Literary Resolutions: Poetry!

My primary advice for getting into poetry is this: don’t be satisfied. Read widely.  There is poetry for everyone, and eventually you’ll hit upon something that seizes even you.  It will make you reconsider certain things.  It will seem almost familiar.  You’ll know you’ve found it when you go to read it again.  And again.  And then the ground opens up underneath you, and you go willingly in search of more.


 

Leaves of Grass: The First (1855) Edition (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) By Walt Whitman, Harold Bloom (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Walt Whitman, Harold Bloom (Introduction by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143039273
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Classics - June 28th, 2005

Read this if you want to know where American poetry all started.  Seriously, this is quintessential stuff.


The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens: The Corrected Edition By Wallace Stevens, John N. Serio (Editor), Chris Beyers (Editor) Cover Image
By Wallace Stevens, John N. Serio (Editor), Chris Beyers (Editor)
$20.00
ISBN: 9781101911686
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Vintage - August 18th, 2015

Read this if you like your poetry more on the philosophical side, and to see how a great poet builds a whole metaphysical framework for existence.  But also!  He’s weird!  He’s meticulous!  He’s funny!


The Complete Poems of Hart Crane By Hart Crane, Marc Simon (Editor), Harold Bloom (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Hart Crane, Marc Simon (Editor), Harold Bloom (Introduction by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9780871401786
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Liveright - May 17th, 2001

I can’t say it better than the writer Allen Tate: “Crane was one of those men whom every age seems to select as the spokesman of its spiritual life.” A pivotal, apocalyptic, provocative poet.


100 Poems To Break Your Heart By Edward Hirsch Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780358699354
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - January 31st, 2023

Read this because collections of multiple poets are invaluable (go in search of them!).  They’re a marvelous way to explore poetry.  Plus, Edward Hirsch (the editor) is great . Check out his other work, How to Read Poetry and Fall in Love with Poems


Poems 1962-2012 By Louise Glück Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780374534097
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 5th, 2013

Read this because career retrospectives are super interesting, especially in the case of Louise Gluck who is one of the greatest living poets currently writing.  She is titanic in her influence and scope.  Start with this collection, or just jump into any of her books (try The Wild Iris)


Life on Mars: Poems By Tracy K. Smith Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555975845
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Graywolf Press - May 10th, 2011

Read this if you want to see what contemporary poetry is capable of.  Read this if you enjoy science fiction, astronomy, or David Bowie.  Read this to see how all those things (and more) might intersect and influence the metaphors we experience love, pain, and death with.


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frank: sonnets By Diane Seuss Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781644450451
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - March 2nd, 2021

Read this if you think you don’t like sonnets, or if you want to be eviscerated, or if you want to see what a modern masterpiece looks like.


The Collected Poems By Sylvia Plath Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780061558894
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - March 6th, 2018

Sylvia Plath is the patron saint of dark emotional poetry, but don’t let that turn you off.  Like all true saints, she suffered for the nightmares and dreams she’s chosen to show us, and we’re better for it.


American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin (Penguin Poets) By Terrance Hayes Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143133186
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Penguin Books - June 19th, 2018

Read this to understand, even a little, the current political, metaphysical, social, emotional epoch we find ourselves living in right now.  A remarkable, angry, lyrical, and devastating collection.


The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems By Pablo Neruda, Mark Eisner (Editor) Cover Image
By Pablo Neruda, Mark Eisner (Editor)
$16.95
ISBN: 9780872864283
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: City Lights Books - April 1st, 2004

Read this if you don’t believe in magic.


Night Sky with Exit Wounds By Ocean Vuong Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781556594953
Availability: Ships Today - Not Currently In-Store
Published: Copper Canyon Press - April 5th, 2016

Read this for the clever and intensely beautiful language, stay for the evocative inner life, the emotional upheavals, and the bittersweet queer coming-of-age story.