30 December 2011

10 poetry books from 2011 that flipped me out and one that doesn't exist

I'm not going to claim that I read every damn poetry book that was released in 2011. There are a whole bunch I haven't even dug into yet that might've ended up in this list. There are a whole bunch I have read that just as easily could have been included. And, of course, I'm going to leave out books for which I had editorial responsibility — but you can check out the "a stuart ross book" titles for yourself here at Mansfield Press's snazzy new website.

What follows, then, are 10 perfect-bound books of poetry from 2011 that I'm sure glad were published. They're numbered, but in no particular order.

1. Fall Higher, by Dean Young (Copper Canyon Press)
2. How Long, by Ron Padgett (Coffee House Press)
3. Match, by Helen Guri (Coach House Books)
4. Destroyer and Preserver, by Matthew Rohrer (Wave Books)
5. By Word of Mouth: Poems from the Spanish, 1916–1959, by William Carlos Williams (New Directions)
6. From the Observatory, by Julio Cortázar, translated by Anne McLean (Archipelago Books)
7. The Selected Poems of Ted Berrigan, edited by Alice Notley, Anselm Berrigan, and Edmund Berrigan (University of California Press)
8. You and Three Others Are Approaching a Lake, by Anna Moschovakis (Coffee House Press)
9. Novel, by bill bissett (TalonBooks)
10. Tres, by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Laura Healy (New Directions)

And what's coming up for 2012? I'm not sure what other presses are publishing, but I'm putting four poetry titles through Mansfield this spring that are pretty dreamy. How did I ever get in the position to work with such authors? to help such books into the world? such books that I wish I'd written? (Thank you, Denis De Klerck.)

In This Thin Rain, by Nelson Ball
Holler, by Alice Burdick
Sympathy Loophole, by Jaime Forsythe
What's the Score?, by David W. McFadden

There's another book I'd like to draw your attention to, though:

Oh There You Are, by Larry Fagin (Adventures in Poetry, or perhaps Wave Books, or maybe Coffee House Press, or possibly a resurrected Full Court Press or Siamese Banana Press)
Truth is, this book doesn't exist. Larry Fagin hasn't released a trade collection of poetry since 1978's appropriately titled (as it turns out) I'll Be Seeing You: Poems 1962–1976. But, judging from the generous sampling of his prose poems that appeared in the first issue of The Sienese Shredder back in 2006-07, a new book by Fagin would be pretty damn exciting.

To paraphrase and expand upon Kenneth Patchen, if you say you're a poet, and you expect people to read your poems, you better get out there and buy new poetry books. Even if it means skipping a few precious beers, or even a meal. Because if you don't, then you are a self-absorbed goof. Better yet, buy those books from an independent bookstore. Even if it means paying a bit more. if you absolutely can't afford to buy poetry books, team up with some friends and buy them cooperatively.

Have a good 2012.

Over and out.


At January 01, 2012 5:36 pm , Anonymous Mark Truscott said...

Wow. What a great Mansfield lineup.

At January 03, 2012 10:47 pm , Anonymous Brandon Crilly said...

I like the point you made at the end of this, Stuart. The same argument applies to fiction writers too -- if you're not consistently absorbed in new fiction, you don't have a hope in hell of producing new work. Inspiration comes as much from your peers as it does from the world around you!


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