I have been answering the question “What poets do you like?” a lot, so I made a cheat sheet for myself. If I could have only one poet, now and forever, it would be Auden, though.
I didn’t include Eliot in this list because it’s like saying “Shakespeare.” I feel about Eliot the way that one of my colleagues feels about Bishop – there is no me without him.
If I could get everyone who looks at this post to check out only one of these people, and be Awed, it would definitely be Atsuro “they broke the mold” Riley. So cool. Like this earth-shatteringly good poem, HUTCH. Read that one first, and then read CLARY. It’s very Faulkner. He has a book coming out in 2010 – he should have all the hype Pynchon does. He wins.
This is the short list. There are many more.
narrative, accessible, dramatic, dialogue, monologue, persona, rhyme, free meter*
W(ystan) H(ugh) Auden
Edgar Lee Masters, Dylan Thomas, anyone who ever wrote a monologue-based verse play…
LESS OLD DUDES
EVEN LESS OLD DUDES
Sara “I’m better than you think I am” Teasdale
E. Freytag (going to knock all our socks off. Already has.)
Okay, and there’s this contemp woman who wrote this poem in POETRY a few years ago where the last lines were “while I think of John Clare / and decide to find out if I could be lucky in death,” I may have the verb tenses wrong, and she was so good, and I have forgotten her name and can’t find her or the poem. But she should be on this list too. This is a problem I often have – I remember last lines but not first, and you can’t search by them.
I guess I could call them and ask.
* I just made that up! I like it.
** don’t hate me cause I’m popular. Hate me cause I’m good.