Jim Carroll, a New York poet and rock singer, sang in one of his songs: "It must be a great thing to be a cashier in a bookstore and to be surrounded by a history of your true loves." I've always thought he was right, although a librarian friend confided that it is frustating too, to be surrounded by all those true loves and have no time to read them.
No one would have read this blog for long who did not love poetry. I seem to stick pretty close to poetry and poets, more so than I intended when I began blogging. I had intended to include more polemical theological discussion, of which there has been little.
But poetry it has been.
And one wonderful thing about the blogging world that I have found is that I have come into contact with a great number of people who share similar taste in poetry. Never in my life have I met anyone face to face who absolutely adores Christina Rossetti. I can't imagine why, because her poetry and her life story are so adorable. But via this little blog I've met many. Same goes for Gerard Manley Hopkins, although with him I have been in correspondence with others even before I knew what a blog was.
Anyway, I notice that today is my hundredth post under the label of "poetry." So I thought this an apropos time to do something different. I always tell you what I am reading and what I love in poetry. Now I'd like you to tell me. Who are your favorite poets, and why?
Some of you I can already guess. John will put Milton first, and I can guess at a few others who would be in his first five favorite. But he may surprise me with some. Rosa, I can't put them in order, but I think I know at least three who would appear on your top ten list. Mary Rae, you lay them out in black and white on your site, but still I am curious about what exactly you love about each one. Badger, we have discussed poets, and you turned me on to Mary Oliver, but still I can't even guess at your very favorites. Cynthia, number one I think I know, number two I can guess at, but after that I have little clue.
But the vast majority of those who come by here never post comments. I can guess that you all are not quite in the mainstream of current poetic trends, for my posts I know to be somewhat archaic. As I have said elsewhere, I intentionally ignore most of the twentieth century, thinking it in general to have strayed from the poetic goal of the pursuit of beauty. But even I can find numerous recent poems that have bucked that trend.
So I am very curious about you all. Who do you love?
So what I am asking is for as many of you as care to, to tell me and tell us all who are your very favorite poets, and WHY. What is it that you love about that person's poetry? Is it the poetic music? The message? The poet's biography? Something nameless? A combination of many factors?
Please list as many or as few as you like. You may put them in order or not, as you like. I'm not sure I could put mine into order, at least not an order that I would still hold to next week.
And by the way, I have not yet posted anything from some of my favorites. I don't recall posting any Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss). Have I posted from Robert Bridges? Or Auden? Richard Crashaw? Francis Quarles? Even Robert Browning I think I've omitted, in order to emphasize that I think his wife to have been an eternal poet, and he only a great one. Perhaps that is unfair. I'll try to post a Robert Browning soon.