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5 Favorite Poetry Collections: Jessie Carty

Categories: Guest Posts, Poets, Poets Helping Poets, Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides Blog, What's New.

Beginning this week, I plan on have a five-part series in which poets share their five favorite poetry collections–with reasons for their selections included. Hopefully, it’ll help shine light on collections that absolutely need to be read. Our first poet is Jessie Carty.


When Robert asked me about picking my five favorite poetry collections I was excited . . . and then daunted. I have classics that I love, but like my own poetry, I tend to want to discuss what is newer. But, I wanted to challenge myself so I started at my shelves and pondered which books do I come back to most often? Here are the five:

Modern Life

Modern Life

Modern Life, by Matthea Harvey
Modern Life came across my desk in grad school. I love reading books that speak to me, to which I can relate, but sometimes I love the books even more that challenge me. I don’t know that I could ever write the way Harvey does, but I love the surprising juxtapositions and word choices that she comes up with. Wonderful.

Macnolia, by A. Van Jordan
Macnolia is a book I actually have taught, at least in parts. I love that Jordan tackles a historical person, but one who may not be as well known, and gives them a voice. Terrific read.

How to Kill Poetry, by Raymond Luczak
Luczak takes us through the history of poetry (and the future) by responding, with his own poems, to the poetic tradition. Brilliant. I’d love to teach this some day.

a half-red sea, by Evie Shockley
It’s hard for me to put into words what I love about this book, but it just blew me away. Perhaps a quote from the poem “atlantis made easy” will give you a taste: orange was the color of her address, then blue silt.

The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry, edited by J.D. McClatchy
Ok this is a bit of a cheat, but it is my favorite anthology because it has Bishop, Doty, Jarrell, Merwin, Rich, Simic, and the list goes on. Oh only if Atwood was American.

Jessie Carty

Jessie Carty


Jessie Carty‘s writing has appeared in publications such as MARGIE, decomP and Connotation Press. She is the author of six poetry collections which include the chapbook An Amateur Marriage (Finishing Line, 2012), which was a finalist for the 2011 Robert Watson Prize. Her newest collection, MORPH, was published by Sibling Rivalry Press in the fall of 2013. Jessie is an adjunct instructor for the University Writing Programs UNC-Charlotte. She can be found around the web, especially at http://poetinurpocket.tumblr.com.


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About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

3 Responses to 5 Favorite Poetry Collections: Jessie Carty

  1. Jessie Carty says:

    Thanks, guys! It was fun trying to come up with a list :)

  2. Jane Shlensky says:

    Just in time for my holiday reading list. Thanks, Jessie and Robert. I’m looking forward to reading MORPH as well, Jessie.

  3. Nancy Posey says:

    Great to hear from Jessie. Just what I need: books to add to my list!

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