Yesterday, we poured a steamy cup of spiced apple cider and a list of our favorite books about poetry. As promised, today we’re serving eggnog (well, yes, there’s a batch of Tom and Jerry batter in the kitchen if you prefer) and sharing our editors’ favorite poetry collections of the year.
Secret Wounds (Richard Berlin)
These vivid, wrenchingly human poems explore the heart and soul of the medical world. Richard Berlin, whose Journey into Poetry we featured previously at Tweetspeak, is a practicing psychiatrist whose daily experience informs his powerful poetry.
Imperfect Prayers (Richard Carr)
This collection of 101 ten-lined poems delves into the beautiful devastations of doubt and faith. Says the back cover: “Richard Carr’s ten-line Imperfect Prayers are not religious poems. They are late-night cries for mercy, meditations on the spiritual truths of grocery shopping and dental procedures, and maddened love letters to the creator of constellations and children without limbs.”
Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West (trans. Daniel Ladinsky)
We can always trust Maureen Doallas for the best poetry recommendations. This one offered poets we’d never read before. Some of the background stories and poems brought tears; others made us laugh out loud. The collection includes some Rumi poems that reportedly have never been published in any other collection.
This collection features dramatic, image-rich poetry—from love poems to poems of mourning and justice. One of our editors is trying to memorize the Spanish versions after reading the English versions on the facing pages.
Darkroom (Brittingham Prize in Poetry) (Jazzy Danziger)
Watch for Glynn Young’s upcoming review of Darkroom. He tells us it’s likely the best new book of poems he’s read all year. From the book’s description: “Employing photography as its central metaphor, Darkroom tackles the tangled relationship between memory and mourning by exploring an artist’s impossible attempt to re-create the object of loss.”
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (trans. Seamus Heaney)
Seamus Heaney’s translation of “Beowulf” is a wonder — amazing how a familiar text can become new again in the hands of a master poet. If you thought you never liked Grendel’s mother (well, who would, especially if we were discussing babysitting candidates), you might just change your mind about her and this classic Northern epic monster tale.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Prison Poems (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
He’s not known for poetry, but Bonhoeffer’s Prison Poems have an aching yearning for freedom, with a knowledge that freedom will not likely come. This collection includes all ten of the dramatic poems he wrote during his imprisonment (he was charged with conspiring to assassinate Hitler).
What was the best collection of poetry you read this year? Perhaps you’ll share it with us in the comment box.
Photo by Camil Tulcan, Creative Commons License via Flickr.