2013 Poetry Collections Read:
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fall of Arthur
Adrian Matejka, The Big Smoke
Mary Szybist, Incarnadine
Lucie Brock-Broido, Stay, Illusion
Matt Rassmussen, Black Aperture
Frank Bidart, Metaphysical Dog
Each year I try to make a resolution to read more recent poetry collections and each year most, if not all, of that year’s releases that I read end up being from the National Book Award shortlists. So it was this year (although if I counted pre-2013 poetry read, I would have had dozens from which to consider). Five NBA finalists and a posthumously-published epic poem fragment from J.R.R. Tolkien. Yet the overall quality was high. This is not the space to devote to in-depth explorations (after all, these Best of 2013 merely are what moved me most in 2013), but I will say that each and every one of these collections deserves to be read. But there shall only be three listed on these shortlists, so here we go:
3. Mary Szybist, Incarnadine
Winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Poetry, this collection combines mystical, religious, and deeply personal themes to create a haunting collection that lingers in the reader’s mind days after the final poem is read.
My June review covers why I loved this unfinished poem, so I’ll just suggest that you click on the link above.
1. Matt Rassmussen, Black Aperture
Rassmussen took a tragic event (his brother’s suicide) and wrote a collection that examines this trauma from a plethora of angles. I was greatly moved by collection’s end, so this is why I have selected it as my favorite poetry collection for 2013.