Reading Poetry – Summer 2009


One of my personal reading goals this year is to read more poetry.  I like to write poetry, but haven’t read very much outside of the classics.  After taking a poetry creative writing class this semester, I know that I want to continue to read more and more contemporary poetry.  I know what I like and I want to find more of it.  So I’m starting a new reading challenge.  I know!  I know.  We’re all swamped, swamped, swamped with reading challenges.  And we don’t really need another one.  I know these things.  But I can’t pass up the opportunity after VPR posted on their blog the Valparaiso Poetry Reviews list of Recent and Recommended books.  The best thing about it is that my poetry professor is on here.  Good for her!

So here’s the challenge, if you so choose to accept it.  You can pick any book of poetry, but I’ll go ahead and post the VPR list here, for some ideas.  It has to be contemporary poetry!  Published in the 20th or 21st century.  For the next year, pledge to read (sorry for the lame pool analogies):

The Shallow End – 2-5 books of poetry – Your choice, poetry or poetics, just enough to cool off with your healthy dose of verse.
In the middle – 6-10 books of poetry – A little bit more ambitious, but not too much that it’ll be over your head (har har).
Dive in to the Deep End! – 11-15 books of poetry – That’s right, jump in there, get all the way in.  You know the only way to test the water is dive in.

Join up any time!  Contest will end May 16, 2010.  Maybe this time, I’ll get up off my butt and post a recap and even give out prizes.  Really.  I mean it.

VPR List!  Check it out, there’s some really great stuff on here.


38 thoughts on “Reading Poetry – Summer 2009

  1. As there is not much crime-related poetry, I will pass this challenge. A good idea, though, and right now I am reading Robert Frost with one of my classes. I hope they are going to enjoy it – I certainly like him very much.

  2. Doret, there may not be much but there is a Latina poet who has edited a volume of crime poetry and written her own. Would you like to who and the title? I could look it up if you’re interested. Well-read, articulate, very impressive.

  3. Eliot’s The Wastelands and Other Works has been on my TBR list for a while now, so I think I’ll join this challenge to giveme a little push to read it! I love poetry, and it has been quite some time since I’ve read any. Sign me up for the Shallow End.

  4. I thought I joined up for this challenge already! Currently I’m reading a volume of poetry by Katha Pollitt. I also have an anthology of haiku by American poets to get to next.

  5. I wish I had noticed your blog sooner and I would have totally signed up for this and there is time, would the books I’ve already read since the beginning date of this challenge count?

  6. Another great place to discover new poems is the new spoken word poetry album “Poetic License: 100 Poems/100 Performers” featuring Jason Alexander, Patti LuPone, Michael York, Kate Mulgrew, Paul Provenza and 95 other top performers reading a poem of their choosing. If you know anyone who claims that they don’t like poetry, you should get them this album so they can hear the magic that you already see on the page.
    For more info, to read the amazing reviews, or to purchase the album, visit
    “Poetic License” is available for purchase and preview on iTunes. Here’s a link to Part 1 of the album:

    More info:
    Said Trav S.D. on his blog Travalanche:
    “Three of my favorite poems happen to occur all in a row: Poe’s Annabel Lee, Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Tennyson’s Ulysses — it’s like back-to-back hits on the poetry Top 40. Furthermore, the indiscriminate mix of bold-faced names and literary classics produces more than usual interest. Florence Henderson reads Longfellow! Barbara Feldon reads Margaret Atwood! And a long list of others: Christine Baranksi, Jason Alexander, Cynthia Nixon, Charles Busch, Michael York, JoBeth Williams, Paul Provenza, Richard Thomas, Kate Mulgrew, etc etc etc.”

    More Links:
    Web Site:

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