I have been counting down my top poetry picks for years, so as tradition dictates, here is my list of my best poetry collections of 2015.
The Robot Scientist’s Daughter by Jeannine Hall Gailey (Mayapple Press)
Gailey's fourth full-length collection of poetry is part coming-of-age exploration of the poet's life growing up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, part critical look at nuclear history in America. It’s her best book yet!
The Arranged Marriage by Jehanne Dubrow (University of New Mexico Press)
In her newest collection, Dubrow intertwines narrative prose poems of her mother’s violent past with ekphrastic poems all the while showing the reader that the past never truly leaves us no matter how much we try to paint our lives in linear lines.
Mendeleev’s Mandala by Jessica Goodfellow (Mayapple Press)
In Mendeleev’s Mandala, Goodfellow sifts through the intersections of science, mythology and everyday life to find wonderment in both the ordinary and the unknown.
Dark Matter by Christine Klocek-Lim (Aldrich Books)
In her newest collection of poetry, Klocek-Lim intertwines the world of astronomy with human emotions and experiences recording happiness and sorrow, discovery and loss.
Grayling by Jenifer Browne Lawrence (Perugia Press)
Winner of Perugia Press’s annual contest, Lawrence’s collection, Grayling, explores the rural coastlines of the West Coast intertwining stories with surreal images and scenes.
More Money Than God by Richard Michelson (Pitt Poetry Series)
With a lighthearted tone that may seem out of place when exploring tragedy (but isn’t, at least with the way Michelson masters both comic and poetic voice) , this book examines the Jewish experience in America along with exploring personal loss and joys.
Iconoscope: New and Selected Poems by Peter Oresick (Pitt Poetry Series)
Iconoscope: New and Selected Poems gathers together Oresick’s work from two previous collections as well as newer poems that have not yet been seen in book form. While I enjoyed the new work, my favorite part was revisiting the selections from Definitions (1990) that explore a familiar landscape of the blue collar world.
The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison by Maggie Smith (Tupelo Press)
To say that poet Maggie Smith is updating the fairy tale in her newest collection of poetry may be misleading as her work turns the common clichés of children’s stories into surreal and beautiful tales.
Our Portion: New & Selected Poems by Philip Terman (Autumn House Press)
It would be a mistake to simply summarize Terman's work as poems that explore the contemporary Jewish experience in America. Yes, it is true, that in this newest book, the importance of Terman's Jewish identity is highlighted. Yet, it is just as easy to find the themes of exploration of family relationships to the landscape around us. This collection gathers together work from four previously published books along with 23 new poems.
Beauty Strip by William Kelley Woolfitt (Texas Review Press)
Woolfitt explores the exploited landscape of Appalachia in his first full length collection of poetry. If there is any beauty to be found in the worn debris of a tired natural world, he finds it, capturing stories and history in rich, lyrical language.
I am a poet and professor from rural Pennsylvania. This page is dedicated to my publishing news and events; for book reviews published online go to the Reviews tab above. For my own personal reviews, explore the Book Picks tab.