Dec 5, 2005

In the spirit of Tony Tost's list (and in solidarity so he doesn't have to take all that sh*t completely alone) I have compiled my own "Poets who I seem to like considerably less than my peers for nebulously defined reasons," and "Poets who I seem to enjoy considerably more than my peers for nebulously defined reasons" lists. Note that this list has to do mainly with "unexpected" tastes. E.g. I like Ashbery, Zukovsky, Spicer, Baudelaire, and others about as much as you would expect, or that I am "supposed" to. So these lists refer to personal preferences which may (or may not) surprise people. I have made the "enjoy considerably more" list longer because I think I like more work than I am ambiguous about. I think the usefulness of a list like this is that it helps to dispel stereotypes. Keep in mind that the focus in the first list is "less than others," and *NOT* "not at all." I use "in English" to refer to poets in translation who I am able to read in the original (e.g. French).

Work I seem to enjoy less than my peers for nebulously defined reasons (with all due respect):

1. David Shapiro (sorry, everyone!)
2. Frank O'Hara (or at least my favorites tend to differ considerably from others')
3. Emily Dickinson
4. Allen Ginsberg
5. W. H. Auden
6. Susan Howe
7. Gary Snyder
8. Han-Shan
9. John Godfrey's prose poems
10. Arthur Rimbaud in English

Work I seem to enjoy more than my peers for nebulously defined reasons:

1. Eleni Sikelianos (one of our greatest poets, as far as I'm concerned)
2. Bruce Andrews
3. Walt Whitman
4. Fanny Howe
5. Annie Finch
6. James Schuyler
7. Dorothy Parker
8. Keith Douglas
9. John Godfrey's verse poems
10. James Thomson
11. Jim Harrison
12. Laura Riding
13. Edmond Jabes in English
14. Li Ch'ing-Chao
15. James Merrill
16. Michael Palmer
17. Basil Bunting
18. Homer (but never those crappy prose translations)

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