The Guardian has picked the 10 best American poems of all time - these are the poets behind them. Think the Brits know best?
Ever wonder what Robert Frost read on the road? Love e.e. cummings' poetry? Well, whose did HE love? Check out 9 of the 20th century's most popular poets, as they reveal THEIR favorite poets.
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Pablo Neruda: Garcia Lorca, Jorge Luis Borges, and Walt Whitman. Dubbed "the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language," by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Neruda has said, “I, a poet who writes in Spanish, learned more from Walt Whitman than from Cervantes.” A carpenter, hanging a picture of Whitman in Neruda’s house, asked if the portrait was of Neruda's grandfather. He replied that yes, in fact, it was.
Billy Collins: Wallace Stevens, Seamus Heaney, John Ashbery. Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate from 2001-03 and one of today's most popular writers, has perhaps done more than anyone to bring poetry to the masses. Funny, irreverent, delightfully accessible, he told "Guernica" magazine in 2004, "I thought I would be completely content if I was recognized at some later point in my life as a third-rate Wallace Stevens."
Maya Angelou: Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Mari Evans, Langston Hughes. A renowned poet as well as autobiographer, Angelou has left little doubt - Dunbar, Evans, and Hughes were foundational to her writing. It's difficult to read her poetry without hearing the rhythms, ballads, and musical roots in which much of Langston Hughes' poetry is also based.
Richard Blanco: Peter Covino, Eli Shipley, Elizabeth Bishop. The first Latino, first immigrant, first openly gay, and the youngest U.S. Inaugural Poet (2013), Richard Blanco's Cuban background and sexuality play large roles in his poetry. He named Bishop particularly in an interview with "The Mirror" about LGBT poets: “I have a closeness to [Bishop] as an artist and with her life story in many many ways," he said.
Robert Frost: Homer, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson. When the MA Library Association asked Frost, in 1934, to name his favorite books, he gave them an amazing top 10 list. It included Homer's "Odyssey," Thoreau's "Walden," and Emerson's "Essays and Poems” - in case your looking for woods-walking reading.
A solid effort at compiling a list of every book and author discussed -- or even mentioned in passing -- in "The End of Your Life Book Club" by Will Schwalbe. Where only an author was mentioned, a representative title is included.
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BONUS BOOK: Irish author Sheridan Le Fanu did not write the very first vampire novel but in 1871, saw the publication of his gothic novella "Carmilla", which greatly influenced Bram Stoker's own work. This is the tale of Laura, a young lady who is slowly seduced into friendship by the enchanting Carmilla who begins to drain her life.
"Dracula" (1897) by Bram Stoker isn't the first vampire novel written, but it's the classic. It set many of the ground rules and remains readable even today. Nearly every vampire story that followed, borrowed from "Dracula" or played against expectations. This is the story of Count Dracula's arrival in London, the plague of vampires and subsequent race to catch and destroy the monster before he reaches Transylvania.
"I Am Legend" (1954) by Richard Matheson. Matheson developed a germ theory to explain vampirism. Robert Neville may be the last uninfected human. He spends his time killing vampires, trying to find a cure and possibly slipping his sanity until he spies an uninfected woman. In 2011, the HWA, Bram Stoker Family Estate and the Rosenbach Museum & Library awarded 'I Am Legend' the Vampire Novel of the Century Award.
"'Salem's Lot" (1975) by Stephen King. Ben Mears returns to Jerusalem's Lot, (aka 'Salem's Lot) Maine and faces a vampire epidemic brought by the human Richard Straker and the enigmatic, Kurt Barlow after they move into the haunted Marsten House. In many ways King played his story off of "Dracula". In 2005, 50 pages originally deleted material were returned and are now available in many formats.
"Interview with the Vampire" (1976) by Anne Rice. This first novel was based upon a short story she wrote in 1968 and expanded while still in the throes of grief after the death of her daughter, Michelle. In the book, Louis de Pointe du Lac, tired of his 200-year-long unlife, seeks an end to his existence as tells his story to an all too eager reporter.
"I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body...I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes, and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight, hunting for you, for your hot heart, like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue" - Pablo Neruda
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"Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy, absentminded. Someone sober will worry about things going badly. Let the lover be. Lovers don't finally meet somewhere. They're in each other all along." -by Rumi
"Let's heat up the night to a boil. Let's cook every drop of liquid out of our flesh 'till we sizzle, not a drop left." -from "The Real Hearth" by Marge Piercy "Wild Nights--Wild Nights! Were I with thee Wild Nights should be Our luxury!" -from "Wild Nights--Wild Nights!" by Emily Dickinson
"Body of a woman, white hills, white thighs, you look like a world, lying in surrender. My rough peasants body digs in you and makes the son leap from the depth of the earth. … Body of skin, of moss, of eager and firm milk. Oh the goblets of the breast! Of the eyes of absence! Oh the roses of the pubis! Of your voice, slow and sad!" -from "Body of a Woman," by Pablo Neruda
"When I kiss you in all the folding places of your body, you make that noise like a dog dreaming, dreaming of the long runs he makes in answer to some jolt to his hormones, running across landfills, running, running by tips and shorelines from the scent of too much, but still going with head up and snout in the air because he loves it all." - from "Muse" by Jo Shapcott,
"Give me all the kisses of your mouth. Your love is better than wine. Your body oils are fragrant, your name pours from my tongue. That is why I adore you. Call me and I will follow, and enter the chambers of a king. Together we celebrate love, a love more fragrant than wine. Oh, how I adore you!" -from "The Song of Songs," ca. 3rd Century BCE