Monday, November 9, 2009

Mooney's top 10

Jacob Mooney is making a list of his ten favourite poetry collections of the 2000s. I'm not a big fan of lists. I was recently asked to name the three top books of the aughts for Quill & Quire and did so with some reluctance. For one thing, books are hit and miss affairs; when I think of poetry I love, it's most often one poem at a time, rather than a whole book of them. For another, I don't rank writing. It's simply not the relationship I have with it. I did pick three books and I do believe they're worthy candidates, but I could easily have picked a different three on a different day. Another problem is that with poetry, as with wine, you can't always tell what's going to age the best. A few years is too short a period for making a really solid call.

Anyway, I'm linking to Mooney's first post because he's not taking the shortcut of just posting a list, but is providing thoughtful commentary--justifications for his choices--which redeems the otherwise vacuous critical act of list-making. His first choice is my former prof Jason Camlot's The Debaucher. Sorry to say I haven't read this yet, nor Jason's second book Attention All Typewriters--too damn many books, too damn little time. I did read his first book, The Animal Library, which was uneven and occasionally slight, but contained a few poems that I still occasionally think of and go back to, eight-odd years after I first read them. Which, to me, is a sign of some damn good poetry.

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