Prominent publications and organizations have posted their best of the year poetry collections for 2010.
The HuffingtonPost posted its list this week, and it includes H.L. Hix’s collection First Fire, Then Birds: Obsessions 1985-2010. This book covers a span of Hix’s work throughout his career. I don’t have the collection yet, but I have read a few of Hix’s collections, including Chromatic, which was nominated for a National Book Award, God Bless, poems consisting of phrases from speeches given by George Bush and Osama Bin Laden, and As Easy as Lying, an essay collection on the craft of poetry.
HuffingtonPost’s writer, Anis Shivani, commented that Hix is “one of our most daring poets, his oeuvre a rebuke to timidity, apathy, and retreat in any of its manifestations.”
I also wanted to point out that Hix serves on the advisory board of the Wilkes Graduate Creative Writing Program, where I earned my M.F.A. In addition, a lot of his work, including the book mentioned on HuffingtonPost’s list, was published by Etruscan Press, which is housed out of the Wilkes creative writing offices. I also interned for the press during my last semester of the program. So congrats to Hix and congrats to the Wilkes program.
The list also includes Major Jackson’s latest collection, Holding Company, one of my favorites of the year, and collections by Arab poet Adonis, C.D. Wright, who has made other lists, Paul Muldon, who also made other lists, Charles Simic, and others.
Some other lists include the New Yorker’s 11 best poetry books of 2010, which includes this year’s winner of the National Book Award, Terrance Hayes, for his collection Lighthead, also one of my favorites of the year.
The Poetry Foundation and others have also posted their lists, so check them out if you have time.
As I had mentioned earlier, Holding Company by Major Jackson is one of my tops for the year. In this collection, Jackson created a major shift in form from his previous two books, Leaving Saturn and Hoops. Instead of the narrative form that often composes his work, he created brief, 10-line poems in Holding Company that created a greater sense of urgency and forced him to make the point sooner.
Another one of my favorite collections of the year is Terrance Hayes’ Lighthead. Hayes just has a gift for language, metaphor, and pop culture references, especially music.