Plano Reads: National Poetry Month
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Plano Reads: National Poetry Month

Established by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month has been observed in the United States every April since 1996, and is now one of the world’s largest literary events. Each spring, readers, families, teachers and students, booksellers, poets and librarians all over the nation recognize the importance and pleasure of poetry in all our lives. Here is a sample of newer poetry collections found in Plano’s libraries.

Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver by Mary Oliver – Mary Oliver was one of America’s most celebrated lyric poets. She was recognized for her love of the natural world, which she considered her essential poetic subject, and this is a definitive collection, written in her radiant, unmistakable voice. Print |eBook|

Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Glück – Louise Glück is one of the finest American poets at work today. She won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature. Every new collection is at once a deepening and a revelation, and Faithful and Virtuous Night is no exception. You enter the world of this spellbinding book through one of its many dreamlike portals, and each time you enter it’s the same place, but it has been arranged differently. The collection tells a single story but the parts are mutable, the great sweep of its narrative mysterious and fateful, heartbreaking and charged with wonder. Print|

How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch – For Edward Hirsch, a poet and critic, poetry is not just a part of life–it is life, and expresses like no other art our most sublime emotions. In this book,  he writes about what poetry is, why it matters, and how we can open up our imaginations to its beautiful, vital message. Print|

Monument: Poems New and Selected by Natasha Trethewey – Two-time U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Natasha Trethewey presents her first retrospective. The collection draws together verse that delineates the stories of working-class African American women, a mixed-race prostitute, one of the first black Civil War regiments, mestizo and mulatto figures in Casta paintings, and Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Katrina. Through the collection, inlaid and inextricable, winds the poet’s own family history of trauma and loss, resilience and love. Print|

Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong – Ocean Vuong’s first full-length collection aims straight for the perennial “big”—and very human—subjects of romance, family, memory, grief, war, and melancholia. None of these he allows to overwhelm his spirit or his poems, which demonstrate, through breath and cadence and unrepentant enthrallment, that a gentle palm on a chest can calm the fiercest hunger. Print |eBook|

The Odyssey of Phillis Wheatley: A Poet’s Journeys through American Slavery and Independence by David Waldstreicher – “A new, paradigm-shattering biography of Phillis Wheatley, whose extraordinary poetry set African American literature at the heart of the American Revolution”– Provided by publisher Print|

The Poems of T.S. Eliot by T. S. Eliot, read by Jeremy Irons – Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4, actor Jeremy Irons’ perceptive reading of this Book on CD illuminates the poetry of T. S. Eliot in all its complexity. Major poems range from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, through the post-war desolation of The Waste Land and the spiritual struggle of Ash-Wednesday, to the enduring charm of Old Possum’s Book of Practical CatsCD/Play|

Poetry Unbound: 50 Poems to Open Your World by Pádraig Ó Tuama – This generous anthology pairs fifty illuminating poems with poet and podcast host Pádraig Ó Tuama’s appealing, unhurried reflections. Focusing on poets writing today, Ó Tuama considers each poem’s artistry and explores how its meaning can reach into our own lives. Print |eBook|

Very Bad Poetry by Kathryn Petras and Ross Petras – Writing very bad poetry requires talent. It helps to have a wooden ear for words, a penchant for sinking into a mire of sentimentality, and an enviable confidence that allows one to write despite absolutely appalling incompetence. The 131 poems collected in this first-of-its-kind anthology are so glaringly awful that they embody a kind of genius. Guaranteed to move even the most stoic reader to tears (of laughter), Very Bad Poetry is sure to become a favorite of the poetically inclined (and disinclined). Print|

Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency by Chen Chen – In his highly anticipated second collection, Chen Chen continues his investigation of family, both blood and chosen, examining what one inherits and what one invents, as a queer Asian American living through our nation’s current anarchic times. Print|

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