Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Your Favorite Poets

The lilac blossom has gone a rich, royal color that has no name in English, since the names for browns and tans have all been coopted to denote dullness: they glow, clotted with rain, and the lilac leaves are a brilliant dark green, the twin leaflets springing energetically away from each other, pointing emphatically in opposite directions. I suppose technically the blossom has withered, but I don't see it that way. The tree is in its exuberant prime, reveling in Spring: its hair is spiky and tousled. Someone's been showing it a very good time.

I have request. If you're a poetry person, I'd like you to list, in the comments, three to five modern poets. And please do it without first looking at the names anyone else has put down.

What do I mean by modern? Well, since WWI, certainly, and clear up to the present. I'm looking for your touchstone poets, the poets you go back to. I don't care what the literary establishment thinks of them. I'm not looking for the canon: I can browse the syllabuses of Ivy League colleges for that. I'm looking for the poetry that stopped you in your tracks, that made you feel less alone, that delighted you and touched you and made you itch to write the stuff yourselves. Your favorites. I intend to spend the next year or two reading modern poets, and I don't want to miss the ones that you hold closest to your hearts.

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