In truth, I have heard only three of the poets whose works appear in the booklist below: Amy Clampitt, David Kirby, and Gerald Stern. But there is something priceless about the experience of hearing poets read their own words (in person, not on YouTube). I can’t say that I would have been immediately drawn to Stern’s verse just from encountering it on the printed page, but hearing him read once made me a lifelong fan. Kirby I got to know during graduate studies at Florida State, and I heard him read his work on several occasions. The remarkable Amy Clampitt once gave a reading that sparked my interest in contemporary poetry. (She didn’t publish her first full-length collection, The Kingfisher, until age sixty-three, after a career that included work as a librarian and freelance editor.)
Sadly, there are very few poets in my list whom I would have a chance of hearing in person at this point (and the surviving ones are getting well on in years – Stern recently turned 96). But I still enjoy dipping into their verse in print. I hope you might, too, as we observe Poetry Month this April.