2010 Lists

On New Year’s Day, Coldfront published a list of the Top 30 Poetry Books of the Year. Here, you will find our remaining lists for the year 2010: Best First Book, Best Second Book, Best Selected/Collected, Best Translation, Best First Poem in a Collection, Best Final Poem in a Collection, Best Long Poem, Best Opening Lines, Best Closing Lines, Best New Book By a Canonical Poet, Best Book of Thought/Criticism, Best Physical Artifact, Best Book Cover, Best Anthology. Enjoy!


Best First Book*

1. Like a Sea, Samuel Amadon
2. Post Moxie, Julia Story
3. To Light Out, Karen Weiser
4. (made), Cara Benson
5. The French Exit, Elisa Gabbert
6. Black-Eyed Heifer, Shelly Taylor
7. The Madeleine Poems, Paul Legault
8. People Are Tiny in Paintings of China, Cynthia Arrieu-King
9. Cargo, Kristin Kelly
10. Incivilities, Barbara Claire Freeman

Best Second Book*

1. The Cloud Corporation, Timothy Donnelly
2. Skin, Inc., Thomas Sayers Ellis
3. The Eternal City, Kathleen Graber
4. Wolf Face, Matt Hart
5. Iteration Nets, Karla Kelsey
6. The Available World, Ander Monson
7. Minimum Heroic, Christopher Salerno
8. Black Life, Dorothea Lasky
9. Ghost Fargo, Paula Cisewski
10. Hank, Abraham Smith
11. Underground National, Sueyeun Juliette Lee

Best Selected/Collected

1. Other Flowers: Uncollected Poems, James Schuyler
2. Selected Poems, Mary Ruefle
3. New Selected Poems and Translations, Ezra Pound
4. The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, Kay Ryan
5. Simplifly Me When I’m Dead, Keith Douglas
6. The Collected Poems of Larry Eigner, Larry Eigner (edited by Curtis Faville and Robert Grenier)
7. Early Collected Poems: 1965-1992, Gerald Stern
8. I Have Crossed an Ocean: Selected Poems, Grace Nichols
9. Is Music: Selected Poems, John Taggart
10. Poems 1959-2009, Frederick Seidel

Best Translation

1. Canti, Giacomo Leopardi (translated from the Italian by Jonathan Galassi)
2. This Lamentable City, Polina Barskova (translated from the Russian by Ilya Kaminsky with Kathryn Farris, Rachel Galvin, and Matthew Zapruder)
3. War & Love, Love & War, Aharon Shabtai (translated from the Hebrew by Peter Cole)
4. The History of Violets, Marosa di Giorgio (translated from the Spanish by Jeannine Marie Pitas)
5. Child of Nature, Luljeta Lleshanaku (tranlsated from the Albanian by Henry Israeli and Shpresa Qatipi)
6. Time of Sky & Castles in the Air, Ayane Kawatu (translated from the Japanese by Sawako Nakayasu)
7. Look Back, Look Ahead, Srecko Kosovel (translated from the Slovene by Ana Jelnikar and Barbara Siegel Carlson)
8. Song for His Disappeared Love, Raul Zuritta (translated by Daniel Borzutzky)
9. Here, Wislawa Szymborska (translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanagh and Stanislaw Baranczak)
10. Lend Me Your Voice, Kjell Espmark (translated from the Swedish by Robin Fulton) 

Best First Poem in a Collection

1. “The New Intelligence,” Timothy Donnelly (from The Cloud Corporation)
2. “Treatment,” Ange Mlinko (from Shoulder Season)
3. “Dedication,” Ben Lerner (from Mean Free Path)
4. “As Segregation, As Us,” Thomas Sayers Ellis (from Skin, Inc.)
5. “Roundel,” Maureen McLane (from World Enough)
6. “Stitches,” Lucas Farrell (from Bird Any Damn Kind)
7. “Motherhood, 1958″ Ai (from No Surrender)
8. “Erstwhile Harbinger Auspices,” Matthew Zapruder (from Come On All You Ghosts)
9. “New Day Rising,” Matt Hart (from Wolf Face)
10. “Lighthead’s Guide to the Galaxy,” Terrance Hayes (from Lighthead)

