The Editor’s Shelf: Spring 2014

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We asked our advisory editors what they’ve been reading this past year and their responses cover a wide expanse of modern literature. Here is what our editors recommend you read in 2014:

B. H. Fairchild recommends Curvature of a Fluid Spine by Kenneth P. Gurney:

“Self-published books of poetry have been the lost orphans of the poetry world for far too long, borne mostly of prolonged frustration with the mysteries of poetry competitions and arcane politics of literary publishing in general. Kenneth Gurney stood as one of the central figures in the New Mexico poetry scene for several years, with his work appearing regularly in scores of small magazines here and in the UK. Gurney is a skilled practitioner of classical free verse, acknowledging in the “Author’s Note” his particular indebtedness to the work of Mary Ruefle. But his approach is entirely his own: astonishingly perceptive, Gurney reveals small moments of large import while balancing bursts of lyric spontaneity with unusually precise portraits of the natural world. This, combined with his nimble use of wit, allows his readers to locate light within apparent darkness. He should be read.”

(CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, March 2013)

imgres-1DeWitt Henry recommends The Wither’d Sedge by Bruce Bennett: “In his latest collection, Bennett combines consummate craft, wit, and drama in a medley of love-gone-wrong songs that are reminiscent of Yeats, Housman, Frost, and, yes, Steve Martin’s The Lonely Guy. Rue is framed by irony in this fresh collection.” (Finishing Line Press, January 2014)

imgres-2Tony Hoagland recommends The Life and Ideas of James Hillman, Volume 1 by Dick Russell: “This is a fascinating intellectual biography that situates its readers directly inside the development of twentieth-century psychology. To read about what was going on at the Jung Institute in Zurich, 1953, is surprisingly exciting.” (Arcade Publishing, June 2013)

petrie_cover_lgPhilip Levine recommends Paul Petrie: The Collected Poems: “In his own modest introduction to this collection, Paul Petrie refers to himself as ‘a very quirky individual,’ and while he indeed may have been, this capacious final collection— assembled by the author but published after his death—proves that he was an enormously talented, mature writer of boundless energy and inspiration…Poem after poem reveals the magic that pervades daily life, the transformations that are so common we’ve forgotten that they are part of us.” (Antrim House, 2014)

Ladd-What-Ends-179x300Margot Livesey recommends What Ends by Andrew Ladd: “What a lovely writer Andrew Ladd is, and what
a compelling novel he has written about the five members of the McCloud family and their island home of Eilean Fìor. Each of the McClouds is rendered with vivid complexity and it is that same clarity of detail that makes What Ends so suspenseful and so deeply satisfying. Surely every reader will want to visit Eilean Fìor; happily we can within these beautiful pages.” (New Issues Poetry & Prose, January 2014)

imgres-3Campbell McGrath recommends The Last Books of Héctor Viel Temperley
 by Héctor Viel Temperley, translated by Stuart Krimko: “This amazing little book was published in 2011, bringing the work of this talented Argentinian poet to my attention for the first time. It comprises two long poems written in the years just before Viel Temperley’s death in 1987, which are visionary, hallucinatory, and formally a unique mix of prose fragments, strophes, and imagistic lines. This collection is weird and astonishing in all the right ways.” (Sand Paper Press, December 2011)

imgres-4Eleanor Wilner recommends Without Angels by Marjorie Stelmach: “Stelmach is a wise and seasoned poet who gives us a ravishing glimpse of our better angels as they depart; her scintillant language makes even the gathering dust of our days incandescent.” (MayApple Press, March 2014)