Thursday, December 17, 2009

American Poetry Recommendations

Looking over the poetry I’ve been reading this year, I’ve read quite a number of recent UK collections. This is highly unusual for me. Normally, I read poetry from Scotland, Europe (in translation) and the USA - not much else – and these can come from a variety of time-periods.

This year, I read only one U.S. collection published in 2009 - D.A. Powell’s ‘Chronic’ (unless I include Mark Halliday’s ‘No Panic Here’ chapbook, published by HappenStance in the UK). The American poetry world is so vast, it’s hard to know where to start, except with writers I already know about. I found this list by Brian Foley (thanks to Howard Miller for the tip), which contains some books I think I might like from the last decade of American poetry. I have wide taste, although I have a blind spot both for LANGUAGE poetry and for bland poems full of incidents concerning people’s relatives etc. I like the New York School, WS Graham, Wallace Stevens, Zbigniew Herbert, and I also like quite formal writers like George Szirtes and Don Paterson. I’m not so interested in writers like Sharon Olds and Mary Oliver (not slagging them off – they have a big audience who love them – it’s just not for me). I like poets who can write well and whose minds work in interesting ways

Anyway, what individual U.S. collections from the past decade would people recommend to me? And is there anything coming up in 2010 I should look out for?

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