Day 27: Juliana Gray on Five Favorite Poetry Books

April 27, 2011

We at 32 Poems have you’ve enjoyed the previous 26 days of poetry book recommendations from a wide range of poets. We continue this effort today with selections from Juliana Gray.

1. Meadowlands, Louise Gluck. Does Louise Gluck really need more press? Does she need me to promote her? No and no. Nevertheless, I adore this book. It’s one of the most spare, most moving depictions of heartbreak that I’ve ever read.

2. Ecstatic in the Poison, Andrew Hudgins. Hudgins creates some truly scary material (Vikings, Romans, angels, demons, growing up in Alabama), and does not flinch.

3. Becoming the Villainess, Jeannine Hall Gailey. Gailey brushes the dust off the ol’ dramatic monologue and lets characters like Wonder Woman, Lara Croft, and a certain vampire slayer have at it. Pop culture meets myth, and they get along famously.

4. Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York, by Frank X Walker. I’m a sucker for personas and historical poems. These lyrics are spoken by York, the slave who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their explorations, and they’re absolutely gorgeous in their voice and spare, powerful imagery.

5. After the Revival, Carrie Jerrell. I love poems about music, perhaps because I’ve never been able to successfully write one myself, and Jerrell pulls it off masterfully. Even the poems that aren’t about music have a drawl and rhythm that should be spun on an old jukebox.

BIO: Juliana Gray is the author of Roleplay (forthcoming from Dream Horse Press) and The Man Under My Skin. She teaches at Alfred University in western New York and at the Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference.

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