Great Poets: Our Top Picks

April is National Poetry Month, so here at the press we are honoring the great poets whose poetry has inspired us. Like all great writers, poets have a way of eliciting emotion from the words they write and the pictures they paint in our minds. Here are some of our favorites.

Margaret Atwoodmargaret-atwood

“When I was sixteen, it was simple. Poetry existed; therefore it could be written; and nobody had told me — yet — the many, many reasons why it could not be written by me.” –Margaret Atwood

Her poetry has so much voice, and it’s distinctly her voice, the same voice she speaks with. It’s profound and mundane at the same time: in “Spelling,” for instance, she turns her daughter’s playing with plastic letters into a powerful symbol of positive agency for women. That kind of profound insight into everyday life is what I look for in Literature.

W.H. Auden

Auden portrait“A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language” –W.H. Auden

I like how the rhyme scheme changes from poem to poem. Some of his poetry is more “poetic” with high use of figurative language and others are more straightforward, even brash. I like this variety.

William Blakewilliamblake

“The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself.” –William Blake

At the time, his poetry, and the ideals he expressed, was so revolutionary that even today it has a profound effect. He focuses his poems on the social issues of the time, which shows that even art as beautiful as poetry has a function and a duty to cause change, or at least cause people to think. Great Literature, and great poetry, has the ability to ignite a spark in their readers, and Blake’s poetry does.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

ebb“I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.” –Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I enjoy romantic poetry, but rather than being about the idea of love she writes about real people and real love. Many of her poems were written to her husband and add another layer of romance because she is writing out of experience, and you can embrace that truth in love.

*All images are courtesy of Google Images.

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