5 Favorite Poetry Collections: Hannah Stephenson

Author:
Publish date:

Here’s part three of the 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. This week, please welcome Hannah Stephenson.

*****

Here are five poetry collections I often return to.

The Man Suit, by Zachary Schomburg
“Ha ha ha” oh wait I feel scared I mean sad LEMME READ THAT POEM AGAIN! That is the reaction I have to Zachary Schomburg’s poems. Creepy, weirdo, beautiful poems in this book (including “Full of Knives,” a poem I love to read aloud).

Apocalyptic Swing, by Gabrielle Calvocoressi
Such gorgeous sensitivity in these poems. Boxing is indeed a recurring concept in the collection (check out that great cover!), but so is vulnerability, the fragility/pliability of memory, history, and experience. “Acknowledgment, 1964” (and the whole collection) hurts me with its wisdom.

Apocalyptic-Swing

Given Sugar, Given Salt, by Jane Hirshfield
Every time I come back to this book it teaches me something new. The perfect gift for anyone who craves reflection and powerful, quiet poems (yourself, perhaps). Hirshfield does so much in so few lines. Poems you need in your life are “Muslin,” “One Life Is Spent, the Other Spends Us,” and “Tree.”

Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, by Lucille Clifton
The most perfect poem ever written may indeed be Lucille Clifton’s “blessing the boats.” I have sent this poem to so many people over the years, and have read and reread it when I need comfort. Clifton’s poems help us learn and change.

Palm at the End of the Mind, by Wallace Stevens (edited by Holly Stevens)
I read this book so much that it broke in half along the binding. I shelved the tattered halves and still kept reading it that way. The Florida poems are one kind of magic (“Donna, donna, dark”), and all of his other poems are another kind of magic (ice cream and jars and chaos/order).

Hannah Stephenson

Hannah Stephenson

*****

Hannah Stephenson is a poet, editor, and instructor living in Columbus, Ohio (where she also runs a monthly literary event series called Paging Columbus). Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, Verse Daily, Hobart, Contrary, MAYDAY, and The Nervous Breakdown; her collection,In the Kettle, the Shriek, is now available from Gold Wake Press. You can visit her online at The Storialist (www.thestorialist.com).

*****

Get your own poetry published!Learn how.

*****

Check out more poetic posts here:

Pam Jenoff: On Writing About Isolation While Isolated

Pam Jenoff: On Writing About Isolation While Isolated

Bestselling author Pam Jenoff shares how she explored themes of isolation in her latest novel, The Woman with the Blue Star, while writing during the 2020 pandemic lockdown.

8 Ways to Add Suspense to your Novel

8 Ways to Add Suspense to your Novel

Authors Mark and Connor Sullivan are no strangers to utilizing suspense in their novels. Here, they share their top 8 tips for writers to do the same.

Lynn Painter: On Rom-Coms and Escapism

Lynn Painter: On Rom-Coms and Escapism

Author Lynn Painter discusses the strengths of the romantic comedy genre and how she utilized them in her novel Better than the Movies.

On Mining Humor From Family Dynamics in Your Writing

On Mining Humor From Family Dynamics in Your Writing

Humor often stems from things that are not humorous. Can you mine your family's dynamics for inspiration? Author Jesse Q. Sutanto believes you can, and gives you her top 3 tips for doing so.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 563

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write an after poem.

How to Inhabit the Character You Write About

How to Inhabit the Character You Write About

One key to engaging your reader is to give them a character they love to read about. Author Diana Souhami gives her top tips for making this happen.

5 Ways To Develop Your Writing Imagination for Fantasy Fiction

5 Ways To Develop Your Writing Imagination for Fantasy Fiction

World-building can be an exciting process for the fantasy writer ... but what about when you hit an idea roadblock? Author A.J. Smith has 5 tips for ensuring that you keep your imagination engaged.

D. Eric Maikranz: On Crowdsourcing and Readership

D. Eric Maikranz: On Crowdsourcing and Readership

Debut author D. Eric Maikranz explains how he connected with his audience after self-publishing his novel The Reincarnationist Papers and what it was like to get that novel picked up by a Hollywood director and traditional publisher later on.