Arthur Rimbaud — Completed Works, Selected Letters

My infatuation with poetry began as an undergraduate immersed in the formal fever dream (or acid trip) that is Rimbaud’s work. Beyond his sonorous language and care for the image, it helps that–at one time or another–we were both messy twinks.

Richard Siken — Crush

There’s an alluring grace to Siken’s poetics unlike anything I’d read when I came across Crush. With an intoxicatingly acute attention to queer love, dreams, and the body, Siken’s always feels quite visceral and inspired me to take writing more seriously.

Carl Phillips — Cortège

I worship at the altar of Carl Phillips; for me, his poetry is that “Somewhere Holy.” He writes of love and desire with such precision, such candor, it renders me uncertain if I’ve ever felt such things outside of these poems, or if through them I am perhaps living my best life.

Ada Limón — Bright Dead Things

Ada Limón is a singular voice with the incredible ability to weave both sadness and humor into a single poem clearly, directly. I admire her eye for the natural world, how she writes to the bigness of life itself, and how she, time after time, crafts some of the fiercest and most on point final lines one could dream up.

Erica Dawson — Big-Eyed Afraid

What Dawson accomplishes through form and exquisite sonics is truly a revelation of how sound and meter can thrive in contemporary poetics. There’s humor, there’s lineage, and there’s such a depth of musicality in these poems; I return to this collection when I need to feel the life pulse of poetry, which is quite often these days.

Matty Layne Glasgow is the author of deciduous qween (Red Hen Press, 2019), selected by Richard Blanco for the Benjamin Saltman Award. He is a Vice Presidential Fellow and PhD candidate at the University of Utah where he serves as the Assistant Editor of Quarterly West and the Writers in the Schools Coordinator. Find him at mattylayne.com or follow him in Twitterland @Matty_Layne.

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