Friday, December 31, 2010

Year-End Top-Five (plus one)

Little as the Pill believes in universal or non-contingent standards of “quality,” this list could not, in good conscience, bear the title “Best of 2010.” Instead, because I like top-five lists, here are my five favorite poetry reads of the past year, with little commentary because it’s hard to type while holding this champagne flute, and with a bonus because I liked six books enough to include here, and with best wishes to poets and their readers for the coming year.

Kathleen Graber, The Eternal City
Smart is so very, very cool.

Anne Carson, Nox
A rare case in which contents matched up to the promise of compelling packaging.

Paul Muldoon, Maggot
I've said before, and I'll say again, how good a poet I think Muldoon is.

Don Paterson, Rain
Renovation of formal conventions on every page.

Derek Walcott, White Egrets
The sonnet has rarely had it so good.

C.D. Wright, One with Others
Simply broke my heart.

Now go buy these up and read.


  1. Dear Mr. Pill,

    Having spent a semester feeling like I was drowning and having at last gotten through all the family Christmas rituals, I now have about a week and a half I can spend doing as I like. I think I'll spend part of it looking over some of your suggestions above. You make them seem delicious, like you have a sideline writing menu descriptions. I think I'll start with Nox, which happens to be right next to my desk here. I'll let you know what I think.

  2. Thanks! I've to One With Others here, to review, looking forward to getting into it.

    Read some of Maggot with the poetry group, only to say again how irksome I find Muldoon's dexterous facility. To cite Leonard: "so the great affair is over, and whoever would have guessed, it would leave us all so vacant and so deeply unimpressed?" But that's just me.

    would like to check out the Carson and Paterson, Walcott pretty much does no wrong, and Graber is unknown to me (but for your review), so thanks for the tip.

    Happy New Year, Pill, and keep on keepin' on!

  3. Paul Muldoon may be good at cryptic cosswords but he's not much of a poet