Saturday, December 30, 2006

My 2006 Round-Up

Here’s my round-up of the year’s poetry. I’m sure I’ve missed out things I’ll later remember, but it will have to do.

Best Poetry Collections published in 2006

After – Jane Hirshfield (Bloodaxe)
Bad Shaman Blues – W. N. Herbert (Bloodaxe)

Best Poetry Books read in 2006 (but not published then)

The Emperor’s Babe – Bernardine Evaristo (Penguin)
New and Selected Poems – Philip Levine (Knopf)
The Good Neighbour – John Burnside (Cape)
Lives of the Animals – Robert Wrigley (Penguin)
Each Happiness Ringed by Lions – Jane Hirshfield (Bloodaxe)
Scattering Eva – James Sheard (Cape)
Twenty-Three Poems – Michael Mackmin (HappenStance)

Books Published in 2006 I haven’t read yet, but want to soon

Orpheus – Don Paterson [versions of Rilke] (Cape)
District and Circle - Seamus Heaney (Faber and Faber)
Tyrannosaurus Rex versus the Corduroy Kid - Simon Armitage (Faber and Faber)
Horse Latitudes - Paul Muldoon (Faber and Faber)

Favourite Poems Published in 2006

Found Audience – Sarah Wardle (Poetry Review)
Fire – George Szirtes (in his blog, around July/August, I think)

Favourite Poem read in 2006 (but not published then)

Bear Dreams – Robert Wrigley

Favourite Poem posted to a Workshop

Paper DollsPaula Grenside (during NaPoWriMo)

Favourite Poetry Magazines

Poetry Review
The Red Wheelbarrow

Favourite Poetry Webzines


Most Cringe-Inducing Comments on Poetry

One of the judges of the Forward Prize calling Sean O’Brien’s (very good) winning poem “as close as it is possible to come to a perfect poem.”

A critic commenting, in a major UK magazine, on a poet’s debut chapbook (best to leave both nameless), that a certain poem “suggests just why everyone is so glad of [this poet’s] arrival on the scene.” (who is “everyone”? Whose "scene"? What is meant by “arrival”?)

Best Essay on Poetry

Michael Schmidt – StAnza lecture: What, How Well, Why?

Best Live Poetry Gig

Jackie Kay, at the Shore Poets in Edinburgh


Ben Wilkinson said...

Hi Rob,

Enjoyed your poem 'Barbecue' in the last issue of The Red Wheelbarrow (in which my poem 'Rarebit' also appeared); I agree that it's an excellent magazine, better than other uni-based mags (Stand, for example) in my opinion. I also agree that Simon Armitage's new collection is definitely one of the best published this year: the critics didn't seem too convinced but I think it's probably his best since Zoom!. And a certain reviewer in a certain excellent magazine did slip up quite cringeworthily with that little 'arrival on the scene' comment... perhaps it was meant in the broadest and most colloquial sense? Wishing you the best for 07,


Hedgie said...

A fascinating list, Rob. I've posted a somewhat different kind over at in "The Compost Heap." I want to thank you; it was at your recommendation that I first read Robert Wrigley.

I've read District and Circle; it's fine. I'm also very much looking forward especially to Paterson's Rilke translations and Muldoon's new book, as well.

Matt Merritt said...

Good stuff, Rob. You've reminded me that my New Year reading resolution must be to get hold of some WN Herbert. Every time I read individual poems, I like them.
Happy Hogmanay!

Rob said...

Ben, you're probably right. The reviewer probably didn't intend it the way it sounded. But it betrays an attitude, I think. I enjoyed your poem in The Red Wheelbarrow too by the way - clever enjambment all the way. The RW no doubt benefits both from passing trade i.e. the StAnza festival, and from the writers attached to the University.

Hedgie, your list is more than interesting!

Of course, I only found out about Robert Wrigley because I read one of his poems that some idiot had plagiarised and posted for critique at Pffa as if it was his own poem (everyone said how good it was). However, after outing the plagiarist, I was so impressed with the poem that I bought the (real) Wrigley's book. Strange how these things happen. I'm really enjoying Heaney's District and Circle too.

Matt, Herbert's book is excellent. He can do anything - a multitude of voices, all of them authentic. It's good to know you are a Yo La Tengo fan, by the way. Are YLT popular with poets? - that's you, me and Martin Stannard I know about so far.