Friday, April 20, 2007

Seven of the Five Books of Poetry I Wish I Owned and Had Read

Suzanne Frischkorn of Litwindowpane tagged me with this: "Five poetry collections you may not have read but certainly must...The collections, for whatever reason, should be a bit off the beaten path. And need not have caused the earth to open and swallow you whole."

I believe the idea for this originated with Sam of the 10,000 Things.

I'm sorry that my response looks a little ragged.

In no particular order:

1. To the Place of Trumpets by Brigit Pegeen Kelly (Yale University Press, 1988). Surely the second greatest embarassment for Yale is the failure of the Yale University Press to keep debut collections from the Younger Poet's series in print. I've never seen a copy of this book, let alone touched one; there's a copy available on Amazon for $649--completely out of my price range---but I did think about it.

2. Monolithos by Jack Gilbert (Alfred A. Knopf, 1982) a book that has (inexplicably) gone out of print. And what about Gilbert's Views of Jeopardy, (Yale University Press, 1962) another (currently unavailable) winner of the Younger Poets Prize. I suppose we'll have to wait for a posthumous volume of Gilbert's collected poems, but that's a day I never want to come.

3. The Maximus Poems by Charles Olson (University of California Press, 1985). This one I actually had in my hands; I just didn't have enough money in my pocket. I became interested in Olson after I read Tom Clark's excellent biography, Charles Olson: Allegory of a Poet's Life (W.W. Norton & Company 1991). While I'm reading The Maximus Poems, I'd also like to read The Collected Poems of Charles Olson Excluding the Maximus Poems (University of California Press, 1997).

4. William Blake: The Complete Illuminated Books (Thames & Hudson, 2001). I have a copy of Blake's Collected Poems, but sure wish I had this!

5. Love Had a Compass: Journals and Poetry by Robert Lax (Grove Press Poetry Series, 2001). Lax was a contemporary at Columbia of John Berryman, Jack Kerouac, Robert Giroux and Thomas Merton. Few have heard of him because Lax chose to go off by himself, living in isolation and relative silence on the Greek island of Patmos.


Blogger Suzanne said...

Great list Greg!

7:46 AM  
Blogger Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Anything by Gilbert. Such a powerful writer. Wonderful list.

Greg, I hope you'll take a look at the newest broadside at Blue Fifth Review. I've a link at the 10,000 blog.

5:03 PM  

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