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Good poetry?


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#1 Josh Hurst

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Posted 10 September 2003 - 07:08 PM

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?

#2 Overstreet

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Posted 10 September 2003 - 07:19 PM

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.

#3 BethR

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 10:15 AM

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

#4 Overstreet

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 10:21 AM

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

#5 etpetra

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 10:39 AM

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

Louise Glück (Our new poet laureate! Check out "Elms" and "Mock Orange")
Carolyn Forché (Absolutely brilliant. Some of my favorites are "The Colonel" and "San Onofre, California")
Brigit Pegeen Kelly ("Song")
Richard Frost ("Clay" or anything else from "Neighbor Blood")
Dave Smith
Michael Waters

Anyone else have specific poems they love?

#6 Diane

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 10:55 AM

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.

#7 Andrew

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 11:29 AM

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!)

#8 BethR

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 11:59 AM

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.

#9 Diane

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 12:24 PM

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.

#10 M. Leary

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 01:40 PM

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.

#11 Jeff Kolb

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Posted 11 September 2003 - 11:05 PM

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?

#12 BethR

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Posted 12 September 2003 - 09:31 AM

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

#13 Josh Hurst

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Posted 12 September 2003 - 10:00 AM

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...

#14 BethR

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Posted 12 September 2003 - 11:44 AM

QUOTE
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

#15 etpetra

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Posted 12 September 2003 - 01:55 PM

QUOTE
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:

#16 Christian

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 01:53 PM

QUOTE(BethR @ Sep 12 2003, 09:31 AM)
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.

#17 tctruffin

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 03:55 PM

QUOTE(Christian @ Sep 23 2005, 02:53 PM)
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.

View Post



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.

#18 Christian

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Posted 23 September 2005 - 06:01 PM

QUOTE(tctruffin @ Sep 23 2005, 03:55 PM)
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.

View Post



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.


#19 Christian

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 08:40 PM

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.

#20 Christian

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 01:27 PM

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’t turn it up through a Google search. Instead, I found Hudgins’ “Praying Drunk,” which I’ve just now read. I think I love it.

Thoughts? Is this sort of poetry considered too cute?

FWIW, the title of the poem that hooked me is "In the Bleachers," in the collection Babylon in a Jar.

Edited by Christian, 26 September 2005 - 01:51 PM.