Posted in art

Among my favorite poems read in 2019

After spending 2018 with poems of grief (as previously posted on this blog: Part 1: Immediacy, Part 2: Identity, Part 3: What Happens Next), I continued to read more poems. Here’s what I stumbled across during the first eight months of 2019. Because I felt differently in 2019, poems began to feel differently to me.

Jennifer Atkinson, “From the Psalter,” in Drowned City
Ellen Bass, “French Chocolates”
Robert Creeley, “Song”
Linda Pastan, “Deer,” “Warm Front,” “Orpheus”
Devin Gael Kelly, “Deer on the Side of an American Highway”
Darren C. Demaree, “City Deer #16, #17, and #18” in @RockvaleReview
Alexandra Teague, “Selfie with Pomona: The Goddess of Abundance,” in Or What We’ll Call Desire
Frank O’Hara, “My Heart”, “Poem”
Mary Jo Bang, “Consider This Corruption”
Cristina M. R. Norcross, “Leave the Light On
Rainer Maria Rilke, [i’m not sure yet when]
Gerald Stern, “Song”
Lucille Clifton, [i am accused of tending to the past], “mother-tongue: to the child just born”
Yusef Komunyakaa, “Kindness”
Mary Oliver, “Spring”
Frank Bidart, “Things Falling From Great Heights”
Li-Young Lee, “One Heart”
Carl Phillips, “To Be Worn Openly at the Wrist, or at the Chest and Hidden,” “White Dog,” “That It Might Save, Or Drown Them,”
Dorianne Laux, “Dust,” “Joy”
Keegan Lester, [“to all of this which does not just seem, but is extraordinary…”]
Franz Wright, [“Kneeling…”]
Anna Akhmatova. “A land not mine…,” “[Everything is plundered, betrayed, sold]”
W. S. Merwin, “The Room,” “Elegy,” “The Solstice,” “Still Morning”
Federico García Lorca, “Song of the Barren Orange Tree” (trans. W. S. Merwin)
Olena Kalytiak Davis, “six apologies, lord”
D.H. Lawrence, [“What is the knocking?”]
Devon Balwit, “Blood Rites”
Chelsea Dingman, “It’s Possible a Mother’s Body is Elegy,” “Winter Solstice,” “Peripeteia”
Kathy Fagan, “Perpendicular,” “Blue”
Katie Ford, “Little Belief,” in Blood Lyrics
Vladimír Holan, “Snow”
Czeslaw Milosz, “In Common”
Noor Ibn Najam, “Revised Surah”
Tess Gallagher, “Trace, in Unison”
Leah Naomi Green, “In Cleaning”
Wislawa Szymborska, “An Unexpected Meeting” [trans. Stanislaw Barańczak & Clare Cavanagh]
Catherine Barnett, “Uncertainty Principle at Dawn”
Danielle Boodoo-Fortuné, “How to Break a Curse”
Marie Howe, “Without Music,” “One of the Last Days,” “What the Living Do”
Blythe Baird, “An invitation”
Laura Fargas, “Winter, Leper of the World”
Diane Wakoski, “3 of Swords,” in Inside the Blood Factory
Phillip B. Williams, “Bound,” in Thief in the Interior
Elizabeth Bishop, “Casabianca,” “Keaton”
Nazim Hikmet, “Occupation”
Nicole Sealey, “Object Permanence”
Agha Shahid Ali, “After You”
Dean Young, “Cotton in a Pill Bottle”
Donika Kelly, “Love Poem: Mermaid”
Sophie Klahr, “Before Results”
Joanna Klink, “Pericardium,” “The Graves” (in Raptus), “Winter Field”
Maxine Kumin, “After Love”
Amy Meng, “Recovery,” in Bridled
Ahmad Shamlu, “Nocturnal”
Galway Kinnell, “On Frozen Fields”
Thomas James, “The Wharf”
Danusha Laméris, “Small Kindnesses”
Chase Berggrun, R E D
Ruth Awad, “In the gloaming, in the roiling night”
