Poetry

  • Don’t Let Me Be Lonely

    Claudia Rankine

    Life is a form of hope?
    If you are hopeful.
    Maybe hope is the same as breath — part of
    What it means to be human and alive.
    Or maybe hoping is the same as waiting.
    It can be futile.
    Waiting for what?
    For a life to begin.
    I am here.
    And I am still lonely.

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  • Dept. of Speculation

    Jenny Offill

    This slim novel could easily be read in a day, but I happened to read part of it on a Saturday and the rest on a Sunday morning, when I woke up far earlier than usual. It was the perfect thing for a quiet morning, the sky still lightening to day. While I’m sure some people would try to call this a lyric essay, as championed in...more

  • The Self Unstable

    Elisa Gabbert

    Late last year Teju Cole described this as “the most intelligent and most intriguing thing” he’d read in some time. A lyric essay, a memoir of aphorisms: you could get creative in how to describe this, but it reads most like poetry to me. On...more

  • Across the Land and the Water

    W.G. Sebald

    Translator Iain Galbraith’s introduction is one of the best parts of this book, as it includes “an example … of the difficulty of translating Sebald’s poetry”:

    Many of the poems in this volume—which opens with a train journey—reenact travel “across” various kinds of land and water (even if the

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  • The Dream of a Common Language

    Adrienne Rich

    When Adrienne Rich died earlier this year, I felt compelled to pick up something of hers, since I couldn’t recall reading much of her work before, though I felt familiar with her in principle. It took me a while to...more

  • As Ever

    Joanne Kyger

    This collection has been hanging out on my bedside table for months, read in little pieces until finally this week I decided it would not be renewed again. I picked it up in the midst of the Desecheo Notebook (circa 1971), a semi-diary. In some ways her poetry can at times chronicle specific time periods and feel very similar to her...more

  • Plainwater

    Anne Carson

    After Anne Carson won me over at her Nox reading, I finally put this collection of poetry and essays on hold. It seems like several people have noted it as their favorite volume of hers. Right now I was drawn more to her essays than the various sections of verse, especially the two pilgrammages within “...more

  • Nox

    Anne Carson

    I wanted to fill my elegy with light of all kinds. But death makes us stingy.

    Back when I was making a concerted effort to read more poetry, I enjoyed a few of Anne Carson’s books. I haven’t been spending much time in bookstores, or reading for that matter. But recently forces...more

  • The Best 10 Minutes of Your Life

    Zoe Whittall

    Thanksgiving in Dundas
    Hitching the Hamilton highway
    styrofoam hot chocolate
    from a steeltown diner
    waiting, the most precise
    measurement of patience

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  • Sad Little Breathing Machine

    Matthea Harvey

    For whatever reason, this collection didn’t strike me as much as Modern Life did. But there were poems I liked.

    The Crowds Cheered as Gloom Galloped Away

    Everyone was happier. But where did the sadness go? People wanted to know. They didn’t want

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