Good poetry?

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I must confess that, outside of song lyrics, I'm fairly ignorant when it comes to good poetry.

Does anyone have any favorite poets or books of poetry that they can recommend? Or any acclaimed poets that you don't see what all the fuss is about?

Specific poems that are meaningful to you?

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My three favorite living poets are:

Scott Cairns

Jane Hirschfield

and my wife.

I also greatly enjoy Stanley Kunitz, Robert Hass, Mary Oliver, Adam Zagajewski, and a host of others that I'll think of as soon as I post this.

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Among my favorite poets (living and dead):

Gerard Manley Hopkins

John Donne

David Citino

Scott Cairns

Kelly Cherry

Edward Hirsch

Li-Young Lee

Richard Wilbur

Denise Levertov

Sharon Olds

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Yes, yes, Levertov, Hopkins, and Donne!!

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Ooh, I second the Ed Hirsch love. And Levertov, too. Some of my own favorites:

Louise Gl

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Some that immediately come to mind:

Hopkins

W. H. Auden

Christopher Smart (way ahead of his time)

T. S. Eliot (especially "The Waste Land")

I'm sadly ignorant on contemporary poets.

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William Cowper and Jane Kenyon, at least as much for their lives as for their poetry, of which I've unfortunately read too little.

(Great sig, Diane!)

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Christopher Smart (way ahead of his time)

Sometimes being crazy will do that to you :wink:

But I love Smart, too. And the line between inspired and insane can be very fine.

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William Cowper and Jane Kenyon, at least as much for their lives as for their poetry, of which I've unfortunately read too little.

I wrote a paper on Cowper and Smart in college. Those two had a lot of painful things in common. I admire them both.

(Great sig, Diane!)

Why, thank you!

Ha ha! Beth, I actually started to say the same thing about Christopher Smart's insanity in my post.

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e.e. cummings and Robinson Jeffers are the two that always come to mind when I hear this question. William Carlos Williams. I spent a lot of time in Poe for an undergrad project, he really has some fantastic stuff. And of course...Carl Sandburg. I am a die-hard Midwesterner.

I can see why you would like Jane Hirshfield JO, your wife is one of my favorite poets for some of the same reasons I like her. Your wife has a better knack for very sensitive visualization though.

You can all see some of JO's wife's poetry featured in our magazine, the next issue of which comes out on the 15th.

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John Donne: for a taste of genius unsaddled by modern hyper-sexuality OR Victorian prudery

T.S.Eliot: ditto on The Waste Land, try The Hollow Men, ...Prufrock, and The Rock.

Pablo Neruda: The Book of Questions, or any of his riduculously, astoundingly, and overwhelming beautiful love poems. According to those in the know, swooning awaits any woman hearing and understanding these poems in the original Spanish. biggrin.gif

Rainier Marie Rilke: strange and beautiful

And, why not Linford Detweiler?

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A few years ago, I came across a collection edited by David Impastato, Upholding Mystery: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Poetry (Oxford University Press, 1997).

It's kind of idiosyncratically organized with thematic "chapters," and some brief editorial commentary on some poems, and draws on a very limited selection of poets. But as someone once said of Katharine Hepburn, "what there is, is cherce."

Poets featured in this collection:

Daniel Berrigan

Wendell Berry

Scott Cairns (he just keeps popping up)

David Citino (there he is again--a really nice guy, too)

David Craig

Maura Eichner

Louise Erdrich (more well-known as a novelist)

Annie Dillard

Geoffrey Hill

David Brendan Hopes

Andrew Hudgins

Denise Levertov

Les Murray

Kathleen Norris

Richard Wilbur

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All the Scott Cairns love prompted me to seek out some of his stuff online. Fantastic poetry. I was impressed. Shame his books all seem to be out of print...

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All the Scott Cairns love prompted me to seek out some of his stuff online. Fantastic poetry. I was impressed. Shame his books all seem to be out of print...

Philokalia (Zoo Press, 2002) is in print, selected poems from four of his earlier books. 30% off at amazon.com

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Pablo Neruda: The Book of Questions, or any of his riduculously, astoundingly, and overwhelming beautiful love poems. According to those in the know, swooning awaits any woman hearing and understanding these poems in the original Spanish.

The swooning? Is so true. Have you read the Neruda collection The Sea and the Bells ? It's full of poems he wrote towards the end of his life, and the very last one -- "Finale" -- is to his wife. Gorgeous.

And I think the same "swooning" statement could be said about certain Donne poems...! :wink:

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Poets featured in this collection:

...

