On Writing

Bruce Meyer’s List of 100 Books of Poems You Should Read In Your Lifetime! *Revealed*

If you follow Bruce on Facebook then you’re lucky to see this list posted there as well! For the rest of you – here it is!

Thank you again to Bruce Meyer – Poet for the Poets! – for compiling this list and for answering my questions as a guest writer for National Poetry Month.

Wait no longer! Here is the list!

Bruce Meyer’s Non Ranked List of 100 Books of Poems You Should Read In Your Lifetime

This is not a ranking list. The numbers are simply there so I can keep track of the count. Read them in any order and enjoy. If you read these you will have an appreciation for the art, if not be turned on to it for the rest of  your life.

100. Derek Walcott, Omeros
99. Philip Larkin, The Whitsun Weddings
98. George Elliott Clarke, Whylah Falls
97. Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
96. Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child’s Garden of Verse
95. A.A. Milne, Now We Are Six
94. Geoffrey Chaucer, Troilus and Cresiyde
93. William Shakespeare, The Sonnets
92. William Stanley Merwin, Complete Poems (2 volumes)
91. Dorothy Livesay, The Unquiet Bed
90. James Clarke, The Kid From Simcoe Street89. Seamus Heaney, Death of a Naturalist
88. Ted Hughes, Hawk in the Rain
87. Mary Jo Salter, Sunday Skaters
86. Dana Gioia, Daily Horoscope
85. Czeslaw Milosz, Collected Poems
84. Jack Gilbert, Collected Poems
83. Wilfred Owen, Collected Poems
82. Pablo Neruda, Twenty Love Poems
81. James Fenton, A German Requiem
80. Dana Gioia, Planting a Sequoia79. Andrew Motion, Independence
78. Seamus Heaney, Field Work
77. Isabella Vallancy Crawford, Malcolm’s Katie
76. W.B. Yeats, Collected Poems
75. Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Poems / 100 Sonnets
74. Craig Raine, The Onion Memory
73. Peter Porter, The Cost of Seriousness
72. Galway Kinnell, The Avenue Bearing the Initial of Christ Into the New World
71. James Wright, Collected Poems
70. The Bible, Song of Solomon
69. W.H. Auden, On This Island
68. Sylvia Plath, Ariel
67. Amy Clampitt, The Kingfisher
66. Bliss Carman and Richard Hovey, Songs of Vagabondia
65. Leonard Cohen, Let Us Compare Mythologies
64. Earle Birney, Collected Poems
63. John Wain, Collected Poems
62. T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land and other poems
61. Philip Larkin, The Less Deceived
60. Anna Akhmatova, Collected Poems
59. Barry Callaghan, As Close as We Came
58. The Bible, The Psalms
57. Fleur Adcock, Selected Poems
56. Paul Muldoon, Meeting the British
55. Robert W. Service, Songs of a Sourdough
54. Charles Tomlinson, The Way In
53. Marilyn Hacker, Selected Poems 1965-1990
52. Stephanie Bolster, White Stone
51. Mahmoud Darwish, The Butterfly Burden
50. Yehuda Amichai, The Selected Poetry of Yehuada Amichai
49. Sheniz Janmohamed, Bleeding Light
48. Bruce Hunter, Coming Home from Home
47. C.P. Cavafy, Selected Poems (including “Ithaka”)
46. Marty Gervais, To Be Now, New and Selected Poems 1989-2003
45. Seamus Heaney, Station Island
44. Donald Justice, New and Selected The Other Poems
43. Maxine Kumin, Selected Poems 1960 to 1990
42. Author Molly Peacock, Original Love
41. Dylan Thomas, Collected Poems
40. Edgar Allan Poe, Collected Poems

39. Anne Sexton, The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton
38. Geoffrey Hill, Collected Poems
37. Halli Villegas, In the Silence Absence Makes
36. Tomas Transtromer, Selected Poems (Robert Bly translation)
35. Al Purdy, The Darkness
34. Dana Gioia, The Gods of Winter
33. Sam Gwynn, Body Bags
32. Mark Jarman, Songs for Ecclesiastes
31. Jared Carter, Darkened Rooms of Summer
30. Alice Major, The Occupied World
29. Nicole Brossard, Selected Poems
28. Hector St. Denys Garneau, The Selected Poems of Hector St. Denys Garneau
27. Peter Redgove, The Force and other poems
26. Paul Celan, Collected Poems (Penguin edition)
25. Robert Graves, Complete Poems
24. John B. Lee, Dressed in Dead Uncles
23. Andrew Motion, Secret Narratives
22. Alexandr Pushkin, The Bronze Horseman
21. Dennis Lee, Civil Elegies
20. Margaret Atwood, The Journals of Susannah Moodie
19. Anne Wilkinson, The Hangman Ties the Holly
18. Denise Levertov, Collected Poems
17. Zulfikar Ghose, Jets from Orange
16. Frank Prewett, The Selected Poems of Frank Prewett
15. Al Purdy, Selected Poems
14. John Reibetanz, Ashbourn
13. Kay Ryan, Selected Poems
12. Annie Finch, Calendars
11. Lisa Williams, Woman Reading to the Sea
10. Federico Garcia Lorca, Selected Poems
9. Richard Wilbur, New and Collected Poems
8. Wole Soyinka, The Shuttle in the Crypt
7. Jorge Luis Borges, The Sonnets
6. Adam Sol, A Crowd of Sounds
5. Robert Frost, The Poetry of Robert Frost
4. Ezra Pound. Selected Poems
3. Hayden Carruth, Selected Shorter Poems
2. Robert Lowell, For the Union Dead
1. Robert Hayden, Collected Poems
1. John Berryman, Collected Poems

*I’d like to add ‘I Am That Woman’ by Vanessa Shields as 101!! And silly Bruce, didn’t include any of his books on the list!! There are many!

Bruce’s bio: Bruce Meyer is author of 35 books of poetry, short fiction, non-fiction, pedagogy, and literary journalism. He is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Barrie, Ontario. His recent books of poetry (of which The Obsession Book of Timbuktu is his 11th collection) include Mesopotamia (Scrivener Press, 2009), Dog Days: A Comedy of Terriers  (Black Moss Press, 2009), and A Book of Bread (Exile Editions, 2012). Forthcoming poetry collections in 2014 include Testing the Elements (Exile Editions) and The Seasons: One Hundred Sonnets (Porcupine’s Quill Press). His broadcasts with Michael Enright on the Great Books for This Morning are the CBC’s bestselling spoken word series, and his non-fiction book, The Golden Thread: A Reader’s Journey Through the Great Books (Harper Collins, 2000) was a national bestseller.

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