Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Best Poems of 2012

These were the poems I read in 2012 that I did not want to leave behind. I copied each out by hand and added it to a loose leaf notebook. The notion that there is any such thing as an objective "best" is dubious, but that shouldn't stop you from judging and declaring. I say, you know what's best! I read these all in 2012 so they're the best of what I read that year, what worked for me "best" of all; I expect them to continue to reward in years to come.

I read through more than 57 sources. Books, mostly. Some magazines. I can't keep track of everything. If I happen upon a poem online or pick up a book and sample, but the poem doesn't win me, that "source" is not going to be noted. 40 of the 57 sources are not represented by a poem in this list. I read anthologies, literary magazines, and the collections of individual poets. In 2012 I read through Denise Levertov. I have a poem or two of hers in an earlier list. Whenever I've come across Levertov's poems I've thought well of them so I looked forward to a full read. I expected I would copy out more than the two I did. Reading Levertov was worthwhile but I don't think I need to do it again.

The source from which I took more poems (10) than any other was an anthology of haiku. That's happened before. I like haiku and haiku anthologies contain a lot of individual poems. I don't know that, as a proportion of poems read, I copy out more haiku than poems in longer forms. Can't say that I've not made much of an effort to quantify that, though.

I thought I'd already posted this list, I try to get my "Best" list posted in the new year, but thinking so didn't make it so. Some people like lists like this. I'm not a big list maker, but the list is already made. I here expose it.

Ernesto Cardenal ….. "Prayer for Marilyn Monroe"
Chisoku ….. "The Dragonfly"
Bernard Dadie ….. "A Wreath for Africa"
Connie Deanovich ….. "Porno Stars with Tuberculosis"
Paul Guest ….. "Melancholia"
Gyodai ….. "Autumn"
Issa ….. 4 haiku
Dale Jensen ….. "In the Beginning"
Dale Jensen ….. "Its Elegant Steel Cage"
Daniel Jones ….. "A Cold Ear of Corn"
Daniel Jones ….. "Fried Chicken"
Roberto Juarroz ….. "Life Draws a Tree …"
Orhan Veli Kanik ….. "The Guest"
Koyo ….. "The Good Neighbor"
Denise Levertov ….. "For a Child"
Denise Levertov ….. "Souvenir d'amitie"
Majid Naficy ….. "Night"
Onitsura ….. "Onitsura's First Poems (age 8)"
Rebecca Radner ….. "So there he was in the freezer"
Rebecca Radner ….. "There's nothing that wrong with me"
Juan Ramon Jimenez ….. "Oceans"
Shiki ….. 2 haiku
Alastair Reid ….. "Lo Que Se Pierde / What Gets Lost"
Kenneth Rexroth ….. "Autumn Rain"
Tomas Santos ….. "A Wish" *
Shinkei ….. 2 haiku
Nishiyama Soin ….. "Composed for a memorial service"
Tchicaya U Tam'si ….. "Agony"
Tchicaya U Tam'si ….. "The Scorner"
John Yau ….. "Footfall"
John Yau ….. "Medusa"
John Yau ….. 4 selections from "One Hundred Poems"
John Yau ….. section 3 from "Scenes from the Life of Boullee"

* the Tomas Santos poem was copied out in 2013 and misfiled, so I've crossed it out here; look for it in the 2013 list

No comments: