Here is the Spring 2007 Book Sense Picks Poetry Top Ten, based on the nominations of independent booksellers nationwide. The March Red Box will contain the Poetry Top Ten pads and a PDF of the list is available on BookWeb.
The list features a notable selection, including titles from a former U.S. poet laureate, a Nobel Prize winner, a Yale Series of Younger Poets winner, and comprehensive collections of two contemporary masters. The Poetry Top Ten is the result of strong support from booksellers, reflecting 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, visit www.poets.org.
The Spring 2007 Book Sense Poetry Top Ten
1. THE COLLECTED POEMS: 1956-1998, by Zbigniew Herbert (Ecco, $34.95, 9780060783907 / 0060783907) "Herbert is one of the truly great poets of the 20th century -- likely only his untimely death prevented him from being awarded the Nobel Prize. His verse is brilliantly conceived, delivered in a language of heart-stopping intensity, and it will haunt your dreams forever." --Shawn Wathen, Chapter One Book Store, Hamilton, MT
2. DISTRICT AND CIRCLE, by Seamus Heaney (FSG, $13 paper, 9780374530815 / 0374530815) "Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet Seamus Heaney fills his latest collection with homage to the everyday and to hard work. But also commemorated is the work of just living: growing up, giving due, persevering, and simply appreciating. Muscular, blunt, lyrical, and moving, this is poetry to return to again and again." --Herman Fong, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA
3. BUCOLICS, by Maurice Manning (Harcourt, $23, 9780151013104 / 0151013101) "I'm so thrilled to have a new collection from Kentucky poet Maurice Manning! This Yale Series of Younger Poets winner continues to get better with each new collection." --Jen Reynolds, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, Ohio
4. REFUSING HEAVEN, by Jack Gilbert (Knopf, $16 paper, 9780375710858 / 037571085X) "Unexpected, surreal, sensual, and full of the world's joys and sorrows, Gilbert is the real deal. Give the human world a voice and it might sound like this one." --John Evan, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Oakland, CA
5. THE COMPLETE POETRY: A Bilingual Edition, by Csar Vallejo, edited and translated by Clayton Eshleman (University of California Press, $49.95, 9780520245525 / 0520245520) "Vallejo is one of the most original voices in poetry that I've ever read. His work is collected here in translation by Clatyon Eshleman, and it is full of mind-blowing imagery grounded in a brilliant humanism presented in experimental verse that will snatch your breath with an arrogant fist." --Josh Cook, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA
6. THE BOOK OF MARTYRDOM AND ARTIFICE: First Journals and Poems 1937 - 1952, by Allen Ginsberg (Da Capo, $27.50, 9780306814624 / 0306814625) "Now, we can see how young Al Ginsberg developed his thoughts and what influenced his life and writing, including events in Europe leading to the rise of Hitler, his mother's schizophrenia, his homosexual awareness, bawdy songs of Barnard girls, lists of 'records to buy,' and more. The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice shows that keen observation and intuitive reflection developed early did not waver in Ginsberg's last days." --Carolyn Chin, Books On First, Dixon, IL
7. INCOMPLETE KNOWLEDGE, by Jeffrey Harrison (Four Way, $14.95 paper, 9781884800733 / 1884800734) "Jeffrey Harrison is an incredible poet who continues to perfect his craft with each new book. Incomplete Knowledge speaks to the loss of his brother through suicide. It is simply elegant and very powerful." --John M. Hugo, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA
8. THE BLIZZARD VOICES, by Ted Kooser (Bison Books, $9.95 paper, 9780803259638 / 0803259638) "This collection tells of the blizzard of 1888 that hit our country's midsection from the Dakotas to Texas. Kooser's poems tell of the survivors and some that lost their lives: Teachers with students surviving in a haystack to farmers surviving by staying near their animals, all told in Kooser's wonderfully poetic voice." --Carl Wichman, Varsity Mart, Fargo, ND
9. ARGUMENTS FOR STILLNESS, by Erik Campbell (Curbstone, $13.95 paper, 9781931896269 / 1931896267) "Erik Campbell's poetry is wise without preaching, smart without intimidating, artfully fun without shallowness. Sit down, shut out the world for a couple of minutes, read three poems from this collection at random, and you'll see why I am recommending him in the same breath as Wendell Berry." --Eric Robbins, Apple Valley Books, Winthrop, ME
10. ONCE AROUND THE SUN, by Bobbi Katz, LeUyen Pham (Illus) (Harcourt, $16, 9780152163976 / 0152163972) "The award for most vibrant illustrations goes to Once Around the Sun. Pham's bright, bold illustrations are brimming with color -- enough to fill the book's pages and give life to its lighthearted poems, one for each month of the year." --Alison Morris, Wellesley Booksmith, Wellesley, MA