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My Poetry Picks for 2013

By Nick Twemlow


Robert Lax
Poems (1962-1997)
The decision to go with a page wide enough to isolate Lax’s skinny poems was brilliant. The poems pop off the ample pages to invoke the massive void his poems called out of/back into. I haven’t heard songs like these in a long time.

Farid Matuk
My Daughter La Chola
Matuk is a chameleon. He clocks through so many registers at such a rapid clip, these poems leave me exhausted, but exhaustion is what I so often wish I felt after reading a book of poems.

New Directions Poetry Pamphlets 1–4
Bernadette Mayer, The Helens of Troy, New York & Susan Howe, Sorting Facts, or Nineteen Ways of Looking at Chris Marker
In some alternate, better world, we would talk more about Bernadette Mayer’s work (she is so capacious, there are poems, letters, translations, utopias, and on). She takes a cheap gimmick in The Helens of Troy (writing about all of the people named Helen who live in Troy, New York) and turns it into an engine of longing. Howe’s meditation on filmmaker Chris Marker (and her own documentary tendencies) nudged me out of the Marker fatigue I’ve been feeling for a few years.

Andrew Mister
Liner Notes
When I co-edited The Canary magazine (R.I.P., 2008), we published several of the pieces in this book. I couldn’t stop reading them. This collection is much of the same, which is to say, you can’t put it down.

David Trinidad
Peyton Place: A Haiku Soap Opera
Trinidad obsessively and brilliantly condenses every single episode (there were more than 500!) of the ‘60s TV show Peyton Place into stunning, often lacerating haiku.

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Posted in Poetry News on Monday, December 16th, 2013 by Nick Twemlow.