For @bonbonelon - a different sort of answer (Incl. text full poem with a sort of booklist)

For my friend Elan who asked me 
what book to read
To learn about poetry. 
And I responded
"All of them"
That was despair talking, and hope
These days I do that a lot 
When I really meant to say was these books here
The ones that make me remember to write when I despair
The ones that are given me by friends by accident
The ones I trip over on the way to the bathroom at 3am
The ones that wake me in the middle of the night because they are hungry. 
I meant the books by poets about the right place in a wrong world, and the poets' books that are lessons encrypted in line and cadence about
How to stay alive, how to shout, how to understand that words can be layered and doubled and taken back from those who would buy them all and bind them. 
I'm sorry, Elan, I meant to give you a list, I polled my bookshelf and everything. I had Rukeyser, Merwin, Bishop, Dove, Hogan, McHugh, Boland, Heaney, Havel. I had Mandelstam, Neruda, Ai, Komunyakaa, Sanchez, Levis, Miłosz, Smith all lined up for you, but they all opened up and caught me and came unbound 
And instead of despairing, I am paging back through them, 
Relearning. ~ f. wilde
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  • fran_wildeFor @bonbonelon - a different sort of answer (Incl. text full poem with a sort of booklist)

    For my friend Elan who asked me
    what book to read
    To learn about poetry.
    And I responded
    "All of them"
    That was despair talking, and hope
    These days I do that a lot
    When I really meant to say was these books here
    The ones that make me remember to write when I despair
    The ones that are given me by friends by accident
    The ones I trip over on the way to the bathroom at 3am
    The ones that wake me in the middle of the night because they are hungry.
    I meant the books by poets about the right place in a wrong world, and the poets' books that are lessons encrypted in line and cadence about
    How to stay alive, how to shout, how to understand that words can be layered and doubled and taken back from those who would buy them all and bind them.
    I'm sorry, Elan, I meant to give you a list, I polled my bookshelf and everything. I had Rukeyser, Merwin, Bishop, Dove, Hogan, McHugh, Boland, Heaney, Havel. I had Mandelstam, Neruda, Ai, Komunyakaa, Sanchez, Levis, Miłosz, Smith all lined up for you, but they all opened up and caught me and came unbound
    And instead of despairing, I am paging back through them,
    Relearning. ~ f. wilde

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