Prompted by my earlier recommendation of the Jane Hirschfield book, a reader asked me for a “top ten list” of favorite poets.

I can’t offer a list of my favorites in order of preference, but I can easily come up with a list of writers whose work I whole-heartedly recommend to you… poets that Anne and I read often and with gratitude.

Here they are, in no particular order…

Scott Cairns
Jane Hirschfield
Pattiann Rogers
Adam Zagajewski
Robert Hass
e. e. cummings
Gerard Manley Hopkins
W.H. Auden
Stanley Kunitz
William Stafford
Zbignew Herbert

I’ve always loved Milton’s Paradise Lost and John Donne’s work as well.

Others that are always a blessing to me, although their work is harder to find…

  • Anne M. Doe Overstreet. Seriously. And I have the privilege of hearing these poems as soon as they’re complete!
  • Marge Manwaring, a local Seattle poet with a sharp wit. Marge has a great poem that spells out a letter of love and appreciation from the ladies of a retirement community to their idol… Mick Jagger.
  • Carol Kelley, whose work is characterized by grace and a Southern sort of humor.
  • Margaret Smith, who has “eyes to see,” and is deeply influenced by Gerard Manley Hopkins.
  • And Luci Shaw, who has the warm and expansive heart of a psalmist.

I know there are others I’ve forgotten… and I’ll think of them as soon as someone writes and says, “Hey, you forgot so-and-so!”

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