For the Love

Via My Blahg

I said this to a friend the other night: "I love poetry, but I hate reading poems." He said he could relate. We discussed how so much poetry disappoints.

The rhetoric of the statement exaggerates its expressed sentiment, obviously, but as the year comes to a close, I'm struggling to make my list of Best of 2010. What were yours?


Depressed by a Book of Bad Poetry, I Walk Toward an Unused Pasture and Invite the Insects to Join Me

Relieved, I let the book fall behind a stone.
I climb a slight rise of grass.
I do not want to disturb the ants
Who are walking single file up the fence post,
Carrying small white petals,
Casting shadows so frail that I can see through them.
I close my eyes for a moment and listen.
The old grasshoppers
Are tired, they leap heavily now,
Their thighs are burdened.
I want to hear them, they have clear sounds to make.
Then lovely, far off, a dark cricket begins
In the maple trees.

James Wright
from Selected Poems

More James Wright @ Against Oblivion:

"Saint Judas," "Northern Pike," "A Blessing"
"Prayer to the Good Poet," "Hook"
"Having Lost My Sons, I Confront The Wreckage Of The Moon:
Christmas, 1960"

"To the Muse"


Some "Best of 2010" Lists:

Via Ron Slate's blog: "Nineteen Poets Recommend New and Recent Titles"
No Tell: "Best Poetry Books of 2010" -- lists by, among others: Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Gary L. McDowell, and Grace Cavalieri
The Prague Post: "Top 10 Poetry Collections of 2010"
Chamber Four"The Best Books of 2010: Poetry"
The New Yorker: "Eleven Best Poetry Books of 2010"
Publisher's Weekly: "Best Books of 2010" -- scroll down for poetry


Attention Spokane Peeps (via The Inlander)
Maybe “poetry reading” isn’t topping your list of Wednesday night to-dos. But then, maybe you’ve never heard Robert Wrigley read a poem.

Wrigley — a University of Idaho poetry professor whose resume includes eight books, six Pushcarts, and Best American Poetry — writes from Moscow Mountain, where he lives with his wife, writer Kim Barnes. And if we did as the ancient Greeks did and gave power to the best orators, he would probably own that mountain, and many others, though he would probably never leave the West.

On Wednesday, December 7, Wrigley reads from his latest collection, Beautiful Country, at 7pm, at Auntie’s Bookstore.

The Inlander also has a brief interview with Wrigley. Here's a link and an excerpt:
Some Inlander readers may be new to poetry. Anything they should know before your reading?

I’ve always believed my poems were written to be read aloud. Poets maintain a kind of relationship to the rhythms and sounds of language that other writers do not usually want or need to. It’s part of the job description. A poet’s primary task is to keep language capable of truth in the midst of mendacity — these days, that seems particularly important.