December 18, 2019

Book Recommendations | Poetry

For pretty much my entire life, I've loved reading and writing. Books were definitely the start thanks to my dad. But my predisposition to came from him too. I had journals from elementary school through end of high school. I started writing poems around the same time until freshmen year of college. Eventually both fell to the wayside as blogging along with design became my primary forms of creative expression. (My dad journaled and wrote poetry too; he also once had a xanga!). But in all that time, I never got into reading poetry. I think it's because whenever I did have to read (usually very dated) poetry for school, I couldn't connect to it. I liked the rhythm of the words but what those words were actually trying to convey often didn't resonate with me. 

Then a few years ago I was in Barnes & Noble and picked up Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. I literally stood there, read the first page and before I knew it, I was halfway through. (Obviously I bought it.) But that was the first time I had seen poetry that felt so accessible. That read simply and straightforward while still being able to evoke emotions. (Side rant: I hate when work like this gets lumped together as "instapoetry" because it feels diminishing. I'm not say that I love all poetry in this style but it's still real poetry!)

Since then I've read many other poetry collections and wanted to recommend my favorites.


Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur | I will always have a soft spot for this collection since it's the one that got me into reading poetry as an adult. It touches on Kaur's deeply personal experiences with love, loss, abuse and femininity. It's split into four different parts, each of which focus on a different aspect of her journey. If you've never read poetry but want to start, I'd start here. 

Bloom by Beau Taplin | Of all the poets I'm about to list and their respective collections, Beau Taplin and Bloom are my favorites. I don't remember how I found him but I'm so glad I did. I just remember feeling so seen while reading this. I ended up posting nearly half of what I was reading on Instagram stories because his words really struck a chord with me. Some of his earlier works are hard to find since he's from Australia so you'll have to order those directly from his site (which I did at that time). But luckily for you he's become more popular since then and now Bloom and Worlds of You can found at Barnes & Noble and Amazon. 

Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your soul by Nikita Gill | This was sent to me for review two summers ago (thank you Hachette Books!) and took me pleasantly by surprise. I thoroughly enjoyed her modern, feminist twist on age-old fairytales and their princesses. But the collection also touches on being the hero of your own story and the magic of falling in love. Illustrations by Gill herself are also included and they're very pretty! 

The Dark Between Stars by Atticus Poetry | Atticus is probably one of the most popular and well-known of this "instapoet" generation and my favorite from him is The Dark Between Stars (I also enjoyed Love Her Wild but did not like The Truth about Magic). I'll be honest and say that I think he often teeters the line between pretentious and heartfelt and some of his 1-2 liners don't quite feel like poetry to me. But of his three collections, this felt the most balanced, genuine and visually appealing. 

Sea of Strangers by Lang Leav | Lang Leav is another famous (and I want to say a bit more acclaimed) poet of this bunch and Sea of Strangers is one of my favorite books I've read this year. She's a great example of how a two-sentence poem can be incredibly moving (I still think about it all the time). I first read Love & Misadventure a few years ago when I first started getting into poetry but I was very underwhelmed. Then DJ gifted this to me for my birthday and wow! Her poetry and prose in this felt much more mature and raw as she talked about self-discovery and falling in and out of love. Now I want to read more from her! 

Honorable mention: It's not a book but I do want to mention what my absolute favorite poem is. It's not in any collection (that I can find) and I don't even know how I stumbled upon it years and years ago. But it's Variations on the Word Love by Margaret Atwood and that last verse never fails to give me all the feels. 

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Do you read poetry? And if so, what's your favorite collection? 

3 comments

  1. I need to read Milk and Honey. Have you tried The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace--love that one and the other two she's written. I may even buy copies for myself soon.

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  2. I'm still most interested in checking out Bloom! Those excerpts you posted were incredible, and I remember holding down the screen so I could reread in your IG story.

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