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Recommended Readings for National Poetry Month

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Recommended Readings for National Poetry Month

poetry month 2024

When was the last time you read a good poem? April is National Poetry Month. You are invited to choose a poem from one of the many sites offered through the library. Check out from the printed and digital collection to find poems you like. 

this is the honey

This is the Honey : An Anthology of Contemporary Black Poets edited by Kwame Alexander

In this comprehensive and vibrant poetry anthology, bestselling author and poet Kwame Alexander curates a collection of contemporary anthems at turns tender and piercing and deeply inspiring throughout. Featuring work from well-loved poets such as Rita Dove, Jericho Brown, Warsan Shire, Ross Gay, Tracy K. Smith, Terrance Hayes, Morgan Parker, and Nikki Giovanni, This Is the Honey is a rich and abundant offering of language from the poets giving voice to generations of resilient joy, “Beach incantation.”

Spectral Evidence : Poems by Gregory Pardlo

Elegant, profound, and intoxicating–this is the author’s first major collection of poetry after winning the Pulitzer Prize for Digest. Moving fluidly between considerations of the hip-hop group NWA, Tituba, the only Black woman to be accused of witchcraft during the Salem witch trials, MOVE, the movement and militant separatist group famous for its violent stand-offs with the Philadelphia Police Department (“flames rose like orchids . . . blocks lay open like egg cartons”) and more-Pardlo ponders the development of his own identity and sense of self as it was shaped against the glaring forces of whiteness.

Raised by Wolves : Fifty Poets on Fifty Poems : A Graywolf Anthology 

Raised by Wolves is a unique and vibrant gathering of poems from Graywolf Press’s fifty years. The anthology is conceived as a community document: fifty Graywolf poets have selected fifty poems by Graywolf poets, offering insightful prose reflections on their selections. What arises is a choral arrangement of voices and lineages across decades, languages, styles, and divergences, inspiring a shared vision for the future. Included here are established and emerging poets, international poets and poets in translation, and many of the most significant poets of our time. 

Theophanies by Sarah Ghazal Ali

Moving between the scriptures of the Qur’an and the Bible, these poems explore the complexities and spectacles of gender, faith, and family by unraveling the age-old idea that seeing is believing. Navigating both scripture and culture, the poems in Theophanies work to spin miracles from the mundanities of desire and violence.

Fog and Smoke : Poems by Katie Peterson

The Rilke Prize-winning poet unfurls the quotidian fabric of our lives, stained with the difficulties of language and our present moment. 

Grand Tour : Poems by Elisa Gonzalez

Grand Tour, the debut collection of poetry by Elisa Gonzalez, dramatizes the mind in motion as it grapples with something more than an event: she writes of a whole life, to transcendent effect. By the end, we feel we have been witness to a poet remaking herself.

Modern Poetry by Diane Seuss

Diane Seuss’s signature voice–audacious in its honesty, virtuosic in its artistry, outsider in its attitude–has become one of the most original in contemporary poetry. Her latest collection takes its title, Modern Poetry, from the first textbook Seuss encountered as a child and the first poetry course she took in college, as an enrapt but ill-equipped student, one who felt poetry was beyond her reach.

bread and circus

Bread and Circus by Airea D. Matthews

A powerful collection of autobiographical poems from Yale Young Poets Award Winner and Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate Airea D. Matthews about the economics of class and its failures for those rendered invisible by it. As a former student of economics, Airea D. Matthews was fascinated and disturbed by 18th-century Scottish economist Adam Smith, and his magnum opus The Wealth of Nations. Bread and Circus is a direct challenge to Smith’s theory of the invisible hand, which claims self-interest is the key to optimal economic outcomes.

Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman (also on Ebook and Eaudiobook)

Including “The Hill We Climb,” the stirring poem read at the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, this collection of the same name reveals an energizing and unforgettable new voice in poetry.

Clarity & Connection by Yung Pueblo

A collection of poetry and short prose focused on understanding how past wounds impact our present relationships. The author describes how intense emotions accumulate in our subconscious and condition us to act and react in certain ways. In a spare, poetic style, he guides readers through the excavation and release of the past that is required for growth.

Poetry Unbound : 50 Poems to Open Your World by Padraig  Ó Tuama

Expanding on the popular podcast of the same name from On Being Studios, Poetry Unbound offers immersive reflections on fifty powerful poems. In the tumult of our contemporary moment, poetry has emerged as an inviting, consoling outlet with a unique power to move and connect us, to inspire fury, tears, joy, laughter, and surprise.

And Yet : Poems by Kate Baer

Intimate, evocative, and bold, Kate’s beguiling poetry firmly positions her in the company of Dorianne Laux, Mary Oliver, Maggie Nelson, and other great female poets of our time.

100 Poems to Break Your Heart 

100 of the most moving and inspiring poems of the last 200 years from around the world, a collection that will comfort and enthrall anyone trapped by grief or loneliness, selected by the award-winning, best-selling, and beloved author of How to Read a Poem.

A Year of Last Things by Michael Ondaatje

Following several of his internationally acclaimed, beloved novels, A Year of Last Things is Michael Ondaatje’s long-awaited return to poetry. In pieces that are sometimes wittily funny, moving, and always wise, we journey back through time by way of alchemical leaps, unearthing writings by revered masters, moments of shared tenderness, and abandoned landscapes we hold onto to rediscover the influence of every border crossed.

new one

New One: Painfully True Stories From a Reluctant Dad by Mike Birbiglia (Audiobook)

With laugh-out-loud observations on the rollercoaster ride that is being a new parent, the bestselling author and award-winning comedian delivers a book that is perfect for anyone who has ever raised a child, been a child, or refuses to stop acting like a child. Mike’s candid thoughts on his reluctance about becoming a dad, what he describes as being the ‘pudgy milkless vice president of his family,’ laced with wife Jen Hope Stein’s poetry combine to form a heartfelt and hilarious book.

The Iliad by Homer (Audiobook Ebook)

This translation of The Iliad equals Fitzgerald’s earlier Odyssey in power and imagination. It recreates the original action as conceived by Homer, using fresh and flexible blank verse that is both lyrical and dramatic.

Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz  (Ebook )

Postcolonial Love Poem unravels notions of American goodness and creates something more powerful than hope―in it, a future is built, future being a matrix of the choices we make now, and in these poems, Diaz chooses love.

Someone Somewhere Maybe : Poems by Sophie Diener (Ebook  / Eaudiobook)

For fans of Rupi Kaur, Cleo Wade, and Amanda Lovelace, Someone Somewhere Maybe speaks to the joys and sorrows of finding your way as a young woman today. Poignant and beautifully written, TikTok fan favorite Sophie Diener’s debut poetry collection takes readers on an introspective journey through first love, first heartbreak, first loss, identity, and self-worth. Filled with honesty and warmth, each poem reveals something new about the human condition, and brilliantly captures what growing up feels like, in a way that is both relatable and affirming. 

A Cruelty Special to Our Species : Poems  Ebook  Eaudiobook

In her arresting collection, urgently relevant for our times, poet Emily Jungmin Yoon confronts the histories of sexual violence against women, focusing in particular on so-called comfort women, Korean women who worked in Japanese-occupied territories during World War II. In wrenching language, “A Cruelty Special to Our Species” unforgettably describes the brutalities of war and the fear and sorrow of those whose lives and bodies were swept up by a colonizing power, amplifying the voices of an oppressed group of people whose histories have often been erased and overlooked. 

Hongmei, Adult Services & Acquisitions

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