must-read modern poetry

earlier this week, our university library asked that I compile a list of books for them to consider adding to the poetry section of the library. picking a “few” favorite poetry books was no easy task, but I tried to limit it to a reasonable number and to books that I thought were beneficial to student writers, beginning poets.


the list

The Southern Poetry Anthology: Volume V: Georgia by William Wright, Paul Ruffin
Flight: New and Selected Poems by Linda Bierds
The World of the Ten Thousand Things by Charles Wright
What Work Is by Philip Levine
Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions by Maurice Manning
Thomas and Beulah by Rita Dove
Late Wife by Claudia Emerson
Collected Poems by Jane Kenyon
Migration: New and Selected Poems by W.S. Merwin
Delights and Shadows by Ted Kooser
Shadow of Heaven by Ellen Bryant Voigt
Diving into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich
Moon Crossing Bridge: Poetry by Tess Gallagher
Unattainable Earth by Czeslaw Milosz
Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda
The Country Between Us by Carolyn Forche
Desire Lines by Lola Haskins
The Selected Poetry of Rainier Maria Rilke by Rainier Maria Rilke
Poems: 1962-2012 by Louise Gluck
Opened Ground: Selected Poems by Seamus Heaney



what poetry books would you add to this list?

3 responses to “must-read modern poetry”

  1. Aw, Philip Levine! Did you see that he just died recently?


    1. yes! my students did a report on a living poet and i had to sadly tell them that no he doesn’t technically count anymore…. sad =(


      1. That is sad! 😦



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