Most Anticipated Poetry Books of 2015

From the New World by Jorie GrahmLast Two Seconds by Mary BangStation Zed by Tom SleighOne Thousand Things Worth Knowing by Paul Muldoon

From the New World by Jorie Grahm

From the early poems set in Tennessee and Kentucky, to the expansive embrace of the poet's childhood Rome or the Normandy of the Second World War, to the explorations of myth, art, faith, technology, and ultimately the fate of the planet itself—whose imperiled beauty and intricate complexity few poets have so powerfully confronted and celebrated—the book brings us face to face with our "New World." Our unprecedented historical, social, and ecological crises, reshaping life as we have known it, both in our persons and on the globe, rise in all their terror and deep mystery from these pages. How are we to be responsible, the book asks; how attend to drastic disappearance and still love? Graham's deeply sensual description, intellectually bold lyric action, and her ever-evolving musical and formal inventiveness have for decades now brought us an urgent report from a dazzlingly charted world—now ecstatic, now sober, always electric. (Publisher Summary)

Last Two Seconds by Mary Bang

In poems that are tidy and efficient, with brief lines that are notable for their lack of extravagance, Hirshfield celebrates the status quo—“the steady effort of the world to stay the world”—and imbues the homely, plain or pedestrian with wonderful significance. The mundane, everyday items that fall in her way present fresh opportunities for poetic moments. In “A Common Cold,” she makes a common ailment seem cosmopolitan: “A common cold, we say— / common, though it has encircled the globe / seven times now handed traveler to traveler . . . common, though it is infinite and surely immortal . . . ” Now, at the age of 60, Hirshfield also reflects upon her own meandering timeline in a series of equally rewarding and astounding “My” poems. Poetry is embedded in the world, and—fortunately for the reader—her ability to recognize it seems inexhaustible. (BookPage Reviews)

Station Zed by Tom Sleigh

In his ninth book of poems, Sleigh's poetry is more chiseled and solid, yet it also possesses emotional depth and lyrical freedom. War and the classics continue to be important presences in his work, as he digs into centuries of inquiry about the human condition. Sleigh doesn't avoid vitriol or the hard questions but, instead, dives into the waters of contradiction to create, with patience and a deft, clean style, new approaches to old tales of wounds and recovery. The 29 poems gathered here in four sections are varied in theme and settings, from communism and the Cold War to overseas caf├ęs and animals. The standout is "Homage to Basho," which includes first-person prose in introductions to smaller, introspective, lightning-rod lyrics such as "Villanelle on Going to Baghdad." As prose and poem flow together, all of it is good, all of it is more than interesting. Sleigh has created a worldly collection, richly thematic and strikingly precise in word and thought. (Booklist Reviews)

If this masterful, multifarious collection does have a theme, it is watchfulness. "War is to wealth as performance is to appraisal," he warns in "Recalculating." And "Source is to leak as Ireland is to debt." Heedful, hard-won, head-turning, heartfelt, these poems attempt to bring scrutiny to bear on everything, including scrutiny itself.One Thousand Things Worth Knowing confirms Nick Laird's assessment, in The New York Review of Books, that Muldoon is "the most formally ambitious and technically innovative of modern poets," an experimenter and craftsman who "writes poems like no one else." (Publisher Summary)

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