BEST BOOKS OF POETRY FROM 2016

This is a post that appeared here in The New Yorker. 
I am copying it here to share the recommendations for poetry books.
I might check out Gap Gardening first.  Which ones will you read?

 

THE BEST BOOKS OF POETRY FROM 2016

Most of 2016 was merely sickening, before the year ended up as painful as a boot kick to the exposed duodenum. Nor am I in the mood to affirm the permanence or enduring power of much of anything: I’m too busy gaining weight, erupting at my children, and losing touch with my friends. These days, it’s a morning highlight when I find a sweater on the floor that already has a shirt inside it. But when we reëmerge someday from our underground silos, nurtured by Tang and protein capsules and married to our first cousins, the following books may also have survived:

Robyn Schiff, “A Woman of Property.” Schiff’s poems are raids upon the jittery, troubled mindscape of a person whose good fortune hides incipient terror. Keyed-up is the new dejected, and Schiff is a kind of Coleridge, embowered by her anxieties.

Read more stories about the year in culture and politics.
Read more stories about the year in culture and politics.

Rosmarie Waldrop, “Gap Gardening.” Waldrop, who is in her eighties, writes experimental poems whose paradoxes and thought-forms bristle on the page.

Adrienne Rich, “Collected Poems.” Rich’s great work from the nineteen-seventies, eighties, and nineties—the period when she had supposedly ditched beautiful writing for strident politics—is due for a thorough reassessment. Rich retrofitted the American lyric idiom to the exploration of trauma.

Jana Prikryl, “The After Party.” A first book often ends childhood: Prikryl’s gorgeous, elegiac work borrows from folklore its bright aesthetic and swift, severe logic of causation.

Ocean Vuong, “Night Sky with Exit Wounds.” Vuong’s gorgeous work elevates accident and coincidence to their proper place in the narratives we construct about why we are who we are. Vuong and his family were Vietnamese refugees who settled, eventually, in Hartford, Connecticut. A first book with lasting power.

Alice Oswald, “Falling Awake.” The English poet, a classicist and serious gardener, writes a poetry of the natural world saturated with myth. A long poem about the dawn, “Tithonus,” may be the most beautiful work I read all year.

Ishion Hutchinson, “House of Lords and Commons.” The Jamaican-born poet writes a learned, lofty, rhetorical kind of poetry, a little like Tennyson. It works because he’s amazing at it. This is a book about the imagination’s small reclamations of linguistic property seized by colonial power.

Finally, Emily Dickinson, “Envelope Poems.” Dickinson’s “scraps” written on scavenged paper cannot be represented by the printed page. Dickinson decided to opt-out of print culture entirely. In 2016, she found her home in this small book of facsimiles, where her brilliant graphic imagination can be tracked in its natural environment.

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