Day 11: Luke Johnson on Five Poetry Books to Read

April 11, 2011

Welcome to Day 11 of 30 lists of poetry books to read. Sharing these recommendations is one way we’re celebrating National Poetry Month. What are you doing to celebrate?

The Great Fires by Jack Gilbert; a book overflowing with heartbreak: jagged and precise and true—favorite poem: “Highlights and Interstices”

Tantalus in Love by Alan Shapiro; a beautiful excavation of love in all its complexity and nuance—favorite poem: “The Haunting”

Late Wife by Claudia Emerson; the sonnets in the last section of this collection were a formal awakening for me—favorite poem: “Chimney Fire”

Elegy for the Southern Drawl by Rodney Jones; the near-epic title poem is remarkable, sweeping in its scope and its music—favorite poem: “Elegy for the Southern Drawl”

Native Guard by Natasha Trethewey; a rich meditation in personal and public history, one that changed the way I think of image and memory and the ways a poem can bring them together—favorite poem: “Pilgrimage”

BIO: Luke Johnson is the author of After the Ark (NYQ Books, 2011). His poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in 32 Poems, Best New Poets, New England Review, Southwest Review, Threepenny Review, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington, where he is working on a second collection. Visit his blog.

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