This is my short 10 book list of poetry recommendations for you all. Quite a few of these are from Button Poetry, but I’ve always enjoyed watching their mic nights on YouTube, it’s cool I have been able to read some of the books that come from these poets. They may not all be available to buy right now and may be on pre-sale as I did a lot of my reading on NetGalley, but consider putting in a pre-order for any that sound interesting to you. I have read more poetry books than just these, but I either didn’t like them or thought the execution was too flawed to want to recommend them here. Three are book on my TBR and have not been read by me yet. Enjoy this post!
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Revenge Body by Rachel Wiley
Revenge Body is a poetry collection that explores anger (righteous and not), black identity, body image, loss, want, and mental health. GR. Buy here to support me!
Running Upon the Wires by Kae Tempest
Calling in its title upon the classical poet’s harp, the technological wires of communication, and the neural wires of feeling, Tempest’s electrifying new verse weaves interpersonal struggle into a cathartic and memorable work of art about joy and despair, confusion and clarity, self-destruction and revival. Explosively lyrical and pulsing with feeling, Running Upon the Wires is frayed yet powerful in its pain, determined to speak and find love in a human community of “terrifying beauty.” GR. Buy here to support me!
Dear Azula, I Have A Crush On Danny Phantom by Azura Tyabji and Jackson Neal
Dear Azula, I Have a Crush on Danny Phantom is a crossover of our coming of age universes. Exploring the interplay of adolescence and media, Dear Azula is a masterclass on how Generation Z see themselves reflected on screen, how they find themselves in characters when the world does not grant them the possibility. These poems pay homage to the cartoon characters who made us the wicked lovestruck people that we are. These ubiquitous stories of teen ghost boys and water bending women gave wonder to a generation raised by recession. In illustrious villains we learned our own glamour. In chiseled chins and 2D teeth we learned desire. In Dear Azula, I Have a Crush on Danny Phantom we bring the early 2000s renaissance of animation into our modern lives to unpack, celebrate, revel, and remember. GR. Buy here to support me!
I am tired of being a dandelion by Zane Frederick
Like finding a four leaf clover, breaking a fortune cookie, wishing on a shooting star, or blowing a dandelion, this collection is written from a place of hope. Life presents a multitude of moments we hope work in our favor. One moment has us building a fortress of daydreams and anticipation, and the next it may come crumbling down. Yet, no matter how many times our hopes fall, we seem to be able to rebuild them again and again. i am tired of being a dandelion explores the spectrum of hope in romance and self love, along with the hope to grow to become the best version of oneself. GR. Buy here to support me!
The witch doesn’t burn in this one by Amanda Lovelace
The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one. GR. Buy here to support me!
Unravelling by Brandon Leake
From famous spoken word poet, artistic educator, and founder/CEO of “Called to Move” Brandon Leake comes his debut poetry collection Unraveling. In an era of self love, the ability to love oneself is only as effective as the ability to know oneself. Throughout his collection, Leake asks readers to look at something beautiful, yet still see its flaws. On the flip side, he encourages readers to look at something evil, and yet still see the beauty it holds. GR. Buy here to support me!
The Brighter Side of 25 by Aisling O’Connor
A coming-of-age tale told through thirty-three poems all about love and heartbreak, feeling old, powering through, and rebellion as I navigated early adulting. This was an self-published book so really worth supporting as you directly support the author. GR. Buy here to support the author. (not affiliate link)
Prayers And Pixies by Schereéya
I planned to leave off any introduction, but my dear friend and favorite poet told me that my audience would come with questions and I should provide at least some context. Most of the poems contained in this collection were written to commission. They were commissioned for everything from birthday gifts, and classroom wall-hangings, to happiness mantras and grief meditations. I wrote those to help others feel, but in doing so, I learned so much about myself. The poems in this collection that were not commissioned were my true and sincere prayers direct from my prayer journal. 2019-2021 have been difficult years for me in deep, incalculable ways. Every single one of these poems helped me make a bit of sense of the pain, grief, and search for hope and joy that I have been experiencing. I hope they can in some small way do the same for you. Thank you for being here with me now. Stay as long as you like. GR. Buy here (not an affiliate link)
I Would Leave Me If I Could by Halsey
Grammy Award–nominated, platinum-selling musician Halsey is heralded as one of the most compelling voices of her generation. In I Would Leave Me If I Could, she reveals never-before-seen poetry of longing, love, and the nuances of bipolar disorder. GR. Buy here to support me!
Homie by Danez Smith
Homie is Danez Smith’s magnificent anthem about the saving grace of friendship. Rooted in the loss of one of Smith’s close friends, this book comes out of the search for joy and intimacy within a nation where both can seem scarce and getting scarcer. In poems of rare power and generosity, Smith acknowledges that in a country overrun by violence, xenophobia, and disparity, and in a body defined by race, queerness, and diagnosis, it can be hard to survive, even harder to remember reasons for living. But then the phone lights up, or a shout comes up to the window, and family—blood and chosen—arrives with just the right food and some redemption. Part friendship diary, part bright elegy, part war cry, Homie is the exuberant new book written for Danez and for Danez’s friends and for you and for yours. GR. Buy here to support me!
I hope you enjoy this list. I’ve gotten into poetry more over the years since I did a module in my Creative Writing BA, but it is all about finding what suits you. I’ve read a lot of poetry I don’t enjoy for class (specifically classics) and I much prefer the poems with more accessible language and themes I can relate to. Please feel free to drop your favourite poetry books in the comments! I’m always looking for more to read. Please consider sharing this blog post around and leaving a like! You can also follow with your WordPress account or email. Follow me on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Tiktok. Consider dropping me a tip on my Kofi, and maybe even subscribe to a membership tier for behind the scenes content and things that never reach the public eyes as well as early access to some things. Check out my last blog post where I trash diet culture!