Finals season is undoubtedly here. Every study room is booked, every chair is filled, every student is slogging away. If you need to take a moment away from that Organic Chemistry textbook, relax for a minute with a poem or two. It’s still National Poetry Month! Click the pictures to see the catalog listing for each poet.
Unwind with the familiar and conversational poetry of Shel Silverstein, acclaimed children’s poet and cartoonist. Re-read an old classic like The Giving Tree, or find something you don’t remember as well like A Giraffe and a Half. If you’re checking out A Light in the Attic, don’t miss “Somebody Has To” and “Snake Problem.”
The McSweeney’s Book of Poets Picking Poets
The collection started with ten poems. The ten poets of those ten poems then chose another piece of their own to include, and invited a new poet’s work to be included. These ten newly nominated poets repeat the cycle, contributing a poem of their choosing and selecting another poet to join. The result is Poets Picking Poets, 100 different poems by 50 different poets. The unique selection process of this anthology lets you compare what poets consider their own best work to what other poets think of their work.
Though known mostly for his playwriting, Bertolt Brecht has a surprisingly stocked arsenal of poetic works. His scope was far-ranging, from the personal to the political, in unique form, many intended to be set to music or as part of a play. From his collection Poems, 1913-1956, check out “Questions,” “The Burning of the Books,” and “A Worker Reads History.”
Pulitzer Prize winner and United States Poet Laureate from 2012 to 2014, Natasha Trethewey’s poetry successfully blends free verse with traditionally structured form poetry. Addressing the racial legacy of America, Trethewey’s work is rooted in history but recounted in a more personal tone, so that each character comes to life with a combination of factual accuracy and relatable personality.
When you think romantic, you should think Lord Byron. In a personal letter to a friend, Byron once wrote, “The great object of life is sensation—to feel that we exist—even though in pain.” This mastery of language and expression is present in all of Byron’s work, from his long epic narratives to his short lyric poems. If Don Juan, entertaining and satirical as it is, intimidates you with its page count (768!), start with a collection of his shorter works, like “Prometheus.”