Books I Read in 2021 (& a Cedar Sigo poem)

I read zero novels this year, a major upset in my little world. I read twenty-eight collections of poetry, two essay collections, one memoir and one book of short stories. A lot of what I read was really great. Some of it was puzzling, but I didn’t dislike anything below (I’m not a masochist; I know how to put a book down). I’ve bolded what I liked best.

Books that I only picked from are not included on this list. Neither are chapbooks, nor pamphlets.


  • Little Hill (Alli Warren)
  • Here Come the Warm Jets (Alli Warren)


  • The King (Rebecca Wolff)
  • Lowly (Alan Felsenthal)
  • Muse & Drudge (Harryette Mullen)
  • In the Mud (Jen Fisher)


  • Lotion Bullwhip Giraffe (Tan Lin) [reread]
  • Observations (Marianne Moore)
  • Comp. (Kevin Davies)
  • UPEND (Claire Meuschke)


  • Seven Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004. The Joy of Cooking (Tan Lin)
  • Sho (Douglas Kearny)
  • Tender Buttons (Gertrude Stein) [reread]
  • To The Cold Heart (Clark Coolidge)


  • 80 Flowers (Louis Zukofsky)


  • Carceral Capitalism (Jackie Wang)


  • The Odyssey (tr. Emily Wilson)
  • In the Wake, On Blackness and Being (Christina Sharpe)
  • Gowanas Atropolis (Julian T. Brolaski)


  • Brief Under Water (Cyrus Console)
  • That This (Susan Howe)
  • Styrofoam (Evelyn Reilly)


  • Cosmogony (Lucy Ives)
  • Views of Jeopardy (Jack Gilbert)


  • The Odicy (Cyrus Console)
  • Skins of Columbus (Edgar Garcia)
  • The Angel of History (Carolyn Forché)
  • The Sense Record (Jennifer Moxley)


  • The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save us From the Void (Jackie Wang)
  • Romanian Notebook (Cyrus Console)
  • Pierrot’s Fingernails (Kit Schluter)
  • someone’s dead already (Tongo Eisen-Martin)

Here’s a Cedar Sigo poem that I think is appropriate for the near year. This poem is from Selected Writings (UDP, 2005).


The king’s two bodies
Still open, face down upon the bed

Searching their jackets
My brother and I

Had never imagined them dead
Part of our allegiance

Was cutting open their little fingers
The lines ran down

Into horribly uneven parts
Mirth, brilliance, and luxury

Clash by night
We left the key poems

Alone in the room
And beyond recognition

Unlocking the door twice more
We disowned them.