The Wonders of the Universe: The Book Club Round Up

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Poetry gets so ignored. A moment to appreciate the bad-ass poets of the Rumpus Poetry Club and some of their accolades this past year:

Timothy Donnelly‘s Cloud Corporation earned a spot among “The Year’s Best Poetry” according to NPR (also on the list: Rumpus contributor and all-star poet Matthew Zapruder).

The Believer‘s David Gorin reviews Cloud Corporation, finding in it hope for the new year: “these poems dream that music and imaginative play can keep us awake in the still-redeemable world, authorizing that dream through its interrogation.”

If you like Elizabeth Alexander‘s poems, read this blog entry on Krista’s Journal on American Public Media. Krista reflects on her interview with Alexander, and offers plenty of poignant lines of her own, such as, “I have the feeling that we need poetry but sometimes without even knowing it.”

The Rumpus interviews Aimee Nezhukumatathil, whose collection Lucky Fish is laced with with revelations about travel, ecology, and humanity. Among her influences? Rachel Carson, who once said: “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders of the universe, the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race.” Read more of the discussion.

And now back to fiction:

Adam Levin‘s The Instructions could have been written off due to it’s staggering length and weight. Instead, critics are going wild for this voluminous novel. Read new reviews in The Chicago Sun-Times and The Washington Post David Gutowski from The Millions calls it a stand-out from the pack in his Year of Reading list. Back to it’s size, though: Slate‘s Brow Beat points us to a video where The Instructions is tested for it’s bullet-resistance (sadly, didn’t do so well).

The Rumpus Book Club interviews Deux Ex Machina author, Andrew Altschul, and you can listen to the discussion.

Tao Lin reflections on 2010, in the form of a cryptic squiggle map.

Popmatters give us “10 Thoughts” on why Richard Yates is not as bad as you think it is.

Stassa Edwards gives us 2010’s Ten Best Moments or Ideas in No Particular Order in Current Intelligence, naming John Brandon‘s Citrus County (as a moment? as an idea?) as one of them.

Why Citrus County is one of the Top 10 Must-Reads of the Year, according to The Boston Phoenix, and also one of the best 100, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.


Maddie Oatman has interviewed musicians and writers for The Rumpus. She's the research editor at Mother Jones, where she also writes. A Boulder transplant, she can often be found on her bike, skis, or cooking with vegetables, and she wrote her English thesis on a gay red-winged monster and Billy the Kid. Follow her on Twitter or read occasional musings on her blog Oats. More from this author →