Essential Pleasures edited by Robert Pinsky
528 pages; Norton
They slink into your mouth like oysters, like full-bodied wine. When you read a poem aloud (recite is too formal a word), you curl your tongue around its luscious syllables—as with William Carlos Williams's "To Waken an Old Lady": "Old age is / a flight of small / cheeping birds / skimming / bare trees"; or Lucille Clifton's "Homage to My Hips": "these hips are big hips / they need space to / move around in." Essential Pleasures (Norton), edited by Robert Pinsky, is a cache of speakable poems, romantic and ridiculous, somber and sublime. Read one to someone you love.