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occ's avatar

recommendations for contemporary poets?

Asked by occ (4003 points ) August 13th, 2007

I recently discovered Stephen Dunn and am floored by how good his poetry is. Wondering what other contemporary (english-language) poets I should be reading. I also really liked Brenda Shaughnessy's debut, Interior with Sudden Joy, too.

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15 Answers

segdeha's avatar

You could try my dad, David Hedges.

helena's avatar

Nicole Krauss! Here is one of her poems that I like best.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Becoming Domestic

A hundred million migrants roam the planet.
They kick up a soft dust, from space they appear
To be weather, a little storm the wind faithfully carries.

When it rains they lift their bowls to the sky.
They sleep with a rock under their heads.
At dawn they are the first to break the photographic stillness.

They have lost all sense of distance. A sort of arrival%u2014late,
Under darkening skies, the smell of miles on your clothes%u2014
A sort of arrival is needed to say how far you've traveled.

The crunch of gravel in the neighbor's driveway.
He will join the road with those other sedentary dreamers,
The unnumbered who've found a home just to leave it.

There is no good reason why night after night
I sleep here with you.
Only that the roof over our heads has not yet fallen.

fkt's avatar

John Cooper Clarke

(I Married a) Monster from Outer Space

The milky way she walks around
All feet firmly off the ground
Two worlds collide, two worlds collide
Here comes the future bride
Gimme a lift to the lunar base
I wanna marry a monster from outer space
I fell in love with an alien being
whose skin was jelly - whose teeth were green
she had the big bug eyes and the death-ray glare
feet like water wings - purple hair
I was over the moon - I asked her back to my place
then I married the monster - from outer space
The days were numbered - the nights were spent
in a rent free furnished oxygen tent
when a cyborg chef served up moon beams
done super rapid on a laser beam
I needed nutrition to keep up the pace
when I married the monster from outer space
We walked out - tentacle in hand
you could sense that the earthlings would not understand
they'd go.. nudge nudge ...when we got off the bus
saying it's extra-terrestial - not like us
and it's bad enough with another race
but fuck me... a monster ...from outer space
In a cybernetic fit of rage
she pissed off to another age
she lives in 1999
with her new boyfriend - a blob of slime
each time I see her translucent face
I remember the monster from outer space

Best thing we studied in school!

gailcalled's avatar

Check out Mary Oliver, if you haven't read her work and then some wonderful suggestions at http://www.fluther.com/disc/525/my-favorite-poet-is-mary-oliver-who-else-should-i-be/

bob's avatar

My top recommendations for contemporary poets are David Berman and Dean Young. Berman's poem Self-portrait at 28 is a fair sample of his work, which is funny and strange, but also poignant. Dean Young's poems are surreal and fast-paced. Poem without Forgiveness isn't his best work, but it's still very good.

There are lots of talented poets writing today. Claire Bateman is very good. Mark Halliday is great--his poems often replicate ordinary speech in a way that is unpretentious and exciting. And if I can recommend a friend, I think this poem by Jaswinder Bolina is well done.

sarahsugs's avatar

Billy Collins. U.S. Poet Laureate 2001-2003. Beautiful and accessible. Not "high-brow" at all.

bob's avatar

@Sarahsugs: Check out Billy Collins Action Poetry, which animated versions of some of Collins's poems. "Forgetfulness" is my favorite.

kulfi's avatar

Srikanth "Chicu" Reddy. He's a friend, so of course I'm biased. But his stuff is terrific. Check out his collection "Facts for Visitors". Also, don't miss "The Magical Breasts (TM) of Britney Spears," a collection by Ryan G. Van Cleave. It's no joke! In addition to being the best title ever, the poems are great.

soethe6's avatar

Hey, I know Chicu too! Wonderful guy.

Also, try Ben Lerner, Anne Carson, Cole Swensen, C.D. Wright.

lifeflame's avatar

Wislawa Szymborska, comes to mind. Here’s one of her poems:

NIEBO

I should have begun with this: the sky.
A window minus sill, frame, and panes.
An aperture, nothing more,
but wide open.

I don’t have to wait for a starry night,
I don’t have to crane my neck
to get a look at it.
I’ve got the sky behind my back, at hand, and on my eyelids.
The sky binds me tight
and sweeps me off my feet.

Even the highest mountains
are no closer to the sky
than the deepest valleys.
There’s no more of it in one place
than another.
It crushes clouds as ruthlessly
as graves.
A mole is no less in seventh heaven
than the owl spreading her wings.
The object that falls in an abyss
falls from sky to sky.

Grainy, gritty, liquid,
inflamed or volatile
patches of sky, specks of sky.
The ksy is everywhere,
even in the dark beneath your skin.

I eat the sky, I excrete the sky/
I’m a trap within a trap,
an inhabited inhabitant,
an embrace emrabced,
a question answerign a question.

Division into sky and earth—
is not the proper why
to contemplate this wholeness
It simply lets me go on living
at a more exact address
where I can be reached promptly
if I’m sought.
My identifying features
are rapture and despair.

.
.
trans. Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh
Here’s a link to some of her poems online.

wcheney's avatar

Kevin Young rocks my poetry world. Try this one on for size…it’s in the form of a telegram (his only one like that), but shows his creativity!

Urgent Telegram to Jean-Michel Basquiat
by Kevin Young

HAVENT HEARD FROM YOU IN AGES STOP LOVE YOUR
LATEST SHOW STOP THIS NO PHONE STUFF IS FOR BIRDS
LIKE YOU STOP ONCE SHOUTED UP FROM STREET ONLY

RAIN AND YOUR ASSISTANT ANSWERED STOP DO YOU
STILL SLEEP LATE STOP DOES YOUR PAINT STILL COVER
DOORS STOP FOUND A SAMO TAG COPYRIGHT HIGH

ABOVE A STAIR STOP NOT SURE HOW YOU REACHED STOP
YOU ALWAYS WERE A CLIMBER STOP COME DOWN SOME
DAY AND SEE US AGAIN END

arturodiaz's avatar

Learn french, italian, protuguese or spanish. Any romance language will do. Nothing against english but it just does not work as good with poetry as any romance language.

stardust's avatar

Brendan Kennelly

gailcalled's avatar

@arturodiaz: English poetry does work as well as poems in romance languages. You haven’t been reading the right poets.

Try some of the work of the 45 Poet Laureates of the US. since 1944. You might find one or two you love.

http://poetry.about.com/od/poets/a/uslaureates.htm

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