Animal Soul – Bob Hicok
This is the first Hicok I read, quickly acquiring anything else he’d done that I could get my hands on in 2010-2011, when Hicok’s work influenced my 2nd book so much. It might have been the first big Eureka book, where I thought, wow, poems can do that?
Calling a Wolf a Wolf – Kaveh Akbar
This will always be a special collection for me, for Kaveh was my senior AP English student where I teach high school in Indiana. Kaveh’s enthusiasm for poetry and for life were fully present even back in 2006-7, and he went through so much to give us this book, I’m proud of him and thankful for it.
Levis is an unparalleled virtuoso in his work from Winter Stars through the posthumous collections. I’ve yet to read another poet who combines elegance, complexity, and clarity so well.
Trances of the Blast – Mary Ruefle
Ruefle, like Levis, is another singular talent, whose capacity for invention, surprise, and knowing humor produce books that seem to conjure entirely new states of mind from nothing but thin air.
Lunch Poems – Frank O’hara
I love the energy and movement of this book, how it reads quick, like a manic telephone conversation. I especially like poems that are engrossing and move quickly, as these poems do.
Steve Henn wrote Indiana Noble Sad Man of the Year (Wolfson 2017), And God Said: let there be Evolution! (NYQ Books 2012) and Unacknowledged Legislations (NYQ Books 2010). Find poems and more at therealstevehenn.com