Thursday, June 17, 2010

Some great poets

Last time, I talked about the "death" of poetry. This time, I'd like to write about a few poets who prove that poetry is very much alive. The are some of my favorite poets because whether they are writing about a beloved pet, the death of a lover, the bond between parents and children, or capturing the beauty and diversity of the city, when these poets write, they capture and illuminate that universal connection we all share. Their writing is emotional and transcends boundaries, reaching to the heart of what it means to be human.

First of all, Mary Oliver. If you haven't read her work, then what are you doing here? For God's sake, get yourself to the bookstore and buy Thirst or Red Bird (two of her more recent works.) Oliver's language is simple, but her message is complex. Her joy in life is evident in everything she writes. Without a doubt, Oliver is one of the best poets writing today. I think Oliver captures what is best about being human. She is without a doubt, one of the finest poets working today.

Second, Li-Young Lee. I just finished his, Book of My Nights. Absolutely beautiful. Lee is the son of exiled Chinese parents. His poetry is simple and evocative. There is a silence and peace about Lee's work. You will find yourself thinking about his words long after you've closed his book.

Finally, Michael Henson. A few months ago, I had the privilege of hearing him read They All Asked About You, among other poems. Wow. If you have the chance to hear him read, you absolutely must go. He captivates his audience with his voice and his presence. His poetry is complex, yet approachable, and most of all moving.

Honestly, I could go on and on. There are so many wonderful poets working today. Go to the bookstore and browse the poetry shelves, but don't stop there. Several of today's best poets are the least known. Search them out, you won't be sorry.


  1. Good post. Now I'm particularly interested in the second one. Silence and peace? Sign me up! :)

  2. Check him out. You won't be sorry! His poetry is a unique mix of East and West and you can really see how he incorporates the Eastern concept of "white space" into his poetry. It's beautiful.