ok so I’m going to leave out stuff that’s Too Obvious, which means a lot of this is niche (to me) or contemporary, and… I recently had a canary on twitter about how much ~*~modern~*~ poetry GETS MY GOAT. I’m reading a lot of New poets/collections this year purely because I… didn’t really read that much contemporary stuff before, and I thought I should branch out. (so far I’m dubious.) so, yes – obviously Plath, Blake, Hughes, Sappho, Eliot, Keats, Shelley, etc. etc. ad nauseum, The Greats, yadda yadda, here’s some others.
so far this year I’ve read (and ENJOYED - I’m not reccing the ones I wasn’t into/thought were pants, soz):
Letters From Medea by Salma Deera
Grief Is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest (I actually LOVED this)
Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine von Radics
War of the Foxes by Richard Siken (of YOU’RE SITTING IN A CAR WITH A BEAUTIFUL BOY, AND HE WON’T TELL YOU THAT HE LOVES YOU, BUT HE LOVES YOU fame)
I’ve also read and loved:
Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire
The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy by Tim Burton
The Curse of the Vampire’s Socks and Other Doggerel by Terry Jones
Love Poems by Carol Ann Duffy
Let Us Compare Mythologies by Leonard Cohen
my personal 10/10 all-time go-tos are:
Crush by Richard Siken (despite appearing on every single tumblr graphic between 2011 and 2013, it still gets me in the heart guts)
The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy (which I have loved wholeheartedly since I was 17 years old)
pretty much any collection of Great War poetry: Up the Line to Death, Men Who March Away, Lads: Love Poetry of the Trenches (the Great War poets are my favourite. like, of all poetry, ever)
my favourite individual poems, as we’re on the subj, are:
Their nine-day-long honeymoon was on the isle of Capri.
For their supper they had one specatular dish- a simmering stew of mollusks and fish. And while he savored the broth, her bride’s heart made a wish.
That wish came true-she gave birth to a baby. But was this little one human Well, maybe.
Ten fingers, ten toes, he had plumbing and sight. He could hear, he could feel, but normal? Not quite. This unnatural birth, this canker, this blight, was the start and the end and the sum of their plight.
She railed at the doctor: “He cannot be mine. He smells of the ocean, of seaweed and brine.”
“You should count yourself lucky, for only last week, I treated a girl with three ears and a beak. That your son is half oyster you cannot blame me. … have you ever considered, by chance, a small home by the sea?”
Not knowing what to name him, they just called him Sam, or sometimes, “that thing that looks like a clam”
Everyone wondered, but no one could tell, When would young Oyster Boy come out of his shell?
When the Thompson quadruplets espied him one day, they called him a bivalve and ran quickly away.
One spring afternoon, Sam was left in the rain. At the southwestern corner of Seaview and Main, he watched the rain water as it swirled down the drain.
His mom on the freeway in the breakdown lane was pouding the dashboard- she couldn’t contain the ever-rising grief, frustration, and pain.
“Really, sweetheart,” she said “I don’t mean to make fun, but something smells fishy and I think it’s our son. I don’t like to say this, but it must be said, you’re blaming our son for your problems in bed.”
He tried salves, he tried ointments that turned everything red. He tried potions and lotions and tincture of lead. He ached and he itched and he twitched and he bled.
The doctor diagnosed, “I can’t quite be sure, but the cause of the problem may also be the cure. They say oysters improve your sexual powers. Perhaps eating your son would help you do it for hours!”
He came on tiptoe, he came on the sly, sweat on his forehead, and on his lips-a lie. “Son, are you happy? I don’t mean to pry, but do you dream of Heaven? Have you ever wanted to die?
Sam blinked his eye twice. but made no reply. Dad fingered his knife and loosened his tie.
As he picked up his son, Sam dripped on his coat. With the shell to his lips, Sam slipped down his throat.
They burried him quickly in the sand by the sea -sighed a prayer, wept a tear- and they were back home by three.
A cross of greay driftwood marked Oyster Boy’s grave. Words writ in the sand promised Jesus would save.