Hello, bookwyrms! Since Valentine’s Day was just last week, some of us are still munching on discount candy and could still be in the lovey-dovey mood. If so, reading poetry is a great way to experience introspective and contemplative writing to help you wind down from Valentine’s Day.
Here are a few of my favorite poetry books!
Leaves on the River, Franz Dolp
This is one of my more recent reads. I just finished this beautiful book, and I can say without hesitation that it’s my absolute favorite poetry collection at the moment (true, my favorite books can change by the day, but still). Franz Dolp uses flowing imagery and lyrical language that just begs to be read aloud — which is exactly what I did! The language in this collection is carefully chosen, each word heavy with meaning. I highly recommend picking up Leaves on the River and reading it for yourself!
Chord, Rick Barot
Rick Barot is a wonderful poet, and this collection perfectly showcases that. The poems here are filled with imagery that makes you want to lean closer and fall further in. Every page is a delight, so I highly recommend Chord — for the poetry inside, of course, but also for this gorgeous cover!
Calling a Wolf a Wolf, Kaveh Akbar
I had the pleasure of meeting Kaveh Akbar when he visited my university a few year ago, and I’m so glad that I did. At the time, I wasn’t very well-versed in poetry, and Akbar’s dramatic reading blew me away and made me want to write more. Calling a Wolf a Wolf is Akbar’s debut and tackles issues of addiction and recovery in a voicing that is both believable and utterly raw. You can listen to a poem from this collection, “Do You Speak Persian?” among others on the Button Poetry YouTube channel.
One Hundred Steps from the Shore, Jenifer Browne Lawrence
This is another recent read for me, and I’m so glad that I picked this out from a heavily-laden shelf. Sharply poignant and beautifully sad, One Hundred Steps from the Shore highlights Lawrence’s ability to steal one’s breath away by pairing beauty with tragedy in this exploration of grief. If you are feeling the need to explore a sadness that you can’t otherwise explain, read this book.
Sight Lines, Arthur Sze
I had the absolute pleasure of speaking with Arthur Sze when he visited my master program’s Zoom class last summer, which was a real treat. Sometimes with other poetry books, I can find one or two pieces that really resonate with me; with Sight Lines, I found at least one line per poem that hit me right in the sweet spot. I especially enjoyed the “song” poems. Check it out if you haven’t already!
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Even if you aren’t as familiar with poetry, these are some great collections to start with. I hope you’ve found your new favorite with this list!