Monday, December 28, 2009

Jim Johnstone's Top 5

Jim Johnstone has posted a list of his five fave Canadian poetry collections of 2009. Mine snuck in to clinch fifth spot, for which I'm honoured, but with all due respect to Jim, I'd've put Joe Denham's Windstorm ahead of mine, for sure--possibly ahead of all of them. Some great company on that list. Of the other four titles, three are favourites of mine, including of course Shane Neilson's Meniscus, which I edited. The other book, Tonja Gunvaldsen Klassen's Lean-To, I haven't read yet, but seeing as it also made Carmine Starnino's recent top 10 list, I'm thinking I should give it a whirl.

I won't be posting any top 10 or five or any other-numbered list myself. For one thing, tho I read a fair number of contemporary collections every year, I'd feel fraudulent ranking the best without having read close to all of them. For another, creating a ranking would be a gross misrepresentation of my relationship to reading; obviously, I'm no relativist and believe in aesthetic standards--I believe in the more-or-less objective existence of the good, the bad and the ugly--but beyond that I think it's a fool's errand to try to divide good books into better and best. It's a bit like ranking people, really. I also think the year of publication is a pretty random basis for generating a list. What I will do, once 2009 has officially expired, is post a list of books I read over the course of the year, regardless of year of publication, that I enjoyed and think are worth reading.

1 comment:

Brenda Schmidt said...

Klaassen's book is outstanding.