General Question

disturbed_broken's avatar

Do you have any favourite poets?

Asked by disturbed_broken (756points) January 15th, 2010 from iPhone

Do you like poetry? If so why?
Who are your favourite poets?
What does poetry mean to you?
I’m just starting to learn about poetry in English and I want to get information about it before we start.
I also want to attempt to start writing poetry.
Is it hard? How do/can I start?

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37 Answers

filmfann's avatar

I love Robert Frost, Emily Dickenson, and Kahlil Gibran.
My favorite poem is by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

disturbed_broken's avatar

thanks I also really like Robert frost.
I will look up the others.

Jude's avatar

William Yeats

PandoraBoxx's avatar

To me, poetry is a way of sharing emotions and common experiences.

I love Rumi, Robert Lax, TS Eliot, Shelley.

Sampson's avatar

Stephen Maria Crane
Charles Bukowski
e.e. cummings

DominicX's avatar

I am a fan of poetry. I do find it difficult to understand much of the time, but that’s part of why I like it. I want there to be hidden messages, allegory, and concealed themes and meanings and such. I don’t want it to be so obvious at once. T. S. Eliot is one of my favorite poets; his work is often very difficult to understand. Writing poetry is not hard mostly because poetry is so free; you can pretty much write whatever you want. Writing like T. S. Eliot, however, may prove more difficult. Doesn’t mean everyone will like whatever you write, however. I’m not a big fan of the typical emo teenager Facebook poetry. But poetry is up to the writer. It’s an ultimate form of expression.

TexasDude's avatar

1). Do you like poetry? If so why?
Yes, because poetry kicks ass. I also happen to be pretty good at it.

2). Who are your favourite poets?
Gregory Corso, ee cummings, Dylan Thomas, and Charles Baudelaire.

3). What does poetry mean to you?
Depends on the topic.

4). I’m just starting to learn about poetry in English and I want to get information about it before we start.
Sweet, good for you!

5)I also want to attempt to start writing poetry.

a). Is it hard?
Nope, not at all.

b). How do/can I start?
Get out a paper and pen and just start writing without thinking about it. Write how you feel, write some words that just sound good, describe your dreams, etc. Then look at what you have written, and rearrange and refit everything to fit together in a pleasing way. It doesn’t have to rhyme and it doesn’t have to be good (it probably won’t be) but if you do this enough, you’ll soon figure out how to write and you’ll become good with practice.

susanc's avatar

William Stafford – harsh and exciting
Sharon Olds – sexy and cruel
Mary Oliver – coined the phrase “harsh and exciting” – mostly about what she observes
in the natural world, but not smarmy, ever
Gerard Manley Hopkins – exquisite, demanding, lyrical language
William Butler Yeats, crazy as a bedbug, very Irish, you won’t understand the early-20th-century politics, but you don’t need to
Thomas Lux, funny as hell
Czeszlaw Milosz, ditto, at least sometimes; bitter
Lucia Perillo, brilliant, brilliant, brilliant, will make you wet your pants but also very bitter
Tim Kelly, all about the body, plus sex, plus family, plus bones….

jangles's avatar

I think poetry is a lovely art form.
Arthur Rimbaud is my favorite french poet.
To me its a beautiful form of communicating ideas, which in regular speech are lost.

To me, which ever ideas you have that are valuable to you and that you find beautiful, will usually come out as natural works of art.

Polly_Math's avatar

Ezra Pound, who by many is considered the major founder of Modernism, at his best, in my opinion, is surpassed by none. He was at the epicenter of the movement. He is sometimes ignored because of his controversial background. In his 20’s, he went to England to seek Yeats, whom he thought the greatest living poet, and became his secretary. He “modernized” Yeats’ style. Founded Imagism. Founded Vorticism with Wyndham Lewis. Discovered and mentored T.S. Eliot (his editing of “The Wasteland” transformed the poem). Eliot referred to him as “the inventor of Chinese Poetry for our time.” At the time, his translations (not only Chinese) were considered very controversial. He supported Joyce and was instrumental in getting “Ulysses” into print. He was also a great influence on many others including Ernest Hemingway, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Charles Olson, Allen Ginsberg, the list goes on. His “Cantos” stands as a monument to Modernism. His goal was to drag poetry into the 20th century, though kicking and screaming. An example of his work (referring to WWI):

from Hugh Selwyn Mauberly (1920)

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.

CMaz's avatar

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
John Muir
E. E. Cummings
Dylan Thomas

mollypop51797's avatar

E.E. Cummings, Robert Frost
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood”

chelseababyy's avatar

Robert Frost and Terrance Hayes.

