Showing posts with label Best Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Best Books. Show all posts

Thursday, December 22, 2011

These are the books published in 2011 that expanded, deepened, &/or transformed my reading, at least to date. I’m always playing catch-up and two of the books that have had a significant impact on me this past year were published in 1975 (Paul Blackburn’s The Journals, which I read for the third time) and 1932 (Alfred Kreymbourg’s The Little World: 1914 and After, a volume of political doggerel that anticipates Calvin Trillin). I may well read as many important volumes from ought-11 in 2012 as I have this year, especially as I hope to have more time to read & write.

In my mind, these books fall into some natural groupings, so it probably makes the most sense to present them that way. The first group is of volumes that I immediately felt were masterworks – the kinds of works that will become iconic place markers in my own literary imagination – by writers whom I felt had not previously had that kind of public recognition:

         Charles Alexander, Pushing Water, Cuneiform Press, Victoria, TX, 2011

         Anselm Berrigan, Notes from Irrelevance, Wave Books, Seattle & New York, 2011

         Srikanth Reddy, Voyager, UC Press, Berkeley, 2011

There are some caveats here. The first is that I’ve thought of Charles Alexander as a master poet for some time now, at least since Hopeful Buildings (1990) & arc of light / dark matter (1992). But as too often happens with poets who live away from the urban centers on either coast, my own sense of this has not caught on as widely as I think it should. I don’t see how anyone can read Pushing Water & not sense the mastery & scale with which Alexander is working.