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Good/Inspiration Poets?

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I was wondering what poets you find interesting (if you read that stuff)...

 

I'm trying to read more poetry in order to become better at writing it myself.

 

So far I've been told I should read:

-Robert Frost

-W.B. Yeats

 

So, so far I've bought

-The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats - because it was suggested... never heard of the guy before >.<

-Robert Frost's Poems - because it was suggested, and Robert Frost is pretty cool

and

-Dylan Thomas Selected Poems: 1934-1952 - because I think some of his poems are awesome.

-Collected Poems: Edgar Alan Poe - because he has some good stuff too.

-Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins - because amazon suggested it and I needed another $10 for free shipping...?

-Collected Poems: 1958-1998 by Edmund Skellings - because it was suggested to me

-Good Poems selected by Garrison Keillor - because I wanted to read a variety of poems by different people

-A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver - because I was looking for a guide on writing different types of poems

 

So far, I've been told that I have a habit of breaking rhythm in some of my poems (which I'm sure I do).

 

Does anyone else have any other suggestions on what I should read or what you find inspiration/good/interesting for poems?

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All good. Nothing wrong with 19th & 20th century English language poets. But if you're sticking to that circle you might want to include some female influences. Consider: Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks, Anne Carson, Emily Dickinson (yeah, tell me How Do I Love Thee doesn't make you a little weepy, I dare you), Mina Loy, Marianne Moore, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Christina Rossetti, Gertrude Stein and May Swenson. The women are so often overlooked.

 

I also like Dylan Thomas (Ballad of the Long-legged Bait, In the White Giant's Thigh and, of course, Do not go gentle into that good night: the standard for anyone who has ever found themselves staring death in the face).

 

And if you're not too picky, consider filk music (sci-fi and fantasy poetry set to music).

 

There once was a man from Nantucket...

-Thoth.

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Does anyone else have any other suggestions on what I should read or what you find inspiration/good/interesting for poems?

 

You should read some foreign poets too. Start with Rilke. I like

 

The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke - Translated by Stephen Mitchell

 

It has the original and the translation so you can see the structure.

 

-Steve

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You should read some foreign poets too. Start with Rilke. I like

 

The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke - Translated by Stephen Mitchell

 

It has the original and the translation so you can see the structure.

 

-Steve

Seamus Heaney's translation of "Beowulf" is interesting, especially if you love language: it has the Anglo-Saxon text on one side of each page and a modern poet's rendering on the other.

 

I like Dylan Thomas, too. But my all-time favorite poet (since I was a college kid like you, Emokid, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) is Geoffrey Chaucer. I can still remember sitting in a required freshman English lit. class which I thought was for the birds (obviously, I wasn't writing novels in those days, although I was a voracious reader even then). In any case, we had a substitute teacher who read the opening of the prologue to the Canterbury Tales in Middle English. I was hooked by the sound of it and have liked Chaucer ever since.

 

John Milton, in contrast, I have never forgiven for having mucked up my Christmas vacation when I was forced to read "Paradise Lost" for that same English lit. class. Thus are literary preferences made and broken.

 

And of course, there are Will Shakespeare's (or perhaps the Earl of Oxford's) sonnets, but you must know about those.

Best,

Marguerite

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...But my all-time favorite poet (since I was a college kid like you, Emokid, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) is Geoffrey Chaucer. I can still remember sitting in a required freshman English lit. class which I thought was for the birds (obviously, I wasn't writing novels in those days, although I was a voracious reader even then). In any case, we had a substitute teacher who read the opening of the prologue to the Canterbury Tales in Middle English. I was hooked by the sound of it and have liked Chaucer ever since.

 

John Milton, in contrast, I have never forgiven for having mucked up my Christmas vacation when I was forced to read "Paradise Lost" for that same English lit. class. Thus are literary preferences made and broken.

Bleh... :lol:

 

Chaucer and Milton... They really scare me... Mainly because we had to read so much stuff (okay, only the Canterbury Tales and Paradise Lost), but it wasn't a memorable experience in school. I did buy a copy of both for looking back on (to be able to look at it from a different perspective), but the time for going back to it still hasn't come. I'm pretty sure it'll be a couple more years before I can look back on them without an eye of distaste. (We had to write several essays on both poets, and it wasn't too enjoyable at the time).

 

 

Shakespeare is awesome. I can't take in too much at one sitting, but if I pace myself, then it's quite enjoyable. I don't think I'll ever be able to write like him.

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Shakespeare is awesome. ...

