Tuesday, January 03, 2012
Best Poetry Books of 2011
Happy New Year! I thought I'd look back on 2011 and give a shout out to the ten or so books of poetry from the past year that I enjoyed the most, or found the most memorable. In no particular order:
Woodnote, Christine Deavel: the long-poem pastiche "Economy" culled from her deceased aunt's diary entries was one of the most exhilarating poetry experiences of the year for me.
Every Dress a Decision, Elizabeth Austen: so good to see this important poet from the Seattle scene get her first full length book.
Flies, Michael Dickman: I loved the dream-like black humor and the reference to Emily Dickinson.
Present Vanishing, Dick Allen: Though this book came out in 2008, I didn't read it until this year. I love the Zen poems especially.
The Book of Men, Dorianne Laux: I enjoyed the nostalgia for the 60-70's pop stars. Perfect for my age demographic.
The Hands of Strangers: Janice N. Harrington's wonderful debut collection from BOA about life (and death) in the nursing home does not sound like it would be that engaging. But this book is pretty amazing. Start with the poem about bedsores.
The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands, Nick Flynn : Uneven, but what an amazing cover image, and some really devastating moments in the poems too.
The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, Martha Silano: a wonderful blending of cosmology, motherhood, and cooking. Even better that Patricia Smith's Life on Mars (which is also one of my faves for 2011, though I really didn't start reading it until the last few days).
Space, In Chains, Laura Kasischke: another book with space, cosmology, in its title. Hmmm, a theme here?
And some from 2011 I am looking forward to reading this year:
Songs of Unreason, Jim Harrison.
Head Off & Split, Nikky Finney
Dear Prudence: New and Selected, David Trinidad.
If you have a suggestion for a book I may have missed, feel free to comment or backchannel.