Andrew Hudgins

Beth or anyone else reading this thread: Can you recommend any particular volume by Hudgins? I posted about his visit tomorrow to the National Book Festival, and I'm planning to listen to him read. I'd like to buy a collection of his poetry, but direct guidance from someone familiar with his work would be helpful.

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Can you recommend any particular volume by Hudgins? I posted about his visit tomorrow to the National Book Festival, and I'm planning to listen to him read. I'd like to buy a collection of his poetry, but direct guidance from someone familiar with his work would be helpful.

I think his latest, Ecstatic in the Poison is not a bad place to start. It provides something of a range of his style while still being coherent. These poems illustrate very well his holy subversion.

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I think his latest, Ecstatic in the Poison is not a bad place to start.  It provides something of a range of his style while still being coherent.  These poems illustrate very well his holy subversion.

That's just what I was hoping to hear, I confess. I think some of his highly regarded past work is out of print, or simply might not be made available at the book table tomorrow.

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I'm hooked. After reading the library copy of Hudgins' "Babylon in a Jar" and then hearing him read briefly at the National Book Festival, I ordered three used copies of Hudgins' works.

I'd planned to buy his latest collection, Ecstatic in the Poison, at the Book Festival, but the lines were so long that, had I waited, I would've missed Hudgins' presentation. So I bagged the purchase, listened to his talk, returned to the second book-sales tent to find that it, too, had a gargantuan line, then meandered back to the poet pavilion, where Hudgins was still signing books. I had the opportunity ask him which of his volumes would appeal most to someone with a Christian sensibility, and he recommended the now out-of-print The Never Ending.

Checking Amazon, I found a used copy for a nice price, plus cheap used copies of Ecstatic and a book-length poem about a Civil War soldier, the name of which escapes me at the moment. I believe Hudgins won the Pulitzer Prize for that volume, but I could be wrong.

I'm delighted with this discovery.

I should add that my renewed interest in poetry, though it hadn't really caught any sort of fire until the past week, has been stoked by listening to Garrison Keillor's "The Writer's Almanac" feature, which airs on one of our NPR affiliates each morning at 6:30. Keillor always closes with a poem, and I've been impressed at the breadth of his choices. Turns out that, according to today's "Book World" in The Washington Post, several of those poems have been collected into a recently published volume, which, although not yet a best-seller, appears along the bottom of the best-seller list with the designation "also selling well in independent bookstores."

I may have to track down a copy of that collection as well.

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Indulge me for just one more post on Andrew Hudgins. I figured I should link to the poem of his that hooked me, but I couldn

Edited by Christian

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And NOW I discover (alert Jeffrey Overstreet!) that Over the Rhine has been influenced by the poetry collection I currently have on loan from the library.

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I liked that 'Praying Drunk' poem, very much. Once my masters is finished (friday, in theory) I'm gonna read for pleasure again...

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And NOW I discover (alert Jeffrey Overstreet!) that Over the Rhine has been influenced by the poetry collection I currently have on loan from the library.

Influenced? Hudgins, his wife (author Erin McGraw), Detweiler, and Bergquist are good friends! When Anne and I were in Santa Fe a few months ago, we went out to dinner with the four of them and laughed until we ached.

I've got a great photo of the four of us taken by the waiter after the first round of margaritas.

Hudgins and McGraw are both incredible writers. They both offered readings at the Glen Workshop. Hudgins has a collection of Silverstein-like poems for children that fall under the "sick and twisted" category that will just crack you up. That collection's tenatively titled, "Shut Up, You're Fine."

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Hudgins and McGraw are both incredible writers. They both offered readings at the Glen Workshop. Hudgins has a collection of Silverstein-like poems for children that fall under the "sick and twisted" category that will just crack you up. That collection's tenatively titled, "Shut Up, You're Fine."

Huh. I don't remember you recommending his work when I've inquired about poets in the past. But I'm glad to hear you're way ahead of me on this, and that you endorse him wholeheartedly. I've received those three collections I recently ordered but haven't read beyond the first two poems of "The Never-Ending."

Hudgins read a couple of poems at the National Book Festival from the collection you mentioned, then asked us to vote on the title. He clearly preferred "Shut Up, You're Fine," but I voted, as did half the crowd, for the other option, which escapes me at this moment. I have a problem with "shut up." But Hudgins appeared to have his mind made up, despite the vote.

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My wife is the poetry authority in our house, and she's been a Hudgins fan for years. He's one of the main reasons we attended the workshop... him, B.H. Fairchild, Barry Moser, Erin McGraw... and those crazy Ohio minstrels...

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