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March 31, 2008


Rebecca LuElla Miller

I'm not a big fan of poetry. My favorites are an eclectic bunch:
George Herbert
T. S. Elliot

Fo course, the last four tell really stories in poetry form, so that's probably why I like them.


David Todd

Hmmm, difficult to narrow it down to only three.

1. Robert Frost, because he is a modern writer who worked in traditional forms, and did it so well. His attention to detail is incredible. He found ways to use formal poetry to enhance his creativity.

2. Edna St. Vincent Millay, for the same reason.

3. John Milton, because he is perhaps the transitional poet from middle English to modern English, and because I don't understand much of what he wrote but feel that I should.

Nathan Knapp

Not a huge poetry nut but lately I've been trying to heed Fitzgerald's advice by reading some. I really like Sylvia Plath, T.S. Eliot and a lot of what is published by Relief.


It's all in the words and the message for me. It also helps if I can understand what the words are saying. I will say now that I am coming to realize I am not your stereotypical writer type who read all of these great and classical poets simply to enrich my mental list of classical readings. (If that made a bit of sense). Anyway, I said all this to say that much of my "real" appreciation for poetry did not make an appearance until my college classes when we had to analyze the poor things to death. I will not analyze them but I will name a few that caught my fancy. They are:

1) The collected works of Emily Dickenson - Why? Because sometimes I feel like her, questioning life and love from my window, sitting on the outside looking in. I always felt it was such a shame that her beautiful works were not found or appreciated until after she passed. I can only pray that the same will not happen to mine.

2) Maya Angelou - because I just do. And sometimes that's all there is to it.

3) And last but certainly not least, the late great George Herbert otherwise known as the "Preacher Poet". He may have lived in the 16th Century but his faith was evident in his prose. My favorite is his poem "The Windows" in which he compares the stained glass windows of his church to man and his eternal struggle to remain in God's light. Well, I'll let him tell you.

The Windows
by George Herbert

Lord, how can man preach thy eternal word?
He is brittle, crazy glass
Yet in thy temple though dost afford
This glorious and transcendent place
to be a window through thy grace.

But when thou dost anneal in glass thy story,
Making thy life to shine within,
The holy preachers, then the light and glory
More reverend grows, and more doth win,
Which else shows wat'rish, bleak, and thin.

Doctrine and life, colors and light, in one
When they combine and mingle, bring
A strong regard and awe; but speech alone
Doth vanish like a flaring thing,
And in the ear, not conscience, ring.

I can practically picture him on his knees praying for God to keep him humble in his eyes. I had the privilege and opportunity to recite this poem in front of my English Literature class for bonus points one hot sticky summer and I have to say I was more invested in the words than in the grade (which I did receive with highest marks). ^_^

christa Allan

Mary Oliver
Billy Collins

Marla Alupoaicei

Great question! Some of the best in contemporary poetry:

John Hodgen (Check out Grace)
Jorie Graham
Billy Collins
Louise Gluck
Linda Pastan
Daisy Fried

I also love Mary Oliver. Her nature-based poetry reflects the purity of her spirit. I hope you enjoy these recommendations!


William Cullen Bryant --Because 'Thanatopsis' rocks. It was the first poem I can remember ever hearing quoted, by my father. 'A Forest Hymn' is also quite excellent.

David Bottoms --A contemporary U.S. poet, from right here in Georgia. "Under the Vulture Tree" is my favorite poem of all time.

Shel Silverstein --Because his poems bring me joy.

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