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  • August 14th, 2009 | 10:39 PM
Building a Poetry Shelf (room?)

It is poetry Friday, just barely, a little left in the night. I've been thinking of poetry today even if I didn't get a post up.

I want to add to my poetry collection. I have many shelves (seven so far) of poetry. I was going to say more for children than adults but I don't think that's true. It's probably 50/50. I'm not interested in adding any classic poets. We have a lot of those and they are not one I turn to again and again. I'm looking for contemporary poets. The trouble is that some poets are prolific and it is hard to decide which books of theirs to buy first.

So here's your chance - tell me about your favorite books by contemporary adult poets. I have read some of Mary Oliver and Billy Collins but which books of theirs are your favorites? Who else should I seek out?
(Tags: )
There are so many stories only you can tell.Tell them, please.


( 21 comments — Leave comment )
August 15th, 2009 12:13 pm (UTC)
I just got WHAT FEEDS US by Diane Lockward. Want to get EVE'S RED DRESS too. I'm thinking of adding a couple of William Stafford collections. He's always great to come back to. And I finally got Ferlinghetti's A CONEY ISLAND OF THE MIND.

Like you, I'd like to add to my collection. So I'm anxious to see what others recommend.
August 15th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Jama. I haven't read any of those. I will go check them out.
(Deleted comment)
August 15th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
Yes, and I bought it on your rec and really like it! Thanks.
(Deleted comment)
August 15th, 2009 05:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Mary oliver
Thanks, Tracie. I don't know Jane Kenyon so I will check her out. I haven't bought any Sharon Olds (horrors, I know) so that's a good reminder. Ack, and Ted Kooser. A familar name but nothing on my shelf. I knew you'd have some good ones.
August 15th, 2009 02:46 pm (UTC)
You already have Nancy Willard's SWIMMING LESSONS, I assume.

I am a big fan of Carl Phillips' THE REST OF LOVE (FSG).
August 15th, 2009 05:50 pm (UTC)
I am very poorly read in poetry so no, I don't know or have either of these. On the list. (I have a big Powell's credit so I figure poetry shopping is a good thing.)

Thanks, Lawrence.
August 15th, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
Ted Kooser is brilliant. "Tattoo" is my favorite modern poem.

August 15th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you. another vote for Ted.
August 15th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
Rita Dove's Sonata Mulattica!

I love Louise Gluck's work (although she, personally, scares me), in particular Vita Nova.

I like Frank Bidart's Desire, but as a warning, a lot of people find him to be a difficult poet (nicest man, though, and he loves dogs).

Also, anything by Mark Strand. I get a kick out of his Chicken, Shadow, Moon & More, which is a collection of list poems.
August 15th, 2009 05:51 pm (UTC)
Love love love list poems. So thanks for that. Mark Strand reminded me that I meant to buy some Mark Doty so I will ad that to the list. I will look at the others you mentioned to. Thank you!
August 15th, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
Contemporary poets:

Check out HERE, BULLET by Brian Turner. I reviewed it for Guys Lit Wire last fall.

Ted Kooser's book, VALENTINES, is wonderful, and feels like a gift (which makes sense, given it's origin - the link is to my review at my blog).

If I were to pick one Billy Collins book to start with, it would be SAILING ALONE AROUND THE ROOM, which collects up some poems from earlier books and adds a few new ones. That said, I own at least 5 of his collections.

For Mary Oliver, NEW AND SELECTED POEMS is a good place to start.

Kay Ryan's THE NIAGARA RIVER is marvelous.

Pat Mora's ADOBE ODES is great - I purchased a copy for myself and another for my mother after reading a library copy.
August 19th, 2009 12:25 am (UTC)
Thanks, Kelly. I got HERE, BULLET on your rec a while back and really enjoyed it.

I appreciate all the other ideas. Now to go see how they stack up against my Powell's credit. LOL
August 15th, 2009 08:57 pm (UTC)
Concrete Poetry
Definitely kid friendly, I recommend John Grandits, especially Technically, It's Not My Fault

August 19th, 2009 12:25 am (UTC)
Re: Concrete Poetry
Thanks. I have that book and do like it a lot.
August 16th, 2009 04:33 am (UTC)
Oooooo... one of my favorite subjects!!!

Mary Oliver -- Dream Work
Jane Kenyon -- Otherwise
Raymond Carver -- A New Path to the Waterfall
Mark Doty -- Sweet Machine
Rita Dove -- Grace Notes
Billy Collins -- Picnic, Lightning
W.S. Merwin -- The Vixen
Lucille Clifton -- The Book of Light
Li-Young Lee -- The City in Which I Love You

August 16th, 2009 04:46 am (UTC)
Oh, and Even in Quiet Places -- William Stafford. Maybe Fuel -- Naomi Shihab Nye. Some Gary Snyder for sure. Lord. Can I come shopping with you????
August 19th, 2009 02:28 am (UTC)
Oh man...so many great books. Thank you thank you thank you.

Would love to go book shopping with you!
August 16th, 2009 01:56 pm (UTC)
Great question, Susan. I never heard of Jama's recommendation, so I too am going to look up Diane Lockward. I echo recommendations for Mark Doty. An anthology I love is Claiming the Spirit Within a sourcedbook of women's poetry ed by Marilyn Sewell, which includes poems by Naomi Shihab Nye (she wrote for adults before becoming perhaps better known for children, with lots of narrative poems), Sandra Cisneros, Molly Peacock (her first collection esp has lots of poems relating to childhood; and she was a teacher for a while), and Dorainne Loux: all are fanastic, and this anthology would give you a taste. Jules at Seven Imps blog recently recommended Green Stars by Charolotte Hilary Matthews and I'm loving it. Many take childhood as its subject, showing both the harsh and the sweet. Likewise Rough Cradle by Betsy Sholl.

Have fun!
August 19th, 2009 02:29 am (UTC)
Thanks Jeannine. Many I haven't heard of here. I will check them out.
August 16th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)

was Poet Laureate of Virginia, 2006-2008

here's comment on one of her books -

Contrary Visions
"Each poem in Contrary Visions is like a painting in an illuminated manuscript, marking not the passage of months, but the progress of the soul toward harmony."  
August 19th, 2009 02:29 am (UTC)
Thank you so very much.
( 21 comments — Leave comment )

Who am I?I was born on the Cancer/Leo cusp and share a birthday with Ernest Hemingway and Robin Williams. The similarities don't stop there as I can go from depressed to ecstatic without ever passing go. I feel scared most of the time though my friends call me brave and I find it easier to believe in my friends than to believe in my own abilities to make what I want out of my life.

Who am I? A wife, a mother, a daughter, and even, gulp, a grandmother.

Who am I? A writer who never gets tired of playing with words, even when the words are hard to find. A writer of books for children and articles for grown-ups and many things in-between.

Who am I? A motivational speaker, writing instructor, workshop leader and full-time follower of dreams.

Who am I? Read and find out.

Susan Taylor Brown

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