poem index

Reading Recommendations


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We asked a number of poets, including previous Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets, to list a few poetry books that they would recommend to others. The selections that came in include influential volumes, books returned to over and over, must-reads, and books frequently recommended to students or new poetry readers.

Ai recommended:

Galway Kinnell
Body Rags
2002, Mariner Books Reissue

Galway Kinnell
The Book of Nightmares
1973, Mariner Books

W. S. Merwin
The Lice
1993, Copper Canyon Press Reissue

Cesare Pavese
Hard Labor
1979, Johns Hopkins University Press

James Wright
Shall We Gather at the River
1968, University Press Of New England

Sylvia Plath
2004, HarperCollins Restored Edition

Allen Ginsberg
1956, City Lights Books

Robert Bly recommends:

Wallace Stevens
1923, Faber and Faber

Antonio Machado
1990, Fondo de Cultura Económica

Antonio Machado
Times Alone
1983, Wesleyan Univ Press

Richard Wilbur
The Beautiful Changes
1947, Reynal & Hitchcock

Robert Creeley
For Love
1980, Macmillan

Cesar Vallejo
The Black Messengers
1995, Losada

Billy Collins recommends:

Richard Brautigan
The Pill vs. The Springhill Mind Disaster
1969, Delacorte Press

Fernando Pessoa
Fernando Pessoa & Co.: Selected Poems 
1999, Grove Press

Kenneth Koch
New Addresses
2001, Knopf

Wislawa Szymborska
View with a Grain of Sand
1995, Harvest Books

Toi Derricotte recommends:

Lucille Clifton
The Book of Light
1993, Copper Canyon Press

Galway Kinnell
The Book of Nightmares
1973, Mariner Books

Yusef Komunyakaa
Dien Cai Dau
1988, Wesleyan University Press

Sharon Olds
The Gold Cell
1987, Knopf

Rainer Maria Rilke
Duino Elegies
1992, W. W. Norton & Company reissue

Gerald Stern
1984, Random House

Ruth Stone
1997, Paris Press

Joy Harjo recommends:

John Burnside
The Good Neighbour
2005, Jonathan Cape

Audre Lorde
The Black Unicorn
1995, W. W. Norton & Co. Reissue

Okot P'Bitek
Song of Lawino 
1984, Heinemann Reissue 

Robert Hass recommends:

Forrest Gander 
Science and Steepleflower
1998, New Directions

Donald Revell
2002, Wesleyan Univ. Press

Brenda Hillman
2001, Wesleyan University Press

Louise Glück
2004, Sarabande Books 

Myung Mi Kim
2002, University of California Press 

Peter Gizzi
Some Values of Landscape and Weather
2003, Wesleyan University Press

John Hollander recommended:

John Milton
Paradise Lost
2005, Norton Reissue

George Herbert
The Temple
1981, Paulist Press Reissue

Walt Whitman
Leaves of Grass
1855 edition, Penguin Classics

Emily Dickinson 
Complete Poems
1976, Back Bay Books Edition

Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Complete Poems
1999, W. W. Norton & Co. Edition

Thomas Hardy
The Complete Poems
2002, Palgrave Macmillan

Wallace Stevens
Collected Poetry and Prose
1997, Library of America

W. H. Auden
The Complete Works
1988, Princeton University Press

Elizabeth Bishop
Complete Poems, 1927-1979
1984, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

James Merrill
Collected Poems
2001, Knopf 

Fanny Howe recommends:

Bernadette Mayer
Midwinter Day
1999, New Directions

Lyn Hejinian
2000, Post Apollo Press

Rae Armantrout
Up To Speed
2004, Wesleyan University Press

Melvin B. Tolson
Libretto for the Republic of Liberia
1999, University Press of Virginia

Leslie Scalapino
Zither & Autobiography
2003, Wesleyan University Press

Susan Howe recommends:

Algernon Charles Swinburne
Poems and Ballads and Atalanta in Calydon
2001, Penguin Books

Ezra Pound
The Pisan Cantos 
2003, New Directions

Rainer Maria Rilke
elected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke
ed. & trans. by Stephen Mitchell
1989, Vintage, Reissue Edition

John Ashbery
Where Shall I Wander
2005, Ecco

John Ashbery
Self Portrait In A Convex Mirror
1992, Penguin

John Ashbery
Tennis Court Oath
1977, Wesleyan University Press

J. H. Prynne
Poems by J. H. Prynne
1999, Bloodaxe Books

W. H. Auden
The Sea and The Mirror: A Commentary on Shakespeare's "The Tempest,"
2003, Princeton University Press

Gertrude Stein
Gertrude Stein, Writings 1932-1946
1998, Library of America

Wallace Stevens
Collected Poetry & Prose by Wallace Stevens
1997, Library of America

Emily Dickinson
The Master Letters of Emily Dickinson
1998, University of Massachusetts Press

H. D.
1998, New Directions

H. D.
Helen In Egypt
1998, New Directions

William Carlos Williams
1995, New Directions

Robert Creeley
Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1945-1975
1985, University of California Press

Mark Jarman recommends:

Robert Lowell
Life Studies
1967, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Chase Twichell
The Ghost of Eden
1998, George Braziller

Philip Larkin
High Windows
1974, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Elizabeth Bishop
Geography III
1977, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Philip Levine
1974, Atheneum

Andrew Hudgins
The Never-Ending
1992, Houghton Mifflin

Garrett Hongo
The River of Heaven
1988, Knopf Reprint

Philip Levine recommends:

Elizabeth Bishop
Geography III
1977, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Sterling Brown
Southern Road
1974, Beacon Press

Zbigniew Herbert
Selected Poems
1986, Ecco Press

Kenneth Koch
New Addresses
2001, Knopf

Larry Levis
Winter Stars
1985, Univ. of Pittsburgh Press

Cesare Pavese
Hard Labor
1986, Ecco Press

Theodore Roethke
The Lost Son
1948, Doubleday

Edward Thomas
The Poems of Edward Thomas
2003, Handsel Books

Walt Whitman
Song of Myself
from Leaves of Grass, 1983, Bantam Classics

William Carlos Williams
Selected Poems
1985, New Directions

Nathaniel Mackey recommends:

Robert Duncan
Bending the Bow
1968, New Directions

Kamau Brathwaite
The Arrivants
1988, Oxford University Press

H. D.
1998, New Directions

H. D.
Hermetic Definition
1972, New Directions

H. D.
Helen in Egypt
1998, New Directions

Ed Roberson
Voices Cast Out to Talk Us In
1995, University of Iowa Press

Arthur Sze recommends:

Jay Wright
2000, Louisiana State University Press

Charles Simic
Selected Early Poems
2000, George Braziller

John Yau
Borrowed Love Poems
2002, Penguin

C. D. Wright
Deepstep Come Shining
1998, Copper Canyon Press

Forrest Gander
Science and Steepleflower
1998, New Directions

Jon Davis
Scrimmage of Appetite
1995, University of Akron Press

Carolyn Kizer
Cool, Calm, and Collected
2000, Copper Canyon Press