2014 Poetry Newsletter


Dear Reader,

We are celebrating April as National Poetry Month with this dedicated Poetry Newsletter and with our annual bookseller poetry videos. Please check out our new videos and some from years past. This month (and every month) please join us in celebrating the mysterious joy and elusive usefulness found in reading poetry. We hope you enjoy the videos and are turned on to some of the wonderful poets we present to you in this newsletter and, every day, in our stores.

Happy Reading,
John & all Dieselfolk

Staff Pick Logo
Fire Break Cover Image
ISBN: 9781937658137
Availability: Special Order - Please call to confirm availability
Published: Nightboat Books - September 3rd, 2013

So why have I never read George Albon before? He has had poetry books out since at least 1998, been published all over, by presses with whom I am familiar. It was astonishing to pick up this beautiful book of lyrical moments, carefully crafted with masterful attention, charm, and intelligence. He is the kind of poet you want everyone to read -- everyone. Like Rilke, or Rumi, James Wright, or Walt Whitman -- poets that sing, and sing philosophically, personably, directly to you. I am going to hunt down his other books and read them, too, as I did with these other great poets. He has more books coming out, including the first volume of a three-volume prose piece on poetry. Don't miss him! -- John Evans

Staff Pick Logo
Above the River: The Complete Poems Cover Image
By James Wright, Donald Hall (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780374522827
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - April 1st, 1992

James Wright is a truly amazing 20th century American poet. Above the River is a complete collection of his works, including one of my favorite chapbooks, The Branch Will Not Break. Wright's voice is simultaneously lyrical and unforgiving. He explores the beauty and tragedy of politics, nature, depression, happiness, and American life. Above the River is an invaluable book for any aficionado of American poetry. -- Will Kaufman

Staff Pick Logo
Odes to Common Things Cover Image
ISBN: 9780821220801
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Bulfinch Press - May 1st, 1994

I've always felt an affinity for the everyday things of the world, but until I found Pablo Neruda I didn't know there was a way to translate those feelings to words on a page that so simply yet eloquently gave voice to them. From the more general ode to "things" that praises the likes of pliers, scissors, thimbles, and hats to the tribute to the table ("trustworthy titanic quadruped") and the pair of socks where "beauty is beauty twice over...when you're talking about a pair of wool socks in the dead of winter," your previously and probably mundane daily companions will take on an entirely new meaning. Praise be the poets who put my unspoken feelings into words. Bullfinch's edition of 25 of Neruda's odes, published with the Spanish on an opposing page and exquisite pencil drawings by Ferris Cook, is a book that everyone should own, cherish, and share. -- Pam Stirling

Staff Pick Logo
On Poetry Cover Image
ISBN: 9780674725669
Availability: Special Order - Please call to confirm availability
Published: Harvard University Press - October 14th, 2013

Glyn Maxwell's reflections on poetry -- on the hows and the whys poetry is written and read -- are playful not opaque, lyrical but reasoned. Geared toward young, aspiring poets, his book is a pure joy for readers of any age or aspiration. Indeed, he says as much on the first page: "This book is for anyone." Poetry is often a difficult thing to talk about, even amongst like-minded poetry readers. Maxwell's approach is refreshing for how assured it is. His preference for rhyme and meter may not be yours, but he makes such a strong argument, grounding it in an infectious love for language rather than nostalgia, you will be hard-pressed to completely disagree. Simply put, On Poetry is a joy, and has been favorably compared to T.S. Eliot's classic essays on poetry. This is high praise, yes, but maybe not at all exaggerated. -- Brad Johnson

Staff Pick Logo
Unchopping a Tree Cover Image
By W. S. Merwin, Liz Ward (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781595341877
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Trinity University Press - February 25th, 2014

Unchopping a Tree by W.S. Merwin is a testament to conservationism. Once nature has been decimated, how possibly can we rebuild it? Merwin writes, "with spider's webs you must simply do the best you can. We do not have the spider's weaving equipment..." This is a meditation on the intricate wonder of nature and a call to be mindful and protective of it. This small, hardbound volume is illustrated by Liz Ward, whose paintings and drawings are inspired by the cellular structure of trees. -- Mia Wigmore

Staff Pick Logo
Spunyarn: Sea Poetry and Prose (Penguin Classics) Cover Image
By John Masefield, Philip W. Errington (Editor), Philip W. Errington (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780141191607
Availability: Special Order - Please call to confirm availability
Published: Penguin Books - May 31st, 2011

John Masefield was born in 1878, tutored by Yeats, and appointed Poet Laureate of England in 1930. And yet, he is not particularly famous or well known today -- an injustice considering the easy storytelling and historical worlds found in his verse. Most of Masefield's poems concern the ocean and sailing. In his day, his poetry was a unique source for the common, working language of Britain, particularly the esoteric terminology of sailors. Spunyarn focuses on Masefield's relationship to the sea. In addition to his poetry, the collection also includes short stories and book reviews of Melville and Conrad. This is a great book for anyone interested in the sea, sailing, British history, or rhyming verse. -- Cameron Carlson

Staff Pick Logo
People on Sunday Cover Image
ISBN: 9781933517728
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Wave Books - September 3rd, 2013

Where the quotidian details of his everyday, our everyday, meet up with the ways we conceive our lives, and the language we've been given to talk with -- that point where these meet is the voice of this stirring and disturbing book. The poems "include history" as Pound would have them do, and answer the deep history of our moment as Charles Olson's do, but the book that kept returning to me as an echo was Barrett Watten's Progress. A close and fluid awareness of language, both unfolding on the page, and swirling through our use of it in our inner and outer dialogues, is a constant here. Also, a keen deconstruction of the political, in concept, action, and rhetoric. This is a graceful, conscious, and intelligent testament to thoughtful and engaged living. -- John Evans

Staff Pick Logo
Slice of Moon Cover Image
ISBN: 9781597099714
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Red Hen Press - October 1st, 2013

Like remnants of fabric, the snippets of everyday life gathered here are too dear to be forgotten. Isolated remembrances of an aging mother, men, meals, outings, all being tucked away for good keeping. Bit by bit, year after year, they come together, wrapping us in a crazy quilt of memories, that we hope will keep us warm. -- Cheryl Ryan

Staff Pick Logo
Little Poems for Tiny Ears Cover Image
By Lin Oliver, Tomie dePaola (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780399166051
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - February 11th, 2014

Babies love poetry. They love the sound of human voices, the musicality of rhyme and rhythm, and they love those easy to remember lines. Parents know this and instinctively recite nursery rhymes to their small children. But sometimes "Baa Baa Black Sheep" can get a little repetitive. Thankfully Lin Oliver has written a charming alternative. Little Poems for Tiny Ears is primarily a picture book; Tomie dePaola's illustrations of round-faced babies in soft, bright colors are gentle and sweet. Lin Oliver's original poems are short and have jaunty rhymes. But it's the choice of subject matter which really makes this book interesting. I read poems from this book at story time in the store and the response is often the laughter of recognition. These super simple poems touch on small truths for the little ones and their parents. An excellent choice for a baby shower gift, whether the parents read poetry or not. Because babies love poetry. -- Clare Doornbos