The big story this fall in poetry is the sheer number of Pulitzer Prize winners releasing new books—five out of six being collections of new work. Meanwhile, two major poets break new ground in their respective oeuvres, a poet under-recognized in the U.S. takes a cinematic turn, and three Henri Michaux works are translated into English for the first time.
Beginning with the Pulitzer poets, 1984 winner Mary Oliver follows last year’s Dog Songs with a collection called Blue Horses. While the former collection actually was all about dogs, only one poem in the new collection reflects on Blue Horses (in this case, the Franz Marc painting), though in true Oliver fashion nature is a primary concern and vehicle for her meditations.
The 1993 winner, Louise Glück, follows Poems 1962–2012 with a captivating collection, Faithful and Virtuous Night, which takes readers on an adventure into the unknown through an array of dreamlike portals.
One Thousand Things Worth Knowing: Poems is another wild, expansive collection from the eternally surprising Paul Muldoon, 2003 winner and poetry editor at the New Yorker. “Watchfulness” is the buzzword surrounding this one, and it seems as great a place as any to start the 2015 reading year.
With A Progressive Education, master translator and 1970 winner Richard Howard reflects on his own youth in Cleveland through the voices of delightfully precocious, ironic children who are as sophisticated as any characters in poetry.
Ted Kooser won the award in 2005 for Delights and Shadows, and the quintessentially Midwestern poet ends his fans’ nearly decadelong wait for a follow-up with Splitting an Order.
The 1999 winner, MacArthur fellow Mark Strand, receives the “collected” treatment to honor a long, celebrated life in poetry. For the Canadian-born, a former U.S. poet laureate who now lives in Madrid, these Collected Poems will confirm his place in the canon as they invite a new generation of readers into his subtle, wise, surreal, and witty world.
Edward Hirsch, like Strand a MacArthur fellow published by Knopf, hasn’t won a Pulitzer, but he puts himself in the reckoning with Gabriel: A Poem. It’s the kind of poem, however, that no poet wishes to write: a sustained elegy for his only son. Heartbreaking yet unsentimental, Hirsch works through his fatherly sorrow in an unforgettable manner.
Matthea Harvey, one of America’s most imaginative, playful, and perceptive poets, is another in the running for major recognition this year. Her latest work, If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? Poems and Artwork, blends her poetry and visual art, with images working as titles in some places as well as a series of intriguing photographs. Harvey is definitively coming into her prime.
Also incorporating visual art is Thousand Times Broken: Three Books, Gillian Conoley’s translations of works Henri Michaux completed between 1956 and 1959. This period was the height of Michaux’s experimentation with mescaline, and we also find illustrations from him, as well as the inimitable Roberto Matta.
Canadian poet and essayist Lisa Robertson, one of the foremost manipulators of the English language, unleashes a book-length poem, Cinema of the Present, that interrogates the contemporary sense of self through a montage of observations and questions.
PW’s Top 10: Poetry
Blue Horses: Poems. Mary Oliver. Penguin Press, Oct. 14
Cinema of the Present. Lisa Robertson. Coach House, Sept. 9
Collected Poems. Mark Strand. Knopf, Sept. 30
Faithful and Virtuous Night: Poems. Louise Glück. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Sept. 9
Gabriel: A Poem. Edward Hirsch. Knopf, Sept. 2
If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? Poems and Artwork. Matthea Harvey. Graywolf, Aug. 19
One Thousand Things Worth Knowing: Poems. Paul Muldoon. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Jan. 13
A Progressive Education. Richard Howard. Turtle Point, Oct.
Splitting an Order. Ted Kooser. Copper Canyon, Oct. 14
Thousand Times Broken: Three Books. Henri Michaux, trans. by Gillian Conoley, illus. by Michaux and Roberto Matta. City Lights, Sept. 9
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Devil, Dear by Mary Ann McFadden (Nov., paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-938584-08-4). These existential poems capture bizarre, sweet, and humorous moments while facing the disquietude of mortality with fearlessness and wit.
Sand Opera by Philip Metres (Jan., paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-938584-09-1) comes from the author’s dizzying position of being named but unheard as an Arab-American, in polyvocal poems, arias, and redacted texts that investigate the dehumanizing perils of war on our culture.
