HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY from LARB Poetry! We've forgone the usual pipe cleaners, plastic googly eyes and Elmer's glue and decided to send you a heart-shaped box full of poets talking about poems they love. Click on each "Valentine" and read and listen. Feel free to send these poems along to someone and to add your thoughts on a poem on our comments page. Though we have recently heard otherwise, poetry's complicated heart keeps beating. It's because of poets like these and readers like you. Thanks.

— Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Joshua Rivkin & Elizabeth Metzger for LARB Poetry

[Click on a poet:]


Dan Beachy-Quick on Emily Dickinson



Reginald Dwayne Betts on Reginald Shepherd

Natalie Diaz on Federico García Lorca



Alex Dimitrov on John Keats



Eloise Klein Healy on Christina Rosetti


Sean Hill on Kevin Young



Brett Fletcher Lauer on Kuan Tao-sheng



Dana Levin on E.E. Cummings



Adrian Matejka on Pablo Neruda



Jill McDonough on Elizabeth Bishop



Lynn Melnick on Lynn Emanuel



John Murillo on Etheridge Knight



Meghan O'Rourke on Wallace Stevens



Jessica Piazza on Alan Dugan



Sarah Vap on Natalie Diaz



Matthew Zapruder on Frank O'Hara

LARB Contributors

Adrian Matejka is an American poet. His most recent book, Mixology, was a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series. He graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with an MFA in Creative Writing.

Alex Dimitrov is the author of Love and Other Poems, which will be published in February of 2021, Together and by Ourselves, and Begging for It. With Dorothea Lasky he is the co-author of Astro Poets: Your Guides to the Zodiac. He lives in New York.

Brett Fletcher Lauer is the deputy director of the Poetry Society of America and the poetry editor of A Public Space. His first book, A Hotel in Belgium, is forthcoming from Four Way Books.

Dan Beachy-Quick is the author of six books of poetry, six chapbooks (two in collaboration with Srikanth Reddy), and two prose collections, as well as criticism and fiction. His work has won the Colorado Book Award, and has been a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Prize, and the PEN/USA Literary Award in Poetry, and included on the Best American Poetry anthology. He is the recipient of a Lannan Foundation residency, and has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He was one of two Monfort Professors at CSU for 2013–2015, and his work has been supported by the Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard University and the Guggenheim Foundation. He is a University Distinguished Teaching Scholar at Colorado State University, where he serves as assistant chair of the English Department and teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing.

Dana Levin is the author of In the Surgical Theatre, Wedding Day, and Sky Burial, which was noted for 2011 year-end honors by The New Yorker, the San Francisco Chronicle, Library Journal, and Coldfront Magazine. A recipient of fellowships from the Rona Jaffe, Whiting and Guggenheim Foundations, Levin chairs the Creative Writing and Literature Department at Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

Eloise Klein Healy is the author of seven books of poetry and three spoken word recordings.  She is the founding editor of Arktoi Books, an imprint of Red Hen Press specializing in the work of lesbian authors. Her latest collection of poems is A Wild Surmise: New & Selected Poems & Recordings. Healy was recently appointed the first Poet Laureate of The City of Los Angeles.

Jessica Piazza is the author of the poetry collection Interrobang (Red Hen Press, 2013) and the chapbook This is not a sky (Black Lawrence Press, forthcoming 2014). Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, she is currently a PhD candidate in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California. She is a co-founder of Bat City Review and Gold Line Press and a contributing editor at The Offending Adam.

Jill McDonough's books of poems include Habeas Corpus (Salt, 2008), Oh, James! (Seven Kitchens, 2012), and Where You Live (Salt, 2012). The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center, the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, and Stanford’s Stegner program, she taught incarcerated college students through Boston University’s Prison Education Program for thirteen years.  She teaches poetry at UMass-Boston and directs 24PearlStreet, the online writing program at the Fine Arts Work Center.  

Lynn Melnick’s first collection of poetry, If I Should Say I Have Hope, was published by YesYes Books in 2012.

Matthew Zapruder is an American poet, editor, and teacher. He is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently Father’s Day, from Copper Canyon in Fall 2019, as well as Why Poetry, a book of prose. He is editor at large at Wave Books, and teaches in the MFA and English Department at Saint Mary’s College of California.


Meghan O'Rourke is the author of the poetry collections Halflife and Once, and the memoir The Long Goodbye.

Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Diaz teaches at Arizona State University, and her first poetry collection is When My Brother Was an Aztec. [Photo by Cybele Knowles.]

Reginald Dwayne Betts is a husband and father of two sons. The author of the memoir, A Question of Freedom (Avery/Penguin 2009) and the collection of poetry, Shahid Reads His Own Palm (Alice James Books, 2010), Betts has been awarded fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, the Open Society Institute, Bread Loaf Writers’ Workshop and Warren Wilson College. As a poet, essayist and national spokesperson for the Campaign for Youth Justice, Betts writes and lectures about the impact of mass incarceration on American society.


Sarah Vap is the author of four collections of poetry. The most recent, Arco Iris (Saturnalia Books) was named a Library Journal Book Best Book of 2012. She is a recipient of a 2013 National Endowment of the Arts Grant for poetry. Her first collection, Dummy Fire, received the Saturnalia Poetry Prize. Her second collection, American Spikenard, received the Iowa Poetry Prize. She lives in Santa Monica and is pursuing her PhD at University of Southern California.

Sean Hill is the author of two poetry collections, Blood Ties & Brown Liquor (UGA Press, 2008) and Dangerous Goods, which is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in early 2014. More information can be found at www.seanhillpoetry.com.


LARB Staff Recommendations

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