in which every single word and sound and image is in its right place. Murnane is a marvel, and 2017 should be his year.
— Hal Hlavinka, Community Bookstore [43 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.commun
Word’s pick: “Homesick for Another World” by Ottessa Moshfegh
For readers who loved the tragicomic darkness of her novel “Eileen,” Ottessa Moshfegh’s collection of short stories, “Homesick for Another World,” is a much-anticipated pleasure. From a lecherous old man wooing his much younger neighbor to a broke hipster seeking love through refurbished furniture, the 14 stories in Moshfegh’s first collection portray the quotidian at its most absurdly mundane. Moshfegh delves into relationships of all kinds, bringing a touch of humor to the difficult search for human connection.
— Michelle Chen, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbr