During the month of June, No Tells is featuring "Recommended Summer Reading" selections by No Tell contributors.
Melissa Barrett's recommendations:
Cloud Shaped Room by Matt Anserello (Open Thread, 2009)
Hilarious and spastic—a great little book from a great (and new) little press: Open Thread. Anserello writes in "Scuzzoid Kid in a Tree": “My girlfriend is going to be so cool about my broken arm. She’ll buy colored markers and all the beer.”
The Master Letters by Lucie Brock-Broido (Knopf, 1995)
I reread this book frequently, though each time it feels like the first. That’s Lucie’s biggest talent: surprise. Each linebreak tilts the reader: here, here, and there—into a room you’ve never been in before. “I pray / Alone. In the ashes, nobody’s isotope, / No glass of milk. Nobody’s stained- / Glass messages, not the radium / In its dish, wide-eyed / As Madame Curie.”
The Kingfisher by Amy Clampitt (Knopf, 1983)
Her first book, published when she was 63, bursts off the pages; it’s a hardworking but oft-forgotten “vegetation of unbarbered, virgin, foot-thick / velvet,” à la GM Hopkins.
Ave, Materia by Jean Hartig (The Poetry Society of America chapbook series, 2009)
One of my most favorite little books: tender, obsessive, and comprised entirely of word pairings you wished you had thought of—“Corona Isobel in the grasses, / a series of citrine kitestrings / holster the miniature heart.”
Afterpastures by Claire Hero (Caketrain, 2008)
A textured but beautifully-paced collection, hungry for a good reader. The cover art alone is worth the asking price. “[A] lantern / to light this bonethicket / & the little path of crumbs / away, away—”
Walking to Martha’s Vineyard by Franz Wright (Knopf, 2003)
In his Pulitzer Prize winner, Wright is imploring, he’s haunting, he follows few conventions. Read it in one sitting, though you might get dizzy. “I don’t miss you, and I don’t wish you well / Says crocuses / coaxed out of hiding / and killed in the snow / Says six o’clock and a billion black birds / wheeling.”
* * *
Melissa Barrett is the author of False Soup, a veg-friendly recipe book from Forklift, Ink. Her poems can be found in current or forthcoming issues of No Tell Motel, Sotto Voce, Grasslimb, Forklift Ohio, and the Wittenberg Review of Literature and Art. She has received honors from Tin House, Indiana Review, and Gulf Coast, and currently lives in Kent, Ohio.