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Ten favorite poetry books [12 Aug 2008|12:53am]

I saw that Jim Goar listed his ten favorite books of poetry. When I read his, I wanted to read my own.

There are different kinds of favorite. These are favorites in the sense that they made other favorites possible for me. They are the ten books I think of right now that each changed the way I thought about poetry. Half of them are the books that convinced me I wanted to go study poetry more.

In no particular order:

  1. Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino
  2. Lunch Poems, Frank O'Hara
  3. Poems for the Millennium, Jerome Rothenberg and Pierre Joris
  4. Best Loved Poems of the American People, Hazel Felleman and Edward Frank Allen
  5. Houseboat Days, John Ashbery
  6. Collected Poems, Sylvia Plath
  7. Outlying Districts, Anselm Hollo
  8. Four Year Old Girl, Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge
  9. Collected Poems 1947-1980, Allen Ginsberg
  10. Exercises in Style, Raymond Queneau

I have a feeling I'll be writing more about each of these books soon. But I probably won't be writing much about Best Loved Poems of the American People because part of me is a little embarrassed that it's on this list but also because it's the one on the list that I don't have on my bookshelf right now. I remember reading "The Vagabonds" by John Towsend Trowbridge in it. I also remember reading Ogden Nash and Robert Frost in it, but searching the book on Amazon appears to make a liar out of me. I guess I must have first encountered those two somewhere else. It's also the first book I remember reading poems aloud from.

Runners-up that would probably be on this list if I asked me on a different day are:

  • The Promises of Glass, Michael Palmer
  • The Descent of Alette, Alice Notley
  • The Sonnets, Ted Berrigan
  • Selected Poems and Four Plays, W.B. Yeats
  • Sleeping with the Dictionary, Harryette Mullen
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