Tomás Q. Morín, “Circus Pony”
Jericho Brown, “Correspondence,” The Tradition
Rick Barot, “The Wooden Overcoat”
A. R. Ammons, “Gravelly Run”
Gwendolyn Brooks “Paul Robeson” Family Pictures
Lucia Perillo, “Given Unlimited Space, the Dead Expand Limitlessly” in Luck is Luck
Kelli Russell Agodon, “What I Call Erosion”
Jenny George, “The Drowning”
Tomas Tranströmer, “Black Postcards” [trans. Joanna Bankier], “Sketch in October” [trans. Robin Fulton]
Jean Valentine, “my words to you”
Danez Smith, “a note on the body”
Sneha Subramanian Kanta, “Post-Elegy”
Geffrey Davis, “What Make a Man”
Victorian Chang, “Mostly Ocean”
Carmen Giménez Smith, “Origins” in Be Recorder
C. T. Salazar, “Poem About Changing My Name + An Elegy,” in This Might Have Meant Fire
Shannon Sankey, “Grave”
Maire Ponsot, “Bliss and Grief”
César Vallejo, “There Are Days, There Comes to Me an Exhuberant, Political Hunger” [trans. Clayton Eshleman]
Keith S. Wilson, “I Find Myself Defending Pigeons”
Seamus Heaney, “Postscript”
Sasha Fletcher, “abide with me”
Mark Strand, “The Coming of Light”
Lora Rivera, “[What are the limits of empathy?]”
Richard Hugo, “The Hilltop”
Kathryn Nuernberger, “Rag and Bone Man”
George Kovalenko, “Spooky Action at a Distance”
Chen Chen, “I’m not a religious person but”
Alice Branco, “Water on Stone” [trans. Alexis Levitin]
Heather Christle, “Religious Practice,” “Suggested Donation”
Amorak Huey, “Portrait of My Brother as Indiana Jones” in Boom Box; “The River Beyond the Pasture”
Alison C. Rollins, “To Whoever Is Reading Me”
Justin Phillip Reed, “On Being a Grid One Might Go Off Of” in Indecency
Aracelis Girmay, “Ode to the Brain,” in Teeth
Stephen Dunn, “After Making Love”
Michele Bombardier, “What We Do”
Alberto Ríos, “Sudden Smells, Sad Songs”
Elizabeth Lyons, “Death Roll”
Ansel Elkins, “Coffin Bone”
Desirée Alvarez, “‘Un Tintero,’ Inkwell”
Reginald Dwayne Betts, “I’m Learning Nothing This Night”
Gretchen Marquette, “Macrocosm/Microcosm,” in May Day
Leila Chatti, “The Rules,” “Postcard from Gone”
Bob Hicok, “Amen,” “Confessions of a Nature Lover”
Daniel Simko, “Coda”
Richard Siken, “Landscape with a Blur of Conquerors”, “Landscape with Black Coats in Snow”
Linda Gregg, “Grinding the Lens”,  “Christ Loved Being Housed,” “Heavy with Things and Flesh,” and (from In the Middle Distance) “Even If the Gods Look Down”
Louise Glück, “Matins,” “Sunset,” “October,” “The Night Migrations” 
Adrienne Rich, “My heart is moved by all I cannot save—” “The Dream of a Common Language,” “IX,” “XVIII”
Stanley Plumly, “Infidelity,” “Fifth and 94th,” “At Night,” “Jesus Wept”
Audre Lorde, “Sister Outsider”
Ada Limón, “The Millionth Dream of Your Return,” “The Conditional,” “In a Mexican Restaurant I Recall How Much You Upset Me”
Jessica Abughattas, “Dinner Party”
Larry Levis, “Though His Name Is Infinite, My Father Is Asleep,” “Gossip in the Village”
Rosa Alice Branco, “No Complaint Book” (translated by Alexis Levitin)
Wanda Coleman, “In That Other Fantasy Where We Live Forever,” “Nocturne”
Shannon K. Winston, “Shame Is a Bull”
Joy Harjo, “Remember,” “Speaking Tree,” “For Keeps”
