You'll just have to trust me when I say that, after Monday's and Wednesday's posts about my favorite fiction and nonfiction of the year, today's mish-mash of categories doesn't represent any lesser loves. These are all books I'd vouch for just as powerfully as the ones on the more traditional lists. So here goes.
Favorite poetry of 2013
Carrie Olivia Adams's Forty One Jane Doe's: I would quote more from this one but I gave my copy to an old bookselling friend, pressed it fervently upon him. It's that sort of book. Carrie--who, like a few others on this week's lists, is a friend--surprises with her images, searches for knowledge in antiquated sciences, and wafts over all a hint of menace. Her lines break unexpectedly, jaggedly, pull to a stop defiantly, even breathlessly. Her Jane Does are like noir heroines, seductive and dangerous, even when (possibly?) dead. "I don't know why this one or that one. But I know desire." "I don't know how to close / a door, but I am sending / the sound of it latching."
Ernest Hilbert's All of You on the Good Earth: Aside from a shade of shared noir sensibility, Hilbert's poetry couldn't be less like Carrie Adams's: where hers is fractured and fragmented, his is regimented and formal. He's that rare thing these days, a sonneteer, but he brings a conversational vibrancy to the form that continually pushes against its constraints even as it draws strength from them. And, oh, the pleasures he takes in sound and rhythm and rhyme! "Taped up, damp now, smeared photo of the stray / On each scratched steel lamppost along the way."
Favorite comic of 2013
Favorite letters collection of 2013
Favorite daybook for the bedside table
So aware is he of his sensitiveness, of his sense of humour, that they are become two spectators who follow him wherever he goes, and are for ever on the look-out for a display of feeling.And that on October 11, 2007, Doris Lessing, on being told by reporters on her doorstep that she had won the Nobel Prize, sighed, "Oh, Christ." And there are entries for Anthony Powell and Donald Westlake and Barbara Pym and Iris Murdoch and Penelope Fitzgerald and Rex Stout and Norman Maclean and M. R. James and Samuel Johnson, and oh, have you not gone to buy this book already?