A Poetry Thread, for Talking about...Poetry


This is a thread for talking about poetry that you’re reading or have read.

All discussions of poetry and poetics are welcome, whether you’re into contemporary poets or just the older stuff.


I’m an MFA student in poetry, so poetry is basically my life as well as my hobby.

I’m primarily interested in contemporary poetry that’s on the experimental side. One recent book I read was Garments Against Women by Anne Boyer.

What are y’all reading?


I haven’t actually read a lot of poetry (ever) but have been wanting to try and get invested in reading some. Would you have any suggestions on a good place to start?


Oh I posted this before but I’m really into Li-Young Lee at the moment. Currently still reading/thinking about Behind My Eyes, though I carry Book Of My Nights anywhere I go and pull it out for moments when I need quiet/calm. Right now I’m eagerly awaiting my copy of Monica Youn’s Blackacre (I’m actually just slowly picking up the William Carlos Williams Award winners heh).


Personally, I started on more contemporary stuff by listening to The New Yorker Poetry podcast and browsing the poetry section at my local library. Kinda lucked out that I really liked the first things I checked out in both cases–Merwin’s A Single Autumn and Ondaatje’s The Cinnamon Peeler.

But anyway, for variety I’d say definitely take a look at magazines. Currently I have the archives at Muzzle, THRUSH, and Rattle bookmarked. Poetry Foundation is a bit of a rabbit hole if you have time.


Thank you so much! I’ll check these out :slight_smile:


Lately, I’ve been reading the works of Mallarmé and Baudelaire. I usually only read older stuff because I honestly don’t know much about contemporary authors, so the links posted in this thread already will be of great use to me. Thanks.


Personally, I think it really depends on what your tastes in other mediums are. That will determine what you like to at least some degree. A few books which I think have broad appeal are, The Collected Works of Billy The Kid by Michael Ondaatje, a pretty groundbreaking (in my view) work of lyric poetry, Bernadette Mayer’s Sonnets, and Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong.


I’ve been reading Total Mood Killer by merrit k and Nina Pollari. merrit’s work, for whatever reason, is very soothing to me. http://www.tigerbeepress.com/store/p14/totalmoodkiller


I really need to get that book. If anyone else wants a preview of merritt’s work, my friend and I run a small lit journal and published some of her stuff here: http://alienmouth.com/july2016/2016/06/22/6.html


Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll see about tracking these down.

I’m pretty open to trying anything out, but I know that I lean hard into fantasy.


CanLit nerd over here. It’s been a while since I’ve dipped into poetry but I was way into it for a while.

Goran Simic’s My Accent is a personal favourite. It’s online with a bunch of other poems he’s written. I really love Lola Lemire Tostevin’s Cartouches, but it definitely goes hard on the Derrida/critical theory side of poetry.

Fred Wah’s Waiting for Saskatchewan is my favourite of his books.

Oh shit and Michael Crummey’s Hard Light is some good ass east coast poems about fishing.


I just got my copy of that in the mail! I haven’t jumped into it yet but a quick scan made me pleased with my purchase.

I was deep into Charles Bernstien for a while, but I seem to have lost the couple collections of his that I bought (they are probably sitting in my parent’s basement somewhere. I need to dig them up again). I have a weakness for that sort of weird language poetry that’s obsessed with the shape and sound instead of meaning.


I’ve been meaning to dive into more poetry recently. I’ve got a few favorite poems that make me eager to delve into the broader works of their writers - Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art”, Hart Crane’s “Repose of Rivers,” and Yeats’s “The Song of Wandering Aengus,” to name a few. Yale has a free lecture series on Modern Poetry that I’ve been thinking of checking out: http://oyc.yale.edu/english/engl-310


this is lovely, i’d like to hear more absolute favourite books of poetry from people. usually by the time i get to bed it’s too late to read any more of whatever novel i am on but it would be good to have something you know.

i am an ignorant fool


Does performance / slam poetry count?


Oh hell yeah, let’s get poetic.

My favourite poets are… pretty distinct. The first is Shane Koyczan, a modern slam poet. I saw one of his shows in Vancouver years and years ago. I laughed until I was falling off my chair, and twenty minutes later I was sobbing. His poems have an emotional honesty to them that just wrecks me every time. I have no idea what I should link to to give you a good idea of his work, so… maybe type his name into YouTube. You’ll figure out if you like him pretty quickly.

My other favourite is Omar Khayyam, an 11th century Persian astronomer, mathematician, and poet. The Rubaiyat, an English translation of Khayyam’s quatrains, is one of my favourite books. I have… around half a dozen copies of it scattered around my place. His poems deal with faith, philosophy, and what it means to lead a good life. There’s a lot of debate as to whether he was a Muslim, a mystic, or maybe even an atheist. That conflict of whether or not he believes in God, of whether or not we can know God, or if there’s even a point when there is so much in this world to enjoy, is present in a lot of his poetry. As someone who is fascinated by faith, I love that The Rubaiyat doesn’t seem to offer up any real solution, and just kind of takes joy in the pursuit of the questions.


I loved this book so much, Anne is incredible. Hoping she publishes more soon.

I’ve fallen off of reading poetry hard in the past year, but recently revisited some evergreen favorites:


I’m a poetry newbie, but I’ve enjoyed just about everything I’ve read so far. James Tate has yet to be knocked off as my #1 with his poem, “Fuck the Astronauts”.

I just read an anthology called The Breakbeat Poets and I loved it. If anyone has recommendations for similar collections then I would love to know!

Currently, I’m reading Crank by Ellen Hopkins and I’m enjoying it, but haven’t gotten too far in.


I don’t know if there are any good English translations of them, but I love a lot of Edith Södergran and Tomas Tranströmer. The latter is a nobel laureate and the former is a Finno-Swedish poet who I think is pretty famous?

Anyway, in terms of English poetry I love some of Dickinsons stuff, like “In a Library”, “I died for beaty” and “The Chariot”. I’m meaning to try Yeats this summer but we’ll see.