John Ashbery, “Loving Mad Tom,” “Feverfew”
Carolyn Forché, The Country Between Us
Marianne Boruch, “He was touched or he touched or,” in The Book of Hours
Hala Alyan, “You’re not a girl in a movie”
Robert Hass, “Faint Music,” in Sun Under Wood
T’ai Freedom Ford, “namesake”
Maggie Smith, “Good Bones,” “December 18, 2008,” “First Fall”
Carolina Ebeid, “Dead Dead Darlings”
George Oppen, “The Gesture”
Carrie Fountain, “Will You?”
Kaylin Haught, “God Says Yes to Me”
Amy Gerstler, “Poof”
Galway Kinnell, “Crying”
Julia Beach, “sudden the homecoming”
Maggie Nelson, “The Beginner”
Rosemary Tonks, “On the advantage of being ill-treated by the World”
Luisa Muradyan, “Clams”
Tess Gallagher, “Kiss Without a Body”
Jane Hirshfield, “A Person Protests to Fate”
Jane Hirshfield, “Falcon”
Tiana Clark, “Conversation with Phillis Wheatley #1,” from I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood
Keetje Kuipers, “Native Species,” “Picking Huckleberries as the World Ends” in All Its Charms
Denis Johnson, “Looking Out the Window Poem”
Rita Dove, “Pithos”
Claudia Emerson, “Metaphor”
Todd Smith, “In This Kingdom,” “The Past”
Mary Jean Chan, “The Window,” Flèche
Alicia Mountain, “A Deer Mistaken for a Statue of a Deer”
Lonely Christopher, “For Light”
Mary Ruefle, “Errand,” “The Tenor of Your Yes,” “Kiss of the Sun”
Shara McCallum, “A storm / is an opportunity for all to to be given / form.”
Lee Potts, “Traces”
Matthew Zapruder, “Scarecrow,” American Linden
Franz Wright, “Promise,” “Request”
Jason Shinder, “Morning”
Lauren Clark, “Carmina 101”
Rimbaud, “The Visionary”
Louise Glück, “Landscape”
Morgan Parker, “We Are the House That Holds the Table at Which Yes We Will Happily Take a Goddamn Seat,” “The Black Saint & The Sinner Lady & The Dead & The Truth”
Lisel Mueller, “Joy”
Anne Lauterbach, “Some of Us, in Spell
Sharon Olds, “Aria to Our Miscarried One, Age 50 Now”
Bianca Stone, “Elegy with a Swear Word”
Talin Tahajian, “Tragedy”
Wendell Berry, “Do Not Be Ashamed”
Nick Flynn, “God’s Will,” in I Will Destroy You
Shara Lessley, “The Explosive Expert’s Wife”
James Merrill, “The Mad Scene”
Maria Isabelle Carlos, “Clean”
George Moore, “The Sacred City,” Osiris Seventy-Two, p. 42
Lauren Licona, “genesis of the daughter isotope”
Jubi Arriola-Headley, “Transubstantiation”
Chelsea Rathburn, “Apology,” in A Raft of Grief
Anna Ross, “Self-Portrait at Tree Line”
Matthew Olzmann, “My Invisible Horse and the Speed of Human Decency”
Sean Shearer, “Rewinding an Overdose on a Projector”
Paige Ackerson-Kiely, “Administration”
Page Hill Starzinger, “And: Still”
Sandra Lim, “Wintering” in The Wilderness
Erica Hunt, “The Massacre of Rocks” in Time Slips Right Before Your Eyes
Jack Underwood, “The Upshot,” in Solo for Mascha Voice Lisa Zimmerman, “In Early December”


Novelist of matters surreal and magical. Studied philosophy and journalism. Worked in technology and finance. Knows about UX design and life coaching. Helps people write their books. Ask. Don't be shy. Author of TEN PAST NOON, BAD FIRE, PAINTING DRAGONS, and ENKIDU IS DEAD AND NOT DEAD.

Leave a Reply