Best New Poets 2012

Dear Readers, Readers, and, yes, Readers,


The third issue of Yorick Magazine is coming to you…soon. Unfortunately, the staff at Yorick was caught in a Civil War reenactment battle, so some of us are artificially wounded and have to pretend to be dead for the rest of the historic and educational event. Oh dear. But! On discovering Best New Poets, a great organization featuring, well, the best new poets of modern civilization and uncivilization, we found five of our favorites on a compiled list by Matthew Dickman, renowned and award-winning Portland poet.

Sean Bishop, with “Black Hole Owners Association”  – originally in Alaska Quarterly Review

Bishop’s poetry is bleak and mildly sarcastic, with a grim timbre and sagging lines that draw the reader into Bishop’s world.

Jenny Gropp Hess, with “Months After the Crash, the Blind Aerobatic Pilot Speaks” – originally in Beecher’s Magazine

An important mixture of image and sparsity, Hess’ poetry spans several contexts and ideas to bring the reader into a state of mind that compares the incomparable.

Mia Ayumi Malhotra, with “As If” – originally in The Monarch Review

Blunt, full of didactic-isms and the reality of being an Asian American, Malhotra’s poetry illustrates goofy and lugubrious lives through momentary awkward, though gorgeously written, instances.

Matthew Nienow, with “O Anchor”  – originally in Beloit Poetry Journal

Nienow’s brilliance comes from his innate understanding of the poetics of industry. Quite simply, his poetry discovers beauty in the subtleties of a job, especially boatwork.

Martin Rock, with “Double Acrostic for Francis Ponge”

Rock has a spiritual edge with his poetry, something spectral that emerges through cultural enigmas and startling realizations. The words culminate to appreciate the mysteries of life.

Well that’s our mini-list! Invest some time in researching these poets, and learn more about the up-and-coming-poets’ scene by purchasing a copy of the Best New Poets anthology here.

More soon. Cheers!



Posted on September 12, 2012, in Cool Stuff, Why So Serious and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Thanks for all the recommendations.If I could take 4 20th-century foiergn language poets to a desert island they’d be Seferis, Akhmatova, Herbert and Celan. Paul Celan: a Romanian Jew who wrote mostly in German, survived the 2nd world war (his parents didn’t), and ended up in Paris married to a Frenchwoman; he drowned himself in the Seine in 1970, aged 50. His poems are full of agony, despair, lyricism, mystery; they are often highly imagistic, mostly short, and can be impenetrable – but they ask you to go on trying. They reflect the middle of the 20th century in a very dark way, and push language to the limit, surely as much as anyone has done. (sorry if that’s a cliche, but they do!)It would be great if anyone could recommend a good translation – I have got Michael Hamburger’s in the Penguin Selected parallel text, but (hope this is not sacrilege, given his eminence) I do think he had rather a tin ear sometimes… I’ve also got one collection translated by someone else but I’m away and can’t find it on the internet. To be fair, Celan is really hard to translate – the opposite of Seferis, who as Edmund Prestwich says is so accessible thanks to Keeley and Sherrard; is there any other poet who translates so well into English? The French poet Philippe Jaccottet has been translated by Derek Mahon, in a parallel text – contemplative, thought-provoking poems.The Finnish poet Edith Sf6dergran (early 20th century, wrote in Swedish, died young of TB) has been translated by David McDuff, published by Bloodaxe. It’s out of print, and in English only. Very weird, visionary, imagistic poems, some quite spine-chilling; both modernist and romantic. I’d also recommend The Poetry of Survival: Post-war Poets of Central and Eastern Europe (Penguin International Poets) edited by Daniel Weissbort, available second-hand via Amazon etc. And Miroslav Holub, utterly magical and compelling, Czechoslovak scientist from Iron Curtain days; various translations on Amazon, but I don’t think there’s a parallel text. Then there’s Durs Grfcnbein, translated by Michael Hoffman for Faber – but alas it’s not in a parallel text. Could we have more of those, please? I’d love to get more recommendations of younger, contemporary foiergn-langauge poets like DG. There must be people in the academic world who are reading them. The magazine Modern Poetry in Translation seems to be doing its best to bridge the divide between academia and the poetry world, but one magazine, however good, can’t do that on its own. As for North America.. where to start? Good to see Marie Howe and Kay Ryan mentioned; what about Jorie Graham (eg. her Selected, Dream of a Unified Field publ Carcanet, though it doesn’t include more recent stuff) – she does great things with form and thought. And Louise Gluck’s Wild Iris. Three I’ve enjoyed a lot recently are Philip Nikolayev, publ Salt, who writes some weird but very interesting stuff; Brenda Shaughnessy, very vivid, erotic and eclectic; and the Canadian Karen Solie who I’d never heard of until she had two poems in the last Magma (thanks!!) which sent me straight off to find her books. I’ve reviewed all 3 poets on my blog, which should be linked to at the top of this post.

  1. Pingback: A poetry blurb! « JGH

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