BR's 20 Top Poems of 2013

December 30, 2013

Plato wanted to banish poetry from the city. We think it is an essential presence in any city worth living in. This year, Boston Review published over 100 poems, including one poem every day for National Poetry Month in April. Take a look back at our twenty most-read poems of 2013 (in alphabetical order):

Catherine Blauvelt, "One Hand in the Fig Basket"

Roberto Bolaño, "A Fly Inside a Fly a Thought Inside a Thought and Mario Santiago Inside Mario Santiago"

Anne Carson, "Krapp Interviews the Glass Technician"

Andrew Durbin, "Smile on a Jet"

Andrew Elliott, "The Killers"

Ben Fama, "Sunset"

Sasha Fletcher, "when i go to bed i go to bed with the lights on"

John Freeman, "The Boy Under the Car"

Mary Hickman, Poet's Sampler

Amy King, "String Theory"

Jessica LaserPoet's Sampler

Molly Minturn, "Wake"

Alice Notley, "I Am Vocal and the Salt" (and Lindsay Turner's interview with Notley)

Cherry Pickman, "From the Keep"

Roger Reeves, "Before Diagnosis"

Ariana Reines, "Dream House"

Mary Ruefle, "Two Poems"

Lisa Russ Spaar, "Hibernalphilia"

Jordan Windholtz, "Why Sorrow Is Important"

Justin WymerPoet's Sampler

Plus, some of our stand-out poetry essays from the year: Evie Shockley on race and the canon, what makes Emily Dickinson Emily Dickinson?, a conversation with Stephen Burt, the paintings of Ficre Ghebreyesus, and Calvin Bedient defends the poetry of affect in "Against Conceptualism."

Read more: 


This list appears to be very white, and somewhat New York-centric. For 2014, it would be great if Boston Review were to publish more work from writers of color, and less work from NYC-based writers. Perhaps having a poetry editor who is white and living in New York has something to do with this list's demographics? 


I'm white I find identity politics boring and unnecessary my jacuzzi of privilege keeps me warm every nite

I like them alright.  But then I'm whitish and kind of New Yorky.

I m not surprised at all of  your prideful hilarity and  acknowledgement of --I m white and new yorky.its resplendence can be felt in your expressions.Isn't it good to eat one's cake and still have it when it comes to city nativity or urban citizenry.The literay - like of you  make it impossible for Plato to banish poetry in a hive of poetry like The New York City.What sort of cerebral works other than poetry will a city write its history and survive centuries of digital revolution?Who can stabilise the New York early years? i treasure your vivacious voice beyond identity delight that ooze out...

I agree with someone who rightly observes that most of the poets whose works were ranked top 20 came from New York City.Noting that they could have been chosen on merit and also recalling that each writer or poet writes from his psycho-environmental variables that shape his/her thought and also realizing as Connie Willis, award winning scifi writer said in Talking Writing Interview  that history is the raw data from which most works are wrought....Therefore drawing poets from different cities will tacitly enrich the literary gaiety of the Boston Review-or even The  Paris Review.I congratulate Amy King for her prolific poetry and hilarious style across her pre-prof years.Gbemi Tijani MST 150114 1821pm
reply in The Boston Review reactions to top 20 poets

ABOUT: that human imagination breaks free from neat political categories; and that powerful images are worth piles of words. 

I once queried in New Poetry Review in 2005-can poets keep their gutsy shut?Could  poets have lacked what to poetise other than politics of the day and the century they witness and wish better in all ramifications? Have poets been turn-ons across the centuries?Have they been accepted as unacknoeldged legislators of the times?How meaty are poems provoked by politics compared to those wrought by wealth of language or mother nature?

The power support option was restored.More cerebral  energy was  effortlessly  restored to my

whole being and I got up from a makeshift sofa and moved to my trailer laptop.Clicked my New

Poetry mails enchantingly,felt almost the same like I was when Richard Blanco was chosen as the

inaugural poet for Obama s 2nd COMING to the white house as President of the most powerful

democracy.I scrolled the list -BR s Top 20 Poems & Poets and their titles that actually attracted

a maze of anonymous readers.String Theory ...I mimed it 3ce before doing visual justice for the

historically useful  free verse.I  'was partially affected by the artificial power source that

will switch off before eleven but surely by  midnight.
Knowing that my Samaritan lampist  may or may

not do bed-work will definitely switch off soonest.
I quickly  reviewed the purpose of that first reading -

just to search for a reecho of Amy s signatory style -love and life.Not long before gazing -not

reading with meanings - i got her -red-handed i captured her fiber of poetry writing.Amy King

would never poetise dry! She 's a fecund fish in free verse poetry -always lazed with deep love and concern for survival. There must be a thread of love and life in her motifs. Whereas she started

with metallic embroidery of the earth as an interesting arc worth quering its designer  - and this

should be considered conventional for a poet writing on his or her life history in the 21st

century -almost digital on all fronts of the six continents already mapped.

The green telephone box aka 1950 - originally born in 1876 by Alexander Bell --resurfaced and  engaged Amy 's

reflection of the good yet less sophisticated old days in the college.Surely in her teens coupled

with  American youth generation that infuenced her profoundly.A times I opine that poets that are not allergic to dollars yet

not aping for prize money are or should be among the  emotionally richest folks of this era of rat

race that accentuates cash and carousal things to pursue or treat their overstressed mundane

priorities.However they are justified -whether epicurean or spiritual.
Who could have patronized

the world of entertainers and luculian eateries locally and globally if we are the same on planet

earth.Amy had wittily sermonized elsewhere that varieties spice the world.
Imagine when I was curious on knowing the fasting hours( for three days) of my new church with

ambidextrous calling - an open-heaven  buddy i had reserved  a chivita orange before noel -

blatantly rejected picking it home.Though it was organo-leptically useful for another I.T. guy

promoting digital inverter for me to free me from power epilepsy of our grip system.Preaching to me, ' if

you don't disengage from the unstable power system and plan your own reliable  source of power for computing your creative and commercial works -you will sooon die of unlinked data -doing nothing in your room!

We are on 100-day fasting',he said in an unruffled manner. More dissection and search for

libidinal threads -if any -at my next visit to String Theory- surely it will pass through life and

love tests as i know a slice of Amy s steadily free poetry.I wish i encounter her volumes and

collect her love motifs in avalanche.

gbemi tijani mst,
14:29pm elsewhere @shopritecafe otherwise i couldn't  have done more than a

paragragh review!Power epilepsy is so endemic here that that it has become a carbuncle on  redeeming the time.Trailers of laptops still abound.Too bad apple founder is asleep eternally.Wake up Samsung or Solo to support poets and poetry reading beyond the West hemisphere.Pleased if you act on this..poetry empowerment call.

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