Monday, April 09, 2007

National Poetry Month Recommendation: American Poets Project & Everyman's Library Pocket Poets series

Here's a recommendation from Brad, one of our used book buyers:

"There are some beautiful and inexpensive alternatives to poetry in paperback, for anyone looking to improve a personal library. Our selection of used books continues to grow, with some specially nice local titles recently arrived. And two series from respected publishers deserve special note. The Library of America project continues to produce excellent editions of standard American authors in their American Poets Project. Contemporary poets and scholars edit these books, one volume per poet. Beyond the standard Whitman etc., this series is great for some of it's less likely reissues like Emma Lazarus, John Greenleaf Whittier, and Edith Wharton! The books are handsomely designed by Chip Kidd. At twenty bucks a piece, these are a smart upgrade from one's ancient paperback Penguins.

"Also a favorite, the Everyman's Library Pocket Poets series now has a long list of available titles. All are bound in sturdy little hardcovers with attractive designs, with dustjackets and ribbons. Poets included range from Auden to Wordsworth. My favorites are their themed anthologies, with volumes devoted to poems of the sea, zen, dogs, blues, war, friendship and on and on. At only $12.50 a book, these small treasures lend any shelf a very superior air indeed."

Here is a selection from John Greenleaf Whittier's classic poem "Snow-Bound":

Unwarmed by any sunset light
The gray day darkened into night,
A night made hoary with the swarm
And whirl-dance of the blinding storm,
As zigzag wavering to and fro
Crossed and recrossed the wing├ęd snow:
And ere the early bed-time came
The white drift piled the window-frame,
And through the glass the clothes-line posts
Looked in like tall and sheeted ghosts


(I'm partial to "Snow-Bound" because one of my favorite Upper Michigan bookstores took its name from the poem.)

And here is something from Doggerel: Poems About Dogs. It's called "My Dog is Named for Elizabeth Bishop," and it's by Robyn Selman:

October. The first pricks of cold air in
the city morning. We walk, Liz and I,
up then down in the same uneven line.

Her ears as sharp as sharpened pencils,
she pulls me along her wayward travels.
She darts out headlong, paces ahead,

coming and going and leaving again,
the way shadows seem to meet the tops of heads,
dissolve and are newly elongated.

We like the early, early morning best.
Our view is, thankfully, how we left it.
Nothing has stirred yet, the news lies unread.

Except for the weather, it's all so still,
and no one is walking out of our world.

1 comment:

  1. "As zigzag wavering": that is a fantastic phrase. And then, "to and fro" is such a cliche that it redirects the reader back to regular language.

    The Hood Company

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