Sunday, April 16, 2006


To celebrate ten years of its Poet’s Choice column, commemorate National Poetry Month and because nobody reads the paper on Easter Sunday, the Washington Post Book World focuses this week on poetry, with reviews of…

Dark Wild Dream, by Michael Collier, Houghton Mifflin, reviewed by Francis Phillips

White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems 1946-2006, by Donald Hall, Houghton Mifflin, reviewed by Billy Collins, who calls Hall “America's best baseball poet” (eat your heart out, Jack Spicer)

Native Guard, by Natasha Trethewey, Houghton Mifflin, reviewed by Darryl Lorenzo Wellington

The Poem that Changed America: "Howl" Fifty Years Later, Edited by Jason Shinder, Farrar Straus Giroux, reviewed by Eric Miles Williamson – he doesn’t like it

Political poetry: Dreaming the End of War, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Copper Canyon; Making Peace, by Denise Levertov, New Directions; A Cartography of Peace, by Jean L. Connor, Passager, reviewed by Rafael Campo

Sinners Welcome: Poems, by Mary Karr, HarperCollins, reviewed by Judith Kitchen

District and Circle, by Seamus Heaney, Farrar Straus Giroux, reviewed by New Criterion regular Anthony Cuda

Parallel Play: Poems, by Stephen Burt, Graywolf, reviewed by Jennifer Grotz

Poetry on Audio, which mentions the CD series from the Academy of American Poets, ShoutFactory’s Poetry on Record, and At Blackwater Pond: Mary Oliver Reads Mary Oliver, Beacon Press, reviewed by Katherine A. Powers

The Collected Poems of C.P. Cavafy, translated by Aliki Barnstone, Norton, reviewed by the Post’s primary reviewer, Michael Dirda.

“The Top Ten Poets,” a listing based on hits at the Academy of American Poets. The ten are, in this order:

1. Langston Hughes

2. Emily Dickinson

3. Robert Frost

4. Walt Whitman

5. E.E. Cummings

6. Sylvia Plath

7. Maya Angelou

8. Dylan Thomas

9. Shel Silverstein

10. William Carlos Williams

A tip of the hat to Steve Burt for somehow having snuck onto the Titanic here. And to Passager for representing the truly small presses that represent 99.9 percent of all American poetry. And to William Carlos Williams for almost catching up to Shel Silverstein. In all fairness, tho, I should mention that the feature on the web includes audio by Ginsberg, Whitman, Yeats, Tennyson, Browning, Sharon Olds, Rita Dova and Mary Oliver.

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