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Since 9/11, folks have been saying we need poetry more than ever, but perhaps now we need poetry even more than "more than ever." 2014 will go down as the year of Ferguson and Eric Garner, of the CIA torture report, of lost elections and more than a few dashed hopes.
As 2015 begins, I find myself craving the uneasy questions and answers of poetry, its middle spaces, ambivalences, complexities, and also its precision and fierceness. The best poetry coming in 2015 may not have the solutions to last year's problems, but it offers plenty of the balm and fervor we need right now. So, here are my picks for the must-read poetry collections of the coming year; I hope you find things here that both soothe and incite.
And here are quick takes on a few more amazing 2015 poetry books you won't want to miss:
Fanny Says, by Nickole Brown, coming in March
Brown's sprawling sophomore collection is a lyrical biography of and tribute to her wise and irreverent southern grandmother. Along with a memorable lesson in the use of the word "flitter," what'll stick most is this book's unknown "word for all things left unbroken, a word for breakable yet unbroken things."
Void and Compensation, by Michael Morse, coming in April
In this debut from a grownup poet, heartfelt scenes are filmed by a jittery cameraman, making for a moving read that will appeal to those who don't take their poetry quite straight, who want to be led, like "wayward bees to open windows."
Tender Data, by Monica McClure, coming in July
McClure may be the poster-girl for a new generation of poets: irreverent, well-read, sexy, even dirty, snarky, but ultimately fighting an earnest battle against reductiveness and easy answers to the complex problems of the Internet age: "Every citizen of this world is on trial/ I'm learning to speak legalese/ as I stroll through civil law like/ a gamine through a sample sale."
Craig Morgan Teicher's latest collection of poetry is called To Keep Love Blurry