Brandon Shimoda. O Bon. Litmus Press.
Lisa Robertson. Nilling. Book Thug.
Matvei Yankelevich. Alpha Donut. United Artist Books.
Tomaž Šalamun. On the Tracks of Wild Game. Ugly Duckling Presse.
Zachary Schomburg. Fjords, Vol. 1. Black Ocean.
Mathias Svalina. The Explosions. Subito Press.
Lily Ladewig. The Silhouettes. SpringGun Press.
Chris Martin. Enough. Ugly Duckling Presse.
Danielle Pafunda. Manhater. Dusie.
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.