June 2010

100 Essential Modern Poems, Selected & Introduced by Joseph Parisi

In 2006 my Aunt, a retired museum curator in New York City, sent me a book called, “100 Essential Modern Poems.” At the time I was still living on the road, working in deserts and rivers and cooking on a little stove I kept in the back of my car. I made zines. I drank cheap wine with my friends and we howled at the moon. It was great. What kind of time did I have to read some stuffy academics idea of the most “essential” poems of “modern” times. Take 100 days out of my life that year and I’ll give you the 100 essential poems of my modernity, you know what I mean?

And then I picked it up the other day. Started reading it. I realized it’s a history book- that it tells the story of poetry in the last century, or at least part of it, and certainly the roots of it quite well.