Dennis Phillips is director of Beyond Baroque, a Venice literary foundation with a bookstore, typesetting services for small presses, a 23,000-volume library and a Friday-night reading series that has been a tradition for 17 years. He is also a poet; his most recent book is "The Hero Is Nothing" (Kajun Press, 1985). With "great difficulty," he picks his favorite books of poetry:
Susan Howe's "Defenestration of Prague" (Kulchur Foundation, 1983). "The most exciting poet in the country right now. Her work has incredible scope. She blends a lyrical quality with an expressive, concise, almost minimal way of writing."
Michael Palmer's "First Figure" (North Point Press, 1984). "His sense of language is always very challenging. Intellectually and emotionally stimulating."
"The Odyssey," translated by Robert Fitzgerald (Doubleday, 1961). "I read it often."
"Poems: Paul Celan," translated by Michael Hamburger (Persea, 1981). "Celan, a Romanian, killed himself in 1967. In 100 years, he may well be seen as the poet of his age. He was a linguist and a translator but above all a poet, and after being in a Nazi concentration camp he chose to write only in German, about the people who destroyed him." Temblor Magazine, edited by Leland Hickman. "A new poetry magazine published in L.A. I like 85% of the work. The magazine presents a range of work that is eclectic but always with a sensibility of language that pushes the boundaries of its perceived limitations. Some of the poets represented include Rosmarie Waldrop, John Taggart, Lyn Hejinian, Bob Perelman and Amy Gerstler."