Pulitzer Prize in Poetry 2015With all the attention to best-of lists, we somehow failed to mention the winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize Winner in Poetry: Digest by Gregory Pardlo (Four Way Books).

Of Pardlo’s writing in Digest, Tracy K. Smith (winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry) commented, “Gregory Pardlo renders history just as clearly and palpably as he renders New York City, or Copenhagen, or his native New Jersey. But mostly what he renders is America, with its intractable conundrums and its clashing iconographies. With lines that balance poise and a jam-packed visceral music, and images that glimmer and seethe together like a conflagration, these poems are a showcase for Pardlo’s ample and agile mind, his courageous social conscience, and his mighty voice.”

and still more best…

December 18, 2015

poetry booksThe lists of 2015 favorite poems and poetry books are popping up almost every day. In case your list of what to read in 2016 is not yet long enough, here are a few more:

Boston Review’s Top 20 Poems of 2015

Jonathon Sturgeon, “The Best Poetry Books of 2015” on Flavorwire

Best poetry books of 2015” in the Kansas City Star

Dan Chiasson’s “Twelve Books of Poems, About Poems, or Tangentially Related to Poems from 2015” in The New Yorker

Our Contributors Pick Their Favorite Books of the Year” in The Paris Review

Best of 2015: Poetry” from Tin House

Join the fray. We’d love to hear the name of the best poem or poetry book you read in 2015. Leave a Comment!
. . . . .

more best

December 8, 2015

Best-of season continues (see our earlier post) with a variety of recommendations. It’s useful to remember that not all the list makers are starting with the same set of poetry books. But if you don’t know what to read next, any of these lists might help:

Do you have 2015 poetry favorites that were missed by the lists? Leave a comment! Happy reading.
. . . . .

Small Business Saturday

November 27, 2015

shop smallJust a reminder that tomorrow, Saturday, November 28, 2015, is Small Business Saturday and Indies First — an opportunity for locally-owned businesses and indies to heft some weight in the post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzy.

In addition to the wares on their shelves, some stores invite guest sellers to spend a couple of hours chatting with customers. You’ll find guest booksellers at Edmonds Bookshop (Edmonds), The Elliott Bay Book Company (Seattle), Open Books (Seattle), University Book Store (Seattle), Village Books (Bellingham) and maybe the bookstore around the corner. Support your local community. Shop indies first.

At Dawn I Stare Down a Raccoon byEric Lochridge
2015 Merit Award
By Eric Lochridge

At Dawn I Stare Down a Raccoon from my Back Porch

The tallest fir behind my house
hides many dark abodes.
One morning a masked bandit
shuffled out onto a limb.

There in the bronze light our eyes met.

The ancient hulk of shadow and needles
bowed him toward me, pushed up by a lake breeze.
A wisp of fog slipped between us.
When it cleared, he had gone.

I have not seen him since.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2015 by Eric Lochridge. Broadside illustrated by Christian Smith.

When Birds Could Talk*

November 1, 2015

2015 Merit Award
By Seth Friedman

When Birds Could Talk

The end is near, said the bird.
It would appear so, said I, since birds
have begun to speak.
The sunlight seemed indifferent, as
The bird cocked its eye:
Come to the river, it said.
Why, said I — and, which river?
But it flew into the blue sky.
Or — was the sky still blue?
It’s hard to remember now,
so much has changed.
If I had known which river,
I might’ve made it.
If the bird had been more specific,
Things might be different.
About one thing, though,
The bird was right:
The end came.
But what he didn’t mention:
Afterwards, it goes on.
What’s ‘it’, you ask —
Isn’t it obvious, I smirk:
The river goes on — and
Don’t ask which.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2015 by Seth Friedman. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

What is Turquoise?*

October 25, 2015

2015 Merit Award
By Hazel Lauber (3rd grade)

What is Turquoise?

What is turquoise?
Turquoise is a shiny car.
Turquoise is a tiny bit far.
Turquoise is a bright pen.
That can write with a hen.
Turquoise is pretty shoes,
That you can never loose.
Turquoise is Neptune,
But only on the moon.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2015 by Hazel Lauber. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.

Weeding Goosefoot*

October 18, 2015

WEEDING GOOSEFOOT by Angela Belcaster
2015 Merit Award
By Angela Belcaster

Weeding Goosefoot

I am weeding in my sleep.
Goosefoot, this time.
I have to look it up when I wake:

It really does resemble
the sweet leathered foot of a goose —
how many times I’ve knelt
brown-kneed, supplicant-positioned,
then ripped them out of the ground?

Tricky, this weeding business. They bite back some,
the ones who seem to know
the stutters in my immunology,
my hundred and seven Achilles’s heels.

Truth: we are appalled by each other’s strangeness.

Me, walking about,
searching for the next unmatched thing to rip out,
they, wanting nothing more
than dirt, sun, and mercy.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2015 by Angela Belcaster. Broadside illustrated by Mat Hudson.

Wanapum Remorse*

October 11, 2015

WANAPUM REMORSE by Jacob Hartsoch
2015 Walk Award
By Jacob Hartsoch

Wanapum Remorse

She came West to find this.
Scattered shards of rock and waters held back,
two road towns abandoned in dust.
The places her people might have gone.

It was all blasted away of course. Parted out
across the rivulets of Washington
or worked slow from empty coulees, past
skittish ghosts in empty lawns, the people
and the water just the same.

Long nights she studied, in her eyes
that undergrowth, that vagabond,
that restless try of the historian
working too close to her own history.

On the last hot canyon day she did this.
Scampered to the water, wreathed in turquoise
and neon sunglasses, dark arms overhead.
Poet, fisherman, other, we all saw it.
Saw her dance barefoot and bent to the wind,
the dam flaking, the Columbia trying to move.
. . . . .
*Copyright 2015 by Jacob Hartsoch. Broadside illustrated by Megan Carroll.


October 4, 2015

Untitled by Paul Little
2015 Merit Award
By Paul Little

Every spring I see faces . . .
my high school classmates with names like Hayashi,
Yoshikawa, Takahashi, Muramoto, Teramoto;
fully engaged in student life, popular, college bound,
tho mute about the fire that had seared their families.
Since college, when I first learned of the camps, I see
my classmates as 2½ year-olds, entering a crowded
train station, fascinated by the gathering of relatives
and neighbors of shared ancestry, wanting to play,
but restrained by elders still stunned by the fury of
the hate-fueled firestorm, awash in the ashes of their
livelihoods, personal possessions, and community ties,
blown by hot winds toward places and fates unknown.
Decades later, a 90-year-old widow’s memories add
place and more faces to my vision. The train station
is in Chico, CA; the added faces are a Caucasian man
and wife in their early 30s and their 2½ year-old son.
The man, unexpectedly deputized by Federal authorities,
carries out his duties, registering evacuees, tagging
luggage, loading waiting train cars. His wife watches
from the shadows and weeps, restraining her son who
fidgets, asking unanswerable questions. The widow
tells me that the Federal man was my Dad, the weeping
wife was her, and her fidgeting 2½ year-old was me.
Why did Dad never speak of this? Why did my classmates
not tell their stories? Shame and humiliation are
first cousins. Sorrow has many faces.

. . . . .
*Copyright 2015 by Paul Little. Broadside illustrated by Mat Hudson.