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in dire need of some new poetry

valtzyvaltzy Registered User regular
edited July 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
hello! at the moment, as the title suggests, i am in need of some new poetry.

i'm a pretty big fan of ee cummings (the unabashed romanticism and curious syntax) and sylvia plath (not necessarily the constant depression but vivid imagery, like Surgeon at 2 AM).

ts eliot comes in at a close third due to the love song of j alfred prufrock. i've tried reading the wasteland but it's something that seems like it's best poured over in class. his ash wednesday work is a little too religious and four quartets seems to be in the same vein of the wasteland.

william carlos williams comes in at a distant fourth only due to the subtlety of This is just to say. He would have come a little closer, but works like The red wheelbarrow I found too simplistic.

so! something with the romanticism of cummings, the imagery of plath, the indecisiveness of eliot and the subtlety of wcw, does it exist?
if not, anyone like these four (combination or individually) will do.

thanks in advance.

valtzy on


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    MindLibMindLib Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    MindLib on
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    MethylamineMethylamine Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I love all of those poets myself, and another one that's up my alley is Rainer Maria Rilke.

    Methylamine on
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    dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    Stephen Crane has always been my favorite poet. Most of it is what I would call visceral irony, though.

    Stephen Crane Society

    Has most of his works published online.
    In the desert
    I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
    who, squatting upon the ground,
    Held his heart in his hands,
    And ate of it.
    I said, "Is it good, friend?"
    "It is bitter bitter," he answered;
    "But I like it
    Because it is bitter,
    And because it is my heart."

    edit: The Red Badge of Courage is a great story too.

    edit2: This one is just funny.
    God fashioned the ship of the world carefully.
    With the infinite skill of an All-Master
    Made He the hull and the sails,
    Held He the rudder
    Ready for adjustment.
    Erect stood He, scanning His work proudly.
    Then-at fateful time-a wrong called,
    And God turned, heeding.
    Lo, the ship, at this opportunity,
    slipped slyly,
    Making cunning noiseless travel down the ways.
    So that, forever rudderless, it went upon the seas
    Going ridiculous voyages,
    Making quaint progress,
    Turning as with serious purpose
    Before stupid winds.
    And there were many in the sky
    Who laughed at this thing.

    dispatch.o on
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    The Crowing OneThe Crowing One Registered User regular
    edited July 2009
    I'm a modernist tried and true. Eliot is my bread and butter. Here is a basic rundown of what I consider to be in the same vein as your interests.

    All said and done, Rilke is your best bet. You'll fall in love (as I did.)
    Sonnet 6
    by Rainer Maria Rilke
    Translated by Edward Snow

    Is he native to this realm? No,
    his wide nature grew out of both worlds.
    They more adeptly bend the willow's branches
    who have experience of the willow's roots.

    When you go to bed, don't leave bread or milk
    on the table: it attracts the dead--
    But may he, this quiet conjurer, may he
    beneath the mildness of the eyelid

    mix their bright traces into every seen thing;
    and may the magic of earthsmoke and rue
    be as real for him as the clearest connection.

    Nothing can mar for him the authentic image;
    whether he wanders through houses or graves,
    let him praise signet ring, gold necklace, jar.

    Be careful as Rilke's work has good and bad translations. I, personally, suggest Stephen Mitchell as the translator who captures the greatest meaning with the fullest music. Make sure to compare translations before purchasing, as many newer translations just straight up suck.

    Contemporary: Most contemporary poetry is utter crap to modernists, the few I find enjoyable:

    Anne Carson is one of my favorites. A classics professor at McGill her work is greatly influenced by both classical themes and tales as well as modern pop culture. Can be inaccessible in a similar way to a poet such as Eliot. Absolute brilliance.

    I studied with Carolyn Forche over my tenure at Skidmore and my respect for her and her work is immense. "Blue Hour" is one of the greatest works of our poetic generation.

    Susan Stewart maintains the complexity of modernist works but tends to read in a more accessible manner.


    Ezra "Mothingfucking" Pound is the greatest poet of the modernist age. Without him we would have never had Eliot, Fitzgerald, F. M. Ford and, to a certain extent, Williams and Auden. Hugh Selwyn Mauberly is amazing:
    Hugh Selwyn Mauberly [excerpt]
    by Ezra Pound

    For three years, out of key with his time,
    He strove to resuscitate the dead art
    Of poetry; to maintain "the sublime"
    In the old scene. Wrong from the start--

    No, hardly, but seeing he had been born
    In a half-savage country, out of date;
    Bent resolutely on wringing lilies from the acorn;
    Capaneus; trout for factitious bait;

    [idmen gar toi pant, hos eni Troiei]
    Caught in the unstopped ear;
    Giving the rocks small lee-way
    The chopped seas held him, therefore, that year.

    His true Penelope was Flaubert,
    He fished by obstinate isles;
    Observed the elegance of Circe's hair
    Rather than the mottoes on sun-dials.

    Unaffected by "the march of events,"
    He passed from men's memory in l'an trentuniesme
    De son eage; the case presents
    No adjunct to the Muses' diadem.


    The age demanded an image
    Of its accelerated grimace,
    Something for the modern stage,
    Not, at any rate, an Attic grace;

    Not, not certainly, the obscure reveries
    Of the inward gaze;
    Better mendacities
    Than the classics in paraphrase!

    The "age demanded" chiefly a mould in plaster,
    Made with no loss of time,
    A prose kinema, not, not assuredly, alabaster
    Or the "sculpture" of rhyme.


    These fought in any case,
    and some believing,
    pro domo, in any case . . .

    Some quick to arm,
    some for adventure,
    some from fear of weakness,
    some from fear of censure,
    some for love of slaughter, in imagination,
    learning later . . .
    some in fear, learning love of slaughter;
    Died some, pro patria,
    non "dulce" non "et decor" . . .
    walked eye-deep in hell
    believing in old men's lies, then unbelieving
    came home, home to a lie,
    home to many deceits,
    home to old lies and new infamy;
    usury age-old and age-thick
    and liars in public places.

    Daring as never before, wastage as never before.
    Young blood and high blood,
    fair cheeks, and fine bodies;

    fortitude as never before

    frankness as never before,
    disillusions as never told in the old days,
    hysterias, trench confessions,
    laughter out of dead bellies.

    George Oppen is coming back into focus. A contemporary and student of Pound who had some dealings with the beats, the leftist version of Pound's conservative rhetoric. His poem, Route is an incredible journey through WWII and post-war America.

    H.D. or Hilda Doolittle was a female poet who was briefly married to Pound and who created some of the most haunting poetry of wartime London. "The Walls Do Not Fall" is full of Christian, Egyption and Pagan influence, seeking to create myth from the extremity of war:
    "And rails gone / for guns, / from your (and my) town square."


    Rimbaud (pronounced "Rambo") seems to be gaining in popularity, as well. Frenchman of the late 19th century he studied with Baudelaire and expressed himself generally in "prose poetry" exploring the deepest and darkest recesses of human suffering. "A Season in Hell" is amazing. He gave up writing at the age of 19, and, amongst other endeavors, ran guns in Africa before his death. Haunting and chilling words from a youth. Many poets still suffer breakdowns on their 19th birthday as they cannot hope to accomplish so much in their entire lifetime as did Rimbaud.

    Feel free to ask for more information, as this is merely off the top of my head. I'll post more as they come to me.

    The Crowing One on
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