Holiday Reading: California Poets Recommended by Poet, Dan Essman

I asked my ever-wise poet friend, Dan Essman, who resides in Willits, California to suggest some California poetry for our Holiday Reading Marathon.  Here’s his list in his words::



Jeffers speaks to my love of epic emotion, to my sexual hungers and love as loss...and of sex as a form of fatal instinct...and beyond the passions...four generations of my family have lived on the western edge of America...this is Jeffers territory...his recognition that the surf racked stones and cliffs of Big Sur transcend human limits...are a pure and lonely and monumental aesthetic force...this recognition speaks to every memory and bone-felt truth in my poet's heart...I feel this California in the same way Jeffers does...like I said, he knows me...



Sharon's heart of love is ripped from her chest and splayed-out on the page in blood and tears...a book-length poem that speaks from the body...what a perfect cry...







Formal and powerful blank verse sonnets in iambic pentameter...

Beckett is a well respected lyricist as well...and often recorded.
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Poet laureate of San Francisco...there are still poets in the City...but it's hard for them. Hirschman is a great poet...a Beat..a lefty. A friend to us all.




Out of print, but worth finding:

Reading her narrative prose poems brings me to tears...I don't know why...a special and ineffable genius...like being hugged hopefully by a lost child. (Note: the talented Robin Rule is also Mrs. Essman.)



A Natural History of Mill Towns by Theresa Whitehill
Memorializes towns and places in Mendocino that have disappeared in time...what a strange sad soft voice speaks here...






While he’s not a California poet, Alan’s Ginsberg’s “A Supermarket in California” tops my list of California poems.  Dan agrees:  The Jersey boy Ginsberg was a California poet...that's where his genius blossomed.  
You can read it here:
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/177128
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