And Other Stories
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An Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell by Deborah Levy (Oct. 7, hardcover, $12.95, ISBN 978-1-908276-46-9) is a passionate and comic love song between an angel and an accountant in the London suburbs, from Booker-shortlisted Levy.
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Moscow in the Plague Year: Poems by Marina Tsvetaeva, trans. by Christopher Whyte (Aug. 12, paper, $18, ISBN 978-1-935744-96-2). Written during the Russian revolution of 1917 and the famine that followed, these poems are suffused with Tsvetaeva’s irony and humor.
Love, of a Kind by Felix Dennis (Aug. 26, hardcover, $22, ISBN 978-1-62040-626-7). A new book of poetry by the man Tom Wolfe calls “the best poet writing in the English language.”
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Copia by Erika Meitner (Sept. 9, paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-938160-46-2). Started as a VQR documentary, Copia examines the now-bankrupt city of Detroit, once the thriving heart of the American Dream.
The Chair by Richard Garcia (Sept. 9, paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-938160-44-8). Noted prose poet and celebrated Latino author Richard Garcia presents a sixth collection rich in fabulist traditions, lyrical, accessible, and highly imaginative.
In a Landscape by John Gallaher (Oct. 14, paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-938160-50-9). This book-length essay-poem chronicles the meditations of an adopted son—now a father—struggling with the meaning of family, love, and death.
The Secret of Hoa Sen by Nguyen Phan Que Mai, trans. by Bruce Weigl (Nov. 11, paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-938160-52-3). Presented in bilingual English and Vietnamese, these poems build bridges between two cultures inextricably bound together by war and destruction.
The Poetry Deal by Diane Di Prima (Oct. 14, paper, $12.95, ISBN 978-1-931404-15-0). The first full-length collection of new poems in decades from San Francisco’s ground-breaking feminist beat poet.
Deep Code by John Coletti (Nov. 11, paper, $13.95, ISBN 978-0-87286-649-2) explores “side language” as a subset of other languages, whether slang or metaphor, to both communicate and obfuscate.
Thousand Times Broken: Three Books by Henri Michaux, trans. by Gillian Conoley, illus. by Michaux and Roberto Matta (Sept. 9, paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-0-87286-648-5). Three never-before-translated books from Michaux from the period of his mescaline experimentation, with drawings by the author and Matta.
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Cinema of the Present by Lisa Robertson (Sept. 9, paper, $17.95, ISBN 978-1-55245-297-4). A 25-frames-per-second look at the kinetic, cinematic self in the new long poem from acclaimed poet and essayist Robertson. The book will also feature four different back covers, designed by artists Hadley + Maxwell.
On Malice by Ken Babstock (Oct. 14, paper, $17.95, ISBN 978-1-55245-304-9). The highly anticipated new collection from Griffin-winning Babstock is a bad mist, a digitized weather front trying to watch the surveillance from inside and to sit vigil at our convalescence as an alien witness.
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Streaming by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke (Dec. 16, paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1-56689-375-6). An award-winning poet turns to her indigenous background to consider loss, memory, and the fate of the planet.
Expect Delays by Bill Berkson (Nov. 11, paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1-56689-373-2). From a New York schoolmaster, wide-ranging poems that face mortality with rare equilibrium, appreciating life’s richness and inevitable griefs.
Prelude to Bruise by Saeed Jones (Sept. 9, paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1-56689-374-9). With rootless cosmopolitanism, formal rigor, and the fluidity of slam, Jones explores questions of sexuality, race, and shifting identity.
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The New Testament by Jericho Brown (Sept. 9, paper, $17, ISBN 978-1-55659-457-1). Ushering the body from political and religious battlegrounds, Brown employs the rhythms of sexuality and spirituality to protest oppression.
Storm Toward Morning by Malachi Black (Nov. 11, paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-55659-472-4). Formally exacting and creatively expansive, Black is an intensely inquisitive John Donne for the Millennial generation.
Splitting an Order by Ted Kooser (Oct. 14, hardcover, $23, ISBN 978-1-55659-469-4). Kooser is among the country’s bestselling poets, and this is the follow-up to his Pulitzer winner.
The Heights of Macchu Picchu by Pablo Neruda, trans. by Tomas Q. Morin (Nov. 11, paper, $15, ISBN 978-1-55659-444-1). Neruda is an internationally renowned poet, and Alturas de Macchu Picchu one of his greatest poetic achievements.
