Sunday 13 December 2009

My favourite poetry collections of 2009

Here is my top 10 poetry collections of 2009. I want to preface this list of personal favourites with the same disclaimer as last year’s: I'm probably forgetting something here, and I haven't got around to reading all the books I've meant to read this year, and I do have a stack of books I've bought but haven't read yet, so try not to take this too seriously. If your book isn't here, I apologize. You know I think you're brilliant. These are not ranked (stopping at ten is arbitrary enough), rather, they are listed in alphabetical order by author:

1) To Be Read in 500 Years by Albert Goldbarth (Graywolf Press)

2) A Village Life by Louise Gl├╝ck (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

3) Inseminating the Elephant by Lucia Perillo (Copper Canyon Press)

4) Lousy Explorers by Laisha Rosnau (Nightwood Editions)

5) Mr. Skylight by Ed Skoog (Copper Canyon Press)

6) Pigeon by Karen Solie (House of Anansi Press)

7) Something Burned Along the Southern Border by Robert Earl Stewart (The

Mansfield Press)

8) Reticent Bodies by Moez Surani (Wolsak & Wynn)

9) Selected Poems by Dara Weir (Wave Books)

10) Always Die Before Your Mother by Patrick Woodcock (ECW Press)

As usual, I don’t include books that I’ve edited for my own imprint with Insomniac Press, though I think these are also wonderful books, and I recommend them to you as well:

Wanton by Angela Hibbs

Porcupine Archery by Bill Howell

Naming the Mannequins by Nic Labriola

Honorable Mentions

There are simply too many fabulous books to fit on a list with only ten slots. Here are some other books that I loved from 2009, and I hope you will love them, too:

God of Missed Connections by Elizabeth Bachinsky (Nightwood Editions)

The Certainty Dream by Kate Hall (Coach House Books)

Word Comix by Charlie Smith (W.W. Norton & Company)

This Way Out by Carmine Starnino (Gaspereau Press)

Mole by Patrick Warner (House of Anansi Press)

Friday 11 December 2009

James Dickey internet poetry round-up

While many people today know James Dickey best at the author of the novel Deliverance (and as the sheriff in the film version of that novel), James Dickey was first and foremost a poet, one of great primal urgency and emotive power whose poetry achieved enormous popularity in his own lifetime and beyond.

I am a fan of James Dickey's poetry, and I have noticed that there are a great deal of excellent resources for readers interested in his poetry on the internet. I have gathered here what I consider to be the best available. If you're a fan of Dickey's like I am, then I hope you enjoy where these links take you, and if you're new to Dickey's work, then I hope they lead you to his books, where you are sure to find more of his fabulous work.


"For the last Wolverine"

"The Sheep Child"

"May Day Sermon to the Women of Gilmer County by a Lady Preacher Leaving the Baptist Church"


"The Heaven of Animals"

"The Hospital Window"

"The Lifeguard"

"The Strength of Fields"


"The Dusk of Horses"

"Hunting Civil War Relics at Nimblewill Creek"

"The Shark's Parlor"



"At Darrien Bridge"

"Buckdancer's Choice"

"In the Marble Quarry"

"In the Tree House at Night"

Poet and novelist Maria Hummel offers a marvellous essay on Dickey's poem "The Sheep Child" (a personal favourite of mine) at The Poetry Foundation's website. I encourage you to read it after you've read the poem a few times.


Bronwen Dickey on her father's legacy

CNN audio archive of James Dickey

The James Dickey Library, University of South Carolina

The James Dickey papers, Washington University in St. Louis

The James Dickey Society and Newsletter