The state of poetry, so we’ve been told, is stronger than ever. So many voices. So many venues. And, seemingly, never enough time to take it all in.Sam Rasnake
Everybody has favorites—those books that ping inside us, transforming our bodies into tuning forks. I’m not referring to collected works—although they’re truly necessary—I’m mean those books that came into being because an author labored, in some cases, for decades to find just the right combination, the right grouping, the order that once found would open doors that never before existed.
We don’t just read this poetry, we feel it—in our mouths, in our chests, in our walk, in our eyelids.
And yes, there are many books that I should read, and will, hopefully, get to each one.
Here’s my own short list of must-read-incessantly books of poetry:
The Branch Will Not Break – James WrightThese are the books, above all others, that never lose their power to amaze me, books that continually find safe passage in my satchel whenever I travel. They’ve altered, forever, my perception of a poetic landscape and, most importantly, the way I approach my own work. Each time I read them—and I’ve lost count—I find something new. A new door. A new way to write what I must write.
The Bridge – Hart Crane
Diving into the Wreck – Adrienne Rich
Dreamtigers – Jorge Luis Borges
Geography III – Elizabeth Bishop
Narrow Road to the Interior – Basho
Plainwater – Anne Carson
The Sacrifice – Frank Bidart
*In the coming months, I plan to contact the writers of Blue Fifth Review, asking them to name the poetic collections that have most impacted them. That list will appear in the Winter 2003 issue.
Read. Read. Read.
I - Old Dance, New Paint
II - A Most Inconvenient Appetite
III - Ground Heavy With Thought
IV - At the World's Well
Featured Poet - E. Ethelbert Miller
Credo - Tim Scannell
Review - Nell Maiden
Current Issue - Winter 2002