Books of the year 2010 | John Burnside

We Don't Know We Don't Know by Nick Lantz

The best book finds are those that come by word of mouth. In February, I discovered Nick Lantz's wonderful We Don't Know We Don't Know (Graywolf Press) while visiting a friend in Michigan, and it immediately joined my list of contemporary poetry classics. Any book that sets Donald Rumsfeld alongside Pliny the Elder then draws from that strange marriage a world-view by turns tragic, angry and hilarious is a rare find indeed - and this is a masterpiece. If Nick Lantz is a new find, Robert Wrigley is a poet whose work I have long savoured and his new collection, Beautiful Country (Penguin, US) is as fine as anything he's ever done. Add in a UK selection of Robert Bringhurst and Walking Papers, a new collection from Thomas Lynch (both Cape) and this was a very good year for poetry. In prose: Point Omega (Picador) and Freedom (4th Estate). What else?


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