5 Poetry Collections to Read for National Poetry Month

5 Poetry Collections to Read for National Poetry Month

[image description: an open book resting on a brown couch next to a red and white checkered scarf.]

It’s April, so it’s National Poetry Month! I’ve been reflecting on my favorite poetry collections, so I wanted to share them with you too in hopes you’ll be inspired to pick up some poetry this month. :)

 

If They Come For Us by Fatimah Asghar

[image description: The book cover of If They Come for Us. In the foreground is an artistic rendering of three women, all in various traditional Pakistani outfits. The first has braided hair and is wearing a crop top and wide leg red pants. The second has short hair, gold jewelry, and is wearing what appears to be a sari. The third has long curly hair and is wearing a purple shirt, pants, and scarf set. They’re surrounded by flowers on a gray background.]

[image description: The book cover of If They Come for Us. In the foreground is an artistic rendering of three women, all in various traditional Pakistani outfits. The first has braided hair and is wearing a crop top and wide leg red pants. The second has short hair, gold jewelry, and is wearing what appears to be a sari. The third has long curly hair and is wearing a purple shirt, pants, and scarf set. They’re surrounded by flowers on a gray background.]

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Poet and co-creator of the Emmy-nominated web series "Brown Girls" captures the experience of being a Pakistani Muslim woman in contemporary America, while exploring identity, violence, and healing.

In this powerful and imaginative debut poetry collection, Fatimah Asghar nakedly captures the experiences of being a young Pakistani Muslim woman in America by braiding together personal and marginalized people's histories. After being orphaned as a young girl, Asghar grapples with coming-of-age as a woman without the guidance of a mother, questions of sexuality and race, and navigating a world that put a target on her back. Asghar's poems at once bear anguish, joy, vulnerability, and compassion, while exploring the many facets of violence: how it persists within us, how it is inherited across generations, and how it manifests in our relationships with friends and family, and in our own understanding of identity. Using experimental forms and a mix of lyrical and brash language, Asghar confronts her own understanding of identity and place and belonging.

 

When Angels Speak of Love by bell hooks

[image description: The book cover for When Angels Speak of Love. There are two cherubs looking over a book together. The background is red and there’s a band of flowers across the bottom of the cover.]

[image description: The book cover for When Angels Speak of Love. There are two cherubs looking over a book together. The background is red and there’s a band of flowers across the bottom of the cover.]

Synopsis from Goodreads:

This collection of 50 poems illuminates our experiences of love - tracing the links between seduction and surrender; the intensity of desire; and the anguish of death.

 

Magic City Gospel by Ashley M. Jones

[image description: The book cover of Magic City Gospel. An abstract painting of a black woman with an afro. Her face is yellow, her skin is teal, and her hair is blue, purple, pink, and white.]

[image description: The book cover of Magic City Gospel. An abstract painting of a black woman with an afro. Her face is yellow, her skin is teal, and her hair is blue, purple, pink, and white.]

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Magic City Gospel is a love song to Birmingham, the Magic City of the South. In traditional forms and free verse poems, 2015 Rona Jaffe Writer's Award-winner Ashley M. Jones takes readers on a historical, geographical, cultural, and personal journey through her life and the life of her home state.

 

Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire

[image description: The book cover for Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth. The cover is an abstract pen drawing of a woman with several children trying to rush out of her womb, which is also filled with a number of inanimate objects, like a rifle and a syringe.]

[image description: The book cover for Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth. The cover is an abstract pen drawing of a woman with several children trying to rush out of her womb, which is also filled with a number of inanimate objects, like a rifle and a syringe.]

Synopsis from Goodreads:

What elevates 'teaching my mother how to give birth', what gives the poems their disturbing brilliance, is Warsan Shire's ability to give simple, beautiful eloquence to the veiled world where sensuality lives in the dominant narrative of Islam; reclaiming the more nuanced truths of earlier times - as in Tayeb Salih's work - and translating to the realm of lyric the work of the likes of Nawal El Saadawi. As Rumi said, "Love will find its way through all languages on its own". 

In 'teaching my mother how to give birth', Warsan's debut pamphlet, we witness the unearthing of a poet who finds her way through all preconceptions to strike the heart directly. Warsan Shire is a Kenyan-born Somali poet and writer who is based in London. Born in 1988, she is an artist and activist who uses her work to document narratives of journey and trauma. Warsan has read her work internationally, including recent readings in South Africa, Italy and Germany, and her poetry has been translated into Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

 

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker

[image description: The cover of There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé. A black and white photo of a black woman in a white dress sitting on a bed with her legs spread.]

[image description: The cover of There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé. A black and white photo of a black woman in a white dress sitting on a bed with her legs spread.]

Synopsis from Goodreads:

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé uses political and pop-cultural references as a framework to explore 21st century black American womanhood and its complexities: performance, depression, isolation, exoticism, racism, femininity, and politics. The poems weave between personal narrative and pop-cultural criticism, examining and confronting modern media, consumption, feminism, and Blackness. This collection explores femininity and race in the contemporary American political climate, folding in references from jazz standards, visual art, personal family history, and Hip Hop. The voice of this book is a multifarious one: writing and rewriting bodies, stories, and histories of the past, as well as uttering and bearing witness to the truth of the present, and actively probing toward a new self, an actualized self. This is a book at the intersections of mythology and sorrow, of vulnerability and posturing, of desire and disgust, of tragedy and excellence.

 

Have you read any of these? Tell me your favorite poetry collections in the comments!

I love it when you ask me for book recommendations!

I love it when you ask me for book recommendations!

My First BookTube Video! My Two Foot Tall Book Haul

My First BookTube Video! My Two Foot Tall Book Haul