1. Eric242
    Offline

    Eric242 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2013
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Canada

    Poetry for a beginner - Where to start reading?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Eric242, Apr 27, 2013.

    Hello forum. I've been browsing the forums recently and have taken an interest in poetry. I'd like to read some more besides what's posted here for critique, but I'm not really sure where to look. Any suggestions for someone who has never really read poetry before?

    Cheers,
    Eric
     
  2. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    Anthologies are the best place to start in my opinion. Reading the collections of individual poets can be intimidating because of the sheer volume of good poets and poetry collections. By reading an anthology, you'll get a good sample of various poets and styles. I highly recommend the Norton Anthology of Poetry, which is a little more than 2000 pages long (so you'll always have something to read).
     
  3. TheDistantShip
    Offline

    TheDistantShip Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2013
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    I really enjoy Emily Dickinson, I read mainly classic poetry so I don't know many modern day poets.
    But, to me, she was the most relatable and touching.
    So, if the anthology intimidates you try Miss Dickinson,
    you won't be disappointed.:)

    TDS
     
  4. gwilson
    Offline

    gwilson Member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2013
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Have you tried Google?

    If you are looking for particular authors, I can list some of my favorites:

    Formal:
    Robert Frost
    W. B. Yeats
    Robert Burns
    John Keats
    Emily Dickinson
    Thomas Dekker
    Theodore Roethke
    Robert Graves
    Maya Angelou

    Free Verse:
    William Carlos Williams
    Anne Sexton
    Robert Creeley
    Wallace Stevens
    Frederico Garcia Lorca
    Todd Moore
    Stanley Kunitz
    Sharon Olds
    Langston Hughes
    Michael Ondaatje
    Sylvia Plath
     
  5. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    ^ That's a good list, though some of the poets are harder than others. For example, Wallace Stevens' poems are philosophical in nature and thus very difficult. I don't recommend starting with him.
     
  6. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,724
    Likes Received:
    4,821
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    Gotta get some Walt Whitman in there. I've never heard a more original voice in poetry.

    Eric, I see you're from Canada. Try Earle Birney. He was a powerful poet, and his "David" is a Canadian classic.
     
  7. evelon
    Offline

    evelon Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Messages:
    613
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    England
    Hello Eric, Try Poem Hunter (www.poemhunter.com) It lists hundreds of poets, classic and modern. If you've no idea of what kind of poetry or which poet you're looking for, it's an ideal place to browse.

    Lots of articles and ideas on there too.
     
  8. Lemex
    Offline

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    Any list is going to reflect the lister's personal tastes. There is no real way of knowing who to suggest definitively. An anthology of different poets from different areas and eras might be the best place to start. It's a very very good place to start anyway. Something like one of those huge, bulky collections of English poetry throughout the ages. Something like The Penguin Book of English Verse, or the Norton anthology that thirdwind suggested. I'm a huge admirer of the Penguin books of poetry, and Penguin Classics in general. Most of the time anyway.

    There is a lot of it out there though, from over 2,000 years of human history. But the thing you need to keep in mind is that you really do need to read our contemporaries. It's amazing how many people are almost completely ignorant of the poetry written during this century, and it's not only a shame it's kind of sickening. There is a lot of really good stuff out there that needs to be seen.

    The other thing I would suggest, as much as you can, is read the classics. Not the classics like, say, Shakespeare, Pope and Dryden (though it's a good idea to know them too) but the real classics. Pastoral, lyric and epic poetry. The Greek and Roman poets: Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Homer, Catullus, and Theognis. Trust me, these are important. A good translator here is key.
     
  9. Eric242
    Offline

    Eric242 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2013
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Canada
    Thanks for the advice everyone! An anthology does sound like a good place to start as I have no idea what kind of poetry I would enjoy. I'll have to grab myself a book this weekend and settle in.

    I will have to take a look at Earle Birney though. 'Classic Canadian poetry' is something that never came to mind.

    Cheers,
    Eric
     
  10. Lemex
    Offline

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    Messages:
    10,507
    Likes Received:
    3,151
    Location:
    Northeast England
    It is a very good idea to read modern poets. I don't know how easy it is to get Faber & Faber books in Canada but if you can they print all of the really really good modern poets, from Eliot to newer poets like Julia Copus and Richard Tallinghast and everyone in between. They are also very fine, well made books that last an age and are a really great addition to any collection of poetry.
     
  11. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    While you're at it, try some Eastern poetry as well.
     
  12. squishytheduck
    Offline

    squishytheduck Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2013
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Theodore Geisel and Shel Silverstein.
     
  13. Caramello Koala
    Offline

    Caramello Koala Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2013
    Messages:
    71
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Leaves of Grass by Whalt Whitman
     

Share This Page