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Poetry Month, Biblio File

Great Poetry by Your Favorite Fiction Writers


It's no rarity to hear someone say, "I love to read, but I don't like poetry." Yet often, when probed, even those who consider themselves writers or readers struggle to define what poetry is. In fact, the categorical boundaries are rather porous, and this is all the more apparent when we consider the number of fiction writers who also write poetry.

The following list contains poetry collections written by some of your favorite writers, whose prose work is often better known than their verse. As such, you won't see the likes of Sylvia Plath, who did indeed write a novel in addition to the bright flames of Ariel, nor any other writers celebrated primarily for their poetry. Get ready to see your favorite (mostly) fiction authors in a whole new light.

Untitled, Faces. Image ID: 1945807

Raymond Carver
All of Us: The Collected Poems
Carver's blue collar minimalist stories are some of the most beloved in the American canon for their distilled language, and this quality is all the more apparent in the author's poetry.

Alice Walker
Horses Make A Landscape Look More Beautiful
Though perhaps best known for her novel The Color Purple, Alice Walker has written nearly ten collections of poetry.  In Horses Make A Landscape Look More Beautiful, Walker propels her poems forward with passionate calls for justice.

Alexander Pushkin
The Gypsies & Other Narrative Poems
For fans of narrative poetry, this collection offers Pushkin's earthy sensibility arrayed in lines that organize his lush descriptive writing.

Charlie Smith
Women of America: Poems
Smith may be America's most bewitching stylist alive, and in the poems of Women of America, his gritty tenderness is on full display.

Margaret Atwood
The Door
In the house that is Margaret Atwood's oeuvre, The Door opens up to explore the passage ways between life and death, individuals in and out of love, and the poet and her world.

Thomas Hardy
The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy
The cartography of Hardy's poetry is rich with landmarks and historical happenings, but it also offers the grappling with fate that lovers of Tess of the D'Urbervilles will appreciate.

Jorge Luis Borges
Fervor de Buenos Aires
Run through the labyrinth of Borges' work, and you may find yourself facing the heady rush of the author's first publication, Fervor de Buenos Aires.

Kathy Acker
Hello, I'm Erica Jong
Who is as alluring, confrontational, and enlivening on the page as Kathy Acker? In this prose poem originally published as a pamphlet, Acker takes on the author of Fear of Flying.

Denis Johnson
The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations Millennium General Assembly
Johnson's Jesus' Son is an MFA workshop favorite across the country, and in his poetry, the author's hallucinatory imagination spills down the page with equally bruised beauty.


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Where's D.H. Lawrence?

Fiction writers who also publish poetry

Jill Alexander Essbaum published her novel "Hausfrau" this year after having published several volumes of poetry, most recently "Necropolis" (2008).

I would appoint Paul Auster.

I would appoint Paul Auster. Why not?

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