Reading List: Poetry

poetry

Most poems can be read in one sitting, but their meaning may stay way with you forever. If you’re a fan of poetry, check out the poetry collections below. Some are eBooks that you can read from home, and others are print books that are available at the library.

 

Questions About Angels by Billy Collins (eBook)

Billy Collins – winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship, veteran of a one-hour Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross, and a guest on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion – arrives at Random House with the poetic equivalent of a Greatest Hits album, seasoned with some wonderful new numbers. Read our review here.

 

American Primitive by Mary Oliver

50 lyrical poems by the author express renewal of humanity in love and oneness with the natural.

 

Selected Poems of Langston Hughes by Langston Hughes

The poems Hughes wrote celebrated the experience of invisible men and women: of slaves who “rushed the boots of Washington”; of musicians on Lenox Avenue; of the poor and the lovesick; of losers in “the raffle of night.” They conveyed that experience in a voice that blended the spoken with the sung, that turned poetic lines into the phrases of jazz and blues, and that ripped through the curtain separating high from popular culture.

 

The Collected Poems by Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes

Contains in sequence all the poetry written by the author from 1956 until her suicide in 1963, together with fifty selections from her pre-1956 work.

 

New Poets of Native Nations edited by Heid E. Erdich

This anthology gathers poets of diverse ages, styles, languages, and tribal affiliations to present the extraordinary range and power of new Native poetry.

 

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The Varorium Edition of the Poems of W.B. Yeats by W.B. Yeats

This book contains the complete poems of Irish author and activist W.B. Yeats. Yeats’ poetry speaks of love, nature, politics, and myths.

 

Selected Poetry by Victor Hugo and Steven Monte (eBook, includes poems in French and English)

This generous, varied selection of poems by one of France’s best-loved and most reviled poets is presented with facing originals, detailed notes, and a lively introduction to the author’s life and work. Steven Monte presents more than eighty poems in translation and in the original French, taken from the earliest poetic publications of the 1820’s, through collections published during exile, to works published in the years following Hugo’s death in 1883.

 

The Woman I Kept To Myself: Poems by Julia Alvarez

The Dominican-American writer presents a collection of autobiographical poems, each comprising three 10-line stanzas.

 

The Complete Poems: 1927-1979 by Elizabeth Bishop

A collection of 149 poems by the author.

 

Selected Poetry, 1937-1990 by João Cabral de Melo Neto (eBook, includes poems in Portuguese and English)

Brings together a representative selection of the work of one of Brazil’s most respected poets, including many poems published in English for the first time.

Featured Poet: Seamus Heaney

The path to success is to take massive, determined action.

 

When Seamus Heaney won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, he had already been writing poems since the 1960s. Born in Northern Ireland in 1939, Heaney grew up in a politically divisive world as WWII was beginning. He excelled at school and became a teacher and poet, often spending time in the United States to educate pupils there. Heaney also wrote plays and spent time traveling as a professor; however, he is most remembered for his poetry.

Heaney’s poetry contains themes of nature, relationships, working life, and Irish culture. Take his poem “Blackberry Picking” as an example:

For Philip Hobsbaum
Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot
Among others, red, green, hard as a knot.
You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet
Like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it
Leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for
Picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger
Sent us out with milk cans, pea tins, jam-pots
Where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.
Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills
We trekked and picked until the cans were full,
Until the tinkling bottom had been covered
With green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned
Like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered
With thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s.
We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.
But when the bath was filled we found a fur,
A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.
The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush
The fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.
I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair
That all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.
Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.
Heaney used language that invoked our senses: words like “fermented,” “sour,” and “sticky.” He brought his readers into his world and helped them connect with the earth.

National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month! When was the last time you read some lines from a favorite poet? Now is the time to dive back into poetry!

 

We have several famous poets in our library collection. Check out the list below if you’re looking for a good read:

  1. Pablo Neruda
  2. William Carlos Williams
  3. Anne Sexton
  4. Sylvia Plath
  5. Gwendolyn Brooks
  6. Robert Frost
  7. Christian Wiman
  8. Elizabeth Bishop
  9. T.S. Eliot
  10. Gary Snyder

 

Or maybe you’re a poet yourself! Check out our books on writing if you need any tips:

  1. The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century
  2. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
  3. A Poetry Handbook
  4. Everybody Writes
  5. How To Write Everything

 

And finally, a poem for you to celebrate National Poetry Month: “Of Modern Poetry” by Wallace Stevens.

The poem of the mind in the act of finding
What will suffice. It has not always had
To find: the scene was set; it repeated what
Was in the script.
Then the theatre was changed
To something else. Its past was a souvenir.

It has to be living, to learn the speech of the place.
It has to face the men of the time and to meet
The women of the time. It has to think about war
And it has to find what will suffice. It has
To construct a new stage. It has to be on that stage,
And, like an insatiable actor, slowly and
With meditation, speak words that in the ear,
In the delicatest ear of the mind, repeat,
Exactly, that which it wants to hear, at the sound
Of which, an invisible audience listens,
Not to the play, but to itself, expressed
In an emotion as of two people, as of two
Emotions becoming one. The actor is
A metaphysician in the dark, twanging
An instrument, twanging a wiry string that gives
Sounds passing through sudden rightnesses, wholly
Containing the mind, below which it cannot descend,
Beyond which it has no will to rise.
It must
Be the finding of a satisfaction, and may
Be of a man skating, a woman dancing, a woman
Combing. The poem of the act of the mind.

 

 

 

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and the library has plenty of poems to keep you well-read. Check out one of the library’s most recently acquired poetry collections, The Last Night of the Earth Poems by Charles Bukowski.

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Here are just a few of the other poetry collections available:

Please enjoy a reading of The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot below and be sure to check out all of the poetry that the library has to offer.