Best Final Poem in a Collection

1. “Absolute Otherwhere,” Thomas Sayers Ellis (from Skin, Inc.)
2. “His Future As Attila the Hun,” Timothy Donnelly (from The Cloud Corporation)
3. “And Who Are You, Sir?”, Charles Simic (from Master of Disguises)
4. “Come On All You Ghosts,” Matthew Zapruder (from Come On All You Ghosts)
5. “Fin,” Ada Limon (from Sharks in the Rivers)
6. “let be,” Cara Benson (from (made))
7. “The Cancer Chronicles,” Ai (from No Surrender)
8. “Eminent Domain,” Ander Monson (from The Available World)
9. “The Word Fuseki,” Elisa Gabbert (from The French Exit)
10.”Cognitive Burr,” Samuel Amadon (from Like a Sea)

Best Long Poem

1. “Mean Free Path,” Ben Lerner (from Mean Free Path)
2. “Gone Pop,” Thomas Sayers Ellis (from Skin, Inc.)
3. “The Cloud Corporation,” Timothy Donnelly (from The Cloud Corporation)
4. “Fifteen Balls of Feathers,” Ada Limon (from Sharks in the Rivers)
5. “Come On All You Ghosts,” Matthew Zapruder (from Come On All You Ghosts)
6. “Schilderachtig,” Ange Mlinko (from Shoulder Season)
7. “Phantom,” Don Patterson (from Rain)
8. “The Cancer Chronicles,” Ai (from No Surrender)
9. “Like an Evening,” Samuel Amadon (from Like a Sea)
10. “Are We Alone or Physics You Can Do at Home,” James Richardson (from By the Numbers)

Best Opening Lines in a Collection

1. from “As Segregation, As Us,” opener for Thomas Sayers Ellis’s Skin, Inc.

Everything supposedly “like” something else, or forced into skin,
has already been taken advantage of
by an Aesthetic (Affirmative) Action.
If we could measure the integrity of a simile,
it wouldn’t be any different. 
              Those who know this also know
some content of struggle,
their lives and lines built less to break
than to last, never thinking shit
like Should the body govern the next line
               or the mind?

Shutup about Sameness. Shutup about Difference.

2. from “Treatment,” opener for Ange Mlinko’s Shoulder Season:

It’s a little spa for the mind–seeing butterflies
set themselves down by the dozen like easels

on bromeliads, when out on the streets the boutiques
are dilapidated, construction can’t be told from ruin.

3. from “The New Intelligence,” opener for Timothy Donnelly’s The Cloud Corporation:

After knowledge extinguished the last of the beautiful
fires our worship had failed to prolong, we walked
back home through pedestrian daylight, to a residence

humbler than the one left behind. A door without mystery,
a room without theme…

4. from “The Second Inaugural,” opener for Barbara Claire Freeman’s Incivilities

Dear Necessity, the magnitude
             and difficulty of the trust to which the voice
                         of my country has called arises from the recent
tempest, adopted by the Spanish to name
            the storms they encountered in New Times
                        Roman. These reflections, bracketed
by floods, have forced themselves
            so strongly on my mind that I fear
                        Hurakan, who commands winds
from the east…

5. from “Harlem Tectonica,” opener for Nick Demske’s Nick Demske

Rumba, paintmixer. Make the rafters sing, the picture
          frames chatter their walls.
The infants confused for electric maracas. Stripped
          naked and locked
In the winter. The carefully crenulated gears fall from
          their hinges, paintmixer. Til all s
Crews shimmy loose of their thread slots.

