Title Times Literary Supplement Books of the Year 2021 Degree of recognition International Media name/outlet Times Literary Supplement Media type Country/Territory United Kingdom Date 26/11/21 Description Sam Riviere’s Dead Souls (Weidenfeld) is a poet’s novel, about poets, that contains no lines of poetry. Instead, it pursues an implacably dystopian monologue that made me laugh every couple of pages with its horribly steely conceits, such as the secondhand bookseller who burns unsold anthologies “like a common extremist”. From extreme satire, however, emerges an unspoken vision of poetry as the elusive thing all around us, “like bubbles grouping together against the curvature of the bottle”.
Waiting Behind Tornados for Food (Materials) is the first UK publication by Tongo Eisen-Martin, San Franciscan Poet Laureate and educator on the extrajudicial killing of Black people. Here, poetry is “a torrential continuum of language through which we chase liberation”. Line by line, Eisen-Martin’s lucid, jagged voicings of the violent reality of white supremacy do not miss: “A non-future dripping with real people / I mean, real people … Not poem people”.
Persons Jeremy Noel-Tod