In Review

[Some] Best Books of 2013
Calvin Bedient

image of Just Saying

Rae Armantrout. Just Saying. Wesleyan University Press.

Current master of ellipsis.

“Not ecstatic or epiphanic but something more like what Archimedes meant when he shouted, Eureka!” (Aaron Kunin)

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Mei-mei Berssenbrugge. Hello, the Roses. New Directions Books.

Thought-deep observer.

“Visceral with intellection” (David Lau)

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Lucie Brock-Broido. Stay, Illusion. Knopf Doubleday Publishing.

Current master of the timeless lyric.

“Root writing by somebody with every gift…including the gift of style. God forbid, can we please have a little goddamned style… We’re not dead yet… The work of a person with very few illusions” (Karen Garthe)

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CM Burroughs. The Vital System. Tupelo Press.

Verbally visceral.

“This startling and powerful debut book thinks body, it dances sound, it sexes language” (Molly Bendall)

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Robert Fernandez. Pink Reef. Canarium Books.

The carnivalesque was never before this crazy and sublime.

“This is a book that Rimbaud and Césaire might have read with a shock of recognition” (Calvin Bedient)

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Brenda Hillman. Seasonal Works With Letters On Fire. Wesleyan University Press.

Master contemporizer of the lyric.

“She is almost alone in keeping a kind of spiritual journal in which the personal is porous to the public…porous to the cosmic, as well” (Calvin Bedient)

image of People on Sunday

Geoffrey G. O’Brien. People on Sunday. Wave Books.

Master problemtizer of the lyric.

“O’Brien’s self-criticism expresses sadness in its most damning levels of irony” (Joel Calahan)

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Judith Taylor. Sex Libris. What Books Press.

Sardonic spinner of the lyric line.

“Beckoning verbal wit… telegraphic snap…[and] traditional lyric gestures and deeply thought ruminations” (Albert Goldbarth)

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Daniel Tiffany. Neptune Park. Omnidawn Publishing.

Master of gaga, north-north-west.

“The poems depict, with some abandon, the nightlife of language” (Andrew Joron)

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Lynn Xu. Debts & Lessons. Omnidawn Publishing.

“A radical contraction of attention—to locate this little thing I have to do, for ‘us,’ before it is lost to allusion, death, or tide” (Christopher Patrick Miller)

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Calvin Bedient has reviewed poetry for The New Republic, The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, Salmagundi, Boston Review, and other magazines. His has published four books of poetry, the most recent being The Multiple (Omnidawn), and four books of criticism, including The Yeats Brothers. He co-edits Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry & Opinion.