Tuesday, February 27, 2007

following the top 10 movie meme i've been tagged by crag hill for a list of top ten books. listing them should be easier than listing movies, but also harder too, for i have hundreds of favorite books. and poets, and poems. not to mention prose works and so on. and i'm always having crushes on poets, whether they know it or not. that's one of the things that makes the net so great. i can google a writer till my fingers are raw from all the typing.

so i'll go for a list of poetry books that not only set me on fire, but changed the direction of my life. i'm being sincere here. not only have some poets opened my eyes and ears but they also thru their work created the mysteries of possibilities, which in turn makes its presence in my daily living, however small or subtle.

so here are a list of 10 early books that, for better or for worse, became a threshold in my life of reading/writing.

the dream songs by john berryman

the illuminations by arthur rimbaud [translated by louise varese]

a season in hell by arthur rimbaud [translated by louise varese]

selected poems by rene char [published by new directions with various translators]

collected poems by constantine cavafy [translated by edmund keeley and philip sherrard]

collected poems by hart crane

windows by robert creeley

a borges reader [ed. by emir rodriguez monegal and alastair reid]

collected poems by richard hugo

collected poems by james wright

and here are a list of 10 books the past 10-15 years or so that opened trap doors and sent me falling headlong into (re)newing the art, as best i can.

collected poems by jimmy schuyler

mr cogito by zbigniew herbert [translated by john and bogdana carpenter]

red sauce, whisky and snow by august kleinzahler

slide rule by jen hofer

selected poems by larry eigner

the source by william wantling

valparaiso by duncan mcnaughton

selected poems by denise riley

the collected poems by edward dorn

selected poems by john weiners

and the book i return to again and again is the collected poems by thom gunn, one of the best pleasure-giving poets ever to walk our earth.

and i can't leave out ted berrigan, who perhaps has had the most profound influence on my reading/writing. at first i rejected him, then came back to him. as soon as i opened a certain slant of sunlight i was fucking hooked.

i don't normally consider individual collections by writers but poets as individuals. my favorite form of publication is the chapbook. which has also now expanded to e-books.

as i look over my list i see there is a paucity of women poets, who are perhaps writing the most vivid texts now. i was concentrating only on those collections that made poetry the path and the threshold as i was developing into the life of reading/writing.

some of the women poets essential to my development, in ways big and small, are anne sexton, hannah weiner, sylvia plath, rae armantrout, kay ryan, marina tsvetaeva, susan howe, medbh mcguckian and lyn hejinian.

[shit, everytime i get up to go to my shelves i find an essential poet that i've not listed such as tomas transtromer and big james dickey. also villon and catullus are critical poets in my life.]

finally, i'll conclude by listing some poets who i don't know personally but currently have crushes on. i don't have any of their books but read what i can via the net.

ryan eckes; michael estabrook; hoa nguyen; jennifer k. dick; tina celona; reb livingston; rob cook; mickey o'connor

and those are just the textual. i'll stop here, for now.

i'll tag logan ryan smith, steve caratzas, derek motion, jean vengua, jen crawford, jesse crockett, jim mccrary, alex gildzen, alicia sometimes and richard taylor.