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Contemporary best-sellers this week

By Harriet Staff

On this week’s contemporary best-seller list we see a titanic shift in the top five, as Cynthia Huntington’s Heavenly Bodies claims the top position after only two weeks on the list. Debuting in the #2 spot is Karma, Dharma, Pudding & Pie, by Philip Appleman. New to the list this week is Pulitzer Prize-winner Claudia Emerson’s Secure the Shadow, debuting at #11. At the Cortland Review, David Rigsbee writes, “Formal, meticulously wrought, Emerson’s poems have a thing for (unrhymed) couplets and alternating indentations. It’s the way to go if you’re dealing with the kind of subject matter Emerson is dealing with, for this is a book about death. And yet, putting it this way fails to suggest either the poet’s nuanced approach, or the muffled and sublimated outrage at the facts of our discontinuity.” Also debuting this week is Leigh Stein’s Dispatch from the Future, which enters the list at #23. “Uncanny yet lyrical, these poems go from the darkest side of Facebook to the remotest corner of the desert. Through online dating, beauty pageants, Greek mythology, and road trips, Stein weaves a tapestry of young women in love and in longing. Post-confessional, like Sylvia Plath raised on MTV, or Anne Sexton on Twitter, Stein knows how to draw readers in with a narrative hook, or a pop culture reference. This irreverent collection points the way to what contemporary poetry can be.” Checking in with the small press list, Dawn McGuire tops the list this week with The Aphasia Café. “The poems of The Aphasia Café write the lives of individuals who, because of stroke or dementia, have lost all or part of their ability to use language, exploring what happens to self when language, the tool we use to construct who we are, suddenly fractures along one of its many fault lines. Sections of The Aphasia Café also explore language and self-identity in relation to family life, political violence, bigotry, shame, and redemption.”

Posted in Uncategorized on Friday, August 3rd, 2012 by Harriet Staff.