Year of Books, 2018

I saw several posts about how many books had been read in 2018, and I started to put my list together… only to realize it was very, very short. It was only after I moved a stack of books that I had read a lot this year, just not novels. Most of my reading was poetry (or about poetry).


I can say this, though I only read five novels this year, they are all fantastic, and I recommend them all.

  • Mere wife – Maria Dahvana Headley
  • Dread nation – Justina Ireland
  • Lost Time (Tales of the Lost Book 1) – C.A. Higgins
  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – N.K. Jemisin
  • The Last Firefly of Summer – Robert Ford


I’ll start off and say if you aren’t reading Tracy K. Smith, you are missing out. Life on Mars is fantastic. I got The Body’s Question for my birthday from a great friend.

This list also made me realize I bought quite a few poetry books haven’t read them yet…


  • The Body’s Question – Tracy K Smith
  • Difficult Fruit – Lauren K. Alleyne
  • Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems – Danez Smith
  • WHEREAS: Poems – Layli Long Soldier
  • Nectar – Upile Chisala
  • New Poets of Native Nations – Heid E. Erdrich
  • Bastards of the Reagan Era – Reginald Dwayne Betts

Japanese Poetry

I started this obsession with The Japanese Haiku Its Essential Nature and History by Kenneth Yasuda. From there, I picked up the Kokinshu, which is one of the first Imperial anthologies of Japanese Poetry. Things may have spiraled out from there…

Yes, I got everything I could that Ueda had written. He had a collection of Basho poems that had translations and commentary which I read last year. Ueda’s Modern Japanese Tanka inspired me to try and write some myself. Far Beyond the Field is haiku by Japanese Women, and Light Verse from the Floating World is full of senryu, a form similar to haiku in shape, but different in tone and purpose.

  • Modern Japanese Tanka – Makoto Ueda
  • Far Beyond the Field – Makoto Ueda
  • Modern Japanese Haiku: An Anthology – Makoto Ueda
  • Light Verse from the Floating World – Makoto Ueda
  • Kokinshu – Rodd and Henkenius (translators)
  • Traditional Japanese Poetry: An Anthology – Steven D. Carter
  • The Penguin Book of Japanese Verse: From the Earliest Times to the Present
  • 1000 Poems from the Manyoshu
  • From the Country of Eight Islands: An Anthology of Japanese Poetry -Hiroaki Sato
  • Women Poets of Japan – Ikuko Atsumi
  • A Girl with Tangled Hair by Akiko Yosano – Jane Reichhold (Translator)
  • Pepper-pod: A Haiku Sampler – Yasuda, Kenneth
  • Poet to Poet: Contemporary Women Poets from Japan – Rina Kikuchi
  • Modern Senryu in English (English and Japanese Edition) – Shuho Ohno
  • Akane Immigrant Poet: English & Japanese Edition: The Tanka of Mitsuko Kasuga, a Japanese Immigrant in Mexico – Aiko Chikaba

African Poetry

The Amazonian algorithms offered up Fuchsia by Mahtem Shiferraw as something I may like, and after reading the whole preview, I had to agree. Turns out it is part of a seres of African Poetry published by University of Nebraska press, which means there will be even more joining my collection.

  • The Penguin Book of Modern African Poetry: Fifth Edition (Penguin Classics)
  • Fuchsia (African Poetry Book) – Mahtem Shiferraw
  • The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony (African Poetry Book) – Ladan Osman
  • The January Children (African Poetry Book) – Safia Elhillo

Poetic Non-Fiction

I didn’t finish most of these books, because most of these books are huge. An Introduction to Japanese Court Poetry is referenced over and over again in other texts as the primer on this subject.

The second Waka Anthology was my Christmas gift, and I’ve only made it a little way in. It is a college text book on the subject, and the good news is there are going to be several more volumes to follow

  • An Introduction to Japanese Court Poetry – Earl Miner.
  • Japanese Poetic Diaries – Earl Miner
  • A Waka Anthology – Volume One: The Gem-Glistening Cup – Edwin A. Cranston
  • A Waka Anthology – Volume Two: Grasses of Remembrance – Edwin A. Cranston

LampLight Submissions

I would be remiss to not call out LampLight submissions as a very large part of my readings. We got about 2,000 submissions this year. There were more great stories than I could publish, and such a wide variety of styles, subjects and points of view.

Here’s to reading more of the ‘to be read pile’ in 2019!

Author: jake

poet, editor, kilt wearing heathen. he/him