Top Five Friday: Poets

In anticipation of National Poetry Month (yes still a week away), I've decided to share my top five favorite poets for this week's "Top Five Friday":

1. Jewel

She's my favorite musician, so it shouldn't be surprising that's she's my number one favorite poet. Before the release of her sophomore album, Spirit, Jewel published a collection of poetry titled A Night Without Armor. The fourteen year old, hardcore fan that I was, I wore the pages of my copy out, touched by the honesty, impressed with the intimate detail, and inspired to start writing my own poetry. Though the collection received often harsh critical review, I've always thought of her poetry as brilliant. Some might say I was just blinded by my devotion to the artist, but the effect was still there and that's all that matters to me. I've been eagerly awaiting another collection; however, in an interview, Jewel once said she has actually finished a collection of love poems for her husband, Ty, but she'd prefer wait to have it published until his mother can't read them...

2. Katrina Ottens

This poet's no where near as well known as any of the others on this list, but I must give a shout out to my cousin. When we were teenagers, Katrina shared with me a notebook in which she had written a few poems. Impressed with her work and inspired, I pretty much stole her idea and began writing my own. If it weren't for her, though, I may not have had any passion or interest at all in writing and possibly may not have accomplished what I have. When my grandmother died, I had the honor of writing a poem with Katrina for the program handout, and though the occasion was sad, I enjoyed working with my cousin on the project. I'm not sure if she's still writing or not, but it's always been a secret goal of mine to collaborate with Katrina on a collection.

3. Emily Dickinson

"Because I could not stop for death / He kindly stopped for me..." Probably one of the most memorable lines of poetry to me. I think I appreciate Dickinson a little more for her story than for her work, but she's still one of the first I think of when asked about great poets. Deeply affected by the deaths of friends, she suffered from depression and tended to seclude herself in her room, but she seemed to find solace in the written word. I think that's why I appreciate her so much. Though I may have not suffered from depression to the extent that she did, I can relate to her in the sense that I've found an outlet for feelings and emotions in writing.

4. Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson

Last year, I came up with the idea to read one title by each of the winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature and reflect on them on another blog, What Would Alfred Read--a feat that I sadly admit I have put on hiatus. According to, Mr. Bjørnson was awarded the Nobel Prize "as a tribute to his noble, magnificent and versatile poetry, which has always been distinguished by both the freshness of its inspiration and the rare purity of its spirit." Out of all the readings I've done for the blog so far, I found Bjørnson's poetry the most engaging and easy to read. I liked the rhythm, alliteration, and rhyme sequences that he often utilized, which made is verse fun and enjoyable to read. You can read more about my thoughts on his poetry here.

5. Mark Hennessy

Now, I haven't read much of this last poet's work, but because of a generous gift I received yesterday, I soon will. I invited the local poet Mark Hennessy to do a performance at the library for National Poetry Month, and he decided to thank me by dropping off copies of his two collections, as I described in my last post. I thought that was pretty cool, and thus the reason he's included on today's "Top Five." I'm looking forward to reading his work and seeing his performance at the library on April 4th, entitled The Meaninglessness of National Poetry Month in an Apocalyptic Year, as well as the other things he'll be doing for the series of events offered by the library and the Lawrence Arts Center.


  1. So are these in order from your most favored to least? Jewel has wonderful lyrics. :)

    1. More in the order I thought of them, really


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