amongst books

amongst books

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Best of 2012: Poetry

Christine McNair, Conflict (BookThug)

a touch of whimsy weaved into poems with excellent diction, language play, humour, often self-deprecating for the speaker of the poems. poems that contain emotion & evoke both empathy & compassion. unusual imagery. [full disclosure-some of the poems can be found in McNair's notes from a cartywheel published by my own AngelHousePress.]
Marcus McCann, The Hard Return (Insomniac Press)

brilliant sound play, painterly imagery, sheer zaniness & fun. [full disclosure: some of the poems have been previously published in The Glass Jaw, McCann's chapbook with Bywords, of which I am the managing editor.]
Angela Szcepeniak, The Qwerty Institute Annual Report (BookThug)

while this book was published under BookThug's Department of Narrative Studies, I am quite content to call this work poetry due to its wild whimsy, crazy puns & wordplay. if I had a prize to give, I would give it to Szcepeniak for writing the most whimsical book of the year & to BookThug for being daring enough to publish it. if just for the fleet of hunchbacked Shorthand Homunculi alone. this is the kind of work that gives other writers permission to write what they want. never have I enjoyed font play more. I tip my Serif to its creator.
Chantal Neveu, Coït, translated by Angela Carr (BookThug)

sensual & divinely minimal, a hymn to the beauty & strength of dance & the body. i haven't seen the original French, but i get the impression because of the syntax & occasional bits of abstractions that Carr's translation was very non-interventionist rather than adaptive.
Oana Avasilichioae, We, Beasts (Wolsak & Wynn)

magical, hypnotic in its repetition & recurring imagery.  lyric beauty.
I had the fortune to hear Avasilichioea perform some of this in person at the Tree Reading Series this year & she was mesmerizing.

it is such a simple thing to say but I love the way Matuk puts words & images together. I also love the poems with the gorgeous long lines, such as "To An Ideal," I love the whimsy of "Sumptuary Crossword Clues." The work is intelligent with fine sound play & makes excellent use of poetic devices such as simile & enjambment. this book is rich  with vibrant colours & textures & sensual imagery.

quiet little meditative hymns. lovely imagery that seems to play quite a bit with synechdoche. love the way punctuation is used for lengthening & shortening the rhythms. the way a guitarist presses his fingers on the fretboard to lengthen & shorten notes. this work has a subdued & contemplative tone.

a lovely conversational tone here. love the stumble & anything that talks about walking is ok by me. "the shoe pinches; but life goes on, as they say," also rich imagery here in the "Night Book" section particularly. the modern day version of Orpheus & Eurydice. this is ingenious work.

I love Ross's imagination & the playfulness of these poems. but there's also a weight to the poems, many of them from a child's point of view in a threatening world. there's a mix of joy & sorrow here, a tinge of melancholy with more than a dash of sarcasm.

zany jam-packed accumulations. some fine wit. lovely moments of lyricism. self-deprecating humour of the speaker. imaginative work with some fine sound play. compassionate observations of a skewed world.

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