Announcing the Indie Next List Poetry Top Ten

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Here is the 2010 Indie Next List Poetry Top Ten, based on the enthusiastic nominations of independent booksellers nationwide. A full-color PDF of the list is available for download via BookWeb.

Showcasing two international collections, an audiobook, an innovative introduction to poetry for children, and the latest work of the current U.S. poet laureate, the 2010 Poetry Top Ten is the result of strong support from booksellers with a deep level of knowledge and commitment.

Once again, the publication of the list is timed to coincide with April's designation as National Poetry Month. The annual event was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 to bring together publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools, and poets nationwide to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of businesses and nonprofit organizations participate through in-store events, special book displays, workshops, and other activities.

For more on National Poetry Month, see last week's BTW story and visit

The 2010 Indie Next List Poetry Top 10

The Best of It by Kay Ryan
(Grove Press, $24.00, 9780802119148)
"What a gift is Kay Ryan's new collection of poetry! This U.S. Poet Laureate writes poems that are pure pleasure to the tongue. They almost sing themselves, and they are a balm to the body with that sudden ache that is the surprise result of encountering truth. Some, as she says, 'ease the knot of memory, unname the site of harm,' and some provide sheer delight. Here is a poet at the height of her powers." -- Sheryl Cotleur, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Many Miles: Audio by Mary Oliver
(Beacon Press, $19.95, )
"Steep some tea, curl up on the couch, and listen. Listen as Mary Oliver bears witness to grace and wonder within and without. Savor her words. Let them wash over you, buoy you, remind you what truly matters. Packaged as a CD-sized hardcover book, this exquisite audio collection is a perfect gift--for oneself or another--inspiring us to live from the heart of wonder, to stand where we are and be blessed." -- Nan Macy, Village Books, Bellingham, WA

Classical Chinese Poetry: An Anthology by David Hinton
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25.00, 9780374531904)
"This collection of nearly three thousand years of Chinese verse represented by more than five hundred poems is a rare treat. Exquisite renderings distilled from the minds of brilliant poets capture the reader's imagination. In an age of linguistic carnage, these poems remind us of the possibilities of language--its beauty, power, and magic." -- Shawn Wathen, Chapter One Book Store, Hamilton, MT

An Anthology of Modern Irish Poetry by Wes Davis (Edit.)
(Belknap/Harvard, $36.00, 9780674049512)
"Ranging from the familiar (Seamus Heaney, Patrick Kavanagh) to some new voices (David Wheatley, Sinead Morrissey), this brilliant volume covers a vast range of work that is both important and thrilling. A book that will become a favorite to dip into and also valuable as a reference." -- Carl Hoffman, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief and Healing by Kevin Young
(Bloomsbury USA, $36.00, 9781608190331)
"In this outstanding collection, poet Kevin Young has gathered some wonderful examples that reflect the need for poetry in our lives--the 'need to speak.' These poems are mostly from the 20th-century musings of many poets, with additions from more recent writings. Young has truly fulfilled his hope that 'these poems--may help us on our journey--not just in contemplating death, but in living our lives.'" -- Kathleen Dixon, Islandtime Books & More, Washington Island, WI

Leavings: Poems by Wendell Berry
(Counterpoint, $24.00, 9781582435343)
"In turns quiet, exuberant, heartbreaking, and always reflective, Wendell Berry strikes the soul again. Berry is a master of the craft, and this new collection of poetry is no exception. While some poems wander through Port William, the fictional town around which his novels revolve, others directly confront current issues surrounding politics, war, automobiles, mountaintop removal, and society's separation from the landscape. Endorsed by both our customers and my mule, who listened quietly as I read to her." -- April Nabholz, Grass Roots Books & Music, Corvallis, OR

Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty by Tony Hoaglund
(Graywolf Press, $15.00, 9781555975494)
"Don't let the cumbersome title put you off--Tony Hoagland is back in full force in his latest collection of poems. His sharp wit and unbeatable sense of humor are aimed at food courts, divorce, and much more. Social commentary with a hopeful slant, these poems are as thought-provoking as they are entertaining." -- Stephanie Walker, The Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO

The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems by Edward Hirsch
(Knopf, $24.00, 9780375415227)
"The Living Fire is Hirsch's finest work yet, and it resonates with the deep song and echoes of the past that make him a near-biblical conscience of the world we inhabit." -- Alex Green, Back Pages Books, Waltham, MA

If There is Something to Desire: One Hundred Poems by Pavlova Vera
(Knopf, $24.00, 9780307272256)
"Poetry done well requires language to be economically evocative. Pavlova has achieved this in these spare poems. Most less than 10 lines in length, with some less than 10 words, each poem is a gem. This would make a lovely poetry gift for a lover or a lover of language." -- Kat Goddard, The Bookloft, Great Barrington, MA

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer
(Dutton Juvenile, $16.99, 9780525479017)
"A poetry book innovative enough to get kids to try writing their own versions. Each of the fairy tale poems in this book are presented vertically, then flipped on the page. When you read them first up and then down, the meaning of each poem is changed. It is so amazing, you just need to read one for yourself. Have fun!" -- Katherine Fergason, Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Vineyard Haven, MA

Beacon Press is offering a "National Poetry Month Web Promo Kit for Many Miles," which includes an audio track, Mary Oliver's original essay "Performance Note" and an author photo. It's available for download as a zip file from

The offer is available through Friday, April 30.