The platform quakes for the train like a lover
Or someone really really afraid. Scream at the altar
In tongues, paintmixer, the jumper cables of the spirit
Jolting your torso like an unfit parent

In the night–

Best Closing Lines in Collection

1. from “Airhead,” closer for Terrence Hayes’s Lighthead

“There is no death beyond
the theory of death,”
the prophet tells the emperor
just after the emperor asks
for his head and just before
the head of the prophet
taking leave of body
can be heard saying,
“I have no form because
I have no allegiance
to form.”

2. from “Gone for the Day, She is the Day,” closer for Christian Wiman’s Every Riven Thing.

To love is to feel your death
given to you like a sentence,
to meet the judge’s eyes
as if there were a judge,
as if he had eyes,
and love.

3. from “The Cancer Chronicles,” closer for Ai’s No Surrender

The marbles’ refrain, “Let go, let go,”
Increased as more pain radiated from her body, eased,
Then came back as if released
To attack her again and again
When in one last spasm
Her cataclysms ceased.

4. from “let be,” closer for Cara Benson’s (made):

The front screen door torn at its seam where hips hold it to fit grocery and such bags through before the slam. Goose down. Misanthrope in line at the electronics store. Rugged vitamins. Filamentary comment. Aurora borealis in the parking lot. Caffeine hangovers. Bygones.

5. from “Flamingo Effusion,” closer for Matt Hart’s Wolf Face:

…the awful pink sky and the rocks, not withstanding.
I’m standing on one foot. I’m naming names.
I’m call and response. The list is so endless
and amazing, it’s almost tragic. The distances,

the effusiveness. Don’t be embarrassed. I refuse
to be hurt. When you have people you love, it’s enough.

Best New Book by a Canonical Poet

1. Nox, Anne Carson
2. Master of Disguises, Charles Simic
3. Here, Wislawa Symborska
4. Human Chain, Seamus Heaney
5. Anterooms, Richard Wilbur

Best Book of Thought/Criticism

1. The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings, James Baldwin
2. The Bars of Atlantis: Selected Essays, Durs Grünbein
3. A Human Eye: Essays on Art and Society, Adrienne Rich
4. Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries, Helen Vendler
5. The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry, edited by Gary L. McDowell and F. Daniel Rzicznek
6. Poetry is Not a Project, Dorothea Lasky
7. Ten Walks/Two Talks, Jon Cotner and Andy Fitch  
8. On Whitman, C.K. Williams
9. To Be at Music: Essays & Talks, Norma Cole
10. Killing the Black Dog, Les Murray

Best Physical Artifact

1. Nox, Anne Carson (New Directions)
2. Quantum Spit 12″ LP Broadside Collection, Douglas Kearney (Corollary Press)
3. To Light Out, Karen Weiser (Ugly Duckling Presse)
4. The Best of It: New and Selected Poems, Kay Ryan (Grove Press, hardcover)
5. The Bowling, Sommer Browning & Brandon Shimoda (Greying Ghost Press)
6. Monkey Bars, Matthew Lippman (Typecast Publishing)
7. Crackpot, Jeremy Sigler (The Brooklyn Rail Black Square Editions)
8. Selected Poems, Mary Ruefle (Wave Books)
9. Office Work, Jackie Clark (Greying Ghost Press)
10. This Time We Are Both, Clark Coolidge (Ugly Duckling Presse)

Best Book Cover

1. Monkey Bars, Matthew Lippman

2. The Mystery of the Hidden Driveway, Jennifer L. Knox

3. Skin, Inc., Thomas Sayers Ellis

4. from The Mountain of California, R.T.A. Parker

5. Come On All You Ghosts, Matthew Zapruder

Best Anthology

1. The Oil & Water Project, edited by Typecast Publishing 
2. Til I End My Song: A Gathering Of Last Poems, edited by Harold Bloom
3. The 100 Best African-American Poems, edited by Nikki Giovanni
4. The Poets Laureate Anthology, edited by Elizabeth Hun Schmidt
5. The Best American Poetry 2010, edited by Amy Gerstler & David Lehman

* 1/11/11 correction: The “Best First Book” and “Best Second Book” lists have been changed since our initial publication of these lists, because each contained work that was not a first or second book.