If I were stranded on a desert island, I’d need these five poetry collections to keep me company:
- Human Wishes by Robert Hass
- Song by Brigit Pegeen Kelly
- Ariel: The Restored Edition by Sylvia Plath
- Elegy by Larry Levis
- Corinna A-maying the Apocalypse by Darcie Dennigan
I believe there are pretty much two kinds of poems: Poems That Make Sense and Poems That Don’t Make Sense. That seems like a value judgment, but it’s not. Not really. The former kind of poem is the linear, logical kind most of us learned about in school. Often it’s narrative. Often it has a clear “point” to make: Something there is that doesn’t love a wall. It tends to be regular in all (or most) of the ways a poem can be regular.
The latter kind of poem—a Poem That Doesn’t Make Sense—is a different animal altogether. It is interested mainly in intuitive leaps, in tone, atmosphere, “vibe.” It is necessarily irregular. Syncopated.
I like both kinds of poems. I tend to write the latter. Continue reading