eunoiaA friend of mine (and fiction writer) asked me to give some suggestions of contemporary poetry books to read, and I was a little surprised at how easily my first suggestion came. Hands down, it’s Christian Bök’s Eunoia. A bonus too: it’s online for free. Not only does it break the conventions of the publishing world by giving itself out free (and before it was in a print version, too, for that matter); but it can be heard performed in its entirety by the author, too [visit Christian Bök’s page at PennSound].  If this is new to you, and you’re curious about new poetry, start here. Unfortunately, a lot of what is labeled as poetry and is available in bookstores will likely disappoint you after this, but hey, there’s always EPC and UbuWeb, and they’re free, too.

To be plain, this book is a masterpiece and gift to (and from) the English language. If you want to demonstrate how poetry can be delightful and not just dumpy, and how poetry can serve the language, the reader, and the listener and not just end up as a neo-Romantic lineated letter from a perception-perceptive, experience-experiencing, feeling-feeling author.

If only it was normal that poems create experience and not merely relate it!

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