Good Poems & Good Poems for Hard Times – Edited by Garrison Keiller
For regular NPR listeners, Keiller’s poem selections will be familiar. If not, perhaps you will remember the (minor) flap in the news earlier this year when Kansas radio station wanted to pull Keiller’s 5 minute poetry spot because a poem he read had the word breast in it. Yes, apparently the anatomy of 51% of the population is offensive to Kansas. (insert your Kansas dig here) He expressed delight that after 40 some years in radio he finally was interesting enough to censor – albeit shortly and by a bunch of nut jobs.
Never a great fan of poetry, I still enjoyed these collections greatly. These are not hard poems. They don’t require you to have read English lit at Oxford or to be able to speak olde Englishe. Nor do they span hundreds of pages, warbling on about woe, despair, dying Ophelia or the terrible weight of love. The poems he has selected are each wonderful, complete gems – a crystal clear thought and scene in a few stanzas. Topics range from the biggies – death, love, old age, to silly limericks and odes to Mac computers and soda crackers. These are lovely books to have sitting about to dip into a few pages at a time. And now I can even say I have read Bukowski.