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Poetry Books

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.


Happy 15th day of National Poetry Month. Every day this month, we’re sharing recommendations of five favorite poetry books. Enjoy the lists and learn more about the poets who are sharing their favorite books with you.

Today’s post comes to us by way of Carolina Ebeid:

I’ve made no hierarchical list. These titles represent a swatch from a library of favorites that are important to me.

Delusions, ETC. by John Berryman
I am waiting for a scholar/poet to come out with the annotations to The Dream Songs. Many of his poems are forever “archived” in my memory.

The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins
When I’m in a gray funk, GMH jolts me back to life.

Souls of the Labadie Tract by Susan Howe
A quote: “We are all clothed with fleece of sheep I keep saying as if
I were singing as these words do. Throw a shawl over me so you won’t be afraid to sleep. I have already shown that space is God.”

The Master Letters by Lucie Brock-Broido
This book (as well as A Hunger and Trouble in Mind) continues to be one of the most shaping influences upon my imagination.

Columbarium by Susan Stewart
I marvel at the way in which Stewart assembles her books. This one is arranged as a kind of abecedary.

Bio: Carolina Ebeid’s poems appear in Gulf Coast, Poetry, Agni, 32 Poems, Fugue, Copper Nickel, Anti–, and West Branch, among others. Originally from New Jersey, she now lives in Austin where she is a fellow at the Michener Center for Writers, and serves as poetry editor for the Bat City Review. She is at work on her first manuscript, which was a finalist for the Vassar Miller Prize. She was chosen as a CantoMundo fellow for 2011.


New & Selected Poems by Thomas Lux An introduction to a dark and humorous sensibility I’ve tried to emulate. The Kitchen Sink: New and Selected Poems by Albert Goldbarth Has whatever kind of work might be your taste, from short lyrics to longer works. The Endarkenment by Jeffrey McDaniel Inventive and intelligent, this book also […]

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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; […]


David Lehman shares five recently read poetry books he enjoyed. Please learn more about this National Poetry Month project. Erika Meitner’s book Ideal Cities (Harper Perennial, 2010) meant a lot to me, not only because of her craft and intelligence but because of the heritage we share, which surfaces in such poems as “Elegy with […]

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