Slant Six by Erin Belieu (Nov. 11, paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-55659-471-7). Belieu’s lyric musicality and strong sense of satire create an energetic tension and a rollicking fun book to read.
The Poem She Didn’t Write and Other Poems by Olena Kalytiak Davis (Oct. 14, hardcover, $23, ISBN 978-1-55659-459-5). A whirlwind of sound, syntax, and form works together to amplify everyday experience.
Soy Realidad: Poems by Tomas Salamun, trans. by Michael Thomas Taren and Tomas Salamun (Sept. 16, paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-62897-088-3). Originally published in 1985 and translated into English for the first time, this 21st collection from the Slovenian shows a maturing poet at home as a citizen of the world.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Faithful and Virtuous Night: Poems by Louise Glück (Sept. 9, hardcover, $23, ISBN 978-0-374-15201-7). A luminous, seductive new collection from the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet called “fearless” by the New York Times.
Once in the West: Poems by Christian Wiman (Sept. 9, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-0-374-22701-2) is a searing new collection from a poet who often explores themes of spiritual faith and doubt.
Sailing the Forest: Selected Poems by Robin Robertson (Oct. 7, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-374-25534-3) selects poems spanning the career of a poet of the uncanny.
One Thousand Things Worth Knowing: Poems by Paul Muldoon (Jan. 13, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-0-374-22712-8). Another wild, expansive collection from the eternally surprising, Pulitzer prize–winning poet.
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Underground: New and Selected Poems by Jim Moore (Sept. 2, paper, $20, ISBN 978-1-55597-687-3). This overdue career retrospective brings together the best work from Moore’s previous seven books, as well as 20 new poems.
If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? Poems and Artwork by Matthea Harvey (Aug. 19, paper, $25, ISBN 978-1-55597-684-2) combines Harvey’s award-winning poetry with her fascinating visual artwork into a true hybrid book, a beautiful work by one of our most ingenious creative artists.
Station Zed: Poems by Tom Sleigh (Jan. 6, paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-55597-698-9). The poet infuses his work with his experiences as a journalist on tours in Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, and Libya.
Blood Lyrics: Poems by Katie Ford (Oct. 21, paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-55597-692-7). Wrung from the world’s dangers, this is a mother’s song seared with the knowledge that her country wages long, aching wars in which not all lives are equal.
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine (Oct. 7, paper, $20, ISBN 978-1-55597-690-3) This follow-up to her ground-breaking Don’t Let Me Be Lonely is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary society.
The Collected Poems of Samuel Beckett by Samuel Beckett, edited by Seán Lawlor and John Pilling (Nov. 4, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-8021-2308-4). Continuing a wave of unreleased Beckett material (Grove/Atlantic is publishing Echo’s Bones in July), this is the most complete collection (and the first critical edition) of Beckett’s poetry and verse translations, including previously unpublished material.
Gabriel: A Poem by Edward Hirsch (Sept. 2, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-385-35357-1). A short life, a bewildering death, and the unanswerable sorrow of a father come together in a sustained elegy.
Collected Poems by Mark Strand (Sept. 30, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-385-35251-2) celebrates the career of the former poet laureate of the U.S. and Pulitzer Prize winner who has influenced a generation of American poets.
The Wilderness: Poems by Sandra Lim (Sept. 22, paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-0-393-34957-3) is a daring and exuberant new collection from the winner of the 2013 Barnard Women Poets Prize, chosen by Louise Glück.
Divine Nothingness: Poems by Gerald Stern (Nov. 3, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-393-24350-5). From the National Book Award–winning author of This Time comes a new volume of poems that explore the nature of existence.
A Woman Without a Country: Poems by Eavan Boland (Nov. 10, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-393-24444-1) is a powerful work that examines how—even without country or settled identity—a legacy of love can endure.
Brain Fever: Poems by Kimiko Hahn (Oct. 6, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-393-24335-2) are rooted in traditional Japanese aesthetics and meditations on contemporary neuroscience.
Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Selected Works by Juana Inés de la Cruz, trans. by Edith Grossman (Sept. 29, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-393-24175-4). Latin America’s great poet is rendered into English by a celebrated translator of Spanish-language literature.
