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Contemporary best-sellers this week
This week on the contemporary best-seller list Tracy K. Smith climbs back into the #1 slot, knocking Michael Robbins down to #7. Making its debut on the list at #5 is Ron Padgett’s How to Be Perfect. “Since the 1960s, Padgett has been writing comic poems in the wryly naive manner of Frank O’Hara and Kenneth Koch, his mentor. This new collection (after 2002s You Never Know) continues in the New York School vein, where anything—an English muffin, a stapler—might trigger a meditation that travels light-years beyond its source.” Also new to the list at #19 is Gibson Fay-LeBlanc’s Death of a Ventriloquist. Of Fay-LeBlanc’s new title Publisher’s Weekly says: “Subtle and finespun as the strings that move a marionette, Fay-LeBlanc’s lines in this debut lure, guide, and yank us through poems in which ‘a redstart in the boneset and spotted knapweed’ and ‘eel grass winding your ankles’ are always waiting to dance upon the tongue. Whether he’s overhearing a conversation in a tavern or the music stuck in his head, Fay-LeBlanc uses his ventriloquist to raise important questions about how we perform ourselves through language, creating a voice that locates its source in a ‘Prayer of Glass’ because it must hide its true source from us.” And lastly, Carol Allis’s Poems for Ordinary People enters the list at #28.