Our 10 Favorite Classic Poetry Books for National Poetry Month

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Classic Poetry Books to Celebrate National Poetry Month

Hey there, poetry lovers! Can you believe it’s already April? That means it’s time to celebrate National Poetry Month! And what better way to do that than by exploring some classic poetry books? We’re talking about the kind of poems that have stood the test of time, and still have the power to move us today.

Whether you’re a seasoned poetry reader or just dipping your toes into the world of poetry, there’s something for everyone in classic poetry books. From heartbreaking sonnets to epic ballads, these poems have been inspiring readers for centuries. And while they may have been written in a different time, they’re still relevant to our lives today. So, let’s take a journey through the ages and explore some of the most beloved classic poetry books. Get ready to fall in love with poetry all over again!

Classic Poetry Books for our Poetry Lovers

Spring and All 

by William Carlos Williams

isbn: 9781513283029,template: listSpring and All (1923) is a book of poems by William Carlos Williams. Predominately known as a poet, Williams frequently pushed the limits of prose style throughout his works, often comprised of a seamless blend of both forms of writing. In Spring and All, the closest thing to a manifesto he wrote, Williams addresses the nature of his modern poetics which not only pursues a particularly American idiom, but attempts to capture the relationship between language and the world it describes.

Part essay, part poem, Spring and All is a landmark of American literature from a poet whose daring search for the outer limits of life both redefined and expanded the meaning of language itself. “There is a constant barrier between the reader and his consciousness of immediate contact with the world. If there is an ocean it is here.” In Spring and All, Williams identifies the incomprehensible nature of consciousness as the single most important subject of poetry.

The Emily Dickinson Collection 

by Emily Dickinson

isbn: 9781513133317,template: listThe Emily Dickinson Collection (2021) compiles some of the best-known works of an icon of American poetry. Out of nearly two-thousand poems discovered after her death, less than a dozen appeared in print during Dickinson’s lifetime. Drawn from such influential posthumous volumes as Poems (1902) and The Single Hound (1914), The Emily Dickinson Collection captures the spiritual depths, celebratory heights, and impenetrable mystery of Dickinson’s poetic gift. “Fame is a fickle food / Upon a shifting plate, / Whose table once a Guest, but not / The second time, is set.” Deeply aware of the fleeting nature of fame, Dickinson–whose reputation in life was as a lonely eccentric who rarely, if ever, left home–seems to provide some clarity as to why publication so often eluded her.

The Blue Poetry Book 

by Andrew Lang

isbn: 9781513281728,template: listPoetry is the language of the human nature, a beautiful tool to express every thought and feeling. Searching through different cultures, languages, and historical moments, Andrew Lang carefully crafted this diverse collection of poetry, translating and editing the lyrics of highly esteemed poets. Accepting only the finest of the craft, The Blue Poetry Bookfeatures some of humankind’s most magnificent poems, spanning across centuries and cultures. This diverse collection features works with rhythm, stanzas, and figurative language that remain embedded in the wit and heart of readers, immortalized as a whisper in the mind, present long after the collection’s conclusion.



The Spirit of Japanese Poetry 

by Yone Noguchi

isbn: 9781513282503,template: listThe Spirit of Japanese Poetry (1914) is a collection of essays by Yone Noguchi. Although he is widely recognized as a leading poet in English and Japanese of the modernist period, Noguchi was also a dedicated literary critic who advocated for the cross-pollination of national poetries. His essays on the Noh drama and Hokku poems influenced Ezra Pound, William Butler Yeats, and countless other artists from the West.

“Not only the English poetry, but any poetry of any country, is bound to become stale and stupid if it shuts itself up for too long a time; it must sooner or later be rejuvenated and enlivened with some new force.” For Noguchi, it is not only educational to immerse oneself in the art of other cultures, but vital for those cultures to flourish. As a Japanese poet who excelled with a modern, free verse style of English poetry, Noguchi advocated for his contemporaries to attempt a similar radical openness–to possibility, uncertainty, and change. In these brilliant, instructive essays, he provides his understanding of the spiritual, otherworldly nature of Japanese poetry, reflects on the function of silence in the traditional Noh drama, and praises the lyric essence of Hokku poems.

