Well, thanks to a little something called "reading week" I finally have a few days to myself, and I thought I would catch up with what's new on my bookshelf. Let's start with three books I picked up today.
Selected Poems By Dara Wier
Wave Books has done the world a favour by publishing this book. I hope this selection of Wier's poems brings new readers to her work.
Stuart Ross pointed her work out to me years ago, and I've been reading it ever since. Some of her works are difficult to come by in
Wier doesn't appear to be interested in being a mere traditionalist, but she doesn't seem interested in doing something new for the sake of doing something new, either. Rather, it seems likes she's always looking for the way the poem wants to be written. Almost never is a word, a line-break, or a punctuation mark out of place. These poems are technically neat as a pin, but the thoughts they contain seem to rage and wander and fret and sometimes moon the world. Her poems are funny without being trite, startlingly beautiful without being overly dramatic about it, and thoughtful without rubbing the reader's nose in philosophical pretentions. Rare traits all. I recommend her poems highly.
This is, without a doubt, one of the most beautifully produced trade paperback editions of a poetry book I have ever seen published in
I'm recommending that you order one today.
Mister Skylight by Ed Skoog
If you haven't heard of Ed Skoog yet, memorize the name. This is his first collection, and it is stunning. Thanks to a tip from my good friend Chris Banks, I read some of Skoog's work in APR a while back and just loved it.
The poetry of both Dara Wier and Zachariah Wells, although very different to one another in style and technique, leaves the reader with a tangible sense of the intellectual vigor and material craftsmanship that went into it. Not so much with Skoog. Not to say these poems are not wonderfully thoughtful and well-crafted, they are! Often with tremendous formal constraints and schemes ("Canzoniere of Late July" will blow your mind). But Skoog manages to make it appear effortless, natural, protean -- It's an illusion, of course, and a good one, and one that makes the strength of the work all the more powerful for the reader. Skoog brings his combination of innate talent and acquired skills to bear on a poetic debut that's truly exciting and memorable.