TexasDude's avatar

for the record, guys, it’s ee cummings, not E. E. Cummings.

adinaa's avatar

John Keats is one of my favorites. “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” is so beautiful. I’m intrigued by his poems; even though he lived in the early 1800s, his themes are still very much applicable to modern life. It’s sad that he died so young though :(

Allen Ginsberg is also great. “Love Song” is my absolute favorite poem. It’s oddly concise and lyrical for Ginsberg. His poetry is crazy and obscene, but also heartfelt and wonderful.

I’m not too great at writing poetry myself, but it is interesting to see how you express yourself creatively. I love getting poetry assignments for school because there’s really no way you can get it wrong.

gailcalled's avatar

Writing poetry is more than being dreamy, expressive, creative and abstract. There is an underlying discipline there just as there is in building a bridge that will not collapse.

Both Frost and Auden said that they were interested primarily in form and meter; subject matter followed.

Several of the best books about writing (and reading poetry) are;

Paul Fussell;Poetic Form and Poetic Meter

Louis Turco: -The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics_

If you’re interested in one wonderful poem and one soupy one on the same subject, check out

Joyce Kilmer: Trees

Robert Frost: Birches

disturbed_broken's avatar

Thanks, I attempted to write a poem…and it is…I don’t know a word for it haha
but thanks for the advice and poets I really appreciate it and am definitally going to look all of these up :)

Buttonstc's avatar


I thought I’d be the lone one to reco Gerard Manley Hopkins.

So nice to encounter another fan of his.


I wouldn’t necessarily recommend him as a “starter poet” but if you want to expand your mind as well as your vocabulary, his poetry is wonderful.

Also he uses a rather unique atypical technique termed “sprung rhythm” which is most interesting. Definitely not your everyday Iambic Pentameter.

Hopefully your English teacher will be thorough enough to cover the main rhyming patterns. The HS English teacher I had required us to keep a notebook detailing the pattern of each poem and poet whom we studied. A bit tedious, but we ended up being thoroughly familiar with each type of meter.

At the time, I remember grousing that the requirement focused too much on the technical and mundane, but realized later that it concentrated our attention better to appreciate the structure underlying the creativity and language.

sevenfourteen's avatar

I luurrrveeee Langston Hughes and have always been a fan of poetry… Especially Harlem Renaissance poetry. I think what really draws me in is how much emotion and truth people put into poetry:

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I’ll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody’ll dare
Say to me,
“Eat in the kitchen,”

They’ll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed—

I, too, am America.

If you are trying to write poetry start by writing about an experience. Use all 5 senses to paint a picture of what happened and make the reader feel connected to you almost like if they were there.

gailcalled's avatar

Speaking of GM Hopkins, I remember an assembly done by an English teacher friend of mine. She compared two sonnets about birds to grades 7–12. They were transfixed, as was I.

Gerard Manley Hopkins; The Wind Hover

Robert Frost; The Oven Bird.

Buttonstc's avatar

That must have been so interesting.

The Windhover is one of my favorite poems, but I was not familiar with that particular one by Frost. Don’t know under what rock I’ve been hiding :)

gailcalled's avatar

@Buttonstc: 25 years later, I still have things to learn from that experience.

Buttonstc's avatar

Care to elaborate a little ?

gailcalled's avatar

If it weren’t bedtime and if I felt like writing a thesis, and if MIlo weren’t making it hard to type, I’d be happy to.

Start with The Oven Bird. Every line is dense. Ponder over the last sentence.

Edit: And keep in mind that the popular name for the Oven Bird is the Teacher Bird.

absalom's avatar

Obligatories: John Milton, Walt Whitman, T.S. Eliot.

I really like Elizabeth Bishop, especially Geography III.

This is the beginning of a longer poem of hers:

A new volcano has erupted,
the papers say, and last week I was reading
where some ship saw an island being born:
at first a breath of steam, ten miles away;
and then a black fleck – basalt probably –
rose in the mate’s binoculars
and caught on the horizon like a fly.
They named it. But my poor old island’s still
un-rediscovered, un-renamable.
None of the books has ever got it right.

It’s from Robinson Crusoe’s perspective after he’s returned to England. Check it out.

Sampson's avatar

@sevenfourteen Langston Hughes ftw!

Mrs_Rose's avatar

I love poetry =)
I’ve written many poems in my life… Mostly when I’m feeling very emotional and need to get something off my chest. My favorite author is Maya Angelou. I also like Dr. Suess’s many little sayings, though I’m not sure if that’s the kind of poetry your asking about.

downtide's avatar

I don’t have a favourite poet but I do have a favourite poem: The Box by Lascelles Abercrombie.

