I got so many responses to the previous post I set out to make a list for easy reference, but you can do that for yourselves simply by reading through them. I thought of many more myself: Hart Crane’s The Bridge, Martha Collins’ Blue Front, Kathleen Flenniken’s Plume, Claudia Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, Kevin Young’s Jelly Roll, Steven Cramer’s Clangings, all of Linda Bierds’ books. I would also add a book labeled fiction, Julia Otsuka’s The Buddha in the Attic: each of its stunning eight chapters is really a prose poem. People listed the classics, epics, novels in verse, character portraits, books driven by obsession, books driven by research–of course these categories overlap. Book-length poems are a way to have our cake and eat it too: the intensity of lyric combined with time to meditate, ponder, go through a range of emotions. I think the hardest part of writing out of research is transforming the results into music, into poetry. I’m deeply wedded to the 20th-century idea that a poem is not a description of the world, but a world in itself, so the modern and contemporary books here that most compel me are the ones that transform their raw material into something else, that spin straw into gold. I’m less moved by the ones that don’t accomplish that alchemy, that are closer to social commentary or history than to poetry. Long or short, I want the music of poetry, I want to feel as if the top of my head is taken off. My uncle, a mining engineer, described the process of assaying for gold that my great-grandfather would have followed: First he would have heated an ore sample (the raw material) and reduced it a lead “button.” Then this would be heated in a little dish called a cupel that would absorb the lead and leave just a bead of whatever gold and silver had been in the raw material. I think my favorite poems of any length are the ones that have done that refining and reducing, getting rid of the dross, until only the essence remains. My own list of favorite book-length poems would feature those that have the same tautness and economy as a short lyric, where the white space between lines is as eloquent as the lines themselves. Any thoughts about the possibilities and difficulties of writing good book-length poems?