Day 20: Amit Majmudar’s 5 Poetry Picks

April 20, 2011

Alicia E. Stallings, Archaic Smile.
This poet started out miraculous and has been improving her work rigorously over the past decade. She is not content—the way Kay Ryan, Collins, and Oliver are—to replicate early successes. Her early successes, and successes they are, you will find collected here.

Alicia E. Stallings, Hapax.
The fugue complicates itself; the fractal goes intricate; the crystal branches ever more finely. She distinguishes herself as a poet for whom the culture’s poetic past(s) and present are foregrounded in the same plane; there is no silly striving after “timeliness.” Her timeliness is the perpetual timeliness of music.

Kay Ryan, The Best of It.
I have an essay about her forthcoming in June’s The Threepenny Review. It identifies seven paradoxical masks—Infinitude Disguised as the Sound Bite, Irrationality Disguised as Logic, Individuality Disguised as the Impersonal, Subjectivity Disguised as Dissolution, Design Disguised as Accident, Inclusiveness Disguised as Exclusion, and Vision Disguised as Observation—through which this poet achieves her sublime ends. I refer the reader to that issue for more detailed admiration.

Christian Wiman, Every Riven Thing.
You know you’re a good poet when you form-reject me regularly and I still can’t help but like you. In his most successful poems, the formal decisions, like those of Todd Boss, follow those of Kay Ryan; he is one of the many poets on whom she has had a salutary influence. He also has a terminal hematological malignancy, which he himself has made public; this fact, always in the back of the mind (both his and the reader’s), adds a based-on-a-true-story frisson to the poems about dying.

Don Paterson, [Insert Title Here].
The great British master-poet. He, too, has worked constantly to transfigure himself. He began with a few books in which he presented himself a bawling-brawling, tough-guy-with-a-heart type. Then, just as fatherhood was deepening him, he began translating some poets rather unlike him, Machado and Rilke (Stallings, too, nota bene, has translated Lucretius), and he came out the other side with his language purified. I prefer his later books to his early ones, but all are uniformly masterful.

BIO: Amit Majmudar is a diagnostic radiologist specializing in nuclear medicine. His first book, 0′,0′, was published by Northwestern University Press/TriQuarterly Books. His second manuscript, Heaven and Earth, won the 2011 Donald Justice Award. His first novel, Partitions, is forthcoming from Holt/Metropolitan in 2011 as well. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry Magazine, 32 Poems Magazine, and The Best American Poetry anthology.

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