I have been browsing the book haven that is The Strand in New York City’s website of late, as well as various library catalogues (as you can more than likely tell, I am very much anticipating getting stuck into a whole city’s worth of bookishness), and thought I’d put together a post highlighting my current poetry wishlist. All of these books were chosen at random from an enormous list.
1. Falling Awake by Alice Oswald
‘Mutability – a sense that all matter is unstable in the face of mortality – is at the heart of this new collection and each poem is involved in that drama: the held tension that is embodied life, and life’s losing struggle with the gravity of nature. Working as before with an ear to the oral tradition, these poems attend to the organic shapes and sounds and momentum of the language as it’s spoken as well as how it’s thought: fresh, fluid and propulsive, but also fragmentary, repetitive. These are poems that are written to be read aloud. Orpheus and Tithonus appear at the beginning and end of this book, alive in an English landscape, stuck in the clockwork of their own speech, and the Hours – goddesses of the seasons and the natural apportioning of Time – are the presiding figures. The persistent conditions are flux and falling, and the lines are in constant motion: approaching, from daring new angles, our experience of being human, and coalescing into poems of simple, stunning beauty.’
2. “A” by Louis Zukofsky
‘Long out of print, ‘A’ is the monumental life-poem by one of the most influential poets of the 20th century. Louis Zukofsky’s (1904-1978) poem brims over with daily love, light, intellect and music, expressing a new potency of poetic language to comprehend and counter-form the maddening expansion of human neglect wrought by the 20th century’s post-industrial, almost post-cultural, entropy. Zukofsky registers ‘a new music of verse stretching out into the future.’ (William Carlos Williams) – a surging tropism of possibility reformed.’
3. ‘Spain, Take This Chalice From Me’ and Other Poems by Cesar Vallejo
‘A definitive, bilingual collection of poetry by one Latin America’s most important poets features more than eighty poems that span the full range of his literary career, accompanied by an introduction that looks at Vallejo’s life, his complex literary style, his leftist politics, and more.’
4. Accepting the Disaster by Joshua Mehigan
‘Blending together the naturalistic milieu of great chroniclers of American life with the cinematic menace and wonder of Fritz Lang, this much-anticipated collection of poems evokes real lives and institutions.’
5. The Accordion Repertoire by Franklin Bruno
‘Compressed and expansive by turns, Franklin Bruno’s first collection of poems moves through the languages of commerce and philosophy, theforgotten codes of old Hollywood and the radio serial, and thecontested spaces of the contemporary city with musicality, anger, and wit.’
6. The After Party by Jana Prikryl
‘Jana Prikryl’s The After Party journeys across borders and eras, from cold war Central Europe to present-day New York City,from ancient Rome to New World suburbs, constantly testing the lingua francas we negotiate to know ourselves. These poems disclose the tensions in our inherited identities and showcase Prikryl’s ambitiousexperimentation with style. “Thirty Thousand Islands,” the second half of the collection, presents some forty linked poems in a great variety of structures and incorporating numerous voices. Rooted in one place that fragments into many places—the remote shores of Lake Huron in Canada, a region with no natural resources aside from its beauty—these poems are an elegy that speaks beyond grief. Penetrating, vital, and visionary, The After Party marks the arrival of an extraordinary new talent.’
Have you read any of these? Which would you recommend I begin with? If you would also like to recommend some more poetry books for me to seek out, that would be much appreciated.