Posted by: Glenda Bailey-Mershon | April 24, 2009

Best Poetry Book of 2008? I haven’t read enough yet!

Here are the best poetry books of the year, according to Barbara Hoffert and Library Journal. I think I’m a pretty serious poet, but, although I’m aware of recent work by most of the poets here, I haven’t read any of these books in their entirety.

Can you be a serious poet and not read widely in the field? I think not. Of this group, Mark Doty, Barbara Guest, Patricia Smith, and Brenda O’Shaughnessy are favorites. I’ll start there and branch out. Let you know when I come up for air.

Best Poetry of 2008
Celebrate National Poetry Month with 13 good books
By Barbara Hoffert — Library Journal, 4/15/2009

American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry. Norton. ed. by Cole Swensen & David St. John. ISBN 978-0-393-33375-6. $25.95.
(LJ 12/08)

Armitage, Simon. Tyrannosaurus Rex versus the Corduroy Kid. Knopf. ISBN 978-0-307-26841-9. $22.
(LJ 10/15/08)

Bidart, Frank. Watching the Spring Festival. Farrar. ISBN 978-0-374-28603-3. $22.
(LJ 4/15/08)

BolaƱo, Roberto. The Romantic Dogs. New Directions, dist. by Norton. tr. from Spanish by Laura Healy. ISBN 978-0-8112-1801-6. pap. $14.95.
(LJ 10/1/08)

Doty, Mark. Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems. Harper: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-075247-7. $22.95.
(LJ 4/1/08)

Guest, Barbara. The Collected Poems of Barbara Guest. Wesleyan Univ. ed. by Hadley Haden Guest. ISBN 978-0-8195-6860-1. $39.95.
(LJ 9/15/08)

Herrera, Juan Felipe. Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems. Univ. of Arizona. ISBN 978-0-8165-2703-8. pap. $24.95.

Kleinzahler, August. Sleeping It Off in Rapid City: Poems, New and Selected. Farrar. ISBN 978-0-374-26583-0. $23.
(LJ 5/15/08)

Merwin, W.S. The Shadow of Sirius. Copper Canyon. ISBN 978-1-55659-284-3. $22.

Shaughnessy, Brenda. Human Dark with Sugar. Copper Canyon. ISBN 978-1-55659-276-8. pap. $15.
(LJ 3/15/08)

Smith, Patricia. Blood Dazzler. Coffee House, dist. by Consortium. ISBN 978-1-56689-218-6. pap. $16.

Spicer, Jack. The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer. Wesleyan Univ. ed. by Peter Gizzi & Kevin Killian. ISBN 978-0-8195-5308-9. $40; pap. ISBN 978-0-8195-6340-8. $24.95.

Stewart, Susan. Red Rover. Univ. of Chicago. ISBN 978-0-226-77454-1. $22.
(LJ 9/15/08)

Barbara Hoffert is the editor, LJ book review


  1. I ws just browsing, and glad I stopped in here… I AM a new writer… this is an interesting site… thank you cindy

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