Monday, February 18, 2008

Poetry Reading Habits!

Reading rob's post at surroundings about his poetry reading habits made me think about my own. Similar to rob, I also have my poetry books seperated into three piles:
the first pile is my essential book reading that I read to death on a regular basis and are what I call my 'muse' books. They are and always will hold prime place for me -

Sylvia Plath's Collected poems
Miroslav Holub's Poems Before and After
Anna Akhmatova The Complete Poems tr. by Judith Hemschemeyer

My second pile of books are a mixture between current reading that I know I want to, and will go back to on a regular basis and some dearly loved older books that I pick up fairly regularly to read the odd poem from -

Kathleen Jamie's Jizzen
Carol Ann Duffy's The World's Wife
Edwin Morgan's Selected (1952-1983)
Rob A MacKenzie's The Clown of Natural Sorrow
Jane Holland's Boudicca & Co
Meg Bateman's Soirbheas
James Sheard's Scattering Eva
Attila Jozsef's Winter Night (selected poems)
Ted Hughes' Selected Poems by Simon Armitage and Selected Poems (1957-1981)
T.S. Eliot's Collected (1909-1962) and The Wasteland and other poems
Hopkins' The Mystic Poets
Paul Celan's Selected tr. Michael Hamburger

So this list is still fairly exclusive but open to expansion as I widen my (particularly current) poetry reading horizons.
The third pile make up the highest and lower shelves of my poetry bookcase and I generally have to take a specific notion to drag out any of the books. I should say there is an inbetween pile that haven't been relegated to the heights or depths of my bookcase and neither have I mentioned them in the above lists though they may at times sneak in and out of pile number two, however the ones listed above as pile number two I don't think will ever sneak out of it!

Another pile of books I keep alongside my main poetry books are a few prose books about poetry and poets that are immensely important to me, these are -

Strong Words, Modern Poets on Modern Poetry ed. W.N. Herbert and Matthew Hollis
The Government of the Tongue, Selected prose by Seamus heaney
The Epic Poise, A Celebration of Ted Hughes ed. Nick Gammage
Winter Pollen, Occasional Prose by Ted Hughes
Poetry in the Making by Ted Hughes
Ted Hughes, The Life of a Poet by Elaine Feinstein
Letters Home and Journals of Sylvia Plath


swiss said...

i can nevr remember song lyrics, far less poems, even my own, so i think that's why i don't tend to read books by single authors

i've got lots of collections and i tend to read hem either by mood or geography - i think may explain the blog a bit!

but if i was forced to leave the collections alone my desert island pile (today) would be homer, collected derek walcott, hamburger's celan

on the non-poetic front. Robert crawford's Scotland's books. can't recommend it enough

Sorlil said...

had a look on amazon at the Robert Crawford book, sounds pretty good to me, saved in my basket until I'm allowed!