Friday, 30 December 2011
and inside the tin
comes the poetry.
as usual i need to have read the whole of the book for it to get on the end of year list but i was a wee bit more assiduous in my completion of poetry books this year.
honourable mentions to valzhyna mort and factory of tears. i was liking all the russian, not because i could read it, but because it looked pretty. one of these days i'll get my russian speaking buddy to read it to me and find out what it should actually sound like. i was well taken with it.
tomas transtromer's new collected poems was well worth a burl and the time i took in it. i've spent a lot of time in sweden since i first read him and the recognition of the landscapes along with the fact i could actually read some of them gave them a new meaning for me.
bargain of the year was lucie brock-broido's soul keeping company which i picked up stupidly cheap somewhere and can't keep out of my head since. i particularly her take on emily dickinson's master letters which, for me, should place her firmly on the reading list of emily fans. but to focus on that would be to ignore the great snowdrifts of language she piles up either side of this. a sublime read.
i wasn't to be missing out on alice oswald's memorial which i was after from the first. i'd kind of liked robert craw ford's take on simonides and this is a similarly slanted view of the iliad taking its perspective from the names of the dead. beautiful, beautiful to read, my only criticism would be the repetitions but even so i'll be buying this on audio as well
poetry of the year tho, goes to pauline stainer and parable island. i picked this up solely because it was something about orkney and that'll pretty much do for me. and then it came thru the post... now i'm putting up parable island as the poetry book of the year but that's only because i haven't finished the others. and i have...all of them (thank goodness for amazon and an itchy purchase finger!)
now i'll happily hold up my hand and say that as of six weeks ago, stainer had almost completely escaped my consciousness except for a couple of anthologies she appeared in. it was only when i posted her on here i got more into her. now i find myself in the position that i'm reading her in the morning, mulling it over the course of the day, coming back, reading some more, rereading...
parable island isn't about orkney, even when it is. stainer is a poet who concerned with the word and the Word and everything in between. there's a ton of stuff in here that comes flying at you but for me it's the language. there's no long poems but she manages more in these wee works than most of us manage in longer and more contrived fashion and is so much better than many more high profile poets that it's just plain depressing.
everything i like about poetry i'm reading in pauline stainer. she has that quality that makes you not only want to shift your own work up a gear but equally leaves you wide eyed with the loveliness of it. best poet i've read in years. i am a fanboy. it's official.