Malvern Books’ Best of 2014: Poetry

Happy New Year, Malvernites! If you’re hoping to start 2015 with some stupendous verse, I suggest you take a look at the five books below—they’re our bestselling poetry titles for 2014 (in no particular order), and any one (or all!) of these lovelies would make a dazzling addition to the discerning poetry fiend’s bookshelf…

31 Poems by Dean Young (Forklift, Ohio; $12)

31 PoemsThe perfect introduction to the work of Dean Young, 31 Poems is both a brilliant collection and a beautiful object. (When it was first published, it appeared in the Best Collected category and the Best Physical Artifact category of Coldfront’s Year in Review.)

“Dean Young’s poems are as entertaining as a three-ring circus and as imaginative as a canvas by Hieronymus Bosch.” —American Academy of Arts and Letters

The Book of Joshua by Zachary Schomburg (Black Ocean; $19.95)

The Book of JoshuaA favorite of Taylor Jacob Pate, Zachary Schomburg writes associative, witty, logic-twisting poems that inhabit a surreal dreamscape.

The Book of Joshua … ultimately spins its own myths in a book that is built to feel symbolic, but isn’t really a straightforward metaphor for anything because, within the context of this world, these statements are literal. It’s not allegory but finely figured dream.” —Bill Neumire, Heavy Feather Review

Soul in Space by Noelle Kocot (Wave Books; $18)

Soul in SpaceSoul in Space is the sixth collection from the prolific and extraordinarily talented Kocot, who wowed the Malvern audience with her reading of “Poem for the End of Time.”

“Part riddle, part reverie, and part prayer, the brief lyric poems that compose Kocot’s collection inhabit a charged but quotidian space… Kocot arranges the ephemera of the everyday in relation to each other and to the self as though striking a minor chord.” —Publishers Weekly

Storm Toward Morning by Malachi Black (Copper Canyon Press; $17)

Storm Toward MorningWhen asked in an interview to give a one-sentence synopsis of this collection, Malachi summarized it by saying, “There is nothing more truly peculiar, confusing, and surprising than being entirely alive.”

“Formally exacting and creatively expansive, Black is an intensely inquisitive John Donne for the Millennial generation.” —Publishers Weekly

More Wreck More Wreck by Tyler Gobble (Coconut Books; $15)

More Wreck More WreckWe were delighted to launch More Wreck More Wreck (winner of the 2013 Cargill First Book Poetry Prize) at Malvern Books, and we were not the least bit surprised when it proved hugely popular!

“These poems aren’t just one thing, or another, they are instead stuffed with so much energy that they are spilling all over the pages … More Wreck More Wreck is bubbling with the absolutely kick ass beauty of a great imagination let loose.” —Peter Davis

The Well-Read Weekend

It’s TGIF time, and we have a few first-rate recommendations for those of you in need of a little literary relaxation…

  • YouTube awaits! We’ve posted a couple of videos from Wednesday night’s wonderful reading with Joshua Marie Wilkinson, Zachary Schomburg, and Mathias Svalina, and you should most definitely hit play. Trust me, you need to hear “Building of Unseen Cats” and “Tennessee.”
  • Cup of coffee + sofa + Octopus = GOOD TIME. Founded by the aforementioned Zachary in 2003, Octopus is a brilliant and beautiful online literary magazine that’s well worth a read. I particularly like their Recovery Projects, brief essays that draw attention to overlooked books.
  • If podcasts are your bag, check out the episodes on literary history over at Stuff You Missed in History Class. Topics discussed range from the disappearance of Agatha Christie to the assorted misfortunes of the Brontës—and our store’s dangling swashbuckler was happy to learn that historic pirates also make a regular appearance on the show.
  • Last but certainly not least: no weekend of literary relaxation would be complete without a trip to Malvern! Stop by on Sunday afternoon to peruse our new titles and Staff Picks and catch a 2pm reading from local writers Ron Jaeger and Jan Marquart. We’ll look forward to seeing you there!

Pining For The Fjords

Last night we hosted a wonderful reading with poets Zachary Schomburg, Joshua Marie Wilkinson, and Mathias Svalina (more on that soon!), and so it seemed only fitting, in the spirit of reliving an awesome occasion, to share with you an enthusiastic introduction to Zachary’s oeuvre…

Zach's books

zachary schomburg very well might be the coolest dude in poetry, what with three books out on black ocean, o yeah & a little thing called octopus. & i’m sure this is old news to you. & i’m sure you’re eagerly awaiting the deluxe hardcover edition of THE BOOK OF JOSHUA.

SO: to get you jazzed for all of that let me remind you about his most recent book: FJORDS VOL. 1 &/or what FJORDS VOL. 1 reminds me of:

  • this book sold out its hardcover edition
  • this is a book of love poems
  • this is a book of death poems
  • this book has a landscape: surreal: like: donuthawks are a thing?
  • it’s funny
  • it’s sad
  • reading this book makes me feel
  • reading this book makes me feel like things will be ok, or maybe not, either way, i’m sure everything will be fine
  • dead-as-a-doornail/knob is a stupid saying; dead things have to have been alive first
  • you are alive
  • i hope you read this book