By Robert Alden Rubin
200 pages; Algonquin
The ritziest country club has a less restricted admittance policy than the usual cloistered collections of love poetry, with their odes to the joys, passions, and many splendoredness of the thing that's like a red, red rose. Love Poetry Out Loud (Algonquin), edited by Robert Alden Rubin, contains plenty of feverish verse for lovers to recite, each to each. But Rubin has not overlooked the lovesick, the spurned (and the spurning), the bitterly single, and the eternally optimistic. He's gathered bedrock poems in the love canon by Donne and Dickinson, as well as Wendy Cope's paean to personal ads, "Lonely Hearts" ("Successful, straight, and solvent? I am too— / Attractive Jewish lady with a son. / Can someone make my simple wish come true?"), and the lyrics of rapper Common (Signed sealed delivered for us to grow together / Love has no limit, let's spend it slow forever). This is a collection for those who live for Valentine's Day—and those who live in spite of it.