Poets I Cannot Live Without...


  • Carl Dennis
  • Stephen Dunn
  • Martín Espada
  • Robert Hass
  • Philip Levine
  • James McMichael
  • Pablo Neruda
  • Michael Ryan
  • William Carlos Williams

Poetry, a genre of great value and import, asks its reader to be attentive and to make connections that are often more implicit than explicit. Fragments and omissions serve a purpose in this form that can be thought provoking, stimulating, and productive. By being attentive readers, we engage a notion and/or situation more fully. Its abstraction or mediation via creative imagining allows us to actively participate in the process of realization while formulating an understanding of the artist’s rendering. The process is not only practically profitable but is received through a medium of pleasure. This should allow full realization and hopefully retention. As astute readers of the masters and mentors of our craft, we come to learn that message must do more than just reveal itself. It must offer something characteristically pleasurable in order to be accepted. This may be achieved through rhetoric, high/low discourse/dialect, or linguistic manipulation, but the receipt of pleasure by the reader seems intrinsically relevant to the manner in which the message is conveyed and retained. My favorite poets fulfill all of this and much much more.

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