The 12/27 NYT Sunday Book Review devotes its attention to “The Year in Poetry.” Discussing the issue on the weekly podcast, the editors note that this has been a year of controversy and scandal in poetry, as poets dealt with the issue of race, “badly, mostly,”(see Sonya Posmenther’s “Critics Take: A Language for Grieving“) as well as politics.
Somewhat less controversially, a range of people, from John Green to John Waters response to the question “What is Your Favorite Poem?” Gillian Flynn selects Gwendolyn Brooks, musing that Brooks “nestled into my heart when I was about 12, and she’s never been replaced,” adding that her poem, “a song in the front yard” is her “heartbeat anthem… it hit me with so much impact as a quiet, shy, relentlessly pleasing junior-schooler who yearned to be so much more than that.”
Lena Dunham picks “Man and Wife,” by Robert Lowell, explaining that she relates “to the story of the wronged wife, the wounded daughter, the angry mistress. But Lowell captures what is painful and precious about long-term love, about learning to live with someone else even when you cannot mend them.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates lists Robert Hayden’s “Middle Passage,” saying “It is the poem I return to over and over — both for what it says about my country, and how it says it.”
Separately, online only, the NYT BR’s “On Poetry” columnist David Orr selects the ten Best Poetry Books of 2015.
Mary Jo Bang, Robin Coste Lewis, Ada Limón, and Lawrence Raab are likely the most familiar of his selections, with Limón also making the National Book Award’s poetry short list and Lewis winning that award for her collection Voyage of the Sable Venus (PRH/Knopf; OverDrive Sample).
We’ve added all ten selections to our downloadable spreadsheet:
See all the downloadable spreadsheets, at the right, under “Best Books 2015.”