The Americans and other poetry

A new year, a new pile of poetry books that I bought last year and didn’t read. That’s what we have new year’s resolutions for.

Check out the Americans: Mary Oliver, Adrienne Rich, and Jorie Graham. Interestingly they’re all women, and all born in the early to mid 20th century. This seems to be where my interest lies, in post-war American poetry, often from the West Coast. I’m an Americophile, at least when it comes to literature. Someone also gave me a copy of The Best American Poetry 2014, which I started to read last year. The opening poem ‘Sonnet, with Pride’ by Sherman Alexie is, on the surface, about lions escaping from Baghdad Zoo during the Iraq War. It’s sharp and wonderful.

Other collections that came my way are because of my interest in narrative poetry: Dear Neil Roberts by Airini Beautrais, South by Chris Orsman, The Odour of Sanctity by Amy Brown, and The Rocky Shore by Jenny Bornholdt (all VUP). They’re also writers that I’ve enjoyed in the past and know I can learn from. I also managed to pick up quite a few out-of-print collections and nearly have a complete set of Bernadette Hall’s poetry. I’m going to read her first collection Heartwood (Caxton) and then her latest, Life & Customs (VUP). Then there are the books I simply wanted to read: Bird Murder by Stefanie Lash, Cinema by Helen Rickerby (both Makaro Press), How to be Dead in a Year of Snakes (AUP) by Chris Tse, Cloudboy (OUP) by Siobhan Harvey, Thicket (VUP) by Anna Jackson, The Unfortunate Singer (VUP) by Rachel Bush, and Horse with Hat (VUP) by Marty Smith.


The Americans

Bernadette Hall


2 thoughts on “The Americans and other poetry

  1. Gah! I have a similar stack. I just spent the Christmas/New Years period knocking off ‘How To Be Dead In A Year Of Snakes’, but that has been replaced by the new additions I got for Christmas. Not to mention the $100 Unity voucher that I’ve got lined up for Puna Wai Korero & whatever else also takes my fancy. Too many books, not enough time.

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