I love poem books, especially when I need inspiration or am going through a troubling time. Poems have a way of making our life problems seem a little less worse, often offering a new perspective or take on things. I also love reading love poems, even if I’m not in love at the moment. They are beautiful and fill me with hope. The following list includes five of my favorite poem books for women, don’t miss out on these titles!
1. She Walks in Beauty: A Woman’s Journey Through Poems curated by Caroline Kennedy
This is one of the first poem books I ever owned, and I absolutely love it and think every woman should read it. It’s one I keep my bed, have bookmarked pages in, and return to time and time again. One of the reasons I love this poem book is that it offers a wide variety of poets, allowing you to see which styles of poetry you like best. It’s also categorized into different sections for different parts of your life: falling in love, making love, breaking up, marriage, friendship, etc. I know this poem book will stay with me my whole life.
The other reason I love this book is that it was curated by Caroline Kennedy. She wrote a beautiful introduction to the book as well, writing “Women have always been at the center of poetry – throughout history we have been its inspiration, and more recently, women are the authors of the most profound poetry of our time.” It’s a lovely book to cherish, so don’t sleep on picking up a copy.
2. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
I’m sure most of you have heard of Rupi Kaur or seen her poems on Pinterest. Milk and Honey was her first published book of poetry, and now she has a few other titles added to her list. Milk and Honey is one of my favorite poem books, and I think it appeals to all women on a lot of issues. It wasn’t a New York Times #1 Bestseller for nothing!
Once you’ve read Milk and Honey, move on to The Sun and Her Flowers. This poem book is a bit more serious and often heartbreaking, with poems about abuse and immigration. After that you could move on to Kaur’s latest poetry book, Homebody. This poem book is probably the best thing that could’ve come out of quarantine, and I can’t wait to add it to my collection.
“i want to apologize to all the women i have called beautiful
before i’ve called them intelligent or brave
i am sorry i made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is all you have to be proud of
when you have broken mountains with your wit
from now on i will say things like
you are resilient, or you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re beautiful
but because i need you to know
you are more than that”
3. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Marie Rilke
This is probably one of the most famous poem books ever created. Rilke was a lyrical poet who lived from 1875-1926, and this book is comprised of his correspondence with a young student at a military academy. Rilke “expresses his most personal insights into the artist’s relationship with life…and how the impulse to artistic creation can and should be a source of abiding and developing happiness even for those who cannot become artists.” As an artist and someone who is deeply connected to their creativity, I feel like Rilke’s insights are speaking directly to me.
My favorite yoga teacher has quoted Rilke, and so has one of my best friends. I discovered Rilke through them, and am so happy to be reading this most unique book. It’s one of the thinnest books I own, but it is full of literary treasures. I’ll leave you with the Rilke quote I love the most.
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
4. Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life by Cleo Wade
Cleo Wade is another poet you may know from Pinterest or Instagram. I’ve actually had one of her poems printed out for years that I found on Pinterest, and now I cherish her work even more. She regularly shares her poems and other scribbles on Instagram, but the best way to enjoy her work is by buying her poem book, Heart Talk.
Wade’s words are always inspiring, and I love that the mission of this poetry book is to help readers live a better life. Here’s one of my favorite poems from the book to give you an idea of Wade’s writing style: “Just a friendly reminder: nothing about you is a mistake. You are a gift and you are here for a reason. You deserve to take up space in the world and we need you here.” If you want to get into it even more, Heart Talk is now available in journal form as well, so you can scribble your own thoughts down, too!
5. Devotions by Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver is another one of my favorite poets, so of course I had to include her on this list of poem books for women. This book Devotions is a collection of Oliver’s writing from the last 50 years. The book includes over 200 poems, dating back as far as poems she had published in 1963. I can assure you, though, her writing has withstood the test of time.
This poetry book was a New York Times Bestseller, and even made it into Oprah’s Book Club. What I love most about Oliver’s writing is that it’s very much an observation of the world, and her perceptive is so unique. She arranged this book herself, so I know it features the best of the best. Devotions would be a great addition to every women’s poetry collection!
Do you have any other favorite poem books, especially for women? Share them with us in the comments below!
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Maggie is the blogger behind The Artful Everyday, a travel and lifestyle blog dedicated to living intentionally and finding beauty in the ordinary. She loves the idea that we get to escape our normal lives when we travel, and that it allows us to be more open to the world and its cultures. Maggie lived in Florence while studying abroad, then was an au pair in Rome last fall. She is very passionate about traveling in Europe, especially Italy, and living abroad. Maggie studied Interior Design at the University of Minnesota, but is currently pursuing a career in writing.