Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Books I’m Not Recommending for Christmas: Poetry and Poets

For the past several years, I’ve listed the books I’m not recommending for Christmas gifts. If you’re familiar with this, you know my reason: I believe individual people are ultimately the best judges of what books they want to read.

This year, I’m adding a corollary – occasionally, someone who knows you well will find a book you were both unaware of and that will smack you right between the eyes. As a retirement present, a colleague at work gave me Anthony Doerr’s novel All the Light We Cannot See, and it deserved the Pulitzer Prize it received, its runaway bestseller status, and every other accolade out there.

The books I include on this list weren’t all published in 2015, although most of them were. This is more of a list of the best books I read in 2015, and some were published a few years, and even several decades, earlier.

I’ve broken this list into three posts (I read a lot of good stuff this year). This first list includes poetry and books about poets and poetry. 


Fire Songs by Davis Harsent.

 I Knew the Bride by Hugo Williams.

Once in the West by Christian Wiman.

Abide by Jake Adam York.

Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Gluck.

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudine Rankine.

The Tempers by William Carlos Williams.

River: A Poem by Fred Chappell.

Birthing Inadequacy: Poems by Natasha Head.

Terrapin and Other Poems by Wendell Berry.

Mr. West by Sarah Blake.

The Bridge by Hart Crane.

A Several World by Brian Blanchfield.

The Drowned Book by Sean O’Brien.

Ode to London: Poems to Celebrate the City by Jane McMorland Hunter.

Poems on the Underground, edited by Judith Chernaik, Gerard Benson and Cicely Herbert.

The Poems of T.S. Eliot Volume 1 and Volume Two, edited by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue.

These Intricacies by Dave Harrity.

Books About Poets and Poetry

John Keats by Nicholas Roe.

Photograph by George Hodan via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.

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