Each year now, for nearly a decade, Steve Evans, at the University of Maine-Orono, has been performing the heroic service of inviting poets to share the 11 titles that have most engaged or excited them over the past year. You can read my list, with comments, here.
The great benefit of Steve's collation is that it allows one to catch up with, or at least be alerted to, the many poetry titles that time and attention span make it impossible to keep up with. Lists, of course, are all about bias, about fixing boundaries and establishing genealogies. A list is desire's argument with transience. Even the most erratic constellation invites pattern recognition. My own, I can't help but notice, speaks to my proclivities for a visionary angularity that has not entirely forsaken the somewhat shop-soiled shibboleth of meaning.
Here are the titles of seven other books of poetry that I found crucial, dazzling, or simply beautiful.
R.H.W. Dillard | What Is Owed the Dead | Factory Hollow | 2011
Michael Price | Doombook | The Figures | 1998
Anna Moschovakis | You and Three Others Are Approaching a Lake | Coffee House | 2011
Timothy Donnelly | The Cloud Corporation | Wave Books | 2010
Peter Gizzi | Threshold Songs | Wesleyan | 2011
Srikanth Reddy | Voyager | U Cal Press | 2011
Linda Norton | The Public Gardens | Pressed Wafer | 2011