Monday, April 30, 2007

ten essential books of poetry

I have just discovered Poetry Thursday. The most recent blog column asks, What ten books do you believe are essential reading?

I haven't read nearly enough books of poetry to be able to speak on this with any authority. But I've read some gems, and I am happy to share:

1. Festival Bone by Karen Rigby. A wonderful collection of poems by a very talented poet.
2. music for landing planes by by Eireann Lorsung. Another new poet definitely worth exploring. Not that I'm biased about these two or anything.
3. Selected Poems: 1960-1990 by Maxine Kumin. She came to the university a few years ago and was wonderful, fascinating to listen to.
4. Eating the Honey of Words by Robert Bly. A wonderful character, he came to one of my graduate poetry classes, speaking in that strange, old-man gravelly voice of his, reading his words. Strange to look back and think, I was in a room with him, one of sixteen people in one room and Robert Bly.
5. Selected Poems by Anna Akhmatova. What a beautiful life story, so complex and courageous.
The Wellspring by Sharon Olds. This is the book that finalized my falling in love with poetry.
7. Diving Into the Wreck or Fact of a Doorframe by Adrienne Rich. One of my absolute favorites.
8. The Country Between Us by Carolyn Forche. I cannot wait to meet her this summer, to learn.
9. Selected Poems by Pablo Neruda. One of my favorites. Neruda. Bliss.
10. The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton. I love "The Kiss." I love the drama of Sexton's life (of Plath's life too). I love her words.

I know there are so many more beautiful books of poetry, slender volumes on my shelves, that will one day be added to this list.

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