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NRH Reads

Posted on: April 16, 2021

Celebrate National Poetry Month with One of These 15 Titles

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April is National Poetry Month! "Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month reminds the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters." ( We were all introduced to poetry with Shel Silverstein and Wynken, Blynken, and Nod and soon graduated to Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. Poems do not have to be hard to understand and decipher; many are super easy to read. Mary Oliver was a contemporary poet inspired by nature and her dog. In celebration of the expression poetry provides, we have put together this list of 15 poems and books of poetry of some of the most provocative and well-regarded prose for your reading pleasure.

Complete Collected PoemsThe Complete Collected Poems 
by Maya Angelou

A complete collection of Maya Angelou's published poems, including On the Pulse of Morning.

Poetry of Robert FrostThe Poetry of Robert Frost by Robert Frost 
edited by Edward Connery Latham

This comprehensive collection includes more than 350 poems, carefully prepared under Edward Connery Lathem's editorship, a Frost scholar, Librarian of Dartmouth College, and the poet's friend.  The editor also carefully traces textual changes that have occurred in the poetry over the years.

Langston HughesThe Collected Works of Langston Hughes 
by Langston Hughes edited with an introduction by Arnold Rampersad

A literary descendant of Walt Whitman ("I, too, sing America," Hughes wrote), he chanted the joys and sorrows of black America in unprecedented language. A gifted lyricist, he offered rhythms and cadences that epitomized the particularities of African American creativity, especially jazz and the blues. Poems such as Good Morning Revolution and Let America Be America Again made his pen one of America's most forceful during the Great Depression.

Selected Poems of Emily DickensonThe Selected Poetry of Emily Dickinson: Chosen by The New York Public Library 

by Emily Dickinson

This collection of Emily Dickinson's poems, created in partnership with the New York Public Library, is illustrated with lithographs by Will Barnet and pen-and-ink drawings by Stephen Tennant, artists who have drawn inspiration from Dickinson's poetry.


Leaves of GrassLeaves of Grass and Selected Poems and Prose 

by Walt Whitman

When Walt Whitman self-published his Leaves of Grass in July 1855, he altered literary history. One of the greatest masterpieces of American literature redefined the rules of poetry while describing the American character's soul. This volume specially compiled for Penguin Drop Caps includes a range of additional popular poems, including selections from Calamus, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, and Drum-Taps.

Loose WomanLoose Woman: Poems 

by Sandra Cisneros

A candid, sexy, and wonderfully mood-strewn collection of poetry celebrates the female aspects of love, from the reflective to the overtly erotic. From the winner of the 2019 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. 

Break Your Glass SlippersBreak Your Glass Slippers 

by Amanda Lovelace

Amanda Lovelace, the bestselling & award-winning author of the "women are some magic" poetry series, presents a new companion series: "you are your own fairy tale." The first installment, break your glass slippers, is about overcoming those who don't see your worth, even if that person is sometimes yourself. In the epic tale of your life, you are the most important character while everyone is but a forgotten footnote, even the prince.

Bright StarBright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne

The tragic love story of nineteenth-century poet John Keats and his life's love, Fanny Brawne, Bright Star, is a collection of Keats' romantic poems and correspondence in the heat of his passion. It is a dazzling display of a talent cut cruelly short. 

Ariel PoemsAriel Poems 

by Sylvia Plath

When Sylvia Plath died, she left behind a prolific life and her unpublished literary masterpiece, Ariel. This collection showcases the beloved poet's brilliant, provoking, and always moving poems, including "Ariel," and once again shows why readers have fallen in love with her work throughout the generations.

Dog Songs
Dog Songs: Thirty-Five Dog Songs and One Essay
Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver's dog poems offer a special window into her world. Dog Songs collects some of the most cherished poems together with new works, offering a portrait of Oliver's relationship to the companions that have accompanied her daily walks, warmed her home, and inspired her work. Throughout, the many dogs of Oliver's life emerge as fellow travelers, but also as guides, spirits capable of opening our eyes to the lessons of the moment and the joys of nature and connection. Dog Songs is a testament to the power and depth of the human-animal exchange from an observer of extraordinary vision.

If They come For Us

If They Come for Us: Poems
by Fatimah Ashgar

This imaginative, soulful debut poetry collection captures the experiences of being a young Pakistani Muslim woman in contemporary America. Orphaned as a child, Fatimah Asghar grapples with coming of age and navigating questions of sexuality and race without a mother or father's guidance. In experimental forms and language, both lyrical and raw, Asghar seamlessly braids together marginalized people's histories with her own understanding of identity, place, and belonging.

Dearly New PoemsDearly: New Poems
by Margaret Atwood

The internationally acclaimed author of The Handmaids Tale presents her first collection of poetry in over a decade that addresses themes such as love, loss, the passage of time, nature, and zombies.

The Tiny JournalistThe Tiny Journalist: Poems
by Naomi Shihab Nye

Internationally beloved poet Naomi Shihab Nye places her Palestinian American identity center stage in her latest full-length poetry collection for adults. The collection is inspired by Janna Jihad Ayyad's story, the 'Youngest Journalist in Palestine,' who, at age 7, began capturing videos of anti-occupation protests using her mother's smartphone. Nye draws upon her own family's roots in a West Bank village near Janna's hometown to offer empathy and insight to the young girl's reporting. 

Sister OutsiderSister Outsider

by Audre Lorde; foreword by Mahogany L. Browne

The groundbreaking feminist Audre Lorde's collection of fifteen essays and speeches on race, gender, and LGBTQ issues. Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope.

The Hill We ClimbThe Hill We Climb 
by Amanda Gorman

On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration, featuring her powerful and historic poem poem “The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country.” Currently available on eBook.

There are many levels of poetry, so we encourage you to check one of these out and let us know if you visited a favorite childhood poet, meandered your way through nature with Walt or Mary, or if you tackled the many poems of Emily Dickson. 

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