Wednesday, September 02, 2009

New books

Just got two new poetry books: The Saint of Letting Small Fish Go by Eliot Khalil Wilson and Ka-Ching by Denise Duhamel. Also ordered Lynn Emanuel's The Dig and Hotel Fiesta.

Wilson's, a first book, is subtle and wide-ranging in topics and images. He has traveled, benefits from a layered heritage as a Lebanese American, and writes with generous humanity about a wide range of people and generations. It's a quietly rich book, one that takes you to ordinary places and then sweeps aside the curtain to reveal their luminous outlines. Bruce Smith's blurb on the back is apt: "He sounds the nation, our history, our work, our desires and weeps for those hwo have yet to be wept for."

I knew Duhamel's book would be a treat after I read her Mille et un Sentiments and had to stop doing so sitting alone at cafe tables, because I was laughing my head off and people were looking at me as if I were a crazy lady. She's a crazy lady and unafraid to show it in verse. Few poets can be hilarious, but right here and now I nominate Denise Duhamel for Poet Laureate. We need to know poetry can be both deep and funny.

Can't wait to get Emanuel's book, two books combined in one volume. From the little I've read I can see she's compelling and original, often hair-raising, in the way that Emily Dickinson defined as the recognition of a poem: the top of your head feels like it's coming off.

What are you reading?