Best of 2013: Poetry

December 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

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.

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