Rome: Poems by Dorothea Lasky (Sept. 29, hardcover, $23.95, ISBN 978-0-87140-939-3). A heartbreaking collection from an influential new voice in American poetry.
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Missing the Moon by Bin Ramke (Oct., paper, $17.95, ISBN 978-1-63243-000-7). With intrusions from mathematics and science, these poems are elegiac celebrations of various ambitions to reach the moon.
To Keep Time by Joseph Massey (Oct., paper, $17.95, ISBN 978-1-890650-97-1) paints the unique landscape and microclimate of Humboldt County, Calif., where modern life collides with nature.
The Second Sex by Michael Robbins (Sept. 30, paper, $18, ISBN 978-0-14-312664-5). These strange, wonderful, wild, and irrationally exuberant poems mash up high and low culture with Robbins’s notable music, attitude, hilarity, and vulgarity.
Instant Winner by Carrie Fountain (Sept. 30, paper, $20, ISBN 978-0-14-312663-8). This second collection takes the form of prayers and meditations chronicling the existential shifts brought on by parenthood, spiritual searching, and the profound, often beguiling experience of being a self, inside a body, with a soul.
Blue Horses: Poems by Mary Oliver (Oct. 14, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-59420-479-1). A new poetry collection from the New York Times bestselling poet and winner of the Pulitzer Prize.
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The Wynona Stone Poems by Caki Wilkinson (Nov. 15, paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-0-89255-446-1). If long-dead poet E.A. Robinson and Candace Bushnell had collaborated to depict a contemporary Midwestern woman in verse, they might have come up with Wynona Stone, Wilkinson’s sort-of heroine.
Uncommon Prayer: Poems by Kimberly Johnson (Sept. 20, paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-0-89255-447-8). In this third collection, bursting with spoken and unspoken desire, Johnson continues her ecstatic intertwining of the liturgical and the rugged landscape of the American West.
Paper Doll Fetus: Poems by Cynthia Marie Hoffman (Dec. 19, paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-0-89255-448-5). These visceral, mystical poems give voice to the phantom and the embryonic, and to those who create them, in a series of imaginative portraits and transcripts of the near-living.
Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins (Oct. 21, paper, $16, ISBN 978-0-8129-8267-1). From the two-term U.S. poet laureate comes his first compilation of new and selected poems in 12 years, with selections from four previous books.
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The Night We’re Not Sleeping In by Sean Bishop (Nov. 11, paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-936747-93-1). This poetry debut details the death of the speaker’s father after brain surgery, confronting personal and political grief.
Everytime a Knot Is Undone, a God Is Released: Collected and New Poems 1974–2011 by Barbara Chase-Riboud (Oct. 14, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-1-60980-594-4) collects poems from the distinguished artist, writer, and winner of the Carl Sandburg Poetry Prize.
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A Progressive Education by Richard Howard (Oct., paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-933527-82-6). Fresh and free-handed, the Pulitzer-winner’s new book involves the disciplines and exemptions, as well as the vocabulary and, of course, the dramatis personae, of his own schooling.
Univ. of Chicago
To Forget Venice by Peg Boyers (Sept. 26, paper, $18, ISBN 978-0-226-18126-4). is from the editor of Salmagundi, and a veteran poet and teacher of poetry.
Shadow of a Cloud, but No Cloud by Killarney Clary (Oct. 6, paper, $18, ISBN 978-0-226-17798-4). Clary is a prose poet who has three other books under his belt.
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Thing Music by Anthony McCann (Sept. 9, paper, $18, ISBN 978-1-93351796-4). Resounding poems of being as being-in-the-world, with personhood inextricable from landscape, language, and culture.
Red Juice: Poems 1998–2008 by Hoa Nguyen (Sept. 9, paper, $22, ISBN 978-1-933517-92-6) collects early poems, rare or out-of-print, by Nguyen, a poet who tersely cracks the shell of dailiness.
Ecodeviance: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness by CA Conrad (Sept. 9, paper, $22, ISBN 978-1-940696-01-0). New (soma)tic exercises and rituals for creating an “extreme present” and the resulting poems.
Wallless Space by Ernst Meister, trans. by Graham Foust and Samuel Frederick (Sept. 9, paper, $18, ISBN 978-1-933517-94-0). The final collection of Meister, one of the great neglected lyric poets of postwar Germany.