I’ve tried writing poetry before but it was truly awful and I have no clue how to do it properly.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

For our poetry classes we focused on World War 1 poetry. We did a lot on Wiflred Owen, and while I think that his Anthem for Doomed Youth is beautiful, I personally feel that when it takes a lot of analysis for a certain poem to strike you as beautiful, you’re just spending too much time (either that, you’re just a heathen [don’t worry, I’d be the first to raise my hand for the roll call]).

I remember that once while presenting my ideas on Wilfred Owen to the class, I spent a good five minutes talking about Owen Wilson’s poetry and Owen Wilson’s style and Owen Wilson’s imagery used in his poetry, and nobody blinked an eye until my teacher suddenly said, “You do know that you’ve been saying Owen Wilson all this while haven’t you?” It was funny how everyone hadn’t noticed it till my teacher pointed it out.

But if there’s one poem which I think is absolutely achingly beautiful, it’s this one. I read it once and was stunned.

The Visitor

Holding the arm of his helper, the blind
Piano tuner comes to our piano.
He hesitates at first, but once he finds
The keyboard, his hands glide over the slow
Keys, ringing changes finer than the eye
Can see. The dusty wires he touches, row
On row, quiver like bowstrings as he
Twists them one notch tighter. He runs his
Finger along a wire, touches the dry
Rust to his tongue, breaks into a pure bliss
And tells us, “One year more of damp weather
Would have done you in, but I’ve saved it this
Time. Would one of you play now, please? I hear
It better at a distance.” My wife plays
Stardust. The blind man stands and smiles in her
Direction, then disappears into the blaze
Of new October. Now the afternoon,
The long afternoon that blurs in a haze
Of music… Chopin nocturnes, Clair de Lune,
All the old familiar, unfamiliar
Music-lesson pieces, Papa Haydn’s
Dead and gone, gently down the stream… Hours later,
After the latest car has doused its beams,
Has cooled down and stopped its ticking, I hear
Our cat, with the grace of animals free
To move in darkness, strike one key only,
And a single lucid drop of water stars my dream

-Gibbons Ruark

I don’t know whether I read it correctly in my mind. I don’t know if I want to read it correctly. I don’t want to study it and analyse it. I just want to take it in and be awed by its beauty. Of course, it would be nice to see whether any of the more experienced Flutherites agree with me on the merits of this particular poem.

@gailcalled Trees is really nice. I liked it. Haven’t taken a look at the other two in your later response though

gailcalled's avatar

@Saturated_Brain: The Ruark poem is beautiful, partly because of its imagery and partly because of the dextrous use of meter. For example, note how the stress in “the long afternoon” lands on “long,” thereby enforcing its meaning. Or “Our cat, with the grace of animals free” uses a spondee ( DUM DUM) for “our cat,” and two complicated triple meters for “with the grace” (dum dum DUM) and “animals” (DUM DUM DUM). The meter imitates the cat’s motion.

Whereas “Trees” is all dum DUM dum DUM. The unexpected change from the normal iamb (dum DUM) is a large part of what makes poetry poetry, and Kilmer does not do it.

“I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.” You could wind up a little tin soldier and he would keep that beat. It makes it easy to memorize, but why bother? (I seem to have learned it in ninth grade and can never erase it from my RAM.)

Here’s another Frost; First verse: note how the emphasis on “sorry,” “long,” “looked down,” and “bent” reflects the action. This is oversimplification but helps to understand the poem. Frost starts with the underpinnings of the iambs and deviates deliberately. (Even “diverge,” (dum DUM) diverges.)

The Road Not Taken

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;”

filmfann's avatar

The football player scored the touchdown,
spiked the ball and turned his ankle.
He was taken off the field on a stretcher.
I laughed till beer came out my nose.

gailcalled's avatar

@filmfann: Well, you will certainly be nominated for your state’s Poet Laureate this year.

“I laughed ‘til beer came out my nose” is perfect iambic tetrameter.

Sampson's avatar

I forgot Shell Silverstein. He did more than just books for kids. Even though those books are fantastic.

filmfann's avatar

@gailcalled Thanks, but i didn’t write that. I just remember reading it.

gailcalled's avatar

@filmfann: Odd what we remember and what we don’t. I have tried to memorize Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold for decades and still can’t recall any of the lines but the last.

filmfann's avatar

@gailcalled Ya, I go to a class for a new piece of equipment at work, and I have trouble remembering so many of the details, but I can recite every word from the opening song to Green Acres or Petticoat Junction. I wish I could delete a lot of that stuff and just free up space for useful things.

zenele's avatar

The Bard

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