Monday, May 07, 2007

Poetry for New Readers

Time for a list, but quite an interesting idea for a list, I think. As far as I can gather Jeff Newberry started it off, then Justin Evans, Andrew Shields and Steve Shroeder followed on.

Say someone asked me, "I kind of like poetry, but I don't know anything about contemporary poetry. Who should I read?"

I will be creating this list with a little restrictive creativity. No real life friends, no blog list names, no mentors or former teachers. All must be alive and kicking when this goes to press. I may know a few people, but e-mail is as far as that goes.

Here’s my list of 12 in no particular order:

1. Edwin Morgan
2. Wislawa Szymborska
3. Charles Simic
4. Sinead Morrissey
5. Philip Levine
6. Christopher Logue
7. Robert Crawford (the Scottish one)
8. Bernardine Evaristo
9. Seamus Heaney
10. Carol Ann Duffy
11. Stephen Dunn
12. Marilyn Hacker

My list is very different from the others (the UK/USA divide at work, despite three of my poets being American), although it's interesting how often Philip Levine is mentioned.

I never tag anyone by name, but if you want to do this, consider yourself tagged.


Andrew Shields said...

I am American, but my list ended up being heavily British/Irish, perhaps because I get so many books from the Poetry Book Society.

I read one of Evaristo's verse novels, and it was a blast: "The Emperor's Babe."

Hacker and Duffy almost made my list, but you do mention one poet I am on the record as not being impressed by: Dunn. (I have a review on-line of "Different Hours" somewhere.)

Sorlil said...

I guess that's my reading list for the next while!

Hedgie said...

My list, which has two overlaps with yours, is up at "The Compost Heap."

Rob said...

Andrew, I noticed your list was heavily British/Irish and I imagined that was because you lived in Europe. I haven't read "Different Hours". I thought Dunn's "New and Selected Poems" was really good. "The Emperor's Babe" is indeed a blast. I reviewed it somewhere or other on this blog.

Good list, Hedgie. I wondered whether to include Transtromer, but chickened out of recommending him to beginners. The same with Roy Fisher. But maybe both should be on my list.

And happy reading, sorlil!

J. Newberry said...

I'll second Robert Crawford. He read at UGA last spring. I'll never forget his poem "CHAPS."

Rob said...

He gets about! He is a really good reader.