Just like with many other things, I find myself to be a poetry traditionalist in most cases. Give me Byron or Poe or Hardy any day, over a majority of contemporary poets. I think that is mostly because I have been exposed to older poets at more length than contemporaries. That is just how it has panned out in all of my schooling. It isn’t that I am against today’s poets, but many of the ones I have read have not struck my fancy as quickly as some “classic” poets, especially Poe.
This is why, when my poetry professor assigned a poetry book review of two contemporary poets, I was not happy. At all. We had to choose a poet that had a piece appear in Best American Poetry 2016, and no poem from that book had particularly stood out to me. So, I picked two poets at random that had books at WKU’s library and went with it.
The first time at the library, I picked out two books and headed back to the room, but I soon found out that one of the books wasn’t by the person I thought it was and the poems in it were not at all compliant with the prompt for the paper, so back to the library I went and got the first eligible book I could find. It was Vagrant Grace by David Bottoms.
I was enthralled by the first page. Although I picked this book up by mere chance, David Bottoms has become my favorite contemporary poet. His nostalgic language is thought-provoking and expressive in a way that is soothing, while at the same time causing sublimated tension. I can’t really explain it any other way. I’m just glad I just so happened to pick up his book, and now I want to find more good poetry I don’t yet know exists.
A call to readers: If you know of any fabulous and perhaps not very well known poets, please comment! I need some new reading material!