Announcing the Spring 2006 Book Sense Picks Poetry Top Ten

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Here is the Spring 2006 Book Sense Picks Poetry Top Ten, based on the nominations of independent booksellers nationwide. The March Red Box will contain the Poetry Top Ten pads and a PDF of the list is available on BookWeb.

The list showcases a wide-ranging and strong list of titles for readers of all ages, and it is the result of a very strong level of support from booksellers, reflecting a deep level of knowledge and commitment.

Once again, the publication of the Book Sense Poetry Top Ten is timed to coincide with April's designation as National Poetry Month. The annual event was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 to bring together publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, schools, and poets around the country to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of businesses and nonprofit organizations participate through in-store events, special book displays, workshops, and other activities.

For more on National Poetry Month, click here.

Spring 2006 Book Sense Picks Poetry Top Ten

1. SELECTED POEMS: 1931 - 2004, by Czeslaw Milosz (Ecco, $24.95, 0060188677) "This posthumous compilation of Milosz's work displays the evolution of a genius through what was arguably one of the most trying and devastating periods of human civilization. With a gently unforgiving eye directed at the world and himself, this Nobel Prize winner shows us what it means to be human in a time when humanity itself is in question." --Joe Foster, Maria's Bookshop, Durango, CO

2. AT BLACKWATER POND: Mary Oliver Reads Mary Oliver, by Mary Oliver (Beacon, $19.95 Audio CD, 0807007005) "Mary Oliver is an icon and for good reason. As she reads 40 of her favorite poems you are lucky enough to inhabit the world alongside her, to feel the grace and the spirit of her vision. At Blackwater Pond is a must-have for long-time Oliver fans, and for those just discovering the joy of her work." --Stesha Brandon, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

3. POETRY SPEAKS TO CHILDREN, edited by Elise Paschen (Sourcebooks, $19.95, 1402203292) "This selection of 92 poems -- with 52 of them performed on an included audio CD -- presents a wonderful opportunity for children and adults to experience a diverse selection of poets and poems, which will appeal to the eye and ear." --Barbara Wilson, Butterfly Books, De Pere, WI

4. WHITE APPLES AND THE TASTE OF STONE: Selected Poems 1946 - 2006, by Donald Hall (Houghton, $30, 061853721X) "It is a great gift to readers to have in a single volume a selection from 50 years of work by one of America's finest poets. It is a book to be opened randomly until the eye finds the beginning of a poem and then to be read until satiated, full of feelings and emotions. I can't read Hall without sometimes laughing; sometimes crying." --Steve Schomberg, Redbery Books, Cable, WI

5. MONOLOGUE OF A DOG, by Wislawa Szymborska (Harcourt, $22, 0151012202) "Adjectives that one is tempted to overuse when describing this Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet's work include, but are not limited to, lucid, brilliant, humanizing, clear, sweet, startling, keen, tender, and, above all, perfect." --Alicia Aho, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

6.  THE TROUBLE WITH POETRY: And Other Poems, by Billy Collins (Random House, $22.95, 037550382X) "Collins' new collection, his first in three years, is cause for celebration!" --Dede Gallagher, Book Ends, Winchester, MA

7. FLOCK & SHADOW: New and Selected Poems, by Michael Hettich (New Rivers Press, $13.95 paper, 0898232279) "This collection of Hettich's poetry reflects his deep interest in nature and celebrates the human spirit. An outstanding collection." --Mitchell Kaplan, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

8. 100 ESSENTIAL MODERN POEMS, selected and introduced by Joseph Parisi (Ivan R. Dee, $24.95, 1566636124) "Joseph Parisi is the long-time former editor of Poetry magazine, and he has fashioned a wonderful collection, which contains both well-known and not-so-well-known poems, everything from works of Keats and Frost to such contemporary greats as Mary Oliver and Billy Collins. The short bios of the poets and introductions ensure that this diverse book will appeal to any poetry lover." --Carrie Sutherland, J.W. Beecroft Books & Coffee, Superior, WI

9. CRUSH, by Richard Siken (Yale, $14.95 paper, 0300107897) "Kafka once wrote that we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. This disquieting volume of poetry (nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award) certainly fits that bill. In cinematic language, Siken writes of obsession, impending loss, and deserved punishment. His work leaves one shaken, yet awestruck at the beauty of his writing." --Richard Bennett, Shiretown Books, Woodstock, VT

10. FLYING AT NIGHT: Poems 1965 - 1985, by Ted Kooser (University of Pittsburgh Press, $14.95, 0822958775) "U.S. Poet Laureate Kooser uses metaphor with uncommon ease. This is my current favorite among my bedside book collection." --Laura Hansen, Bookin' It, Little Falls, MN

April is National Poetry Month

In 1996, National Poetry Month was established by the Academy of American Poets as a month-long celebration of poetry. Since its inception, the program has highlighted the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets by introducing more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry. Throughout the month, booksellers, libraries, publishers, literary organizations, schools, and poets will be involved in myriad activities -- everything from poetry slams to poetry panels and workshops in bookstores.

Edna St. Vincent Millay asked, "To what purpose, April, do you return again?" For National Poetry Month! Discover the enjoyment of poetry at your independent bookstore.