Dear Eric,Thanks, Robert! Glad to see Celan on there--this doesn't have to be limited to American poems, after all. I need to brush up on my Kumin and Kamenetz--maybe on the whole "K" section of the Jewish poetic alphabet?
I cannot come up with my own full definitive list. I feel unqualified because even though I've read a lot, there's so much more I haven't read and because I'm not sure if my tastes should signal what others need to read... Given these caveats, here's what I've partially come up with in no particular order:
- "Spit" (C.K. Williams)- IMHO, this poem is one of the best Holocaust poems, especially one of the best that has allusions to the Bible.
- "Pilpul" (Kamenetz)- Gives a great sense of Jewish study.
- "Behaving Like a Jew" (Stern)- More than just a dead opossum poem.
- "The Hebrew of Your Poets, Zion" (Reznikoff)-- actually, I'd highly recommend the whole _Jerusalem the Golden_, which speaks to the diaspora experience well.
- "The Trumpet Part" (Celan)- short beautiful poem about the language of the Jews
- "Getting the Message" (Kumin)- poem with texture and beauty... "about" language, the prophetic and scholarly ways of being, etc.
Keep 'em coming, everyone--I'm compiling a master list, and will start gathering poems & responses to them in the new year.