Preview, Rear View

Best of 2014

Well yes, the tradition is to do this before the year is out, but I do a fair bit of reading between Christmas and New Year and it would be, of course, disingenuous to exclude what could have been included as one of the best books I read in 2014—and indeed, the book in question almost was.

It was the year of finally catching the Dante bug (after studying and just not really getting it at university), spending months reading the Purgatorio and Paradiso (Inferno was last year), reading around in Boethius, Augustine, the Vita Nuova, Cavalcanti, and wondering if the modern equivalent of Dante looking down on the world from Paradise would be the Pale Blue Dot photo that the Voyager mission took of Earth as it left the Solar System.

But it was also a year of reading wider and wider in Brazilian poetry from the colonial inconfidents, to modernists, concretists and marginal down to contemporary writers.

For 2015

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Sneak Preview

Well, more Brazilians, more Central Europeans (after a fantastic online course by the UK Poetry School in final months of 2014), more British and Americans, re-readings and plenty of writers I’m sure I barely know exist right now. Right now, the pile by the bed includes Ingeborg Bachmann, William Gerhardie, Joan Margarit, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Toby Martínez de las Rivas, Tomasz Różycki, Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki and Louis Zukofsky.

And the best

So here is my list of what I read and re-read and loved in 2014:

  • Caio Fernando Abreu, Morangos mofados
  • Dante Alighieri, Vita Nuova and Purgatorio and Paradiso
  • Sarah Broom, Tigers at Awhitu
  • Italo Calvino, If a Winter’s Night a Traveller (Se una notte d’inverno un viaggiatore)
  • Niall Campbell, Moontide
  • Álvaro de Campos (Fernando Pessoa), Complete Poems
  • Tadeusz Dąbrowski, Black Square
  • Michael Dickman, Flies
  • Angélica Freitas, A Uterus Is the Size of a Fist (Um útero é do tamanho de um punho)
  • Max Frisch, Montauk
  • Marília Garcia, Engano geográfico (Trick of Geography) and a test of resistors (um teste de resistores)
  • Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (Cien años de soledad)
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Selected Poems
  • Lavinia Greenlaw, The Casual Perfect
  • Friedrich Hölderlin, Selected Poems
  • Helen Ivory and George Szirtes (editors), In Their Own Words: Contemporary Poets on Their Poetry
  • Kenneth Koch, Selected Poems
  • Bill Manhire, Selected Poems
  • Miguel Mihura, Maribel and the Strange Family (Maribel y la extraña familia)
  • Kei Miller, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion
  • Manoel Ricardo de Lima, aerial geography (geografia aérea)
  • Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Southern Mail (Courrier sud)
  • W. G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn (Die Ringe des Saturn)
  • Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
  • Wisława Szymborska. The Moment (Chwila) and Here
  • Ismar Tirelli Neto, Ramerrão
  • J. L. Williams, Locust and Marlin
  • Matthew Zapruder, Sun Bear
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Read, re-read

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