The Volta: Friday Feature

Best Books of 2012
Sara Renee Marshall

image of O Bon

Brandon Shimoda. O Bon. Litmus Press.

image of Nilling

Lisa Robertson. Nilling. Book Thug.

image of Alpha Donut

Matvei Yankelevich. Alpha Donut. United Artist Books.

image of On the Tracks of Wild Game

Tomaž Šalamun. On the Tracks of Wild Game. Ugly Duckling Presse.

image of Fjords, Vol. 1

Zachary Schomburg. Fjords, Vol. 1. Black Ocean.

image of The Explosions

Mathias Svalina. The Explosions. Subito Press.

image of The Silhouettes

Lily Ladewig. The Silhouettes. SpringGun Press.

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Chris Martin. Enough. Ugly Duckling Presse.

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Danielle Pafunda. Manhater. Dusie.

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Karen Rigby. Chinoiserie. Ahsahta.

To be frank: I am shocked at how many men made this list, but for better or worse, I am just reporting the news. The books on this list were activating books. Something in the water caused a microcosmic stir in our poets, I think. These are daring, electric, sometimes romantic, hair-brained works.

While I was thrilled—I mean thrilled—by every book on this list, there was a constant urge to mention a few 2011 books from which I am still drunk. Namely, I continuously return to and fall in love all over again with Robert Fernandez’s We Are Pharaoh (Canarium). It’s not sufficient, but I can only describe this book as lush, even luscious. Other beloveds include Noah Eli Gordon’s The Source, Rusty Morrison’s Book of the Given, Harmony Holiday’s Negro League Baseball, Dawn Lundy Martin’s Discipline and Brandon Shimoda’s The Girl Without Arms.

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Sara Renee Marshall is a poet. She edits for The Volta and Noemi Press. Recent poems are out or forthcoming in places like Colorado Review, Octopus, CutBank, Poor Claudia’s Crush and OmniVerse. Her chapbook, AFFECTIONATELY WE CALL THIS THE HOUSE, is forthcoming from Brave Men Press. She lives and writes in Denver, Colorado.