A curious list, but a good one: "poet and attorney" Seth Abramson has listen ten recent books of poetry "you should read right now" for Huffington Post (and this is well in advance of Steve Evans's forthcoming Attention Span, which should also include musings from poets about poets). Abramson's reasoning for making the list is partly to defend: "The robust state of poetry in America is evidenced, in part, by this non-exhaustive, unranked list of superlative books from the past 15 years, all of which are must-reads for those looking to push back against the gloom-and-doom of poetry's ambient naysayers." Included here are books by Jesse Ball and Thordis Bjornsdottir, John Godfrey, Julie Carr, Jeff Clark, Kate Greenstreet, Jennifer L. Knox, Christopher Logue, John Murillo, Shane McCrae, and Frederick Seidel.

Of Godfrey's Push the Mule (2001), Abramson writes:

If Vera & Linus hails from the more prosaic end of the prose-poem aesthetic, Godfrey has laid powerful claim to its poetic counterpart. Gritty, raw, stinking of real lived experience and a tangible landscape, Godfrey's poems are the work of one who has suffered and seen suffering (the poet has worked as a community health nurse clinician in New York City for years). Never less than exhilarating, the associative poetics in evidence here is highly visual, richly woven, and emotionally charged. This collection is an object lesson for younger poets who see glee in quasi-surrealist romps but cannot access or manifest the heavy heart such indulgences can also invoke.

It's always nice to hear people talk about and around poetry books that aren't just off the press. He even looks to 1996, when Jeff Clark published The Little Red Door Slides Back, a Frenchified contemporary classic.

For more annotation, read the entire piece here.

Originally Published: August 26th, 2011