Monday, April 8, 2013

Poetry Books for National Poetry Month!

Poetry Books for National Poetry Month
By Brad R. Cook

Happy National Poetry Month!

Poetry, we celebrate it for one month once a year in a giant festival… okay, so most of us will just write a couple of poems in April to join the celebration. But there are those people, poets, who breathe rhyme and speak in a strange language with words like iambic pentameter. They are elusive writers, but can usually be found at an area café open mic, or at one of the many readings held almost every night of the month. They may not use 100,000 words, but the few words they do use are chosen with extraordinary care.   

Recently, St. Louis Writers Guild hosted a night dedicated to the Missouri Poets Laureate. SLWG teamed with St. Louis Poetry Center and Maryville University to bring all three Missouri Poets Laureate together on one stage for the first time. The post of Missouri Poet Laureate was created in 2008, when Walter Bargen was selected. He was followed by David Clewell in 2010, and now William Trowbridge is the current poet laureate.

The evening which could have descended into high brow over-culture, turned out to be a showcase of how poetry can entertain, with readings that included pieces about nature, alien conspiracies, and even Bigfoot. Laughter filled the auditorium, and excitement kept the audience on the edge of their seats for all three poets. A successful night by all accounts.

So if you are looking for some great poems to celebrate National Poetry Month, allow me to share these books of poetry.  

William Trowbridge
Ship of Fool (Red Hen Press, 2011),
The Complete Book of Kong (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2003),
Flickers, O Paradise, and Enter Dark Stranger (University of Arkansas Press, 2000, 1995, 1989),
Plus three chapbooks,
The Packing House Cantata (Camber Press, 2006),
The Four Seasons (Red Dragonfly Press, 2001),
The Book of Kong (Iowa State University Press, l986)
His sixth collection, Put This On, Please: New and Selected Poems, will be published in 2014 by Red Hen Press.

David Clewell
Is the author of eight collections of poetry, two book-length poems, and has been represented in more than fifty anthologies.
Taken Somehow By Surprise (University of Wisconsin Press, 2011)
Now We’re Getting Somewhere  
Blessings in Disguise

Walter Bargen
Has published fourteen books of poetry and two chapbooks.
The Feast (BkMk Press-UMKC, 2004),
Remedies for Vertigo (WordTech Communications, 2006),
West of West (Timberline Press, 2007),
Theban Traffic (WordTech Communications, 2008),
Days Like This Are Necessary: New & Selected Poems (BkMk Press-UMKC2009),
Endearing Ruins (Illiom-Verlag, Germany, 2012)

While we are talking about poetry, I thought I’d mention a few more poets you might want to read.

First allow me to highlight Missouri’s Senior Poet Laureate, Faye Adams. She is serving her second term at this post. Faye Adams is a wonderful poet and children’s author.

Beyond the Masks by Harvey Stanbrough
Poetry of a Lifetime by Marcel Toussaint
Darkness Never Far by Matthew Freeman
Otherwise, Soft White Ash by Kelli Allen
Fierce Consent by Catherine Rankovic
A Stranger Here Myself by Niki Nymark
And a quick shout out for the Haiku of Ben Moeller-Gaa

Looking for more great poetry, check out The River Styx Magazine
Or check out great poems by Dwight Bitikofer, Faye Adams, Marcel Toussaint, myself, and others in St. Louis Reflections. (the link is below)

If you’re still looking for poetry here are some of my favorite famous poets, read anything by…
Shel Silverstien
Edgar Allen Poe
e e cummings

There are so many more, too many for me to list…

Now it’s your turn, help us celebrate National Poetry Month by sharing your favorite poet, book of poetry, anthology, or poetry journal in the comments section below.

Also, if you want, you can participate in NaPoWriMO – National Poetry Writing Month, which is a competition to complete one poem for every day in April.

Brad R. Cook is a historical fantasy author and President of St. Louis Writers Guild. Please visit or follow me on Twitter @bradrcook
St. Louis Reflections


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