Attention Span 2010 – Stephen Collis
Kaia Sand | Remember to Wave | TinFish | 2010
Site-specific poetry at its best—collages, documents, and roller derby—what more could you ask for? Sand continues to produce some of the most earnest, delicate, and pointed political poetry out there.
Jane Sprague | The Port of Los Angeles | Chax | 2009
What Sand does with Portland, Sprague takes up in Los Angeles, only with more thorough-going lyricism. Ikea products come ashore, drug dealers get busted, and the commons once again raises its head amidst new enclosures—”this / in the how now moment sullied biosphere.” One of my favorite poetry books to come along in a while.
Rachel Blau DuPlessis | Pitch: Drafts 77-95 | Salt | 2010
The next installment of DuPlessis’s major life-long poem, now getting up over 800 pages all told. I’m finding the increasing pleasure is in following the Drafts back “down the ladder,” as it were, along the line of 19, as there are now 5 poems in each 19-poem cycle which pass over each other once again, picking up on stray elements, deepening and contorting themes.
Lissa Wolsak | Squeezed Light | Station Hill | 2010
Long one of the best under-recognized poets, Wolsak’s new “collected” includes everything from The Garcia Family Co-Mercy and Pen Chants to her amazing prose-poem/essay, An Heuristic Prolusion. Precise thought, compressed imagery, and a deeply human sense of the universe and our fragile place in it. A book to keep close by at all times.
Jeff Derksen | Annihilated Time: Poetry and Other Politics | Talon | 2009
Selected essays from one of his generation’s seminal poet-critics. Need to know what neoliberalism is and how poetry (as it must) bites the hand that feeds it? This is your book. I know of no other writer who can so seamlessly move from complex analyses of political economy to wry readings of avant-garde poetry.
Rachel Zolf | Neighbour Procedure | Coach House | 2010
Poems from a stay in Palestine, the opening section, “Shoot & Weep,” is alone worth the price of admission—some of the most powerfully affective statistics (!) I have ever read, as Zolf weaves magic out of Butler’s Precarious Life.
Jules Boykoff | Hegemonic Love Potion | Factory School | 2009
Along with Derksen, Rodrigo Toscano, and Kevin Davies, one of my favorite guides to the perplexing terrain of late neoliberal mayhem—and what poetry might be doing there. Sharp, sharp wit. News that indeed stays news.
Josely Vianna Baptista | On the Shining Screen of the Eyelids | Manifest | 2003
A late discovery for me, and the press might not exist any more, but Baptista’s poems, in Chris Daniels’ painstaking translations, certainly satisfy Dickinson’s requirement that poetry take the top of your head off. South American concrete, material lyricism—this is language as I want to meet it—a net thrown over another world.
Erín Moure | My Beloved Wager | NewWest | 2009
Essays from some 30 years of a writing life, reading Moure on translation—amongst other things—is a marvel, instructive and electrifying. I have deeply enjoyed this book.