Photo Credit: Jennie Anne Benigas



April 2009

"Anon. is a poet without dates, parents or gender [although is probably male]. Anon. appears in the fourteenth and in the twentieth centuries, in Britain and Australia and Africa, always with a song in the heart. Often the song is sad, as though something important---perhaps the author's identity---has been lost."


Michael Schmidt, Lives of the Poets, Alfred A. Knopf, 1999.


Another April, Another National Poetry Month

Dear Reader,

Happy National Poetry Month! Before we feel too sorry for those anonymous poets mentioned above, let's say thank you to all those whose names we do know. Better yet, let's go out and buy a book of poetry!

Stand with me now in my home office and peruse the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that hold books from giant and not-so-giant-but-fabulous-just-the-same poets. Space and time required me to choose five per line/letter, and it was a challenge.

These poets are my life's blood. I have had the pleasure to listen to, be taught by, and/or read the poets on this list. For any of you who are either searching for a poet to read or wanting to buy a poetry book this month out of appreciation for poetry, please, be my guest!

Virginia Hamilton Adair - Marjorie Agosín - Akhmatova - Idris Anderson - John Ashbery

Lillias Bever - Elizabeth Bishop - Laure-Anne Bosselaar - Joseph Brodsky - Joel Brouwer

Teresa Cader - Paul Celan - John Ciardi - Suzanne Cleary - Robert Cording

Debra Kang Dean - Carl Dennis - Emily Dickinson - Deborah Digges - Mark Doty

Theodore Enslin - Martín Espada - Any E suggestions out there?

B. H. Fairchild - Alan Feldman - Lawrence Ferlinghetti - Emily Ferrara - Robert Francis

Margaret Gibson - Jack Gilbert - Allen Ginsberg - Louise Glück - Tonino Guerra

Donald Hall - Gertrude Halstead - Jeffrey Harrison - Robert Hass - Tony Hoagland

Where am "I" - oh, my! Any suggestions?

Gray Jacobik - Josephine Jacobsen - Randall Jarrell - Denis Johnson - Donald Justice

Meg Kearney - X.J. Kennedy - Jane Kenyon - Galway Kinnell - Stanley Kunitz

Howard Levy - Gwyneth Lewis - Nancy Tupper Ling - - Robert Lowell - Thomas Lux

Stéphane Mallarmé - Cleopatra Mathis - Gail Mazur - Mekeel McBride - Wesley McNair

Pablo Neruda - Only one N poet? Well, he IS in a class by himself.

Frank O'Hara - Sharon Olds - Mary Oliver - Alicia Ostriker - Suzanne Owens

Boris Pasternak - Jay Parini - Robert Pinsky - Marie Ponsot - Ezra Pound

Fran Quinn - Is there a suggestion out there to expand this group?

Spencer Reece - Martha Rhodes - M.C. Richards - Rainer Maria Rilke - Claire Rossini

May Sarton - Anne Sexton - Charles Simic - Louis Simpson - W.D. Snodgrass -

Wallace Stevens - Wislawa Szymborska (There was no stopping at 5 S's!)

James Tate - Michael Teig - bg thurston - Jean Tupper - Bill Tremblay

Where are U? Help!

Karen Volkman holds the only spot.

Mark Wagner - Liz Waldner - Alice Walker - Richard Wilber - C. K. Williams

No X's, but that was predictable.

John Yau - John Yau - John Yau - John Yau - W.B. Yeats

Zat's it for this formidable group of poets..

As I moved obsessively along the bookshelves, it soon became apparent that, alas, some letters had too many poets' names for my five poet limit. It was agony to choose some and leave others out.

Here's one final shout out to Amiri Baraka! Robin Becker! Billy Collins! Charles Coe! Rita Dove! Robert Frost! Seamus Heaney! Langston Hughes! Zbigniew Herbert! Cynthia Huntington! John Hodgen! John Keats! Kenneth Koch! Yusef Komunyakaa! Maxine Kumin! Audre Lorde! Michelanglo! James Merrill! John Milton! Thylias Moss! Marge Piercy! Edna St. Vincent Millay! William Stafford! Gerald Stern! Tony Tost! Nancy Willard! Diane Wald! Franz Wright!

And I haven't even gotten to the anthologies! Or the books about writing poetry.

Do you have any poets to add to the list? I need to buy a poetry book this month! Contact me: