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Contemporary best-sellers this week

By Harriet Staff

Tracy K. Smith’s Life on Mars still reigns supreme on this week’s contemporary best-seller list, while Wendell Berry’s Collected Poems moves up one notch to round out the top five. Several titles make their debut on this week’s list. For starters, Paisley Rekdal’s Animal Eye enters the list at #15. Of her work, Tom Sleigh writers “Paisley Rekdal’s quiet virtuosity with rhyme and cadence, her syntactic fidelity to thought and sensation, her analytical intelligence that keeps homing in and in, her ambitious sentences and larger formal structures that try to embody with absolute accuracy the difference between what we ought to feel and what we really do feel—all these make her unique in her generation: no one sounds like she does, and her concern about the ‘post’ in postconfessional is as much a sign of her earnest desire to honor every aspect of her art, as it is an anxiety that spurs her restless investigations of family, selfhood, racial identity, and erotic life.” Also new to the list is Carl Philips’s latest, Double Shadow. As Publisher’s Weekly notes, “This 11th collection continues Phillips’s assays into the connections between sex, attachment, and love, and the ways that, despite ecstatic moments, adult life means reconciling oneself to one’s collective inadequacy. Phillips’s peculiar fusion of classical figures, biblical imagery, and contemporary alienation is in full flower…” Finally, Srikanth Reddy’s Voyager debuts this week at #26. “Reddy uses as the source for his long-awaited second collection the controversial memoir of Kurt Waldheim, the U.N. secretary general who was found to have been a Nazi SS officer. All the language in Reddy’s book comes from Waldheim’s; Reddy’s three sections comprise three erasures (in which all but a few words are deleted from the source text) of Waldheim’s book by different methods… Taken together, these recastings form a highly ambitious book of political poetry that speaks hauntingly of our world.”


Posted in Uncategorized on Friday, June 29th, 2012 by Harriet Staff.