I took a break from poetry for, oh, 40 years. Just like the near-20-year gap between the purchase of my last Zappa LP with Joe’s Garage in 1978 or so until my purchase of the entire Zappa catalog on CD as it stood in 1995, I didn’t keep up with new poetry after graduating from UCLA with a Master of Arts in English in 1975.
Now, I’m back, trying to figure out who is new, fresh, important in poetry today. My Virgil in this endeavor is a lovely, intelligent, and justifiably opinionated young lady at Bookshop Santa Cruz named Amber. She helped me pick out a couple of recent books of poetry as Christmas gifts for Miranda; because Amber was so helpful I felt obliged to return when BSSC had the Best American Poetry of 2017 back in stock (today) and picked up three more works for a purchase totaling more than $80. Good job Amber, I hope Bookshop Santa Cruz appreciates your value!