The title Good Poems comes from common literary parlance. For writers, it's enough to refer to somebody having written a good poem. Somebody else can worry about greatness. Mary Oliver's "Wild Geese" is a good poem, and so is James Wright's "A Blessing." Regular people love those poems. People read them aloud at weddings, people send them by e-mail.
Good Poems includes poems about lovers, children, failure, everyday life, death, and transcendance. It features the work of classic poets, such as Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and Robert Frost, as well as the work of contemporary greats such as Howard Nemerov, Charles Bukowski, Donald Hall, Billy Collins, Robert Bly, and Sharon Olds. It's a book of poems for anybody who loves poetry whether they know it or not.
Greatness comes in many forms, and as Garrison Keillor demonstrates daily on The Writer's Almanac, the most affecting poems in the canon are in plain English. Third in Keillor's series of anthologies, Good Poems, American Places brings together poems that celebrate the geography and culture that bind us together as a nation. Think of these poems as postcards from the road, by poets who've gotten carried away by a particular place-a town in Kansas, a kitchen window in Nantucket, a Manhattan street, a farm in western Minnesota. Featuring famous poets and brash unknowns alike, the verses in this exhilarating collection prove that the heart can be exalted anywhere in America.