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Topic: Poetry Books?

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Subject: Poetry Books?
Date Posted: 11/9/2008 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2007
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After taking a class in poetry  at college I have been looking for books of poetry.  Any suggestions?  I like any kind of poetry.

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 11/9/2008 5:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
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Are you looking for suggestions on poets, or for anthologies with a variety of poems?  I don't have anything on my shelf, but my favorite poet is e.e. cummings.  I did my senior seminar in college on World War I poetry, and I got to like some of them as well.  The War Poems by Siegfried Sassoon is a good collection, and The Penguin Anthology of World War I Poetry was one we used for the class.  I did my project on Edward Thomas.  His poems tend to be more Georgian/pastoral, but still interesting.  I don't know if there are any modern collections.  I kind of had to scrape the bottom of the library barrel to find stuff on him.

Last Edited on: 11/9/08 5:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/9/2008 6:04 PM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2005
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I have a lovely poetry collection that I've read many times, on this page (scroll down):


Date Posted: 11/9/2008 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
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I would def get a copy of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience.  Make sure you get one that includes the illuminated engravings...in color. They correlate with the poem and you will get so much more out of the poem after seeing the illuminated engravings. The poems are great and I really enjoy them.

Also, Robert Browning has a lot of great poems that are kind of fun to read.

what type of poetry is your favorite? Or what style are you interested in?

I also just read Spring Poems Along the Rio Grande by Jimmy Baca for school. Personally I didn't like it, it was more contemporary and not my style. Have you read any of his?


L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 11/10/2008 4:43 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
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One of my favorite contemporary poets is Galway Kinnell

Date Posted: 11/10/2008 6:11 PM ET
Member Since: 5/11/2008
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I'm very unfond of most poetry, but there are a few poets I really like.  As Hannah mentioned, Robert Browning can be great fun.  I also like Tennyson (The Lady of Shalott and Ulysses in particular) and Rainer Maria Rilke.  With the latter, definitely try the poems translated by Stephen Mitchell, which are lovely beyond belief.  For modern poets, Billy Collins and Philip Larkin are pretty good too.

Date Posted: 11/10/2008 10:41 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
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Language of Life edited by Bill Moyers

Passionate Hearts edited by Wendy Maltz (not hokey at all; best contemporary collection of love/sex/relationship poetry I've read)

My Wicked Ways by Sandra Cisneros

Any Cave Canem anthology


Date Posted: 11/13/2008 4:45 PM ET
Member Since: 10/7/2008
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"A Night Without Armor" by Jewell. Good one.

Date Posted: 11/13/2008 9:29 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
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Adrienne Rich

Date Posted: 11/13/2008 11:26 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2007
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Thank you so much for all the great recommendations, I will be checking them all out of the library, or here on paperbackswap. 

Date Posted: 11/14/2008 12:16 AM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
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Some really good WWI era poets are:

Siegfried Sassoon

Wilfred Owen


Date Posted: 11/14/2008 12:22 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
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Who were the poets you studied in school? What did you like about them? What have you read sense?

I really have a hard time knowing what to recommend when I don't know anything about the person asking for the recommendation. My experience is that I find very little in the library. That's why I buy so much poetry. There are several online sites you can check and get a sense of some poets before you invest in collections.

I'd be curious to hear how much poetry you find in your local library.

Date Posted: 11/14/2008 12:26 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
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Ah, I like Adrienne Rich. I have a huge volume of collected poems by her.


Have you considered investigating in contemporary poets who clearly have a solid foundation in the classics or solid understanding of poetics?

L. G.

I have a collection of Galway Kinnell. A favorite is from an anthology, Passionate Hearts. I could post it here, if you'd like. I think you could appreciate it.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 11/14/2008 4:20 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Post the poem?  Sure!!  I love Galway Kinnell.  I met him once and he signed a book of his poetry I have.  It was just him and me backstage at a poetry reading honoring Etheridge Knight.  I wanted to kiss him so badly, LOL...I remember it as if it was yesterday.

Date Posted: 11/14/2008 4:39 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
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You are hilarious!

When I get home, I'll post it. :-)

Subject: For L.G.
Date Posted: 11/14/2008 8:27 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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"After Making Love We Hear Footsteps"

by Galway Kinnell


For I can snore like a bullhorn

or play loud music

or sit up talking with any reasonably sober Irishman

and Fergus will only sink deeper

into his dreamless sleep, which goes by all in one flash,

but let there be that heavy breathing

or a stifled come-cry anywhere in the house

and he will wrench himself awake

and make for it on the run- as now, we lie together,

after making love, quiet, touching along the length

         of our bodies,

familiar touch of the long-married,

and he appears- in his baseball pajamas, it happens,

the neck opening so small he has to screw them on-

and flops down between us and hugs and snuggles

       himself to sleep,

his face gleaming with satisfaction at being this very child.


