Seven Poetry Collections to Read if You Don’t Read Poetry

Do you think poetry is intimidating? Think again.

If you want to read poetry, or at least give it a shot, we recommend picking up one of our favorite collections. All of these poems are easy to read, understand, and relate to, which makes them a little more welcoming than a sonnet from the 1600s.

So, choose a book that speaks the most to you. Then simply fall into the beautiful world of poetry.

The Princess Saves Herself in this One, by Amanda Lovelace

The Princess Saves Herself in this One - Amanda Lovelace

This book (actually, the whole series) is a great step into modern poetry. Not only are Lovelace’s poems relatable, but they are direct and to the point. If you’re worried about getting lost in the imagery and flowery language, put those fears away. Lovelace can paint a clear picture without excessive language while packing her simple lines with an emotional punch.

Using well-known fantasy themes, such as a trapped princess and an evil queen, Lovelace talks about heartbreak, death, and becoming her own woman. The ease of her poetry makes it strong.

Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur

milk and honey - rupi kaur

If you are looking for an introduction to modern poetry, then this collection is a must-read. Rupi Kaur’s collection has become insanely popular (for good reason.) Her poems are shared all over social media but don’t think for a moment that this makes her poems superficial. Kaur delivers powerful, vulnerable, and emotional poems in a way that is easy to understand. It makes them hard not to share.

Kaur touches on difficult themes, such as sexual abuse and broken relationships. However, the end of this book inspires as she encourages readers to seek out beauty and find independence within themselves. These short poems deliver the emotional payoff you’d expect from a great poem.

salt. by Nayyirah Warheed

Salt - Nayyirah Warheed

Nayyirah Warheed has an uncanny ability to say things others can’t seem to find the words to say. Her poems are so relatable that you will wonder why you didn’t think about ‘it’ like that. Who knows, you might be inspired to try your own hand at creating something beautiful. 

This collection talks about themes, such as diasporic life and pain, negative body imagery, and racial tension. Warheed clearly writes from an honest and vulnerable place. It’s this honesty that makes her work hard to put down.

Hope is the Thing with Feathers: The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

Hope is the Thing with Feathers . - Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson is a classic and iconic American poet. While it might seem intimidating to start with the classics, that is not the case with Dickinson. Some even consider her the original #instapoet. Known for her titleless poems, short verse, and wonderful imagery, this collection is a great way to get inspired by poetry.  

Another plus of reading Emily Dickinson as a new reader is that her poetry has been studied for years. So, if you find yourself looking for a bit of insight into a poem, just do a quick search. There are probably plenty of interpretations to consider.

Devotions: Selected Poems by Mary Oliver

Devotions - Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver was one of America’s most well-known poets. With a lifetime of poetry available, starting can be a bit intimidating. This collection, however, highlights some of her best poetry over the years, making it accessible for any newcomer. 

Oliver is described as a guide to the natural world. Known for highlighting the connections between the natural world and human consciousness, Oliver is a must-read for anyone on their own poetic journey.

Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, by Ross Gay

Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude - Ross Gay

If there was ever a book that lived up to its name, it’s this collection by Ross Gay. Gay is able to take everything from the smallest button to a fig tree and make it larger than life. While most collections balance a sense of sadness, introspection, and hope, this collection is all about gratitude, even when addressing difficult topics.

If the complexities of emotion have ever scared you away from poetry, this collection may be your way back. These poems are an absolute joy to read.

Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul, by Nikita Gil

Fierce Fairytales- Nikita Gil

If you are new to poetry and want to dip your toe ever-so-slightly into the world of verse, then start with something you already know – fairytales. Nikita Gil’s book is a modern take on very well-known fairy tales with a poetic twist. In Gil’s stories, heroine’s defeat monsters, princesses defend themselves, and traditional villains have different motivations. It’s the stories you know, thrown on their heads.

Time to grab a book and get reading. Before you know it, you’ll be reading the greats, posting quotes on Instagram, and writing your own verse. Make sure to share your favorite poems with us.

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