26 January 2010

Poets to Read (two lists): UPDATED

Per a reader request:  Fr. Philip's Modern/Contemporary [American] Poetry Recommendations!

Modern (deceased)

Hart Crane
Robert Lowell
Amy Clampitt (formal)
Denise Levertov
Louise Bogan
Marianne Moore
Wallace Stevens (difficult)
Sylvia Plath
James Wright

Contemporary (living)

John Ashbury (difficult)
Louise Gluck
Charles Wright
Franz Wright (Catholic)
Eric Pankey (Anglican)
Robert Hass
Mark Jarman (Christian)
W. S. Merwin
Jack Gilbert
Jorie Graham (very difficult)
Edward Hirsch

Great Mod/Cont Poets Who Aren't from the U.S.

Eavan Boland (Irish)
Seamus Heaney (Irish)
Rainer Maria Rilke (German)
Charles Baudelaire (French)
Octavio Paz (Mexican)
Pablo Neruda (Chile)
Anna Akhmatova (Russian)

The Poetry Foundation has an excellent collection of poems searchable by author, subject, school, date, etc.  

NB.  The exclusion of a poet from these lists does not mean that I don't like their work.  These are all listed off the top of my head.  I don't have my poetry library with me.  Like wine and movies, poets tend to attract devout followers and detractors.  Some poets we can all agree are Worthies even if we don't care for their work (e.g., W. C. Williams).  Some poets are so absolutely basic to the American voice that they must be read in order to understand everything that follows:  Whitman & Dickinson.

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  1. Not a single OPrize poet on the list. You are a traitor, Fr. Philip.

    For your penance, you HAVE to enter this year's contest.

    or would you rather judge?

  2. Faith, I haven't been writing much poetry lately. . .all my energy goes into preaching and philosophy.

    I'd be happy to serve as a judge, if you need me.

  3. Anonymous11:26 AM

    I know that you've focused on Americans here, but for your own edification I do recommend Eavan Boland. She's obviously Irish but spent quite a bit of time in the states, especially in Iowa and California. This has influenced her in ways that might prove an interesting contrast point to some of your other people. Just a thought.

  4. Thanks for the recommendations.

  5. Séamus Heaney is an excellent choice. Add Patrick Kavanagh to that list.

  6. Anonymous2:21 AM

    Of course you know that by beginning any such list, a fair part of the bargain is that we all get to suggest additions and/or deletions. I wish to add Vachel Lindsay, former poet laureate of Illinois ("The Eagle that is Forgotten" "When Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight" "The Congo" and scores more. Gwendolyn Brooks; and the late president of Saint Mary's College (Notre Dame), Sister Madeleva Wolff, known in her day as the "Lady Abbess of Nun Poets".

  7. Anon, thanks for the additions...

    I'm not a G. Brooks fan. Just not to my tastes. I don't anything about the other two.

  8. How about Wislawa Szymborska?