In honor of National Poetry Month, check out these suggestions from the literature department of the Free Library of Philadelphia (also copied below).
I've not read any of these, but after reading these intriguing descriptions, I just might. Maybe they'll take me back to the dark yet reflective and highly meaningful days of my college poetry seminars (spoken like a true English minor).
Title: The Stranger Manual: Poems
Call Number: 811 R722s
Notes: Catie Rosemurgy’s THE STRANGER MANUAL , published in 2010,is the most vital, inspired and strong-voiced collection of poems to come along in some time. Many of the poems in the book are about a strange and outrageous persona, Miss Peach, who examines the book’s many themes. With penetrating humor, remarkably wild and captivating imagery, Miss Peach, both intimate and alien, explores with us the topics of physical beauty, relationships, desire, identity, envy, rock and roll and the physicality of place. This book is a bulldozer.
Title: The First Four Books of Poems
Author: Gluck, Louise
Call Number: 811 G52FF
Notes: The strength of Gluck’s work derives in large part from its straightforward use of ordinary speech. Yet her careful selection of words, rhythm, and vague phrases, give her poems a weight that is unusual. Her basic themes are loss, love, mortality and isolation. Reviewers have often labeled her work as being “dark”, though few poets have sounded so alienated and made it so beautiful, dreamlike, and interesting.
Title: The Selected Levis
Author: Levis,, Larry
Call Number: 811 L579A6
Notes: In Larry Levis’ work, there is an ever-present, nearly nostalgic longing for the past or at least a desire to revisit the past to achieve a better understanding of the present. His is an intimate voice that speaks in rich, sweeping, imagistic language, displaying an almost narrative style that focuses on memory, mortality, and death. Levis shifts from past to present and back again throughout the poems, celebrating life even as he reckons with the inevitability of death. In this manner, Levis begins to universalize the content of his poems and reveals a depth of emotion rarely found in contemporary poetry.
Title: The Most of It
Author: Ruefle, Mary
Call Number: 811 R8365m
Notes: Unpredictable and discursive free verse characterizes this collection of poems. Ruefle’s work accelerates against literary convention. She cultivates a sense of the absurd with a charged energy and unusual, beautiful imagery that seduces the reader away from the hunt for logical development. Though this poetry is unpredictable, it is also haunting, heartfelt, and often powerfully insightful.
Author: Siken, Richard
Call Number: 811 SI293c
Notes: Selected as the 2004 winner of the Yale Younger Poets prize, CRUSH is a powerful collection of poems driven by obsession. Siken writes with ferocity, and his reader hurtles unstoppably with him. His poetry is confessional, gay, savage, and charged with violent eroticism. In her introduction to the book, competition judge Louise Glück hails the “cumulative, driving, apocalyptic power, and purgatorial recklessness” of Siken’s poems. She notes, “Books of this kind dream big. . . . They restore to poetry that sense of crucial moment and crucial utterance which may indeed be the great genius of the form.”