Some Favourite Poetry Collections of 2009: Part One

I hope you will enjoy these recommendations and consider buying a few collections, pamphlets and anthologies published this year by a range of presses. A huge thank you to the poets who gave me their choices for the year.
What’s your favourite volume of 2009? Feel free to include your recommendations in the comments section.
Moniza Alvi
Natural Mechanical by J O Morgan (CB Editions)
Cold Spring in Winter by Valérie Rouzeau, translated by
Susan Wicks (Arc Publications)
Continental Shelf by Fred D’Aguiar (Carcanet Press)
Ian Duhig
Rain by Don Paterson (Faber & Faber)
Grain by John Glenday (Picador)
Voice Recognition: 21 Poets for the 21st Century, edited by
Clare Pollard & James Byrne (Bloodaxe Books)
Sheenagh Pugh
How to Fall by Karen Annesen (Salt Modern Poets)
The Men from Praga by Anne Berkeley (Salt Modern Poets)
A Village Life by Louise Glück (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Dorianne Laux
End of the West by Michael Dickman (Copper Canyon Press)
Cradle Song by Stacey Lynn Brown (C&R Press)
Snowbound House by Shane Seely (Anhinga Press)
Alison Brackenbury
Rain by Don Paterson (Faber & Faber)
Nothing Like Love by Jenny Joseph (Enitharmon Press)
Samuel Menashe: New and Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books)
Clare Pollard
Caligula on Ice and Other Poems by Tim Turnbull (Donut Press)
Third Wish Wasted by Roddy Lumsden (Bloodaxe Books)
Farewell My Lovely by Polly Clark (Bloodaxe Books)
Tamar Yoseloff
The Men from Praga by Anne Berkeley (Salt Modern Poets)
How to Fall by Karen Annesen (Salt Modern Poets)
Beneath the Rime by Siriol Troup (Shearsman Books)
The Clockwork Gift by Claire Crowther (Shearsman Books)
Annie Freud
Rain by Don Paterson (Faber & Faber)
Furniture by Lorraine Mariner (Picador)
Faber New Poets: Heather Phillipson (Faber & Faber)
John Wilkinson
Stress Position by Keston Sutherland (Barque Press)
Weak Link by Rob Halpern (Slack Buddha Press)
Clampdown by Jennifer Moxley (Flood Editions)
Marilyn Kallet
Practical Water by Brenda Hillman (Wesleyan Poetry)
Warhorses by Yusef Komunyakaa (Farrar, Straus & Giroux,
Sassing by Karen Head (WordTech Communications)

17 thoughts on “Some Favourite Poetry Collections of 2009: Part One

  1. Michelle Post author

    Thank you for reading peony moon, Dutiful daughter.

    I like the work of so many local poets … P R Anderson, Arthur Attwell, Gabeba Baderoon, Shabbir Banoobhai, Ken Barris, Robert Berold, Vonani Bila, Nadine Botha, Lisa Combrinck, Gary Cummiskey, Ingrid de Kok, Phillippa Ya de Villiers, Gail Dendy, Sandile Dikeni, Isobel Dixon, Angifi Dladla, Finuala Dowling, Mark Espin, Gus Ferguson, Diana Ferrus, Alan Finlay, Richard Fox, Candy Gourlay, Goodenough Mashego, Dorian Haarhoff, Haidee Kruger, Megan Hall, Silke Heiss, Colleen Higgs, Hugh Hodge, Peter Horn, Allan Kolski Horwitz, Floss M Jay, Myesha Jenkins, Liesl Jobson, Sarah Johnson, Siphiwe Ka Ngwenya, Aryan Kaganof, Rustum Kozain, Antjie Krog, Anton Krueger, Bernat Kruger, Moira Lovell, Rod MacKenzie, Sindiwe Magona, Mzi Mahola, Chris Mann, Lebo Mashile, Joan Metelerkamp, Helen Moffett, Kobus Moolman, Ike Muila, Sally-Ann Murray, Charl-Pierre Naudé, Mxolisi Nyezwa, Mari Pete, Karen Press, Arja Salafranca, Kelwyn Sole, Deborah Steinmair, Rene Stevenson, Wilma Stockenstroem, Tania van Schalkwyk, Mphutlane Wa Bofelo, Crystal Warren, Stephen Watson, Dan Wylie, Makhosazana Xaba, Fiona Zerbst …

    I’m bound to have missed out a number of fine poets …

    Some of the South African collections I’ve enjoyed this year are Hyphen by Tania van Schalkwyk (UCT Press), Oleander by Fiona Zerbst (Modjaji Press), Strange Fruit by Helen Moffett (Modjaji Press), Burnt Offering by Joan Metelerkamp (Modjaji Press) and Sindiwe Magona’s Please, Take Photographs, also published by Modjaji Press. I know some Modjaji collections are now available on, so do support the authors if you can.

  2. jocelynpage

    oooo, lovely choices! i can see my christmas wish list getting longer…

  3. Michelle Post author

    J, I can’t think of anything I’d rather receive than a book.

  4. Lyle Daggett

    Found your blog through a link in Dumbfoundry.

    Favorites of mine from this year:

    As Is by Sheryl Noethe (Lost Horse Press)

    Transparencies by Robert Edwards (Red Dragonfly Press)

    Work Is Love Made Visible by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish (West End Press)

    Eating the Pure Light: Homage to Thomas McGrath edited by John Bradley (The Backwaters Press)

    By way of full disclosure, the last item is a poetry anthology that includes one poem by myself, among several dozen contributors.

    Thanks for the open invitation to post these here. I’ll come back and read more.

  5. Michelle Post author

    Thank you.

    I hope you find something here that you can order to treat yourself.

  6. Floss

    Is that my dear Pansy-Michelle? If so, wanted to let you know my collection A DRAWER FULL F FLOWERS is being launced at the Tatham Gallery this Tiusday evening 18th May. Wish you could be here!!
    Floss M Jay

  7. Michelle Post author

    Floss, I’m thrilled and proud to hear about A Drawer Full of Flowers and so looking forward to holding a copy in my hands.

    I wish I could be there. I can picture you reading at the Tatham (in the coffee shop amongst all those wonderful bohemian chairs?) It’s going to be a magical evening. You’ll be in my thoughts all Tuesday.

    Lots of love and huge congratulations!


  8. Marty Walsh

    Dear Michelle McGrane,

    I had read a few of your poems on Julie Buffaloe-Yoder’s blog and in Ouroboros. Julie recommended that I read The Suitable Girl, which I just finished.

    I started your book with pleasure and ended in admiration.

    “The Bee Man”, “January Triptych”, “The Blue Door Opens”, “Terra Marique Potens” and “The Suitable Girl” are wonderful poems. I love how much you evoke with your use of images and compact style of writing.

    Congratulations! I intend to find and read more of your poetry.

    Marty Walsh

  9. Marty Walsh


    I want to add “Gallows Bird” to my list of favorite poems. You do marvelous things with just a few words and images and suggestions.

    In your poem “She Walks on Water”, which I mistakenly called “The Suitable Girl”, the guano-stained mast would indicate that the poem is set off the coast of Peru. Is that correct? Guano is associated particularly with the islands off the coast of Peru.

    I really do admire your work. Unlike Julie, though, I’m not as fluent at discussing poetry.


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