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Contemporary best-sellers this week

By Harriet Staff

We don’t see many new faces in the top five on this week’s contemporary best-seller list, save for Patti Smith’s The Coral Sea climbing up fives spaces to #5. New to the list this week are two books of selected poems by two Nobel laureates. The Deleted World, by Tomas Transtromer and Selected and Last Poems: 1931-2004, by Czeslaw Milosz. Also of note is Donianne Laux’s latest, The Book of Men, debuting at #26. Publisher’s Weekly notes, “Laux’s fifth collection continues in her descriptive, storytelling vein: the at-hand, the matter-of-fact, the day-to-day are rendered in an earnest tone both sensuous and nostalgic. Something of a baby boomer’s field guide, this book portrays the legacy of the 1960s from the perspective of one who has survived and must look back on what that decade did and didn’t change. And so, the Vietnam War, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Mick Jagger, Cher, Frank O’Hara, and Superman all make appearances. Laux’s treatment of this era isn’t without sentimentality, but her true aim is more probing, more elegiac…” Over at the small press best sellers, Roger Bonair-Agard’s Gully tops of the list this week. “Roger Bonair-Agard’s new book, Gully, journeys from the subverted sport of English gentlemen to the place where a black man might be swallowed up in the throat of trouble. These poems show us Gully‘s trickster position, the source of song, the lurking place on the pitch that requires quick hands. Gully is metaphor for the subject position of these first-person lyrics filed with a street’s athlete’s dynamism and energy. Gully is the site of risk and swagger that swings from cricket bats to the diamond crusted smile of Lil’ Wayne.” Finally, we should mention Rob Halpern’s eclectic/theoretical/poetic tour de force, Music for Porn, which comes in at #4. “Taking Walt Whitman’s Civil War poems as an inspiration, Rob Halpern’s Music for Porn moves across the landscape of battlefields and homoerotic affect in an encompassing engagement of desire and death. Halpern work, constructed of poetry and lyric prose, evinces a world in which the physical and linguistic body are permeated by, and implicated in, the globalized maneuvers of modern warfare and capitalist endeavor.”

Posted in Uncategorized on Friday, July 13th, 2012 by Harriet Staff.