This year, I did a lot of re-reading. I think many people felt the comfort of returning to old favorites during this time of greater-than-normal uncertainty. Some poetry collections that brought consolation because of their familiarity were Zero at the Bone by Stacie Cassarino, The End of the Alphabet by Claudia Rankine, Eye Level by Jenny Xie, Magdalene by Marie Howe, Incarnadine by Mary Szybist, Wind in a Box by Terrance Hayes, Map to the Stars by Adrian Matejka, and many more.
There were three new and new-to-me books of poems that unexpectedly broke something in me despite my resistance to picking up unfamiliar texts, and risking being thrust further into the emotional precariousness of 2020. Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry by John Murillo, That This by Susan Howe, and The Nightfields by Joanna Klink opened by mind and heart to new emotional possibilities, to new language for all of the grief(s) I experienced this year personally and collectively.
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