Saturday, October 20, 2007

What I've Been Reading This Week

It just happens to be five books — actually three books and two magazines, but who's counting? (see Paisley Rekdals's hilarious essay about her five-book-a-week poetry diet, and Jeannine's well-measured rant about reading it).

1. The Georgia Review: Including a great review essay by the inimitable Judith Kitchen, about the collected poems volumes of Goldbarth, Philips, Wrigley, McClanahan, Beasley, Zimmer and Engles. A new play by David Wagoner. And this terrific poem from Kevin Prufer (well-placed next to some disturbing photos from the Iraq war):

The Twentieth Century

Kiss its cheek, then smooth its sad, gray hair.
Bring it secret cigarettes. How could they hurt
it anymore? A smoke to staunch the fear
is mercy in the end. The doctors purse

their lips or look away. They occupy their hands
with clipboards. Leave them to their notes. Smile. It's what
the dying want. Not tears, you fool. Nor bland-
eyes sentiment. Truth, neither. Offer it

a light. Tell that joke about Jews, the queer,
the drunken nigger. There you go. It smiles
at that, and so should you. Nothing quells our fears
like comedy, nothing sublimates out ills --

and if it finds no comfort from your visit,
put a pillow to its mouth, and, so, be done with it.

--Kevin Prufer, Georgia Review, Fall 2007

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2. Notes for My Body Double, Paul Guest: Great book, Paul. I love your long wandering meditative stanzas. Congrats!

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3. Nervous System, William Stobb: I've just started this. Love "October with Zoloft Trial Packet." What a hoot.

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4. Time and Materials, Robert Hass: One of my favorite poets. A lot of good stuff here. I am currently taken with the Horace imitations.

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5. Prairie Schooner, Fall 2007: A lot of good poems here. And a review of Robin Becker's Domain of Perfect Affection, written by Ron Slate.

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What *five books* are you reading?

3 comments:

C. Dale said...

1. Hass' Time and Materials

2. Guest's Notes For My Body Double

3. Campo's The Enemy

4. Armantrout's Next Life

5. Plath's The Colossus

Montgomery Maxton said...

The Handmaid's Tale, American Psycho, Anne Sexton Self Portrait in Letters (fourth time), none, none.

Pamela said...

1. Collected Poems--Carol Ann Duffy

2. Selected Poems--Hart Crane

3. The Dyer's Hand--Auden

4. Run--Ann Patchett

5. Ecclesiastes