In the half darkness we look at each other

and smile

and touch arms across this little, startlingly muscled body-

this one whom habit of memory propels to the ground

      of his making,

sleeper only the mortal sounds can sing awake,

this blessing love gives again into our arms.


 from Passionate Hearts: The Poetry of Sexual Love edited by Wendy Maltz

Last Edited on: 11/14/08 8:52 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Subject: another favorite. reminded of it after reading Body Drama
Date Posted: 11/14/2008 8:50 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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by Rita Dove


My daughter spreads her legs

to find her vagina:

hairless, this mistaken

bit of nomenclature

is what a stranger cannot touch

without her yelling. She demands

to see mine and momentarily

we're a lopsided star

among the spilled toys,

my prodigious scallops

exposed to her neat cameo.


And yet the same glazed

tunnel, layered sequences.


She is three; that makes this

innocent. We're pink!

she shrieks, and bounds off.


Every month she wants

to know where it hurts

and what the wrinkled string means

between my legs. This is good blood

I say, but that's wrong, too.

How to tell her that it's what makes us-

black mother, cream child.

That we're in the pink

and the pink's in us.



From Language of Life edited by Bill Moyers.

Last Edited on: 11/14/08 8:52 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 11/14/2008 9:15 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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LaTonya wrote: "After Making Love We Hear Footsteps"

Oooh - I love that one!  I heard him read it that night at that same poetry reading.  He was joking about how it was true - that Fergus would come running into their bed every time they got down, LOL...

My Favorite of his is:

Saint Francis And The Sow

The bud

stands for all things,

even for those things that don't flower,

for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;

though sometimes it is necessary

to reteach a thing its loveliness,

to put a hand on its brow

of the flower

and retell it in words and in touch

it is lovely

until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;

as Saint Francis

put his hand on the creased forehead

of the sow, and told her in words and in touch

blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow

began remembering all down her thick length,

from the earthen snout all the way

through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,

from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine

down through the great broken heart

to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering

from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath

the long, perfect loveliness of sow.


It gives me chills.


Last Edited on: 11/14/08 9:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/14/2008 9:17 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Very nice. From what collection is that? I wonder if I have it.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 11/14/2008 9:18 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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I love that Rita Dove poem too.   I just requested Body Drama from the library - I think my niece could use it, and I want to preview it first.  She is 15 and living with MIL who wouldn't even use the word "vagina".


Date Posted: 11/14/2008 9:21 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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You might opt to keep the book at your house. I'm seriously thinking about who I'm going to promote it to at the agency. There are a few staffers who might object. Amazing, if you want to hide something just put it in a book. I am very unhappy about the lack of reading and literacy among staffers, but I digress.

There is more of Dove in my Language of Life collection. Will try to post more if you like.

Need to get ready for work now.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 11/15/2008 2:22 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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It's from Mortal Acts, Mortal Words which I think is my favorite collection of his.

I will look for the Language of Life book - sounds interesting!

Wow - I just searched Rita Dove...This is lovely:


Lady Freedom Among Us

don't lower your eyes

or stare straight ahead to where

you think you ought to be going

don't mutter oh no

not another one

get a job fly a kite

go bury a bone

with her oldfashioned sandals

with her leaden skirts

with her stained cheeks and whiskers and 

heaped up trinkets

she has risen among us in blunt reproach

she has fitted her hair under a hand-me-down cap

and spruced it up with feathers and stars

slung over her shoulder she bears

the rainbowed layers of charity and murmurs

all of you even the least of you

don't cross to the other side of the square

don't think another item to fit on a 

tourist's agenda

consider her drenched gaze her shining brow

she who has brought mercy back into the streets

and will not retire politely to the potter's field

having assumed the thick skin of this town

its gritted exhaust its sunscorch and blear

she rests in her weathered plumage

bigboned resolute

don't think you can ever forget her

don't even try

she's not going to budge

no choice but to grant her space

crown her with sky

for she is one of the many

and she is each of us

© Rita Dove.


Please do post more if you have time.  There used to be a Poetry Genre forum here, but I think it got nixed to make room for more popular genres. :/

Last Edited on: 11/15/08 2:24 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/15/2008 2:46 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Ah, I was going to post that one. lol

We think too much alike.

I think we should petition for a poetry forum to be brought back.

Last Edited on: 11/15/08 2:47 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/15/2008 4:59 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 12,834
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WHAT WORK IS by Philip Levine -- http://www.amazon.com/What-Work-Philip-Levine/dp/0679740589
Date Posted: 11/15/2008 5:05 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Yes, Philip Levine is a native Detroiter, too. :-)