I like older poetry of various kinds, everything from the Romantics through the Modernists and the Confessional and "Movement" poets,* but after the 1960s almost everything I've read leaves me cold. I would really like to get into some current poets (say, the last 20 years or so) and I'm hoping for some recommendations. My main issues are:
- I don't like free verse, or rather I don't like the extremely free verse that seems to dominate now. I realize that a lot of the poets I allude to above wrote some free verse, but it feels like they were still paying a lot more attention to meter and rhyme than most free verse does today -- and even then, I often prefer their more formal output. I don't need everything to be Rudyard Kipling-style sing-songiness, but I need a certain amount of lyricism, meter and rhyme to really enjoy a poem.
- I don't like anything too topical, too self-consciously "difficult," or with more than a hint of academic theory or identity politics -- not that I have a problem with these things in general, they're just not my taste in poetry. (And again, I know that some of the older poets I like were engaging the topical issues and identity politics of their day, but for whatever reason -- maybe just the passage of time -- it doesn't grate the same way.)
- On the other extreme, I feel like once you turn away from that poetry slam-type material (young/topical/identity/etc) a lot of the other current poetry I see is just kind of ...comfortably dull? Like, trying to be clever or profound about the minutiae of everyday life. I don't get the sense of real emotional engagement or vulnerability that I do from the older stuff.
I was intrigued to read about the "New Formalism
" movement, but I don't know where to start with it, and also it seems to have somewhat fizzled out...? Who were the best poets of that group? And who are the other poets and publications I should be looking at?
*(I want to keep the question general but if it helps, here are a few particular favorites: Coleridge, Poe, Dickinson, John Clare, Rupert Brooke, Stephen Crane, AE Housman, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Bishop, EE Cummings, WH Auden, XJ Kennedy, Philip Larkin ...and a good example of a later free-verse-but-formal poet that I still like is Richard Hugo)