Poetry books are the new Netflix. Okay not really, but if you’re looking to feel inspired, these 12 poetry books will fuel your inner artist, no matter your tastes.
1. yesterday i was the moon- by Noor Unnahar
This collection by social-media savvy 20-year old Noor Unnahar intertwines melodic poetry with beautifully framed black-and-white photographs taken by the poet herself. The poems are calming and will express your own thoughts on paper. Unnahar’s empathetic poetry book will fuel the inspired artist within your soul.
2. We British: The Poetry of a People- by Andrew Marr
Quite a step of origin from poetry by a young Pakistani woman, Marr compiles an anthology of poems from great writers of the United Kingdom throughout the ages, also exploring themes paramount to the culture it comments on. Taking poems written on Scottish socialism, and Britain at war, this compilation invites us to take a look at British history from a literary perspective, and bask at the wonders our country has produced in writing, both by men and women.
3. Milk and Honey- by Rupi Kaur
Sensual, tantalising, moreish, fierce and flustering. This extremely readable poetry book by Rupi Kaur will fuel a passion you might not even know you had. Utterly inspiring, Kaur’s book writes on strength in hurt and the rebuilding of your identity, no matter how others try to knock it down. Unfalteringly erotic, this book may leave you blushing, but craving more of this delicious poetry.
4. I hope this reaches her in time- by r.h. Sin
Love is an ever-inspiring topic and this relatable collection by Sin keeps you on your toes with the ever-changing perspective across the poems. This book is confrontational and real, urging you to think about your own mistakes in love, and also telling you it’s not always your fault.
5. The Essential Paradise Lost- by John Carey
If Milton’s epic Paradise Lost is too daunting a task to conquer, Carey’s condensed poem brings out the core of Milton’s classic and rejuvenates a passion for the original work. This is a great modern reinterpretation with Carey’s careful commentary and selection of the epic’s best bits.
6. Gitanjali- by Rabindranath Tagore
Nobel Prize-winning and timeless, this collection, available in both Bengali and English, translated by Tagore himself, will fuel your inner artist in its ability to caress your soul, time and time again. Tagore writes on religion, philosophy and human experience on earth; the words are weighty, wise and enduring, and so worth the read.
7. The Unaccompanied- by Simon Armitage
Well layered with humour within the sensitive words of a well-seasoned poet, The Unaccompanied shows off some exactly what contemporary poets have to be proud of; the experiences of tribulations of the present, with knowledge of the past make for great poetry. Dystopian poetry at its best.
8. Lunch Poems- by Frank O’Hara
Coming away from contemporary poetry, this book from 1964 was compiled from a series of happenings concerning the author. Short, sweet and ever so charming O’Hara’s poetry talks about New York as if New York was talking back, and is a simple collection that is quirky and satisfying. A great choice when looking for poetry books!
9. If They Come For Us- by Fatimah Asghar
Asghar’s book is open in the vulnerable messages it delivers. Discussing partition and history of identity, and the troubles it brings, If They Come For Us explores heavy topics with wit and feeling, and is a must-read for anyone who has felt ostracised in a country they call home.
10. Eye Level- by Jenny Xie
Critically-acclaimed poetry book Eye Level tackles themes of isolation and identity and captivates its audience through Xie’s powerful imagery. Each poem leaves you more aware than when you started it, and the language of the poetry is touching and limitless.
11. The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic- edited by Mahogany L. Browne, Idrissa Simmonds and Jamila Woods
Yet another powerful anthology, this poetry book will fuel your inner poet and artist through the voices of black women that have crucial things to say all across the spectrum. Read it to be challenged, assured and amazed.
12. Poems of Rome- by Karl Kirchwey
A classicists’ delight, this short anthology delves into a broad range of poems about Rome, and is a perfect Central Line read. This book is lovely when reminiscing about the wonderful city of Rome, or is a great fuel for looking forward to visiting one day.
There are our favourite poetry books! Grab one for a great summer read! Which of these will you pack for your holiday reading?
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UCL student and bonafide brown girl. Sometimes writing, mostly dreaming, always hungry.