“I have always read a lot of poetry, it’s part of my job as a song writer,” wrote Nick Cave when asked who were his favorite poets. The difference between one who writes poetry and one who writes lyrical music is often blurred, (for some, it’s non-existent). Such was the controversy, for example, when Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

In a remarkably generous gesture, Cave not long ago launched a website, The Red Hand Files, on which anyone can ask him questions. He chooses which he will answer. In this same space, Cave once discussed in words infinitely wise and sensitive the tragic death of his son but a few years ago.

As to poetry, Cave assures us that he tries to read some for at least a half hour each day, prior to beginning his own writing. It lubricates his process in that poetry opens his mind making him more responsive to metaphor and to the abstraction entailed. Of the poets he reads, the musician posits that many “great poets,” those consecrated in the history of the literature, are inaccessible and therefore boring. His list reflects a love for simplicity and here he seems to advocate for it with the understanding that it’s never the enemy of depth. In fact, it keeps the mind light and alive.

His list, he says, is by no means definitive and has no particular order. He’s also clarified that it’s a list of his favorite poets in English. “I’m just sitting here at my desk looking at my bookshelf, in fact. They are poets whose company I consistently enjoy.” 

Finally, Cave recommends some anthologies of poetry, specifically those compiled by “the great Jerome Rothenberg” among them, Barbaric, Vast and Wild, Shaking the Pumpkin, A Big Jewish Book, America a Prophesy, and Technicians of the Sacred.

Below is the list of poets selected by Cave:

  • Stevie Smith
  • Frederick Seidel
  • William Blake
  • Sherwood Anderson
  • Rae Armantrout
  • Langston Hughes
  • e. e. cummings
  • W. B. Yeats
  • John Berryman
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Philip Larkin
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Sharon Olds
  • W. H. Auden

 

Image: Julio Enriquez – flickr

 

“I have always read a lot of poetry, it’s part of my job as a song writer,” wrote Nick Cave when asked who were his favorite poets. The difference between one who writes poetry and one who writes lyrical music is often blurred, (for some, it’s non-existent). Such was the controversy, for example, when Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

In a remarkably generous gesture, Cave not long ago launched a website, The Red Hand Files, on which anyone can ask him questions. He chooses which he will answer. In this same space, Cave once discussed in words infinitely wise and sensitive the tragic death of his son but a few years ago.

As to poetry, Cave assures us that he tries to read some for at least a half hour each day, prior to beginning his own writing. It lubricates his process in that poetry opens his mind making him more responsive to metaphor and to the abstraction entailed. Of the poets he reads, the musician posits that many “great poets,” those consecrated in the history of the literature, are inaccessible and therefore boring. His list reflects a love for simplicity and here he seems to advocate for it with the understanding that it’s never the enemy of depth. In fact, it keeps the mind light and alive.

His list, he says, is by no means definitive and has no particular order. He’s also clarified that it’s a list of his favorite poets in English. “I’m just sitting here at my desk looking at my bookshelf, in fact. They are poets whose company I consistently enjoy.” 

Finally, Cave recommends some anthologies of poetry, specifically those compiled by “the great Jerome Rothenberg” among them, Barbaric, Vast and Wild, Shaking the Pumpkin, A Big Jewish Book, America a Prophesy, and Technicians of the Sacred.

Below is the list of poets selected by Cave:

  • Stevie Smith
  • Frederick Seidel
  • William Blake
  • Sherwood Anderson
  • Rae Armantrout
  • Langston Hughes
  • e. e. cummings
  • W. B. Yeats
  • John Berryman
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Philip Larkin
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Sharon Olds
  • W. H. Auden

 

Image: Julio Enriquez – flickr