In Review

Best Books of 2013
John Keene

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Will Alexander. Singing in Magnetic Hoofbeat: Essays, Prose Texts, Interviews, and a Lecture 1991 – 2007. Essay Press.

These essays flow out of Alexander’s singular oeuvre, illuminating the politics and poetics of the worlds he and his work inhabit.

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

One of America's finest living poets offers a distillation of her practice in this new collection, which inimitably brings eye and atmosphere together.

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Latasha N. Nevada Diggs. TwERK. Belladonna.

The collection that truly TwERKs by showing what a multilingual poetry might look and sound like.

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R. Erica Doyle. proxy. Belladonna.

Smart, sexy prose poems that chart an evocative affective queer journey in our post-9-11 moment.

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Reginald Harris. Autogeography. Northwestern University Press.

Shifting between past and present, Harris’s poems provide a map that ranges across a variety of external and interior landscapes.

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Farid Matuk. My Daughter La Chola. Ahsahta Press.

A slender volume tuned like several channels playing simultaneously and adroitly yesterday’s and tomorrow’s eventualities.

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Adrian Matejka. The Big Smoke. Penguin.

If you could enter the mind and fists of prizefighter and iconoclast Jack Johnson (1878 – 1946), and the world they moved through, Matejka expertly shows you what you might see.

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Shin-Yu Pai. Aux Arcs. La Alameda Press.

This artist-poet’s newest collection draws upon her deep grasp of the visual and scenic, to create poems and photographs that ripple outwards, from the rural to the global.

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Yuko Otomo. Study. Ugly Duckling Presse.

Not ekphrasis, not illustration, but the enriching results of an internal conversation between the artist who writes poetry and the poet who makes visual art.

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Prageeta Sharma. Undergloom. Fence Books.

Subtle and sharp as the needle capturing the starts and shifts of an imagination attentive to beauty and struggle, Sharma’s poems are never gloomy and always gleam.

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John Keene is the author of Annotations (New Directions), and of the poetry collection Seismosis (1913 Press, 2006), a collaboration with artist Christopher Stackhouse. A longtime member of the Dark Room Writers Collective of Cambridge and Boston, and a Graduate Fellow of Cave Canem, he serves on the board of the African Poetry Book Series, under the auspices of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s African Poetry Book Fund and Prairie Schooner, and teaches at Rutgers University in Newark. His translation from the Portuguese of Brazilian novelist Hilda Hilst’s novel Letters from a Seducer will appear in Winter 2013-14 (Nighboat Books/A Bolha Editora).