Best Poetry

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David Orr writes about the best books of poetry published in 2015. Interestingly, Orr must follow editorial policy and not include a few excellent contemporary poets because the Times must avoid even the hint of favoritism which might be demonstrated by naming one’s friends or acquaintances to a top 10 list.

Although I still contend that my literary focus has been traditionally poetry, I did take a turn into drama when at graduate school and I have been concentrating on all the novels I missed along the way for 20 or 30 years now. Since I have been reading novels to catch up, I have neglected keeping up with the world of poetry and it’s lists such as Orr’s that help me keep my interest alive.

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Bleak, Bleak, Bleak

On the BeachWhen I was a senior in High School I openly complained that too much of what I read was depressing. I had just finished Oliver Goldsmith’s The Vicar of Wakefield. If you recall, this novel presents a family that is beset by one disappointment after every disaster … but despite the hardships of life, Dr. Primrose keeps smiling and always expects to find a magic hedgehog nibbling candy-corn alongside the cotton-candy privet.

Of course, I grew up and gained an adult appreciation on life which allowed me to read these depressing books, often with far less angst than I experienced reading some pink and purple happy-shit. Besides, even the most embarrassing writing school will admit that a good story involves conflict and overcoming adversity. Let’s face it, even when the final outcome is positive, most of a depressing story is a downer. I remember reading Robert Ludlum: no matter how many times the hero escapes capture or death, another squad of cleaners jumps him when the hero has barely caught his breath. Is this hot action or a depressing view of life?

Well, several sources have been publishing lists of depressing books. Abe Books calls their top ten BLEAK:

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