Philip Larkin – Whitsun Weddings (1964)
This is, thus far, the only perfect poetry book (collection of poems) I have encountered. Every poem is of the highest caliber, and the arrangement of poems in it is a model of variation and contrast. The book is a miracle from beginning to end.
W.B. Yeats – The Tower (1928)
In this collection Yeats taught me how to write longer meditative poems comprised of multiple sections. In “Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen,” he famously asks, “Man is in love and loves what vanishes. What more is there to say?” Indeed, what more is there to say?
W.H. Auden – The English Auden (1978)
The volume collects all the poems from Auden’s book of the 1930’s. This is my favorite era of what is, taken all in all, the greatest English-language poet of the 20th Century.
Dante Alighieri – La Divina Commedia (1320)
Master verse-craftsman and philosopher and the greatest “world-builder” of all time, Dante is not just a poet but a boundless universe. I sometimes find myself reading Dante too much, getting lost in that universe.
Sappho – Poems and Fragments (circa 600 BC)
I greatly value passion, and no poet is more intensely passionate than Sappho. I respect her prescience when she writes of herself and her girls,
That, later on,
Even in an age unlike our own,
Someone will remember who we are.
AARON POOCHIGIAN earned a PhD in Classics from the University of Minnesota and an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University. His first book of poetry, “The Cosmic Purr” (Able Muse Press), was published in 2012, and his second book “Manhattanite,” which won the Able Muse Poetry Prize, came out in 2017. His third book, “American Divine,” won the Richard Wilbur Award and will come out in 2020. His thriller in verse, “Mr. Either/Or,” was released by Etruscan Press in the fall of 2017. His work has appeared in such publications as Best American Poetry, The Paris Review and POETRY. “