USELESS LANDSCAPE, OR A GUIDE FOR BOYS
By D.A. Powell
Graywolf, 108 pp., $22
Powell’s fifth collection is a stunner. Without his giveaway stylistic stamp (those crisp twin lines, split by the hinge of a colon), there’s only his unmistakably lush language to give him away here, and it’s more than enough. Memory, sensuality, and time all tangle with each other — altering each other as they go. Powell takes us beyond the “salty declivities” of a Turkish bath into a wilderness of desire, a “region of want.” There could be no sounder guide.
THE FSG BOOK OF TWENTIETH-CENTURY ITALIAN POETRY
Edited by Geoffrey Brock
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 672 pp., $50
For those of you just getting through your copy of last year’s chunky FSG Latin anthology (just out in paperback), this grand gathering of 73 Italian poets will happily grab that free real estate in your bag. From the Futurist manifestos and typographic adventures of Marinetti to gorgeous suites from contemporaries like Valerio Magrelli (here deftly translated by Jonathan Galassi, Dana Gioia, and others), it’s a rich, worthwhile survey. Other translators include Marianne Moore, Rosanna Warren, Stanley Kunitz, Thomas Lux, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
THE DAY THE WORLD ENDS
By Ethan Coen
121 pp., paperback, $13
Acclaimed director Ethan Coen’s new collection is in no short supply of poop jokes, hyper-hammy rhymes, f-bombs, limericks (like, 15 pages of them), and limping iambs. “What can I do, what can I say?” Coen wonders three poems in. The answer can feel like a long car trip with a caustic uncle who won’t let you sleep. “Can you explain/ I don’t know why/ I sometimes want/ to sit and cry.” Oh, you too?