Daily Archives: March 11, 2009

20 Books of Poetry Meme (Plus 5)

There has been a meme going around the net for what seems like forever: “20 Books of Poetry That Inspired Me.” Some versions have been variations of the original idea: 20 Essential Poetry Books, 20 Poetry Books That Changed My Life, 20 Books That Made Me Fall in Love with Poetry, etc.  In the spirit of better late to the party than never, here’s another take.  The following 20 poetry books, (plus 5, because I couldn’t contain myself), are really a combination of all the above mentioned approaches; more specifically, this list consists of the books I would want to have if the entire world of books was reduced to 25.  They are books that, at one time or another in my life, hit me powerfully, that made me see things differently, and that to this day have resonance.  They are in order of importance, so if there were only to be one book left in the world, for me it would be The Dumpling Field.

1. The Dumpling Field: Haiku of Issa, translated by Lucien Stryk
2. The Branch Will Not Break by James Wright
3. River of Stars, by Yosano Akiko
4. Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman
5. Transformations, by Anne Sexton
6. Complete Poems, 1904-1962, by E. E. Cummings
7. Haiku, 4 volumes, by R. H. Blyth
8. Collected Poems, 1947-1980, by Allen Ginsberg
9. The Dead and the Living, by Sharon Olds
10. The Prelude, by William Wordsworth
11. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
12. The Essential Haiku, edited and translated by Robert Hass
13. Flowers of Evil and Other Works, by Charles Baudelaire, tr. by W. Fowlie
14. The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain, translated by Red Pine
15. Chosen Poems, Old and New, by Audre Lorde
16. The Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats
17. Complete Poems by D. H. Lawrence
18. The Dream of a Common Language, by Adrienne Rich
19. The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens
20. Dancing on the Grave of a Son of a Bitch, by Diane Wakoski
21. Imagist Poetry: An Anthology, edited by Bob Blaisdell
22. A Coney Island of the Mind, by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
23. One Hundred Poems from the Japanese, translated by Kenneth Rexroth
24. The First Four Books of Poems, by Louise Glück
25. This Time: New and Selected Poems, by Gerald Stern

- Don

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