Yesterday was 'Talk Like Shakespeare Day' in Chicago. I know, you're kicking yourself.

 

... I don't think I'll ever be able to write like him.

You, me, M, Isaac, just about all the English-speaking world. He was a one-of-a-kind genius. A Leonardo da Vinci of the quill pen. I doubt there will ever be another like him. (I have my hopes pinned on time-travel, mind-scans and cloning.)

-Thoth.

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Bleh... :lol:

 

Chaucer and Milton... They really scare me... Mainly because we had to read so much stuff (okay, only the Canterbury Tales and Paradise Lost), but it wasn't a memorable experience in school. I did buy a copy of both for looking back on (to be able to look at it from a different perspective), but the time for going back to it still hasn't come. I'm pretty sure it'll be a couple more years before I can look back on them without an eye of distaste. (We had to write several essays on both poets, and it wasn't too enjoyable at the time).

 

 

Shakespeare is awesome. I can't take in too much at one sitting, but if I pace myself, then it's quite enjoyable. I don't think I'll ever be able to write like him.

If you want to branch out a bit, there's Boris Pasternak (try "The Poems of Yuri Zhivago"—you don't have to read the novel first) and Anna Akhmatova ("Requiem" is readily available on the Web), not to mention Osip Mandelstam ("We live, deaf to the land beneath us"—also readily available on the Web, and tragic—the author died in a Gulag camp for writing it).

 

Pushkin doesn't translate well, except in prose; many of the great 19th-century Russian poets don't. But Soviet poets often do, probably because they're less dependent on meter, which is difficult for even a gifted translator to render in a language different from the original.

 

Expand those horizons! :P

M

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I was wondering what poets you find interesting (if you read that stuff)...

You know, we completely overlooked the 20th and 21st century's most popular poets: songwriters and lyricists. With that in mind, here's one for all you Developers and Beta Testers out there.

 

Betas In The Wind.

Sung to the tune of Bob Dylan's Blowin' In The Wind, Copyright ©1962; renewed 1990 Special Rider Music.

 

How many Betas must my software endure

before you can call it Released?

Yes, 'n' how many bugs must my testers track down

before they can all rest in peace?

Yes, 'n' how many times must the program crash

before it's declared safe to use?

The Betas, my friend, are blowing in the wind.

The Betas are blowing in the wind.

 

-Thoth.

 

Next Up: A thoughtful tribute to the parity bit, to the tune of Baby Got Back.

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Oh good god.

How could I forget to mention Allen Ginsberg. Every current student of poetry needs to read Ginsberg or they have no business calling themselves a student of modern poetry.

Click Howl.

 

-Thoth.

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It is certainly important to read the great poetry of the 18th and 19th century poets, expecting to write good modern poetry by reading just the old stuff makes as much sense as trying to write a modern thriller after only ever reading Shakespeare. You don't do that. You have to read modern stuff too.

 

Thoth, Steve, and M have made some great suggestions for early poetry. Start there. But to write good modern poetry, there are some important things to focus on.

 

The biggest issue is that many of the poets that have been suggested wrote in a way that is rarely published anymore. Modern poetry is greatly affected by Imagism. Search for Imagism Poetry on Google, click almost any link, and you'll have a good understanding of this stuff. Check out "Blast!" if you have the chance. It is Imagism at its purest. Read WWII poetry. "Dulce et Decorum est," by Wilfred Owen is a brilliant poem. Click here for the piece.

 

After studying Imagism, delve into post modern poetry. Jim Harrison is great. Ted Kooser is great too. In fact, the two of them did a book together called Braided Creek. This book is a series of snippets of poetry, sometimes just a single image, which they sent back and forth after Ted Kooser found out he had cancer. Of course, you can't go wrong with Poetry magazine. You get a chapbook of new poetry every month. I've rarely found poems in this chapbook that I couldn't take inspiration from.

 

Of course, the most important thing when it comes to poetry is to share your work with others in exchange for their criticism. I'm a Creative Writing Major, with a major emphasis in Fiction and a minor emphasis in poetry, so I've attended my share of workshops. I have two weeks off of school after this week. I'd be happy to take a look at anything and provide written critiques.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Brian

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Oops, I double posted. I'll use this second post to type my favorite poem...

 

Eanie, meanie, minie, mo,

catch a tiger by its toe,

if he hollers, "let me go!"

Eanie, meanie, minie, mo.

My mother said to

pick the very best one

and you will not be it

for the rest of your entire life

and school days too.

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