no whale in sight

my 5 - Books of Poems I Love: Talking ‘bout My Generation - Gabrielle Calvocoressi

I was so excited to be asked to think about and then offer “5 things” for this wonderful project. I thought about poets like Bisop and Frost who changed my life and the way I wrote. I thought about Albums like Coltane’s Transitions or Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours that are currently helping me re-imagine what my work might look like. I thought about making a list of friends and kind people who are always giving me the opportunity to wonder at my good fortune (that list would have gone on for days). It’s hard to pick 5 things and yet it’s such a pleasure, as well. Here are 5 books by poets of my generation. They inspire me with their risk and generosity and intellectual rigor. They seem to me to be the work of artists & intellectuals with a sense of adventure and responsibility. In the case of Sean Singer, there is the great lesson that perhaps the great book you haven’t read is still waiting to find a home and how one needs to be the kind of citizen who fights for the things they love. Here are 5 (and I could go on and on) books from my generation. I’m excited to be growing up with all of these folks.

1. The Cloud Corporation by Timothy Donnelly

2. Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith

3. The History of Anonymity by Jennifer Chang

4. What The Right Knows by Tom Healy

5. Honey & Smoke by Sean Singer

(Ryan’s note: Gabrielle’s pick isn’t published yet, but here is Sean’s 2001 Yale Series of Younger Poets winning first book, Discography )

Gabrielle Calvocoressi is the author of The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart (Persea. 2005) and Apocalyptic Swing (Persea. 2009), which was a finalist for The Los Angeles Times Book Award.

She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including a Stegner Fellowship and Jones Lectureship from Stanford University, a Rona Jaffe Woman Writer’s Award and a fellowship to Civitella di Ranieri in Umbria. Her poems have been featured in the Washington Post and on Garrison Keillor’s Poet’s Almanac and in numerous journals. She also writes the Sports Desk column for The Best American Poetry blog ( and is the Virtual Editor for Broadsided Press. She tweets @gabbat, @broadsidedpress and may be writing her third book @caracaraoriole. She is on the advisory board of The Rumpus’ Poetry Book Club ( She lives in Los Angeles and is the poetry editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books ( ).

We are revisiting the original post, published last year, with our new format.