Did you make a New Year’s resolution to read more poetry?
If not, it’s not too late to do so.
“For me, poetry is a practice that is helping me begin to slow down and become more attentive. Learning to read a poem carefully trains us to pay extraordinary attention to the sounds and images of language that we might easily overlook in our haste. … Poems offer us an invitation to abide with their words.”
– ERB Editor, Chris Smith, In Defense of Poetry
To help you read more poetry, we will be publishing two lists of recommended poets.
Our first list featured classic poets, whose work is freely available in the public domain. These poems are good because they have withstood the test of time, and because they are easily and freely accessible. Their drawbacks are that they are dated (Many of them, for instance, write in verse, a form that is widely rejected among poets today), and that although we have tried to make our list as diverse as possible, there tends to be less diversity (A hundred years ago or more, the vast majority of poets being published were white males).
Our second list, below, features the work of contemporary poets.
It will be beneficial to develop habits of reading poems from both of these lists. The classics help us understand the tradition of poetry, and contemporary poets wrestle with contemporary concerns in the forms of today.
Where possible, we have included a video of the poet reading from her or his work… Your local library will likely have books by at least some of these poets.
Slow Pilgrim: The Collected Poems
Paraclete Press, 2015
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UPDATED Jan. 2021 – to fix broken links and add some new material
Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith
"This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities and the life of the church."
-Karen Swallow Prior
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