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What's in store for us in 2014? Season 3 of Girls and Homeland sans Brody. The dawning of the smart watch. Smoother sailing for healthcare.gov? Growing tensions in Russia and Syria. It's enough to make one giddy and terrified all at once — thankfully, we have poetry to express all our powerful and conflicted feelings.
In the next 12 months, look out for books about religious faith (by Jericho Brown and Spencer Reece, among others), a book or two pushing the boundaries of what can be considered poetry (Matthea Harvey), and a few books literally too cool (or hot) for school: don't expect to read new poems by Mark Bibbins or Rachel Zucker in your 10th grade English class. Here's an idea for a great New Year's resolution: read more poetry! This handful of collections, which deserve a place on your permanent poetry shelf, should help you keep it.
Those are eight must-reads for the year ... want a few more?
A Woman Without A Country, Eavan Boland. TBD.
Boland is one of Ireland's most important poets, and among the major writers from anywhere writing in English. A new book from her is an undeniable literary event.
Blood Lyrics, Katie Ford. October.
Ford possesses a subtle brilliance; her poems move slantwise, piercing to the heart of whatever matter is under her pen. In this case,that's the strangeness and fear that accompanies a trying new motherhood. Her work is unsung, and it's time people start singing about it.
Plundered Hearts, J.D. McClatchy. March.
McClatchy has long been crafting elegant, powerful poems of eros and ideas, drinking deeply from the well of myth, bringing it cupful by cupful into the present. This first retrospective should bring new readers to his work.
In a Landscape, John Gallaher. October.
For years, Gallaher has been writing Ashbery-inflected lyrics as funny as they are insightful. In this, a book-length sequence and his best book to date, he jumps long associative distances while also narrating his own experiences as a person, poet, and parent.
And, if you want to dig even deeper, look out for the Collected Poems of Mark Strand; Faithful and Virtuous Night, a new book by Louise Gluck; All You Ask For is Longing, the selected poems of Sean Thomas Doherty; and A Hotel in Belgium, the long-awaited debut from Brett Fletcher Lauer. It's going to be a fun year in Poetrytown.