Thursday, January 24, 2008

The NBCC List

The NBCC list is out:

Mary Jo Bang, Elegy, Graywolf
Matthea Harvey, Modern Life, Graywolf
Michael O'Brien, Sleeping and Waking, Flood
Tom Pickard, The Ballad of Jamie Allan, Flood
Tadeusz Rozewicz, New Poems, Archipelago

Which reminds me once again, that no matter how many books I read in a year, I’ll always miss a ton of them. Just this week, I got Matthea Harvey’s Modern Life (among others), but I don’t really have a sense of it yet. This leaves me thinking, what if I had to make up the NBCC list? What would I have chosen? Keeping in mind the close friend clause (this year a big clause as many of my friends came out with very good books), I think I’d go with this list:

Mary Jo Bang, Elegy (Graywolf)
John Ashbery, A Worldly Country (ecco)
Martha Ronk, VERTIGO (Coffee House)
Paige Ackerson-Kiely, In No One’s Land (Ahsahta)

But that’s only four, for the fifth, I’d have to choose one of these:

G.C. Waldrep, Disclamor (BOA)
Michael Dumanis, My Soviet Union (Massachusetts)
Charles Wright, Littlefoot (FSG)
Rae Armantrout, Next Life (Wesleyan)
Graham Foust, Necessary Stranger (Flood Editions)

Oh, I don’t know. Never mind. I’m just glad not to have to make a list of five.

Maybe this (as it’s always dangerous to praise highly first books, it has a tendency to slap the poets around too much):

Mary Jo Bang, Elegy (Graywolf)
John Ashbery, A Worldly Country (ecco)
Martha Ronk, VERTIGO (Coffee House)
Cate Marvin, Fragment of the Head of a Queen (Sarabande)
Rae Armantrout, Next Life (Wesleyan)

That looks pretty good.

But then so does this:

Mary Jo Bang, Elegy (Graywolf)
Paige Ackerson-Kiely, In No One’s Land (Ahsahta)
G.C. Waldrep, Disclamor (BOA)
Michael Dumanis, My Soviet Union (Massachusetts)
Graham Foust, Necessary Stranger (Flood Editions)

All I know is, no matter what, Mary Jo Bang’s Elegy is on the list. It’s a wonderful book.


At 1/24/2008 7:02 PM, Blogger Frank (the Colt) said...

I read a ton of books each year, and I can't help but miss some. Dorothea Lasky's Awe was the one that I almost missed. I like Cate Marvin's book a lot, and Michael is professor of mine and his book was a knock out. I really like your stuff in Barn Owl. Good like at AWP.

At 1/25/2008 4:23 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I liked AWE a lot, as well. Marvin and Dumanis both had really good books, as was Mary Biddinger's Prairie Fever (is she someone you work with as well?).

There were so many good books of poetry in 2007. I wonder if it was an especially great year, or if it's just because I was paying more attention. If it's the latter, it makes me wonder about some of what I've been missing in the past.

I just started Harvey's Modern Life. So far I like it a lot as well.

At 1/25/2008 6:31 AM, Blogger Frank (the Colt) said...

Yea I work with Mary. Her book was really good, but I think what she is writing now is really fun to read.

At 1/25/2008 6:55 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I'll have to pry through her backpack then... !

At 1/25/2008 5:59 PM, Blogger Steven D. Schroeder said...

One book on your list from a few posts back that I adored was Hadara Bar-Nadav's A Glass of Milk to Kiss Good Night.

At 1/26/2008 6:41 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...


Indeed! And a little bird told me that she has another book ready that's as good or better.

Think architecture. Shh. I've said too much. People might be listening.

At some point the whole friend clause has to be tossed out, and I get to say how good friends of mine are, right?

This is really going to be tested this year, with Kevin Prufer's wonderful National Anthem.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home