Our Cup Runneth Over

Sunday night 8 May 2022

Dear Mona,

I thought I was done sending you poetry after that April Poetry Month binge. 

But I can’t resist! 

The following is from Robert Di Yanni’s book, You Are What You Read: A Practical Guide to Reading Well. (I was just browsing it at 10:15 at night)


“You very likely know many of the following lyric poets from an occasional poem rather than from reading an entire book of their poems, or from a reading of their collected or even selected works. Yet that is one way to get to know a poet well—to read his or her work a bit at a time over an extended period, becoming familiar with the poet’s style and subjects, his or her persistent preoccupations and ways of handling language. Here are a number of poets whose work you might like to get to know better in this way.

They are listed alphabetically rather than chronologically.

Anna Akhmatova, Matthew Arnold, Margaret Atwood, W. H. Auden, Imamu Amiri Baraka, Matsuo Bashō, Charles Baudelaire, Wendell Berry, Elizabeth Bishop, William Blake, Jorge Luis Borges, Anne Bradstreet, Joseph Brodsky, Emily Brontë, Gwendolyn Brooks, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Robert Burns, George Gordon, Lord Byron, Thomas Campion, Lewis Carroll, Raymond Carver, C. V. Cavafy, Paul Celan, Lucille Clifton, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Billy Collins, Stephen Crane, Countee Cullen, E. E. Cummings, Emily Dickinson, H. D. (Hilda Doolittle), John Donne, Mark Doty, Rita Dove, Michael Drayton, John Dryden, Du Fu, Paul Laurence Dunbar, T. S. Eliot, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Donald Finkel, Robert Fitzgerald, Robert Francis, Robert Frost, Allen Ginsberg, Nikki Giovanni, Louise Glück, Robert Graves, Thomas Gray, Donald Hall, Thomas Hardy, Michael Harper, Robert Hayden, Seamus Heaney, George Herbert, Robert Herrick, Michael Hogan, John Hollander, Gerard Manley Hopkins, A. E. Housman, Langston Hughes, Ted Hughes, Kobayashi Issa, Ben Jonson, John Keats, Galway Kinnell, Kenneth Koch, Philip Larkin, D. H. Lawrence, Edward Lear, Giacomo Leopardi, Li Po (Li Bai), Federico García Lorca, Audre Lorde, Richard Lovelace, Amy Lowell, Robert Lowell.    

Archibald MacLeish, Stéphane Mallarmé, Osip Mandelstam, Christopher Marlowe, Andrew Marvell, John Masefield, Claude McKay, Peter Meinke, Robert Mezey, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Czesław Miłosz, John Milton, Marianne Moore, Thomas Nashe, Pablo Neruda, Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, Ovid, Wilfred Owen, Boris Pasternak, Octavio Paz, Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch), Marge Piercy, Robert Pinsky, Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allan Poe, Alexander Pope, Ezra Pound, Jacques Prévert, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Crowe Ransom, Henry Reed, Alastair Reid, Adrienne Rich, Rainer Maria Rilke, Arthur Rimbaud, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Theodore Roethke, Kraft Rompf, Christina Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Rumi, Kay Ryan, Carl Sandburg, Sappho, Anne Sexton, William Shakespeare, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Sir Philip Sidney, John Skelton, Gary Snyder, Robert Southwell, Edmund Spenser, William Stafford, Wallace Stevens, Mark Strand, Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, May Swenson, Wisława Szymborska, James Tate, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Dylan Thomas, Chidiock Tichborne, Jean Toomer, John Updike, Paul Valéry, César Vallejo, Paul Verlaine, Robert Wallace, Wang Wei, Walt Whitman, Richard Wilbur, William Carlos Williams, William Wordsworth, James Wright, Thomas Wyatt, William Butler Yeats, Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

Some of the authors and works named here you have, very likely, already read—perhaps before you were ready to appreciate them. If you were lucky, you read them at an age-appropriate time, or, even better, you may have read them a second or third time as an adult. If you haven’t, perhaps it’s time you should. As Thoreau also remarked about reading: “To read well, that is, to read true books in a true spirit, is a noble exercise, and one that will task the reader.… It requires a training such as the athletes underwent, the steady intention almost of the whole life” (403). Thoreau’s observation captures the challenge and the opportunity, the work and the pleasure of reading the best works of literature we can find.”

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