Ai. No Surrender. New York: Norton, 2010.
Last Thursday I was grading some student essays about Martín Espada’s poetry reading on campus last month, and, as is often the case when reading student work, I was seized with an incredible desire to read literature (in this case poetry specifically) rather than reading writing about it. So after I was done at the office I walked up the hill to The King’s English Bookshop to look for some poetry because they have an excellent poetry section. I decided to buy Ai’s last collection even though I am not that familiar with her work–I’ve only read a few of her poems in anthologies. I read the book immediately and loved it! The collection consists primarily of long narrative poems, all very smooth, probably the best long poems I’ve read aside from Kenneth Koch’s. I highly recommend it.
Bergen, David. The Retreat. 2008. Toronto: Emblem, 2009.
As I’ve written here before, Bergen is one of my favorite novelists. However, I did not realize this book existed until I recently read his latest novel, The Age of Hope, which included The Retreat in the list of his previous books. Apparently it hasn’t been published in the U.S., which is why I didn’t receive the usual notification from amazon.com about “a new book from an author whose books you’ve purchased before.” However, I was able to find a copy of the Canadian edition from one of their used booksellers.