I strongly recommend Rhina P. Espaillat's first book of poems, Where Horizons Go - for it includes some of the finest sonnets I've ever read; several short narrative poems in rhyming couplets; three villanelles and a sestina - all written in a contemporary vernacular, about concerns of the heart and mind; all with breath-taking artistry!
If I may be permitted, I also highly recommend these following books:
1) Ford Madox Ford's The Good Soldier - an old favorite of mine. I highly recommend it for its poetic language as well as the gradual unravelling of an unreliable narrator. Reminds me of the exactness of Flaubert, with all the psychological intensity of Dostoevsky.
2) American Short Story Masterpieces, edited by Raymond Carver and Tom Jenks. The best anthology of contemporary short stories by some of the finest practitioners in this genre, from Bernard Malamud to Carol Bly.
3) Six Great Modern Short Novels - a handfull of old classics by William Faulkner, Nikolay Gogol, James Joyce, Herman Melville, Katherine Anne Porter, Glenway Wescott. Still the best collection of novellas I've read, not only for the archetypal nature of the conflicts, the psychological drama, but also for the technical understanding of how this particular genre works.
4) Rebel Angels: 25 Poets of the New Formalism, edited by Mark Jarman and David Mason. Still the best anthology of contemporary poets who use meter and rhyme.
5) David Mason's The Country I Remember - because it includes an extraordinary narrative poem, only 50 pages long, that reads like a short novel, about the experiences of a Civil War veteran and his daughter.
6) Andre Dubus III's House of Sand and Fog - it's the best contemporary novel I've read in the last 10 years! With rare sympathy and psychological realism, this author masterfully maintains all three points of view of the three central characters as they become hopelessly entangled in a struggle over a house on a California beach.
7) David Mason's The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry. The most delightful yet insightful book of essays on poetry I've ever read! I am awed by way this poet blends feeling and thoughtfulness in what he writes; the deep human insights found in his essays as well as his poetry.
8) Barry Lopez's Arctic Dreams - after Walden Pond, the most delightful and spiritually moving book I've read on nature.
9) Thucydides' The Peloponnesian War - a model for all the machinations and misery of protracted wars! Steven Lattimore's translation is the best I've found.
10) Dante's Inferno - Michael Palma has done the best translation I've read, for it's accuracy as well as the rhythm of the rhyme scheme (Terza Rima).
11) Beowulf - Timothy Murphy and Alan Sullivan have done the best translation I've read (yes, better than the one Seamus Heaney did); the Accentual meter gives this Norwegian masterpiece the rhythm of a drum beat, befitting the heroic battle between a great warrior and his adversary.
12) The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson, the most enjoyable children's book I've read in years! I love reading it to myself, my granddaughter and the children of my friends. About a clever mouse who takes a stroll in a dark woods. I love it for the catchy, repeating pattern of rhyme as well as all the adventure and humor.