5 January 2008 | Vol. 7, No. 4

Some Favorites from 2007 in Poetry

I feel that year-end best-of lists taste a bit of editorial laziness—such an easy filler for the turn of the year. In the glossies, they praise the same fifteen movies as every other magazine. Sure, it's easy, but I confess, it's irresistible. I eat those lists up.

It was only last year that I first made a list of some of the poems I personally loved the most that 42opus had published in the previous year. I worried some that listing my favorites cheapens publication—isn't this supposed to be a serious art?—as it establishes a hierarchy in a publisher's works. But that article was one of the most-read pieces on the site in the first quarter of 2007. (My wariness of declaring "the best" or "my favorite" amongst writing probably arises from my West Coast origins and that coast's preference for a community with fewer pedestals and standards but greater inclusiveness.)

Regardless, making these lists is a joyful thing. There are poems that I read in submission and absolutely adored; eleven months later, I'm still thinking of that poem as a great poem, and what fun it is to return and find, yes, it is a great poem. Then there are those poems that we selected for publication, that I somewhat forgot about… so that now, in the process of re-reading the year's poems, I read it and love it as though for the first time.

The valuation that necessarily comes of making this list—these are my favorites, so everything else is not my favorite?Ôis not a strict classification. 42opus also maintains an Editors' Select list of poems that features some but not all of the same poems on this list. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we—readers and editors and writers alike—could each make our own year-end, best-of list?

These are ten of my favorite poems from 42opus in 2007 (alpha by author):

"Eternity of the Sentence" by Laynie Browne

"Shaving" by Jamison T. Crabtree

"Only If" by DeLana Dameron

"Contrition" by Todd Fredson

"Doll-Farm" by Arielle Greenberg

"Bad Mood" by Paul Guest

"A Flock of Iagos Waiting in the Wings" by Frank Montesonti

"Elegy for Lee" by Jason Schneiderman

"Your Laundry on the Line Like a Giant, Breathing Beast" by Martha Silano

"Medusa Ghazal" James R. Whitley

About the author:

Brian Leary is the founding editor of 42opus. He also maintains a photoblog at his homepage, brianleary.com.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Brian Leary at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 7, No. 4, where "Some Favorites from 2007 in Poetry" ran on January 5, 2008. List other work with these same labels: nonfiction, letter from the editor.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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