I’m not sure if I mentioned it here, but I challenged myself to write 30 poems in 30 days for National Poetry Month. I can’t believe it, but earlier today I finished #34! Sure, some of them aren’t great, but they’re all finished, and that’s what counts (for me). Basically, I treated this month as a sort of poetry NaNoWriMo (or NaPoWriMo, I guess). Maybe 34 poems in one month doesn’t sound impressive, and maybe it really isn’t. I’m pleased and a little proud, though, because I struggle with writer’s block a lot, so this was a very nice change for me.
Here’s one I wrote that I was kinda happy with how it turned out (I’m still terrified of sharing my writing, but criticism is welcome.)
I remember in technicolor
and 5.1 surround sound
every single time
some guy thought he had the right
to put his hands on me
without asking first.
I’m not a betting person,
or naturally inclined to violence,
but I’m willing to bet
my right knee left an impression
and tattooed my face on their memories.
Maybe in the future they’ll remember
that roses have thorns
and aren’t easily plucked.
— your family jewels are more delicate than this flower
Poetry Book Recommendations
(A note on Bukowski: I know a lot of people hate him, and that’s cool. Honestly, I’m not a fan of the man, but I have enjoyed some of his poetry. I actually hated what I first read, but I bought the ebook of Love is a Dog From Hell on sale and ended up liking it more than I expected to. I’m not saying he’s amazing, just that I personally kind of liked that collection, and I ended up buying another one.)
Ok, those are the individual collections I’ve read and kept track of (I read others before the days of goodreads), but the next group is just my best attempt to recommend collections from some of my favorite old(er)-school poets. I’ve read some to all of their work (depending on the poet), but I don’t own any collections right now to recommend. So, the following haven’t been read by me, but I’ve read/probably read most/all of what’s in them.
Sylvia Plath is one of my favorite poets from the last century, so I have to recommend her. I haven’t actually read this specific book, but I own it, I’ve read from it, and I’ve read most of her poetry over the years from different volumes.
Robert Frost has been one of my favorite poets most of my life, and I’m hoping to get something like this book soon. I have a smaller volume of his poetry, but I would really like to get all of it.
This is so high on my wishlist and I can’t wait to get it, or something similar, ASAP. I can’t actually remember when I first read her poetry, but I do know I’ve loved Emily Dickinson most of my life.
Ok, I really like Shakespeare’s sonnets. Maybe that makes me really weird, because I’ve never met anyone else who likes them as much as I do, but whatever. This is also something on my wishlist.
How could I not include Poe? I think he might have been the first poet I truly fell in love with. I do have (several) volumes of his complete works, I just didn’t have any poetry-specific collections to recommend.
I know I’m definitely forgetting people right now, but I tried, and I hope this is helpful to you if you’ve wanted to check out some poetry but had no idea where to start.
Actually, before I end this, here’s a list of some other poets you might want to check out:
- E.E. cummings
- Elizabeth Barret Browning
- Robert Browning
- Alfred, Lord Tennyon (check out one of my all-time favorite poems, The Lady of Shalott!)
- T.S. Eliot
- Edwin Markham
- Mary Oliver
- Sharon Olds
- John Keats
- Langston Hughes
- Seamus Heaney
- Leslie Marmon Silko
- Anne Sexton
- William Blake
- Dorothy Parker
- Lucille Clifton
- Adrienne Rich
- Rita Dove
- Linda Pastan
- Jennae Cecelia
- Gretchen Gomez
- Shelby Leigh
Ok, last thing, I swear! Some of these poets–like Amanda Lovelace, Gretchen Gomez, Trista Mateer, J.R. Rogue, etc.–are on social media (twitter, tumblr, instagram, probably facebook), so you can get a taste of what their writing is like before deciding if you want to buy one of their books. Following them can also help you find other poets, so if you’re on twitter (or whatever) and into poetry, definitely check them out!