15+ Best Poetry Books 2022

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courtesy of editors

“If I’m reading a book and my whole body is so cold, no fire can warm me. I know it’s poetry. If I physically feel like the top of my head has been taken away, I know that it is poetry,” wrote Emily Dickinson, whose life has been dedicated to the hundreds of poems she has invested herself in. Poetry, an honest and intimate art form, is a way of questioning the humanity through the use of words and rhythm. Here are 15 books of verse – both contemporary works and well-known collections – that ask the reader to think critically about complex concepts like race, sexism and the meaning of life.

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1

The Mango Street House

The Mango Street House tells the coming of age story of 12-year-old Esperanza Cordero through a series of vignettes, offering perspective on Chicago’s Chicana community, as well as universal themes of growing up and discovering one’s identity.

Andrews McMeel Publishing

Rupi Kaur’s popularity on Instagram and her lasting influence on young online audiences make her a poet of the digital age, but milk and honeywith its simple wording and intimate emotions, is a staple on any poetry shelf.

Emily Dickinson is now considered one of the most prolific writers in American history, but during her lifetime only 10 of her poems were published, many of which were heavily edited to fit societal norms of the era. This collection celebrates his genius and includes the original unpublished versions of his work.

4

Call Us What We Wear: Poems

In Call us what we wearAmanda Gorman, known for her performance of “The Hill We Climb” during the 2021 presidential inauguration, presents a collection of her poetry that explores the grief experienced during the global pandemic.

5

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ most beloved poems

Jackie Kennedy was a great admirer of the arts who emphasized their importance during her tenure as First Lady. This collection, selected by his daughter Caroline, reflects Kennedy’s love for literature and poetry.

Maya Angelou is not only known for her literature but for her contributions to activism, film and theater. This collection includes long poems written during his later years as well as the poem recited at the 2008 presidential inauguration “On the Pulse of Morning”.

Following the death of her mother, Ocean Vuong chronicled her grief in this stunning and intimate collection of poetry. Vuong’s work has often been praised for its ability to capture emotion. As Kadish Morris wrote in The Guardian“There’s something about Vuong’s writing that demands all your lungs.”

8

One Hundred Sonnets of Love: Cien sonetos de amor

University of Texas Press

Originally published in Spanish, this book presents 100 love sonnets by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda dedicated to his wife Matilde Urrutia. The romantic collection puts love and passion into words as Narudo uses symbolism to express his desire for his wife.

9

Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place (Kentucky Voices)

Kentucky University Press

Inspired by her childhood, poet and activist Bell Hooks writes about the marginalization and loneliness she experienced growing up in Kentucky’s Appalachia in this autobiographical work of dark but compelling poetry.

Andrews McMeel Publishing

sea ​​of ​​strangers is a serious and raw collection of poetry and prose that challenges the reader to think about self-discovery and love.

11

If They Come for Us: Poems

Drawing comparisons between political injustice in Pakistan and racial inequity in the United States, Fatimah Asghar’s debut collection of poetry offers a candid critique of politicians who ignore marginalized groups.

University of Nebraska Press

Safiya Sinclair explores both racism and sexism in Cannibala bold work.

13

Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969-1980 (American Poets Continuum Book 14)

This collection of works by Pulitzer Prize finalist Lucille Clifton includes four of her collections of poetry as well as her memoirs titled Generations.

14

Citizen: An American Song

Celebrated poet and essayist Claudia Rankine, offers an honest perspective on the black American experience through Citizen: an American lyricist.

by Louise Gluck wild iris is a Pulitzer Prize-winning collection that captures the essence of difficult themes such as mortality, spirituality and the human condition.

16

Life of the party: Poems

Dial Press Trade Paperback

Olivia Gatwood uses this collection to express society’s mistreatment of women. As a Title IX compliant educator, Gatwood pours her frustration and distress into these poems to reflect the injustices she has seen and heard firsthand.

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