It is time for our annual countdown to the New Year, in which our staff and contributors reveal the books they are looking forward to in 2012. Contributing Editor Adam Day, author of Badger, Apocrypha, selected by James Tate for the PSA Chapbook Award, starts us out with his anticipated books of 2012 list.
Hagar Before the Occupation/Hagar After the Occupation (Alice James) by Amal al-Jubouri, translated by Rebecca Gayle Howell and Husam Qaisi, forward by Alicia Ostriker (Dec 13, 2011) – This contemporary female Iraqi poet portrays life before and after the war using coupled poems that add real nuance to an area of the world that is ever-present in our minds, and yet rarely actually thought about.
Spitshine (Carnegie Mellon University Press) by Anne Marie Rooney (Jan 11, 2012) – Rooney’s voice and style feel genuinely new. This text handles the body with a wrench, while it does the same to otherwise traditional poetic forms.
The Hartford Book (Cleveland State University Poetry Center) by Samuel Amadon (Mar 1, 2012) – The author of Like a Sea, winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, Amadon takes on Hartford as engagingly as his potential stylistic/aesthetic predecessors, Schuyler and Olson handled their own poetic-geographic obsessions.
Deadbeat (Four Way) by Jay Baron Nicorvo (November 2012) – These are tense, tight little poems with salt and vinegar, and a sense of humor that center around a central character, Deadbeat. The name stands for all he is, and for the limitations of language, for all that the connotative substance a title alone could never contain.
Collected Poems (Knopf) by Jack Gilbert (March 3, 2012) – More than fifty years of poems by the idiosyncratic, and wonderful, if sometimes too tender poet.
Your Invitation to a Modest Breakfast (Fence Books) by Hannah Gamble (2012) – This collection was chosen by the phenomenal Bernadette Mayer for the National Poetry Series. It’s visceral, thinky and gorgeous, and I can’t think of a book of poetry over the last ten years that more engagingly confronts family. Oh, and Bernadette Mayer chose it.