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My Poetry Picks for 2013

By Evie Shockley


These are 5 books published in 2013 I am especially happy to have in the world—”and you can, too!” (à la Stephen Colbert):

Urban Tumbleweed: Notes from a Tanka Diary, by Harryette Mullen. Any new Mullen book is an event in my world. I am a fan for many reasons, including my admiration of her ability to reinvent her poetic self again and again, while always being recognizably Harryette Mullen in each new manifestation.

In the Laurels, Caught / Crowns of Charlotte, both by Lee Ann Brown. This is a two-fer. If you are bad-ass enough to publish two books in one year, don’t expect me to try to choose between them which one to encourage others to read. This is NC by way of NYC by way of NC. Times two.

Seasonal Works With Letters on Fire, by Brenda Hillman. I’ve been reading Hillman for many years, and while I still feel deeply attached to the books that brought me into her fan club (especially Bright Existence), I have really enjoyed watching her tetralogy on the elements unfold. Makes me wish for a fifth element . . .

proxy, by R. Erica Doyle. I do love a good prose poem. I also love my lit to push up against / break through boundaries of various sorts. This book gives me both. Plus singed eyelashes (hot!). I haven’t had a chance to re-read it since the spring, but I still remember how so many lines took my breath away.

Fannie + Freddie/The Sentimentality of Post-9/11 Pornography, by Amy Sara Carroll. I wrote a bit about this book and its NYC launch back in April, when I was guest-blogging here. You need to see it for yourself. Among other wonderful things: the one-word poem, “written” with twigs and branches arranged on the grass to spell “STICK-Y.”

There are more books I’d like to list, actually—2013 was a very good year for poetry! Here are your chapbook bonuses: When the Only Light is Fire, by Saeed Jones, and Poems Are the Only Real Bodies, by Jennifer Tamayo. And I’ll stop now. The End. The Beginning . . .

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Posted in Poetry News on Friday, December 13th, 2013 by Evie Shockley.