10 Best 20th-Century American Poems

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  • 10) "Eye And Tooth" - Robert Lowell
  • 9) "Coal" - Audre Lorde
  • 8) "Marriage" - Gregory Corso
  • 7) "Sunday Morning" - Wallace Stevens
  • 6) "Paradoxes And Oxymorons" - John Ashbery
  • 5) "The Waste Land" - T.S. Eliot
  • 4) "Variations On A Theme By William Carlos Williams" - Kenneth Koch
  • 3) "Why I Am Not A Painter" - Frank O'Hara
  • 2) "Love Song: I And Thou" - Alan Dugan
  • 1) "Four Quartets" - T.S. Eliot
Author Comments: 

Versification. Diversification. Adversification? Universification. Reversification?!? Perversification!!!!!!!!

I don't mean to be picky, but do we consider TS Eliot American. He point of view, if not his citizenship, was certainly more British. My favorite 20th century works not mentioned by you are, of the top of my head, "Anyone Lived in Pretty How Town, " ee cummings, the poem that begins "Lay your sleeping head, my love, human on my faithless arm, I think by Theodore Roethke, and the one that begins "I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow...", I think also by Roethke. When I get near a book, I'll look them up. I'm ashamed to not be able to mention any female poets.

Female poet? Adrienne Rich. I particularly enjoy Living in Sin (but who doesn't? ;) )

I also may be the only person who still greatly love many poems by Stanley Kunitz.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I always feel like I should like Adrienne Rich, but I tend to find her wordy at times. I've never read Living in Sin, though. The more I think about it, I do realize I like Margaret Atwood as a poet, as well as a novelist.

Fave poems by female poets?? Here are some of my faves (i.e. close to my heart, or poems I can read over and over and over and still love): Brenda Shaughnessy's "Fortune," "Postfeminism," and "Project for a Fainting;" Louise Glück's "Ceremony," "Anniversary," "The Letters," "Daisies," "Bridal Piece," and "Hesitate to Call;" Anne Sexton's "Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator," "Knee Song," and "Rapunzel;" Diane DiPrima's "Moon Mattress;" Alta's "Bitter Herbs;" Sharon Olds' "The Wedding Vow;" June Jordan's "Poem about My Rights"