Announcing the Spring 2005 Book Sense Picks Poetry Top Ten

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Here is the Spring 2005 Book Sense Picks Poetry Top Ten, based on the nominations of independent booksellers from all regions of the country. The March Red Box will contain the Poetry Top Ten pads and a PDF of the list is available on BookWeb.

Book Sense sends immense gratitude to all the booksellers who nominated titles for this list. There was a fantastic level of support, and all of the passionate contributions came together to create a wonderfully strong list.

The publication of the Poetry Top Ten has again been timed to coincide with April's designation as National Poetry Month. Now entering its 10th year, the annual event was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 to bring together publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools, and poets around the country to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of businesses and nonprofit organizations participate through in-store events, special book displays, workshops, and other activities.

For more on National Poetry Month, click here.

The Spring 2005 Book Sense Picks Poetry Top Ten

1. Blue Iris: Poems and Essays, by Mary Oliver (Beacon Press, $22, 0807068829) "The author has won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for her poetry, much of it about nature, and this handsome new book of new poems, previously published poems, and essays shows you why. A beautiful book full of beautiful poems." --Pat Kehde, The Raven Bookstore, Lawrence, KS

2. The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets, by Ted Kooser (University of Nebraska Press, $19.95, 0803227698) "The new U.S. Poet Laureate offers one of the friendliest how-to poetry manuals available. Completely removing the intimidation often attached to writing 'good poetry,' Kooser's guide is not a lecture from a stale academic, but a chat with an old and wise friend." --Scott Foley, Grass Roots Books & Music, Corvallis, OR

3. The Complete Poems of Kenneth Rexroth, by Kenneth Rexroth (Copper Canyon Press, $24 paper, 1556592175) "Whether writing of nature, politics, or love, Rexroth's clarity and intelligence blaze forth in language simple and engaging. To read Rexroth is to converse with the cosmos." --Ric Amante, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

4. Ten Poems to Change Your Life, by Roger Housden (Harmony, $15, 0609609017) "This is the last in his wonderful little collection of Ten Poems... series, and by my accounts the best. Very thought-provoking and a wonderful addition to any poetry lover's collection, or a great gift for the novice, to learn from and be inspired by." --Carrie Sutherland, J.W. Beecroft Books & Coffee, Superior, WI

5. Collected Poems 1943-2004, by Richard Wilbur (Harcourt, $35, 0151011052) "This superb collection reveals an American master who's been in full command of his lyric voice throughout his 60-year career. Here is a voice -- and temperament -- of such thoughtful poise and elegant reflection that it cannot fail to engage both the serious devotee and the occasional reader of contemporary poetry." --Terri Merz, Chapters: A Literary Bookstore, Washington, DC

6. A Companion for Owls: Being the Commonplace Book of D. Boone, Long Hunter, Back Woodsman, &c., by Maurice Manning (Harcourt, $22, 0151010498) "Manning writes about Daniel Boone on the frontier, and he has written a collection unlike any poetry book I've ever sold -- even people who say they don't like poetry (and there are plenty of those) are intrigued by the book." --Ernie Ford, Fine Print, Greencastle, IN

7. Technically, It's Not My Fault: Concrete Poems, by John Grandits (Clarion Books, $5.95 paper, 0618503617) "Grandits creates a wonderful character and voice in 11-year-old Robert. This collection is hilarious -- and will make kids want to read poetry." --Ashley Tongret, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

8. The School Among the Ruins: Poems 2000 - 2004, by Adrienne Rich (Norton, $22.95, 0393059839) "This is an exquisite collection. Adrienne Rich gives a dazzling show once again. Her language is lucid with vivacious imagery. Not to be passed up." --Ali Kennedy, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

9. Kettle Bottom, by Diane Gilliam Fisher (Perugia Press, $15 paper, 0966045971) "In Kettle Bottom, Diane Fisher's mountain voices of West Virginia bring to life a region and its inhabitants' struggles to survive in hardscrabble circumstances. The story of coal mining in the southern mountains has been recounted in numerous ways -- song, story, documentary, but seldom has it been rendered with such a perfect ear for nuance and language." --Margot G. Wilcox, City Lights Books, Sylva, NC

10. Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young, by Jack Prelutsky, Marc Brown (Illus.) (Knopf Books for Young Readers, $19.95, 0394872185) "I love this wonderful introduction for children to the pleasures of language. It's my favorite baby gift to give, and I recommend it at every birthing class at the local hospital, where I do a song and dance about the why, what, and how of reading to newborns." --Carol B. Chittenden, Eight Cousins, Falmouth, MA