Monday, June 06, 2005


Some recommended reading

Here are some recent books of poems I like. I use a broad interpretation of "recent" -- poetry has been around a long time. Most of the publishers can be found on the internet; I've added weblinks into the text below for a couple of publishers that might be a little hard to track down.

Poets of the Non-Existent City: Los Angeles in the McCarthy Era edited by Estelle Gershgoren Novak. Anthology of Thomas McGrath and the poets who gathered around him during his years in Los Angeles in the 1960's and '60's. In addition to McGrath himself, features work by Don Gordon, Edwin Rolfe, Naomi Replansky, Bert Meyers, Sid Gershgoren, Alvaro Cardona-Hine, Josephine Ain, Eugene Frumkim, Mel Weisburd, among others. Also includes some articles, editorials and artwork from The California Quarterly and Coastlines, two poetry magazines associated with various of the poets in the anthology; and a highly informative introduction by the editor. Published 2002 by University of New Mexico Press.

Red Sky at Night: Socialist Poetry edited by Andy Croft and Adrian Mitchell. Anthology of British poets. "Socialist" in a broad sense: includes poems by William Blake, Percy Shelley, Ernest Jones, William Morris, Ethel Carnie Holdsworth, Isaac Rosenberg, Wilfred Owen, Hugh MacDiarmid, Joe Corrie, Edgell Rickword, Elizabeth Daryush, Randall Swingler, W.H. Auden, Rex Warner, Naomi Mitchison, Jack Lindsay, Alison Fell, Jack Beeching, Adrian Mitchell, Andrew Salkey, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Grace Nichols, Carol Ann Duffy ... among many others. Includes a brief introduction by the editors. Published 2003 by Five Leaves Publications in Nottingham, UK.

The Wound and the Dream: Sixty Years of American Poems about the Spanish Civil War edited by Cary Nelson. Includes work by Muriel Rukeyser, Edwin Rolfe, Langston Hughes, Kenneth Rexroth, Aaron Kramer, Norman Rosten, Sol Funaroff, Joy Davidman, Kenneth Fearing, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edouard Roditi, John Berryman, Genevieve Taggard, Don Gordon, Alvah Bessie, Olga Cabral, Bob Kaufman, James Wright, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Thomas Merton, Philip Levine, Carolyn Kizer, Robert Hass, Martin Espada ... and others. With an in-depth introduction by the editor. Published 2002 by University of Illinois Press.

Ca Dao Viet Nam edited and translated by John Balaban. Anthology of Vietnamese folk poetry, translated with sensitivity by Balaban, a poet and Vietnam war veteran, who spent much time in the villages and countryside of Vietnam in the years after the war, becoming familiar with the work he has translated here with the aid of local Vietnamese poets and musicians. With a useful introduction by Balaban. Includes the original Vietnamese side by side with the translations. Published 2003 by Copper Canyon Press (a reissue and expanded edition of the collection published in the 1970's by Unicorn Press).

Another Spring, Darkness by Anuradha Mahapatra, selection of poems by an amazing poet, a working-class woman originally from a remote village in West Bengal, who in recent years has worked in Kalkata as a teacher and community organizer. Translated from Bengali by Carolyne Wright with Paramita Banerjee and Jyotirmoy Datta. With introduction and notes to the poems. Published 1996 by Calyx Books.

The Stone of Language by Anya Achtenberg. A recent colllection by a poet who has been one of my favorites for many years. Powerful riveting poems of working class life, speaking with a keen voice of the political repressiveness and insurgence that shake and shape the age in which we live. Published 2004 by West End Press.

Factories and Cities by Dale Jacobson. A book-length poem, part personal tableau, part personal narrative, part impressionistic collage, carried along by waves of richly interwoven imagery of life in the modern world. I've continued to go back to this one over the past couple of years, reading and re-reading parts. Published 2003 by a print-on-demand publisher, originally 1st Books Library, now named Author House.

On Hearing Thunder by Terry Hauptman. A stunning full-length collection of poems by an ecstatic poet artistic wisewoman soothsayer friend, ranging over a world of interior and exterior landscapes. Includes a few pages of Hauptman's beautiful dazzling artwork from her series of mixed media paintings collectively titled the Songline Scrolls. Published 2004 by North Star Press of St. Cloud, Minnesota.

American Fires by Floyce Alexander. A major collection by one of the great durable sages of poetry life, handling words as a blacksmith handles hot metal. Poems that glow and smolder and ring from the touch of fire and hammer and tongs. Published 2003 by Lynx House Press.

Roque Dalton Redux edited by Maggie Jaffe and Esther Rodriguez. Anthology of poems, and a few prose pieces, written in the spirit of struggle and resistance and revolutionary love that marked the work of the legendary poet and guerrillero of El Salvador. Poems by Alan Catlin, Ernesto Cardenal, Jane Mayhall, Manuel Paul Lopez, Doren Robbins, Robert Edwards, Adrian C. Louis, Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal, Christopher Butters, Marilyn Zuckerman, Sharon Doubiago, Leonard J. Cirino, Christopher Presfield, Katherine Hastings, Lyle Daggett, Maggie Jaffe, Richard Kostelanetz, Rob Whitbeck, Julie Lechevsky, Yvette Hatrak, and others. Published 2005 by Cedar Hill Books.

And there's always more. I'll list more books of poems, and possibly some other items, in future Recommend Reading posts in this website.

Thank you for the recommendations!
lyle, read 'san francisco' online. sheesh. what energy that has. and it's part of a series? does the project overtake you? projects for me are blessings and curses that come to inhabit everything...
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