Monday Jun 24

Hoppenthaler-Year5b I can’t tell you how much I hate doing the August retrospective. It sucks. Each year I seek great work from outstanding poets, and I succeed. It seems wrong, as an editor who loves all of this poetry, to single out any poet’s work and call it superior to that of another’s. I’d rather just provide a link for each of the poets featured, but I am asked to provide a selection and so I do the same thing each year. That is, here are my picks for those works that strike me today, 7/13/15, as the most remarkable of the 2014/2015 season. These are poems that, today, move me, inspire me, make me see through another’s eyes. On another day, the choices might be different. I apologize to those poets whose work isn’t in the mix. I urge readers to go back through all six of the features and pick out your own favorites! They’re all worthy.


Kimiko Hahn is a poet whose work I’ve admired for many years. I was thrilled to finally get some poems from her.

Randall Horton: I was thrilled to happen upon Randall’s work, poetry that truly deserves his reception of an award in Gwendolyn Brooks’ name.

Jennifer Perrine: A wonderfully tangible poet whose work pulses.

Phillip B. Williams is another in a fine line of terrific Cave Canem grads.


Geffrey Davis is a wonderful confessional lyricist whose poems often deal with a rare subject for male poets, the domestic sphere.

Sarah Rose Nordgren is a fine, young North Carolina-born poet. Her first book won the Pitt UP Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize for Poetry. As a poet who now lives in NC, I am having a blast finding so many wonderful up and comers from the state.

Rosalie Moffett: Another in a long line of outstanding Stanford Stegner Fellows, Rosalie’s poems have such an inviting quality to them, even when they hurt.

Brynn Saito is amazing.

Ellery Aker’s poems have “got this mad cathedral” at their center.


Jennifer Whitaker: Another of those fine younger NC poets!

Eamonn Wall: I love the chatty Irish poems, don’t you?

Corey Van Landingham is another of the Stegner Fellows! She’s solving for X.


Iain Haley Pollock: And the Black boys / of Philadelphia, this summer, one gunned down each day.”

Amy Beeder: Dark humor; affecting poems.

Aaron Smith: Flinty poems. Check out, especially, the moving “Homosexuality.”

Nathan McClain: “a body, broken enough, can surprise you // with its obedience. Like the dog, it will beg, / if you ask it to. It will stay, if you say stay.”


Sharon Dolin: Challenging lyric poems that use the whole page as their field of endeavor.

Betty Adcock is legendary down here in the south. Rightfully so.

Lisa Olstein brings a singer/songwriter’s presence to her poems.

Tess Taylor: I love the lyric “Clearing Field.”


Rajiv Mohabir, recent winner of the Kundiman Prize, has got it going on.

Julianna Baggott is an amazing multi-genre writer. I’m so glad to have finally gotten a poem of hers to feature. Yes, “Happy Little Death Threats.”

Kamilah Aisha Moon is a scathing poet. Check out “Samaria Rice, Mother of Tamir.”

Jennifer Richter: These poems move me, make me feel.