Monday, December 31, 2007

My job asks me to recognize the populous value in new books. In turn, I grow tired of new books very quickly. I still have a lot to read that has already been published. This year the older books I loved were Unending Blues by Charles Simic (the Simic I was looking for), A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh (not the best Waugh but the catalyst Waugh), Homeland by Sam Lipsyte, and Yes, Master by Michael Earl Craig.

Here are my favorite 2007 delegates that I can recite as of this moment.

The Man Suit - by Zachary Schomburg
Without a doubt this is my favorite book and discovery this year. I read at Grub Street with his publisher Janaka Stucky (of Black Ocean), who read some of Zach's work instead of his own. I bought the book that night and have read through it countless times. It is something I had heard before, like a melody from a song, but I didn not know it was what I had been looking for. Unlike most other poets today raised by Olson & Zakovsky , Zach has instead suckled on to teat's of Russell Edson and Charles Simic. His language is frank and friendly, conducting kangaroo courts with humor, sadness, and violence. Names and images repeat themselves, making a dark macramé. It is a well baked chocolate cake of image and situation. Also, it has the best cover I've ever seen on a poetry book.

Jamestown - by Matthew Sharpe
I have never read of filth described in such a way as Sharpe is able to. The evil grease & oil in the beards of men has never been so carefully examined. Violent pages of colonial hijinx, bloody and irreverent. Stylistically, the language was leaps ahead of most. Not plotted perfectly, but I still tell women this is the best book of the year. Onward towards the apocalypse.

The Motel Life - by Willy Vlautin
This book was all story, no frills. Brought me back to the days of used cars and endless winter. I am still in those days.

A Circle is a Balloon and a Compass Both: Stories About Human Love by Ben Greenman
Ben obstructs most of his stories with abstractions of THE FUNNY and THE REGRET. They are the mud puddles you enjoy riding your ten speed through.

Other books I liked this year were Samedi the Deafness by Jesse Ball, Why I am White by Mathias Svalina, Engelby by Sebastian Fawlks, Homemade Engines from a Dream by Noah Falck, The Scented Fox by Laynie Browne, Divisadero by Michael Oondatje

Those are some delegates I cast my vote upon. I hope in the new year they push their endeavors even further. For now, to help ring in the new year, let us now celebrate the great planes of Franz Wright's magnificent forehead.

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