Thursday, May 15, 2008

The List: Near Perfect Books of Poems

Cover by Albert Huffstickler

Over the last two weeks, I've been soliciting ideas from readers concerning what they consider to be perfect or near perfect books of poems, offering a free 6 issue subscription to Lilliput Review as enticement (or punishment, depending on your pov). Here is the list so far:

(Please note: this list continues to grow. See webpage listed below for details. The list is now over 170 titles)

The List

Basho And His Interpreters by Makoto Ueda

Silence In The Snowy Fields by Robert Bly

The Pill Versus The Springhill Mine Disaster by Richard Brautigan

Thirst by Patrick Carrington

Variations by Bill Deemer

Book of Haikus by Jack Kerouac

The Haiku Anthology, 3rd edition, edited by Cor van den Heuvel

Letters to Yesenin by Jim Harrison

book of resurrection by mark hartenbach

The Waiting Room at the End of the World by Jeff Rath

New Poems (1908), the Other Part by Rainer Maria Rilke (tr. Snow)

Selected Poems by Anne Sexton

The Sonnets (William Shakespeare/1609)

Harmonium (Wallace Stevens/1923)

Leaves of Grass - Walt Whitman

The Prelude - William Wordsworth

The Tower (W.B. Yeats/1928)

Seventeen books of poems in all, covering the gamut ranging from classical to small press. I have to admit this is a sort of cheap way to bump up my own personal reading list and I'm hoping that other folks find a title or two here that they might be interested in taking a gander at. Thanks to everyone that participated; a number of free subscriptions went out, so some sort of balance has been established.

Because, however, I can't get enough, here's what I've decided to do. I am going to continue to solicit titles for the list as new folks pass through or come on board. Since I don't want to take up anymore time shilling for titles on the blog, I've created a webpage with the list at the Lilliput Review homepage. As an incentive to contribute, I'm going to offer the two current issues (or two issues added to subscriptions for current subscribers) of Lilliput free on an ongoing basis. People interested in Lillie who go to the homepage looking for a sample or info will see they can get free copies for their thoughts. I'll set some arbitrary end point for the list (25 titles, 50, 100?) and call it quits when that point is reached. To me, it's a win/win/win situation; the reading list grows, people get free issues, Lillie gets out there to more folks.

So, spread the word. Send titles along anytime. I'll put a link on the sidebar of the blog to the new webpage for ease of access.

In other news, I've received a chapbook by Michael Kriesel, Feeding My Heart to the Wind: Selected Short Poems 1999-2005, from sunnyoutside press. Michael has published some excellent work in Lillie over the years and I was delighted to see this collection. Here is a poem from Lilliput #152 that is reprinted in this fine collection of short work:

Rented Room

Fall window sill
the beer's cool

watching a maple
I start to pay attention

to the light
the way trees do

And here's a second beauty:

Landing Road

Old pine trees
line the road

so many tongues
for the wind

Get a hold of a copy of this; you won't be disappointed.

Lots more things out there to discuss, but time flys by when your making new webpages and coming up with goofy ideas. So it's on to the archive for a peek at Lilliput #91, September 1997. For those keeping score, #92 is a broadside by small press impresario ave jeanne, entitled Old Man Sez Young Man. It is available for a buck, as are all previous broadsides and back issues. Here are a couple from #91:


Nothing precious is not concealed at the start.

Robert P. Vierling

Haiku #17

Heart beating so fast
and under my fingernails
acorns and oak trees.

Bill DiMichele


how is it done,
the vanishing,
to step behind an atom
the oak crown still roaring

Georgette Perry

And you too shall
pass, the autumn
tells me, shaking
its leaves
in my face.

Albert Huffstickler

Till next time,



Anonymous said...

You do realize I just put every single book on that list on my own list, right? ;)

I would feel bad taking advantage of your offer, because it seems like, well, taking advantage! I am also highly biased in that my favorite poets are too close to me for me to render any objective opinion, and I tend to find all of their work perfect.


Greg said...

thanks for the great list! i added several of the books to my own "to-read" list, and i'll post a link to the list on my blog.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Hmn, well, no not really since lots of folks are getting some free issues.

All I need is that one book of poems that's damn near perfect - bias is welcome, in fact, encouraged.


Issa's Untidy Hut said...


Thanks for the note and the notice you posted on your blog. I left a message there. Also, put you in the blog links on the sidebar.

I've tweaked the Lillie homepage, as I mentioned in my post. Let's see what happens.


Charles Gramlich said...

I came over through your comment on Razored Zen. I'll send you an email but I'd certainly recommend for the list: The collected poems of Dylan Thomas. This book had a profound impact on me and really taught me that poetry still has much to say to the world.

By the way, are you at all familiar with David Lanoue, and his Haiku Guy website. There is a link on my blog. David has translated many hundreds of Issa's poems for the web and is pretty well known in the haiku community. He teaches at my university and we were in a writing group together for many years. He's a good friend.

Charles Gramlich said...

For some reason, the email I tried didn't go through at but I did post my recommendation here.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Hi, Charles:

Thanks very much for the recommendation, I'm going to put it on the list this morning.

I must have been half asleep when I was tying: the email is

lilliputreview at gmail dot com

not Sorry about the mistake. If you send an email directly with your snail mail address, I'll send the current issues right away. If you'd prefer the snail mail route, you can send to:

Lilliput Review
Don Wentworth, Editor
282 Main Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15201

The email should go through now that I've given you the correct address, though, saving you the postage and envelope.

Thanks again for helping build the list.

Don at Lilliput

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


PS Yes, I do know about David Lanoue, I've sited him a few times on Issa's Untidy Hut and subscribe to his daily emails.