I guess I should start by saying that this isn’t necessarily “recent poetry” – it’s poetry that I’ve discovered recently and loved. But I’ve been trying, for the past few months, to read at least a little poetry every day (which also means working through my backlog of unread poetry books), and I’ve run across some books that I’ve really thought were great. So here we go, four recommendations from me for books that are objectively (my opinion is objective, right?) great books of poetry.
I am not sure how I had never run into William Stafford before in my reading – I didn’t know anything about him. But he was the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1970 (the position that is now Poet Laureate), so he’s hardly obscure. I actually had this book on my bookshelf, and when Robert Bly died recently, I noticed that he had written the introduction to this, so it caught my eye.
It’s a fantastic book that also has the bonus of a very good introduction (I always like to hear poets talking about other poets, especially when they knew each other as in this case). And Stafford’s poems are clear yet deep; he looks at the world around us, but he also makes those beautiful leaps that leave you feeling not confused but awed.
Continue reading “Recent Poetry I’ve Loved”
No, the title of this is not an oxymoron! I was curious which of our poetry books had proved the most popular over the past year, so I decided to take a look at our data and put together a list. Would it surprise you to know that one poet has three different books in the top five? Check them out below!
Continue reading “Popular Poetry”
This week, I asked Sheboygan Poet Laureate Lisa Vihos if she’d be willing to close out National Poetry Month by sharing some recommendations for poetry she loves! She was kind enough to do so, and here’s what she wanted to share:
When someone asks me “who is your favorite poet?” I am usually at a loss because I don’t have just one favorite poet. I have many! I don’t even have one favorite kind of poetry. By that I mean, I’m not more partial to free verse than I am to formal poems (like haiku, sestinas, sonnets or villanelles). I like them all! If you are writing poems, forms are fun to experiment with because they provide a structure that needs to be maintained, but without sounding forced. That is always a great and interesting challenge. I recently learned of a Vietnamese poem form called a luc bat in which the lines alternate between six syllables and eight syllables, and in which the rhyme scheme is rather complex across the lines:
x x x x x A
x x x x x A x B
x x x x x B
x x x x x B x C
x x x x x C
x x x x x C x D
etc. as long as you want to go! I actually wrote several luc bat poems for the recent project, Poetry by Post, that will be on view in the display case on the first floor of the library in the month of May. See if you can find the luc bats!
As for some favorite poets, I’ll give you a few who I always love to return to, as well as one poet who I just recently discovered. Head to the stacks and look for:
Rumi was a 13th century Persian poet and Sufi mystic. What I love about his poems (in translation, of course!) is the way that they sound very contemporary to me, even though they were written eight centuries ago. His words are so full of wisdom and show the interconnectedness of all things.
Continue reading “Finding a Favorite Poet (Guest Lisa Vihos)”
It’s time for another post to help you out with our 2021 Bookish Bingo Challenge! Below, you’ll find some recommendations for books of poetry by authors who are Black, Indigenous, or People of Color. I’ve tried to focus on new releases in this post as well. Some of the poets might be unfamiliar, but perhaps even those whose names you recognize will have a new book listed that you weren’t aware had come out!
And because no post like this could hope to be comprehensive, and because poetry particularly lends itself to anthologies, I’ve also added a little bit at the end about relevant ones. Descriptions below taken from the publishers via Edelweiss+.
A stunning new volume from the first Native American Poet Laureate of the United States, informed by her tribal history and connection to the land.
In the early 1800s, the Mvskoke people were forcibly removed from their original lands east of the Mississippi to Indian Territory, which is now part of Oklahoma. Two hundred years later, Joy Harjo returns to her family’s lands and opens a dialogue with history. In An American Sunrise, Harjo finds blessings in the abundance of her homeland and confronts the site where her people, and other indigenous families, essentially disappeared. From her memory of her mother’s death, to her beginnings in the native rights movement, to the fresh road with her beloved, Harjo’s personal life intertwines with tribal histories to create a space for renewed beginnings. Her poems sing of beauty and survival, illuminating a spirituality that connects her to her ancestors and thrums with the quiet anger of living in the ruins of injustice. A descendent of storytellers and “one of our finest—and most complicated—poets” (Los Angeles Review of Books), Joy Harjo continues her legacy with this latest powerful collection.
Continue reading “Bookish Bingo Challenge: Poetry or Verse By a BIPOC Author”
I’ve pulled a few new poetry books from our shelves of new materials. Rather than try to describe the works themselves, I thought I’d give little samples instead; after all, these poets spent a lot of time choosing their words, so why not feature them! And more seriously, no amount of description of poetry will tell you whether you want to read it; only actually seeing the poetry can.
It’s also an opportunity to link to the area in our catalog that lists our new poetry, which you can now see as a list here!
Continue reading “A Poetry Sampler”