Ark – Ronald Johnson
This book goes beyond where any other American avant-garde has gone. A million fractals of light that settle into language.
Tender Buttons – Gertrude Stein
This is this collection which abhors syntax and embraces pure embodiment of object. This singlehandedly changed not only how I looked at poetry, but at art as a whole.
Metamorphoses – by Ovid
Ovid writes beautiful and difficult verse with three contrasting poetic voices narrating. Its arrangement is immaculately sequenced, its subject matter is dark and irreverent, and it’s profoundly humorous as well.
After Lorca – Jack Spicer
I cheat here with this collection, because it does contain a few straightforward translations of another favorite of mine, Federico Garcia Lorca, but Spicer quite literally makes this all his own as he exploits the limitations of translation and poetic lineage. This is a perfect example of how a collection of poems can be greater than the sum of its parts.
The Helens of Troy, New York – Bernadette Mayer
With every poem written for an actual woman named Helen, living in the actual town of Troy, New York, Mayer’s range as a poet is on full display. She’s a formalist, a language-poet, a confessional poet, and documentarian all in one collection.
Angelo Colavita lives and writes in Philadelphia, where he serves as Founding Editor of Empty Set Press and Associate Editor at Occulum Journal. He is the author of three collections of poetry — Flowersonnets (2018), Heroines (2017), and Nazareth (forthcoming from Apep Publications in 2020). His work has been published in Mookychick, Prolit Magazine, Metatron, Dream Pop Journal, Yes Poetry, Luna Luna Magazine, and elsewhere online and in print. For more info, visit www.angelocolavita.com or follow him on Twitter @angeloremipsum and on Instagram @angelocolavita