Here, in alphabetical order, are 13 of the most exciting poetry reads I experienced during 2013. Although they may belong here, I have excluded books from Mansfield Press, where I have an imprint (issuing this year fantastic poetry by George Bowering, Stephen Brockwell, Jason Camlot and Peter Norman — as well as a collection by me and 29 Canadian collaborators). I have also excluded chapbooks, and I sure read a lot of great chapbooks this year.
If all I had read this past year were these 13 poetry books, it would have been a rich and satisfying 364 days. There are four exciting Selecteds or Collecteds here (Bolaño, Hamilton, Padgett, and Reverdy), as well as one indispensable multi-reissue (Nichol); four remarkable books that mark significant new territory for the poets (Bachinsky, Dailey, Graham, and Thammavongsa); three stunning additions to already-prolific careers (MillAr, Ruefle, and Wier); and one compelling debut (Faulkner).
Each one of these books is a book I will read again. In some cases, again and again. At least a couple of them will be lifelong companions.
Goes without saying, perhaps, that it was tough to keep this list to 13 titles. Next year, though, I guess I get to list 14.
Here are 2013's 13:
THE HOTTEST SUMMER IN RECORDED HISTORY
Elizabeth Bachinsky (Nightwood)
Roberto Bolaño; trans. Laura Healy (New Directions)
Joel Dailey (Lavender Ink/Fell Swoop)
Andrew Faulkner (Coach House)
HER RED HAIR RISES WITH THE WINGS OF INSECTS
Catherine Graham (Wolsak & Wynn)
A DARK DREAMBOX OF ANOTHER KIND
Alfred Starr Hamilton (The Song Cave)
Jay MillAr (Nightwood)
A BOOK OF VARIATIONS: LOVE • ZYGAL • ART FACTS
bpNichol (Coach House)
Ron Padgett (Coffee House)
ed. by Mary Ann Caws; trans. John Ashbery, Dan Bellm, Mary Ann Caws, Lydia Davis, Marilyn Hacker, Richard Howard, Geoffrey O'Brien, Frank O'Hara, Don Padgett, Mark Polizzotti, Kenneth Rexroth, Richard Sieburth, Patricia Terry, Rosanna Warren (NYRB)
TRANCES OF THE BLAST
Mary Ruefle (Wave)
Souvankham Thammavongsa (Pedlar)
YOU GOOD THING
Dara Wier (Wave)
Over and out.