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bernadette geyer

Thank you for joining us for NATIONAL POETRY MONTH and the 32 POEMS CELEBRATION of this month with recommendations for poetry books that will knock the socks (or tights or pantyhose) right off your feet!

Today Bernadette Geyer brings her suggestions to the 32 Poems blog.

Burning the Empty Nests, by Gregory Orr – Orr’s poems are linguistically playful and emotionally razor-shap. I find myself returning frequently to the final section, “The Adventures of the Stone.”

What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire, by Charles Bukowski – Shows that Bukowski is not just a poet of whiskey and expletives. His emotional range is phenomenal.

Sounds, Feelings, Thoughts: Seventy Poems, by Wislawa Szymborska – I will always return to this collection for Szymborska’s poetic gaze, and for the brutally frightening power of the poem “Discovery.”

Selected Poems, by Mark Strand – Strand exhibits a wonderful depth of emotion without losing his inherent sense of the wry and surreal.

True Stories: Poems, by Margaret Atwood – Atwood’s voice is intimate and compelling in these poems which read sometimes as confessions, sometimes as myth.

BIO: Bernadette Geyer is the author of the chapbook What Remains and recipient of a Strauss Fellowship from the Arts Council of Fairfax County. Her poems have appeared in Oxford American, 32 Poems, The Los Angeles Review, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. Read her poetry book reviews.


Poet Versus Poet

July 2, 2009

Bernadette Geyer’s latest blog post discusses how we poets are often ready to fight, cluck and ponder amongst ourselves about how different we all are.

How different we all are is nothing new.

What seems new to me is a fresh perspective that all of the difference doesn’t matter much when it comes down to reading a poem and assessing whether you like it or not.

What strikes me most about the reviews is how each seems to take most issue with the idea that there are only two camps and a poet has to be from one or the other. That an editor or editorial team can absolutely decidedly affix a label on a single poet based on the handful of poems from that poet’s ouevre that fit their editorial slant. Want to call so-and-so a lyric poet? Sure, go ahead. Just don’t include any of the narrative or political works that he/she may have written over the years.

Göransson mentions in his review the portion of Swenson’s introduction that references Robert Lowell’s quote that there is “cooked” and “uncooked” poetry. And on the same day I read that review, I was reading an interview with Peter Gizzi in issue #14 of jubilat, in which he says: “When I was a teenager, I began with the Beats, Rimbaud, Homer, Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Whitman, but I never read just one stream. To me the tradition is much larger than just the recent postwar ‘raw and the cooked,’ as Lowell broke it down. I didn’t want to think of it in those terms.”


A blogger at Balanced on the Edge raves about 32 Poems. If you aren’t subscribing to 32 Poems yet, maybe you should. =-) I should note that John Poch selects most of the poems. Her comment below about Bernadette Geyer’s poems reminds me that one of my favorite parts of editing is finding amazing poems. […]


This interview with poet Bernadette Geyer was conducted in January 2009 by Serena M. Agusto-Cox. Please read our other interviews with poets published in 32 Poems. 1. Not only are you a contributor to 32 Poems, but you also have a chapbook of poems published, your own website and your own blog. What “hat” would […]