Every year, the literary world holds its breath in anticipation of one of the most influential book reviews out there: The New York Times’ 100 Notable Books list. The annual compilation includes books from fiction to poetry to nonfiction, and comprises a wide range of genres within these categories. Many readers use the Notable Books list as the basis for their holiday gift wish list or as recommendations for their next book club pick, so why don’t you? Read on to find out a little more about some of the poetry collections mentioned on the Notable Books list and see whether they sound like your next read!
Patricia Lockwood: “Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals”
The provocative poet’s second collection is, according to New York Times reviewer Stephen Burt, “at once angrier, and more fun, more attuned to our time and more bizarre, than most poetry can ever get.” This assessment comes as no surprise after Lockwood’s debut collection “Balloon Pop Outlaw Black,” which was also filled with the kind of quirky, off-center pieces that have come to characterize her style. Lockwood’s poems have as their subjects everything from Emily Dickinson to the Loch Ness Monster, making this poetry collection one that is certainly unique enough to check out.
Derek Walcott: “The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948-2013”
With a decidedly different tone than Lockwood’s kaleidoscope collection, this anthology compiled by Glyn Maxwell celebrates a lifetime of work by Caribbean poet Derek Walcott. And it really is a lifetime; Walcott’s first collection was published when he was 18 years old, and now at 84, he has been writing ever since. His pieces contain many references to artists and famous artworks, unsurprisingly as Walcott himself is a watercolor painter who has created the cover art for many of his books.
Louise Glück: “Faithful and Virtuous Night”
Glück is a perennial pick for lists of notable poets, and after 50 years of writing, it’s no wonder. In her latest collection, she takes on the voice of an aging male painter as her main speaker, proving as she has before her skill in taking on a new persona for the sake of an engaging poem. Reading “Faithful and Virtuous Night” alongside some of Glück’s earlier works might be an interesting project for a book club looking to map a single poet’s journey over the course of their career.
Check out some of these notable poetry collections and see if it inspires your own work.
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