The Heart of a Woman and Other Poems 

by Georgia Douglas Johnson

isbn: 9781513290683,template: listThe Heart of a Woman and Other Poems (1918) is a collection of poetry by Georgia Douglas Johnson. Marking Johnson’s debut as one of the leading poets of the Harlem Renaissance, The Heart of a Woman and Other Poems is an invaluable work of African American literature for scholars and poetry enthusiasts alike. Comprised of Johnson’s earliest works as a poet, the collection showcases her sense of the musicality of language while illuminating the experiences of African American women of the early twentieth century.

“The heart of a woman goes forth with the dawn, / As a lone bird, soft winging, so restlessly on.” Recalling Paul Laurence Dunbar’s classic poem “Sympathy,” which immortalizes the African American experience with the line “I know why the caged bird sings,” the title poem of Johnson’s collection compares the heart to a bird. Musical and dreamlike, Johnson’s poem envisions “the heart of a woman” as it “enters some alien cage in its plight, / And tries to forget it has dreamed of the stars / While it breaks, breaks, breaks on the sheltering bars.”

Selected Poems 

by Robert Frost

isbn: 9781513270890,template: listSelected Poems (1923) is a collection of poems by American poet Robert Frost. Dedicated to Edward Thomas, a friend of Frost’s and an important English poet who died toward the end of the First World War, Selected Poems is a wonderful sampling of poems from Frost’s early collections, including A Boy’s Will and North of Boston. Known for his plainspoken language and dedication to the images and rhythms of rural New England, Robert Frost is one of America’s most iconic poets, a voice to whom generations of readers have turned in search of beauty, music, and life.


The Weary Blues 

by Langston Hughes

isbn: 9781513203607,template: listWith these first lines, Hughes invites the reader into an experimental playground that tells the story of a Black man’s life in America. Featuring poems such as, “Dream Variations,” “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” and “Our Land,” Hughes weaves in and out of verse, highlighting the lows of struggle in the face of segregation and racism, but also the highs of creation from the time when, “the Negroes were in vogue.”

Now considered to be an American classic, The Weary Blues embodies the feel of the rhythm, improvisation, and soul of Black classical music, pioneered the genre of “jazz poetry,” and left an irreplaceable mark in the African-American literary canon.

Leaves of Grass 

by Walt Whitman

isbn: 9781513220796,template: listFrom one of the most celebrated American poets, Walt Whitman, comes a profound and uniquely written anthology of poems. Leaves of Grass is a rousing collection of poems inspired largely by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s. Plea for the arrival of a great new American Poet.

Originally published in 1855, Whitman worked on this collection of poems for the entirety of his life. He continued to revise and make better his anthology. In its final publication Leaves of Grass contained over 400 pages of remarkable poetry. The poems within reflected many of Whitman’s values and beliefs. Specifically pertaining to his philosophy of transcendentalism and the role of man within nature. Unafraid of straying from normal conventions of poetry. Whitman’s work is considered to be one of the most important and lasting contributions to literature made by an American poet.

Sonnets from the Portuguese 

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

isbn: 9781513267760,template: listSonnets from the Portuguese (1850) is a collection of sonnets by English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Written between 1845 and 1846, Sonnets from the Portuguese is a series. Of love poems written by Browning to her husband, the prominent Victorian poet Robert Browning. Although Elizabeth was initially unsure of the poems. Robert encouraged their publication, suggesting she title them to make readers. Believe they were translations and not personal declarations of love between the couple. Using the sonnet, Browning adopted a traditional form made famous by Shakespeare. While staking a claim for herself as one of nineteenth century England’s premier poets.

The Poems of Phillis Wheatley 

by Phillis Wheatley

isbn: 9781513277417,template: listPoems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773) is the first book of poetry published by an African American author. Written while Wheatley was a slave in Boston, the collection was published in England. Regarded for her mastery of classical poetic form. Phillis Wheatley earned praise from Voltaire and George Washington.  Some critics arguing that Wheatley’s poems proved detrimental. To the struggle of enslaved African Americans. Whether Wheatley made excuses for slavery or, as some have argued, included subtle critiques of the institution. In her writing, her talent and importance to the history of African American literature remain undisputed.



From love poems to explorations of modern culture, discover the harmony of classic prose and a new generation’s best poetry voices. Explore and connect with fellow lovers of poetry here.