Sunday, April 9, 2017

Your Syllabus For: Poetry for Beginners

So this month is National Poetry month. Now, you may be like me and just...not know a thing about poetry. This past week or so I've been combing through a lot of poetry lists and coming up with some poetry basics for me to look at when I start my journey into poetry (which will be next year, this year the journey is into plays). This is by no means a complete list. There are tons of poetry collections out there. But it is a list to give you an idea of what to start with so you can slowly become a poetry master reader.

Ancient Poetry/Epic Poems:

The Odyssey by Homer

Also, check out The Iliad.

Classical Chinese Poetry: An Anthology

There was a plethora of Chinese poetry being formed in the BCE era. This collection from what I can see, has a majority of the major ones.

Beowulf by Anonymous

Metamorphoses by Ovid

More epic Greek poetry.

The Aeneid by Virgil

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Anonymous

One of the many medieval epic Arthurian poems out there.

The Epic of Gilgamesh by Anonymous

If Not Winter: Fragments of Sappho by Sappho

Medieval-1800s poetry:

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

There are a lot of Chaucer epic poems to choose from. This is probably his most well known though.

The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spensor

This humongous epic poem apparently influenced a lot of 18th century poets.

Shakespeare's Sonnets by William Shakespeare

Along with a bunch of plays, the Bard also wrote quite a few poems in his day. Overacheiver.

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

The Complete English Poems by John Donne

The Complete Poetry by George Herbert

The Complete Poems by William Blake

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope

1800s Poetry:

The Complete Poems by John Keats

The Complete Poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley

This guy was married to Mary Shelley, she of Frankenstein fame, fyi.

Selected Poems by George Gordon Byron (better known today as Lord Byron)

The Idylls of the King by Alfred Tennyson

Really, all of Tennyson's work seems to be popular. But this is the one he seems to be known for.

Complete Poems by Christina Rosetti

Believe it or not, Emily Dickinson is not the only female eighteen hundreds poet out there.

The Complete Poems by Emily Dickinson

But definitely give Dickinson a look.

The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats by W. B. Yeats

Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

The Essential Tales and Poems by Edgar Allen Poe

Seriously, read The Raven if you have not already been taught it in class.

1900s Poetry:

The Waste Land and Other Poems by T. S. Eliot

Also check out his Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats collection, which the musical Cats is based on.

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Complete Poems by Dorothy Parker

Collected Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg

The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke by Rainer Maria Rilke

Ariel by Sylvia Plath

And honestly all her other poetry collections. I also recommend her one prose novel: The Bell Jar.

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

You probably read this as a kid. I highly recommend rereading as an adult, you'll catch a lot of things that go over a kids head.

The Poetry of Robert Frost by Robert Frost

The Collected Poems by Langston Hughes

The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton

The Complete Collected Poems by Maya Angelou


Crush by Richard Siken

Sailing Around the Room: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins

Salt by Nayyirah Waheed

Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav

A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Some handy non-fiction about poetry:

The Ode Less Travelled by Stephen Fry

Book that I'm personally going to read to help me try and understand poetry more.

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

If you're looking for verse fiction, there's going to be a list for that next week.

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