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10 of the Greatest Poetry Books

Poetry is such a beautiful medium. The words flow like wine and they leave you feeling mentally satisfied. Here are some of the top poetry books to get your juices flowing.



And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou: In this inspiring poem, Maya Angelou celebrates the courage of the human spirit over the harshest of obstacles. An ode to the power that resides in us all to overcome the most difficult circumstances, this poem is truly an inspiration and affirmation of the faith that restores and nourishes the soul. Entwined with the vivid paintings of Diego Rivera, the renowned Mexican artist, Angelou's words paint a portrait of the amazing human spirit, its quiet dignity, and pools of strength and courage.


An ideal gift for a friend, lover, or family member, this special edition will be treasured by all who receive it.


Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman: Leaves of Grass is a poetry collection by the American poet Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Though the first edition was published in 1855, Whitman spent most of his professional life writing and re-writing Leaves of Grass,[1] revising it multiple times until his death. This resulted in vastly different editions over four decades—the first a small book of twelve poems and the last a compilation of over 400 poems.


Robert Frost’s Poems by Robert Frost: A proven bestseller time and time again, Robert Frost's Poems contains all of Robert Frost's best-known poems-and dozens more-in a portable anthology. Here are "Birches," "Mending Wall," "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," "Two Tramps at Mudtime," "Choose Something Like a Star," and "The Gift Outright," which Frost read at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy." An essential addition to every home library, Robert Frost's Poems is a celebration of the New England countryside, Frost's appreciation of common folk, and his wonderful understanding of the human condition. These classic verses touch our hearts and leave behind a lasting impression.


Set Me on Fire: A Poem for Every Feeling, edited by Ella Risbridger: Set Me On Fire is an anthology for a new moment in poetry: a collection of fresh, vibrant voices from poets all over the globe, both living and dead. With an intuitive, accessible, feelings-first format, these are poems for the moments when you really need to know that someone else has been there too.


These are poems about eating and kissing and having too many feelings, about being outside and inside and loving someone so much you think you might die. They are about break-ups and getting back together and oh-god-it’s-complicated-don’t-ask-me moments. They are about wanting and waiting and having, about grieving and life after death and the end of the world.


They are, in other words, about being alive.


Mary Wants to be a Superwoman by Erica Lewis: Being of African American, Native American, and white descent, erica lewis’ poems recount her friends and family’s—especially the women's—complex history with race, gender, and class in America, what it means to live with your own history, and how to move on. Each poem is framed by phrases from the lyrics of Stevie Wonder’s Motown records, but the poems themselves are homages to her women kin, friends, and other contemporary women poets. And the dominant motif is brokenness."By intertwining the public and the personal, Lewis's poems become a membrane through which pop culture permeates the most intimate experiences of selfhood."


The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur: From Rupi Kaur, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of milk and honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.


Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms.


Calling a Wolf a Wolf by Kaveh Akbar: "The struggle from late youth on, with and without God, agony, narcotics and love is a torment rarely recorded with such sustained eloquence and passion as you will find in this collection." —Fanny Howe


This highly-anticipated debut boldly confronts addiction and courses the strenuous path of recovery, beginning in the wilds of the mind. Poems confront craving, control, the constant battle of alcoholism and sobriety, and the questioning of the self and its instincts within the context of this never-ending fight.


“In Calling a Wolf a Wolf, Kaveh Akbar exquisitely and tenaciously braids astonishment and atonement into a singular lyric voice. The desolation of alcoholism widens into hard-won insight: ‘the body is a mosque borrowed from Heaven.’ Doubt and fear spiral into grace and beauty. Akbar’s mind, like his language, is perpetually in motion. His imagery—wounded and resplendent—is masterful and his syntax ensnares and releases music that’s both delicate and muscular. Kaveh Akbar has crafted one of the best debuts in recent memory. In his hands, awe and redemption hinge into unforgettable and gorgeous poems.” —Eduardo C. Corral


The Wild Fox of Yemen by Threa Almontaser: By turns aggressively reckless and fiercely protective, always guided by faith and ancestry, Threa Almontaser’s incendiary debut asks how mistranslation can be a form of self-knowledge and survival. A love letter to the country and people of Yemen, a portrait of young Muslim womanhood in New York after 9/11, and an extraordinarily composed examination of what it means to carry in the body the echoes of what came before, Almontaser’s polyvocal collection sneaks artifacts to and from worlds, repurposing language and adapting to the space between cultures. Half-crunk and hungry, speakers move with the force of what cannot be contained by the limits of the American imagination, and instead invest in troublemaking and trickery, navigate imperial violence across multiple accents and anthems, and apply gang signs in henna, utilizing any means necessary to form a semblance of home. In doing so, The Wild Fox of Yemen fearlessly rides the tension between carnality and tenderness in the unruly human spirit.


When My Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz: "I write hungry sentences," Natalie Diaz once explained in an interview, "because they want more and more lyricism and imagery to satisfy them." This debut collection is a fast-paced tour of Mojave life and family narrative: A sister fights for or against a brother on meth, and everyone from Antigone, Houdini, Huitzilopochtli, and Jesus is invoked and invited to hash it out. These darkly humorous poems illuminate far corners of the heart, revealing teeth, tails, and more than a few dreams.


I watched a lion eat a man like a piece of fruit, peel tendons from fascia

like pith from rind, then lick the sweet meat from its hard core of bones.

The man had earned this feast and his own deliciousness by ringing a stick

against the lion's cage, calling out Here, Kitty Kitty, Meow!


With one swipe of a paw much like a catcher's mitt with fangs, the lion

pulled the man into the cage, rattling his skeleton against the metal bars.


The lion didn't want to do it—

He didn't want to eat the man like a piece of fruit and he told the crowd

this: I only wanted some goddamn sleep . . .


Natalie Diaz was born and raised on the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation in Needles, California. After playing professional basketball for four years in Europe and Asia, Diaz returned to the states to complete her MFA at Old Dominion University. She lives in Surprise, Arizona, and is working to preserve the Mojave language.


Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine: A provocative meditation on race, Claudia Rankine's long-awaited follow up to her groundbreaking book Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric.


Claudia Rankine's bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV-everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person's ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named "post-race" society.

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*Book descriptions provided by Good Reads

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