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Saturday, December 03, 2011
Poets Worth Reading: 175 in 2011, Part One (1-58)
"No century in the evolution of poetry in English ever had 175 poets worth reading, so why are we being asked to sample so many poets of little or no lasting value?" -H. Vendler, reviewing Penguin's Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry, ed. by Rita Dove
Since I apparently read way too many poets not worth reading according to Vendler, I thought I would further the torment by sharing all the wonderful books and poets that I have read in the last year. It didn't even take me a century to read 175 interesting poets, so you can probably dismiss this list entirely if you agree with the above statement.
I'll start with what I've read most recently and branch out including only living poets writing in this decade, in a further effort to point out the viability and importance of poetry being written NOW. I read a lot of dead poets too, so don't worry Vendler. I even cracked the Cantos again this year. I'm sure reading Mina Loy's short stories and plays makes that last gesture null and void in Vendler's eyes, but what can you do? I also may have published and/ or may be married to poets mentioned, but unless anyone becomes a millionaire or exceedingly famous from this list, who cares?
If you're not on this list, either I didn't read you this year or I've never read you and you can remedy that by sending me a book that I may or may not read next year.
1) Ed Sanders, Fug You
While not a book of poetry, it outlines Sanders' long commitment to poetry and revolution, and since I learned most of what I know about the 60s and all of what I know about investigative poetics from Sanders' verse, he gets top spot.
2) Bernadette Mayer, Ethics of Sleep and Studying Hunger Journals
It's a good year when you get two Mayer's to challenge and thwart your knowledge and understanding of the written word.
3) Alice Notley, Culture of One and Reason and Other Women
Reason is an older book, but I love the complicated narrative and read it often this year.
4) Anne Waldman, Soldatesque/ Soldiering with Dreams of Wartime (with Noah Saterstrom)
Waldman continues to plunge into the depths of political inquiry and social justice accompanied with beautiful half page images scrolling across the top of the book's pages.
5) Jack Collom Second Nature (unpublished) This is an as yet uncollected manuscript of Collom's life long commitment to nature and poetry; invaluable, experimental and, of course, humorous.
6) Bill Lavender Memory Wing
Poetic memoir trumping through life and the afterlife, new from Black Widow Press
7) Philip Good, Untitled Writings from a Member of the Blank Generation
Long awaited first collection from a poet long on the scene of poetry happenings over the last several decades
8) rob mclennan, C
Small chunks of syllabic beauty caught in the sparse form and space of this chapbook.
9) Deborah Poe, Elements
Examining the invisible architecture of the world through the lens of association and inference
10) Claire Hero, Sing, Mongrel
Strange, bestial, and hard to look away from--
I'm going to stop commenting on the books only because I will start repeating myself, if it's on the list, I'm saying it's worth reading:
11) Bei Dao, Endure (trans. by Clayton Eshleman and Lucas Klein)
12) Jennifer Denrow, California
13) Alison Pelegrin, Hurricane Party
14) Jenny Bouly, Not Merely Because of the Unknown Stalking Toward Them
15) HR Hegnauer, Sir
16) Jen Hofer, slide rule and one
17) Susana Gardner, Herso, An Heirship in Waves
18) Dara Wier, A Civilian's Journal of the War Years
19) Sergio Medeiros, Vegetal Sex (trans by Raymond Bianchi)
20) Niyi Osundare, City Without People
21) Mairead Byrne, Lucky
22) Jimmy Lo, A Reduction
23) Dave Brinks, (forthcoming) The Secret Brain: Collected Poems
24) John Sinclair Song of Praise Homage to John Coltrane
25) Lee Meitzen Grue, DOWNTOWN
26) Danielle Pafunda, Iatrogenic, Their Testimonies
27) Laynie Browne, Roseate Points of Light
28) Kate Eichhorn, Fieldnotes, a forensics
29) Richard Froude, Fabric
30) Eileen Myles, Sappho's Boat: Poems and Pencil Poems (OK, Sappho's Boat is an older book (and I also read Inferno: A Poet's Novel), but it's a great book that I reread this year)
31)Annie Finch, Among the Goddesses
32) Elizabeth Willis, Address
33) Jamey Jones, Blue Rain Morning
34) Joel Dailey, Surprised by French Fries
35) Travis Cebula, Jamaica
36) Julie Kane, Jazz Funeral
37) Daniele Vogel, lit
38) Brad Richard, Motion Studies
39) Arielle Greenberg and Rachel Zucker, Home/ Birth
40) Kim Rosenfield, Trama
41) Camille Dungy, ed. Black Nature
42) Anne Tardo, The Dik Dik's Solitude
43) Joan Retallack, Procedural Elegies/ Western Civ Cont'd
44) Dodie Bellamy, The Buddhist
45) Susan Howe, That This
46) Carmen Gimenez Smith, Can We Talk Here
47) Cecilia Vicuna, beforehand
48) Benjamin Morris, Coronary
49) Brett Evans, Pisa Can
50) Brenda Iijima, If Not Metaphoric
51) Peter Gizzi, Threshold Songs
52) Julia Cohen, The History of a Lake Never Drowns
53) Emma Bolden, The Sad Epistles
54) Daniel Kerwick, Attach It To The Earth
55) Kirsten Jorgenson, Deseret
56) Brooklyn Copeland, Laked, Fielded, Blanked
57) Nathan Hauke, SEWN
58) Darrell Bourque, In Ordinary Light