Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Amy Beeder #12 on Poetry Foundation Best-Seller List


Trethewey, Collins, and Smith are still rocking the top three spots on this week’s contemporary best-sellers list. Last week Mark Strand’s Almost Invisible disappeared from the list, only to materialize this week in the #4 position. Topping off the top five is a revitalized Nikky Finney, moving from #17 to #5 with Head Off & Split. We have a whole slew of new titles this week, starting with Richard Blanco’s Looking for the Gulf Motel, “a genealogy of the heart, exploring how [Blanco’s] family's emotion legacy has shaped—and continues shaping—his perspectives,” debuting at #7. Also new to the list at #12 is Amy Breeder’s latest, Now Make an Altar. Entering the list at #24 is Valzhyna Mort’s Collected Body. From The California Journal of Poetics: “Collected Body is the first book Valzhyna Mort has written in English. It is a rich and complex tapestry of characters and their memories, histories, and—most importantly—their personal stories, which often take on mythical elements as they proceed on their shared journey of survival and transformation.” Jumping over to the small press list, Joshua Corey’s The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral tops the list this week, while the Les Figues anthology of conceptual writing by women, I’ll Drown My Book, comes in at #5. Of note is Ben Friedlander’sOne Hundred Etudes, described by K. Silem Mohammad as “…virtuoso performances that reflect movingly on the historical conditions through and against which writers have adapted their strategies and attitudes. Over a century of poetic principles and theorems are focused here into a concerted series of expressions, operating within the rigorous, even alienating, requirements…” Finally, David Lehman’s The Best American Poetry 2012 leads the away again on the best-selling anthology list.
About the List
Our poetry best-seller lists are based on data received from Nielsen BookScan, which tracks sales from more than 4,500 retail booksellers. Retailers included in the list include both large, high-volume retailers such as Borders and Amazon.com, and more than 400 smaller, independent bookstores. We generate the lists each week by tallying the number of books sold for recently published volumes of contemporary poetry, poetry anthologies, and children's poetry. The contemporary poetry best-seller list is meant to reflect the current market for new poetry, and so excludes translations and new editions of classical works. Our small press list is based on Small Press Distribution's poetry sales to bookstores and individual customers, which are reported to us on a monthly basis.

Out of this book's gathering of speakers (arsonist, leper, Captain Haddock, the maitre d' of an unusual restaurant) and subjects (dung beetle, Aristophanes, medieval surgeon, methamphetamines) emerges a baroque, musical, and formally inventive history of creation and destruction. Now Make an Altar dispassionately suggests that there can't be one without the other. And there is nothing, however broken, absurd, atrocious, or sublime that cannot be brought into ecstatic focus in this "mysterious feast" of dense and exacting language. "Come in, come sup," Beeder invites us in the book's opening poem. "You'll never feel full."

No comments:

Post a Comment