Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Books I Like 2007

Poetry books I've really enjoyed this year include:

Eleanor Rees: Andraste's Hair
John Ash: The Parthian Stations
John Ashbery: A Worldly Country
Luke Kennard: The Harbour Beyond The Movie
Zoe Brigley: The Secret
Charles North: Cadenza
Tony Lopez: Covers
David Kennedy: The Devil's Bookshop
The Selected Poems of Alice Notley
Geraldine Monk: Racoon
Jane Holland: Boudicca & Co

There are others, but those are the ones I've remembered off the top of my head

I've also discovered the prose poetry of Annie Clarkson, and I'm looking forward to Sandra Tappenden's new book.

I've noticed that this year poetry by young women has become to seem more adventurous, and, dare I say it, more so than young men. But on the whole, younger poets seem less tied to particular ways of writing, mixing up genres often with an abandon I haven't seen for years. I once said that it was better for a young poet to read Ginsberg than Larkin; but maybe reading the two simultaneously (one in each hand?) is what people are doing right now. No bad thing.

Salt is my star publisher; not just because they published me (though that helps), but also because of the range of books they publish, from avant garde to mainstream. And they do look utterly gorgeous on a coffee-table. But Shearsman are also up there as among the best. Faber if anything look worse than ever.

Maybe I'm being over-optimistic in looking forward to next year's cropsof poetry and new poets. But I think we're in for some interesting new discoveries: the names I've never heard of on Dusie's British issue are quite amazing.


Jane Holland said...

I agree re Salt's adventurousness and its variety. Which makes this year's list of TS Eliot prize nominees look even more like a cold war relic. Picador, Carcanet, Picador, Carcanet, etc. Good job for Carcanet, as an independent, but personally I've never been turned on by their list, and when two publishers dominate a prize-giving like that, you have to ask questions about the people choosing such a list. No Faber, which is both a shocker and a step in the right direction, but it's such a dull list, dominated by either light-weights or worthies.

I can't speak about Leviston, never having read her work, nor the outsider here, Gillis, but I'd like to see this year's TSE go to Sweeney for 'Black Moon'. Mainly because he's a damn fine poet but also because he tells excellent anecdotes at parties. And that's a quality not to be underestimated in a poet ...

Jane Holland said...

P.S. Many thanks for the 'books I liked this year' mention - much appreciated!

I'm a little uncomfortable about being underneath the Monk though, even during the party games season. Any chance I could be on top?

:evil smile: