Risking Everything: 110 Poems of Love and Revelation
For a poetry newbie, Risking Everything: 110 Poems of Love and Revelation is a nice introduction to the greats, both contemporary and historical. Hildegard of Bingen, who died in the 1100s, is included, yet so are poets like Billy Collins and Marie Howe who are alive and well.
My favorite, I think, is "So Much Happiness" by Naomi Shihab Nye, which begins,
It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against
A wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
Something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.
But happiness floats.
Whether you read the poems straight through, pick and choose which to read, or work your way through two or three poems at a time, Housden has collected a wonderful sampling of new and old, common and obscure. Perfect for both seasoned readers and those just dipping a toe into poetry.