MLP‘s anthology First Year, which takes a piece from each pocket-sized chapbook published between 2008 and 2009 and throws them together, is a thick, beautiful, energetic thing. I say thing because I don’t like to think of it as a bunch of samplings of work. Rather, as a book-thing, it’s wonderful.
My fondness for this book-thing stems largely, I think, from the grayness it creates in itself. That is, it is composed of both stories and poems, but never introduces a piece as belonging to either genre. It just is. That’s the brilliance of the read-through. Working my way through the book, I found myself caring less about genre and more about effect. Many of the pieces here operate on sort of an organization — lists, alphabetizing, etc. I love that. I get excited by that.
That isn’t to say, of course, that the “more traditional” stuff isn’t fantastic (it is), but the number and variance of those organizing pieces is quite large and absolutely delightful. Get this book-thing into your hands and enjoy its organized grayness. The cover is very colorful, though. So no complaining.