I just read Tony Hoagland’s Twenty Poems That Could Save America and Other Essays (Graywolf Press, 2014).
It’s a wonderful and passionate book about both the practice of poetry and the ways in which it can enrich our lives — ". . . for poetry is our common treasure house, and we need its aliveness, its respect for the subconscious, its willingness to entertain ambiguity; we need its plaintive truth telling about the human condition and its imaginative exhibitions of linguistic freedom, which confront the general culture's more grotesque manipulations. We need the emotional training sessions poetry conducts us through. We need its previews of coming attractions: heartbreak, survival, failure, endurance, understanding, more heartbreak."
You can find the title essay (an earlier version, but close) — which is by far the best in the book — in Harper’s (online).
Twenty Little Poems That Could Save America
And all of the 20 poems, listed at the end, are available online. I’ve already gone through the trouble of tracking them down and making one document, so let me know if you’d like me to email it to you.
In that same vein, I recommend Jane Hirshfield's Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World.
"Poetry is news that stays news." Ezra Pound