Monday, February 28, 2005

Ten poems

David Koehn over at The Great American Pinup made an interesting post a few days ago (followed by a follow-up post) about coming up with a mini-anthology of ten poems that somehow (and here I'm putting my own spin on it, I'm sure) represents you, and the sort of poetry you want to write, and your own aesthetics. Not necessarily your all-time favorite poems, or the ones you think are the all-time greatest poems, but just ten poems for who and where you are right now.

I thought it would be hard to do, but once I started thinking about it, my list of ten came fairly easily, and it's kind of interesting to step back and look at what I selected. Here they are, in no particular order:

Sylvia Plath, "Ariel"
Gerard Manley Hopkins, "God's Grandeur"
Adrienne Rich, "Twenty-One Love Poems" (which is probably cheating, but)
Adrienne Rich, "Dreamwood"
Mary Oliver, "Wild Geese"
Ellen Bass, "3 A.M. Feeding"
Joy Harjo, "Eagle Poem"
Li-Young Lee, "From Blossoms"
Mark Doty, "Lost in the Stars"
Olga Broumas, "Artemis"

Stanley Kunitz's "The Layers" was on the list until I recounted and realized it was eleven, even with cheating and counting Rich's "Twenty-One" as one. And if I don't hurry up and post this entry immediately, I'm going to start thinking of others and then I shall have to gnash my teeth and moan and wail.

What would your list of ten poems look like?


Emily Lloyd said...

Nice list (my wife-to-eventually-be answered my proposal with a limited-ed chapbook-style copy of "Twenty-One Love Poems"--I don't think it's cheating). I'm ashamed to admit that I've yet to read any Mary Oliver...I know I need just pisses me off that she's one of the few contemporary poets whose work my public library purchases (leaving me to spend more than I can--re:that--check out Trader Po's and see if you're interested).

Agree with the comment you left at my list--Hopkins is a bit out of place on both of ours, really...but SO much fun to read that one aloud, aloud, aloud.


Anne said...

Now that's a good answer to a proposal! I've seen (and coveted) that chapbook. :) As for Oliver, I knew she existed of course, but had barely read her at all until I brought a poem in to my writing group and someone said "wow, this sounds a lot like Mary Oliver, have you been reading a lot of her lately?" I think it just hadn't been the right time for me to read her yet, but over the last couple of years I've been loving her work a lot.

And I'm very very lucky to work in an academic library that buys all kinds of delicious poetry -- though I still seem to end up ILL-ing stuff that doesn't seem that obscure to me!

I will check out your Trader Po's -- very cool idea.

jenni said...

The first 3 on your list very well could be on my list too--especially Rich's 21 love poems--i forgot how much i liked those until now--they were really, really good. For Plath, i might choose a different poem--although Ariel is damn good. IMO Plath is the most powerful female poet of the last century--beyond a doubt--but I wouldn't want to have to go where she went to be that good--if ya know what i mean. In that way, someone like Rich or Bishop is a little safer to have for a 'hero.'Bishop would definately bbe on my list--prolly "At The Fishhouses," I think Milosz would too. hmmm I'll have to think about this some more.

Peter said...

I really like this and want to work on my own "list of ten" and post it soon. Thanks for passing on the idea!

David Koehn said...

Lee and Broumas would not have mad my list but I'd forgotten entirely how much I like the poems of theirs that you mention. Kewl...

Anne said...

It's so interesting to read others' lists -- not only to find out which poems have been influential for other people, and not only because I've been reminded of some terrific poems I hadn't thought of in a while, but also to look at the lists as a whole & try to understand what the poems may have in common. I'm not sure I entirely like what my list says about me, for that matter! Fascinating stuff.

the machinist said...

Ohh--some good choices. I especially love the Doty!

Fiona Robyn said...

Hey Anne - I've just found your site via In A Dark Place - glad to be here. This post is well timed for me - was speaking to a friend earlier who said she didn't ever read poetry as she 'didn't understand it', so I was about to send through a few to start her conversion... Gosta Agren Childhood Summer, Ramond Carver Gravy, Galway Kinnell That Silent Evening, Adrian Mitchell Beattie is three, Denise Levertov Of Being, Mary Oliver Morning, Gerald Stern Sending Back The Gloom, James Wright The Blessing, Derek Mahon Everything Is Going To Be Alright, and Frost in the woods. Ten goes quick! Good to meet you Anne, Fiona (