Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Best Poetry Books of 2008 - Janaka Stucky

Janaka Stucky's choices:

My top 3 nepotistic picks for 2008 -

1. Holy Land by Rauan Klassnik (Black Ocean). I admire people with no scruples; this book is amazing. When I publish someone else’s book it means putting my own writing on hold, and I love my own writing a lot. That should tell you something.

2. Dear Ra by Johannes Göransson (Starcherone). Bold, abrasive and playful this “story in flinches” puts the ‘poetry’ back in ‘drinking, fucking and fighting.’ Read it with a glass of your favorite vodka, neat.

3. Undersleep by Julie Doxsee (Octopus Books). Julie succeeds at crafting the kind of abstracted, deliberate surgeries of language that everyone else seems to be trying these days. She just does it better than most.

My fourth pick is from someone I’ve never met and it’s a chapbook:

4. Hit Wave by Jon Leon (Kitchen Press). I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much reading poetry. Hit Wave isn’t ha-ha funny, it’s just dry, brilliant and insane. Narrated in first person by the cocaine-love-baby of Oscar Wilde and Brian Wilson, this story will take you to every height and depth any artist of the 20th century has ever been to. When the book ends, instead of being exhausted you’ll just feel hungry for more.

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Janaka Stucky is the founder and managing editor of Black Ocean, and publishes the magazine Handsome. He published Rauan’s book, will be publishing Johannes’ translations of Aase Berg in 2009, and will also be publishing Julie’s second book later on in 2009. He has no relation to Jon Leon. His own work has appeared in: Cannibal, Denver Quarterly, No Tell Motel, North American Review, Redivider, VOLT and many other lucky journals.

3 comments:

jeffrey ethan lee said...

Thanks for having a list of great books of poetry for 2008. I just wrote about the fact that there is no greatest 100 poetry books list. This was in the midst of reflecting on the general lack of tragedy as a genre in our culture.

By the way, if you want a free copy of the 2008 MMM Press Book Prize winner, I can send you one. Susan Settlemyre Williams is getting a lot of great reviews, interviews, etc. Most of this is available at http://mmmpress.org

Reb said...

Thanks Jeffrey, we have a number of poets here sharing their selections for Best Poetry Books 2008 here.

jeffrey ethan lee said...

Thanks for this link. Maybe we should collectively petition AWP to make a top 100 poetry books list part of their regular site or something. A Readers' Choice list rather than a contest etc. Or perhaps Poetry Society of America could be persuaded to help do something like this.