10 Poems Project

The ten poems I'd use to introduce people to me:

Margaret Atwood, "[you fit into me]" from Power Politics
Tim Dlugos, "G-9" from Powerless
Russell Edson, "The Fall" from The Tunnel
Lynn Emanuel, "Halfway Through the Book I'm Writing" from Then, Suddenly—
Beckian Fritz Goldberg, "Refugees" from Never Be the Horse
Frank O'Hara, "Poem [When I am feeling depressed and anxious sullen]" Collected Poems
D. A. Powell, "[dogs and boys can treat you like trash. and dogs do like trash]" from Cocktails
Adrienne Rich, "Diving Into the Wreck" from Diving Into the Wreck
Jack Spicer, "We Find the Body Difficult to Speak" from One Night Stand and Other Poems
Mark Strand, "Keeping Things Whole," from Sleeping with One Eye Open


  1. I had Strand's Keeping on my list and dropped him at the last. So easily mistaken for a slight poem...Keeping, to me, is remarkable.

  2. Charles:
    Love your list. And I see we have "Diving into the Wreck" in common. I think it is such an amazing poem. "The thing I came for:/the wreck and not the story of the wreck/the thing itself and not the myth . . ."

  3. David—I don't understand why Strand doesn't get more cultural play. He seems sort of disregarded by many poets, but he was one of the first poets I truly loved and who spoke to me.

    Peter—I used that quote to preface a very autobiographical section of my first manuscript. That poem is really remarkable—as is that collection, I think. Very brave.

  4. Charles: was the first manuscript published? I'd love to see it. The Rich book really spoke to me at a certain time, as well.