National Poetry Month Playlist: Margaret Bashaar’s Picks


To celebrate National Poetry Month, our Sundress editors are sharing some of their favorite poems, most influential poems, and poems that they are really digging right now. Put them all together, and you have the Sundress Poetry Playlist!

Today’s picks come from Sundress author and Stirring poetry editor, Margaret Bashaar!


The poem I read that made me want to write poetry FOR REAL was “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T.S. Eliot


And then when I was maybe 15 I read “Ecstatic” by Yusef Komunyakaa and almost died of poetry love.


Joy, use me like a whore.
Turn me inside out like Donne
Desired God to do with him.
Show me some muscle,

Sunlight on black stone.
Coldcock me about the head
Till I moan like a bell, low
As the one Goya could hear

Through the walls of
Quinta del Sordo.
Tie me up to the stocks those Puritans
Handled so well in Boston streets.

Don’t let me down. I beg
You to use all your know-how
In one throttle. Please, good God,
Put everything into your swing.


And it’s not so much a single poem, but Frank X. Walker’s book When Winter Comes was hugely influential to me when writing Stationed Near the Gateway. His use of voice is superb and it remains one of my favorite books of poetry.


And then there was that time I sat on an airplane and sobbed while reading Rowing and The Rowing Endeth by Anne Sexton while everyone looked at me funny.

Rowing by Anne Sexton

The Rowing Endeth by Anne Sexton


Margaret Bashaar’s first full-length book, Stationed Near the Gateway, is due from Sundress Publications in 2015. Her poetry has been previously collected into two chapbooks, Letters from Room 27 of the Grand Midway Hotel (Blood Pudding Press) and Barefoot and Listening (Tilt Press), as well as in many literary journals and anthologies including Rhino, Caketrain, New South, Copper Nickel, and Time You Let Me In. She lives in Pittsburgh where she edits the chapbook press Hyacinth Girl Press and is a staff writer for Luna Luna Magazine.


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