Best Poetry I Read in 2014

For 2014, a new category in my top 10 book lists: Poetry! I seem to be reading more and more poetry each year, which is a trend that I enjoy, but I also don’t think I have the slightest idea how to write about poetry. So, here’s my top 10 for the year, sans review.

1. Every Riven Thing, by Christian Wiman

Every Riven Thing: Poems

2: Some Ether, Nick Flynn

Some Ether

3: The Shadow of Sirius, W.S. Merwin

The Shadow of Sirius

4: Once in the West: Poems, Christian Wiman

Once in the West: Poems

5: Collected Poems, Philip Larkin

Collected Poems

 

6: Actual Air, David Berman

Actual Air

7: Astonishments, Anna Kamieńska

Astonishments: Selected Poems

8: Stay, Illusion, Lucie Brock-Broido

Stay, Illusion: Poems

9: Incarnadine: Poems, Mary Szybist

Incarnadine: Poems

10: Against Which, Ross Gay

Against Which

Honorable Mentions

  1. Delights and Shadows, Ted Kooser
  2. Faithful and Virtuous Night, Louise Glück
  3. The Wingless, Cecilia Llompart
  4. Metaphysical Dog, Frank Bidart

What books of poetry did you enjoy this year?

Coming up next: Top 10 books of nonfiction and fiction I read in 2014.

This past week, in four photos

Guion’s final poetry reading.

On Wednesday night, Guion–who is extremely sexy–gave his final poetry reading at UVA. It is hard to believe that we’ve been here two years and that he’s already finished his coursework for his MFA. He did a wonderful job, as always, and we had a beautiful evening in the gardens celebrating these five great poets:

The graduating poetry MFAs: Melissa, Guion, Marielle, Juliana, and Austin.

I am so very proud of him!

With my accomplished husband.

Saturday afternoon, we celebrated Leah’s 1st birthday at the park! Watching a baby have her first taste of chocolate is a glorious, intense experience.

The Montgomery family at Leah’s 1st birthday party.

More photos from the MFA readings and Leah’s birthday on my Flickr.

This is our last full week in our beloved Belmontonia, so I will be thoroughly consumed by the task of packing and preparing to move. My posting here will be a little more sparse than usual. But I still love you. If you’re looking for something sweet to read, you should check out Granddad’s memories of his mother’s German shepherd. OK. Talk to you again soon.

A full week

Dinner with Stephanie (+ Baby Fishwick) at Monsoon.

Girl time = so good. Stephanie and I grabbed dinner on Wednesday night at Monsoon and talked about many things over our virgin strawberry daiquiris, including but not limited to street harassment, babies, and conflicts of etiquette. She is so lovely and bright.

Downtown at dusk.

It’s not exactly a gorgeous skyline, but I always like walking over the bridge toward downtown. The view always makes me remember, “Oh, I live here now, in this town where we once arrived as strangers.”

The photo is from Friday night, taken on our way to meet Guion’s beloved professor and mentor Alan Shapiro at South Street to watch the UNC vs. Ohio game. He is delightful company–so brilliant and kind and warm–and we talked of many things. I bonded with him particularly on our mutual love of Marilynne Robinson* and Wei Tchou. (*Somewhat out of the blue, Shapiro announced, “Housekeeping is probably one of the greatest novels in the English language.” And then I felt really justified in my unmitigated praise of that book. It is the greatest. Shapiro says so.)

"Mad Men" party at Colin and Rita's. (Mary Boyce + G)

Last night, Colin and Rita hosted a “Mad Men” season premiere party, in which we were supposed to wear our best “Mad Men”-esque outfits. For men, this just meant wearing a tie (or parting your hair with lots of pomade, as Colin displayed); for women, pearls + dress + pumps seemed to be the easy formula.

Rita, industrious housewife.
In our "Mad Men" best.

Very fun gathering (with great cocktails), but did anyone else think the premiere was kind of… boring? It was funnier and lighter than the closing episodes of last season (Stan always helps with that. And we were all humming zou bizou bizou afterward), but I felt like it was lacking some spark, some solid Draper broody moments. Or maybe the episodes will necessarily be duller in the absence of the incarnation of maternal evil.