Reading Guides: Poetry

Printable Guide With Library Holdings

Poetry

Suggested Titles

About Poetry | Collections | Individual Poets | African-American Poetry | World Poetry-Anthologies
World Poetry-Individual Poets | Poetry for Children

About Poetry

Addonizio, Kim / Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within --- PN1042 .A348 2009
Addonizio meditates on her own process as she encourages writers to explore both their personal and political worlds, to seek inspiration from poets new and old, and to discover the rich poetic resources of the Internet.

Eagleton, Terry / How to Read a Poem --- PR502 .E23 2007
Lucid, entertaining and full of insight, How to Read a Poem is designed to banish the intimidation that too often attends the subject of poetry.

Glyn, Maxwell / On Poetry --- PR6063.A869 O52 2013
The poet explores his belief that the greatest verse arises from a harmony of mind and body, and that poetic forms originate in human necessities: breath, heartbeat, footstep, posture. Maxwell also takes the reader inside the world of the creative writing class.

Lehman, David / The State of the Art: A Chronicle of American Poetry, 1988-2014 --- PS325 .L44 2015
This book collects all twenty-nine forewords from The Best American Poetry series. Beginning with a new introduction by David Lehman and a foreword by poet Denise Duhamel, the collection conveys a sense of American poetry in the making, year by year, over the course of a quarter of a century.

Pinsky, Robert / Singing School: Learning to Write (and Read) Poetry by Studying with the Masters --- PN1059.A9 P56 2013
Robert Pinsky's headnotes for each of the 80 poems and his brief introductions to each section take a writer's view of specific works. This anthology respects poetry's mysteries in two senses of the word: techniques of craft and strokes of the inexplicable.

Collections

The 20th Century in Poetry / edited by Michael Hulse and Simon Rae --- PR601 .T84 2012
A collection of over four hundred poems written in many parts of the English-speaking world in the twentieth century, including works by Rudyard Kipling, James Joyce, Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes, Chinua Achebe, Bob Dylan, Sylvia Plath, and John Updike, with brief biographies of each poet represented.

American War Poetry: An Anthology / edited by Lorrie Goldensohn --- PS595.W36 A46 2006
This original and significant anthology presents four centuries of American men and women-soldiers, nurses, reporters, and embattled civilians-writing about war.

Dark Horses: Poets on Overlooked Poems: An Anthology / edited by Joy Katz and Kevin Prufer --- PR1175 .D2714 2005
Selections include forgotten gems by well-known poets as well as poems by writers who have fallen into obscurity. Dark Horses also acts as a primer on how to creatively read a poem.

Deaf American Poetry: An Anthology / edited by John Lee Clark --- PS591.D4 D43 2009
This anthology showcases for the first time the best works of Deaf poets throughout the nation's history. Each of their poems reflects the sensibilities of their times, and the progression of their work marks the changes that deaf Americans have witnessed through the years. Brief biographies of the poets are included.

The Best of the Best American Poetry / edited by Robert Pinsky --- PS615 .B4753 2013
Presents an anthology of one hundred top-selected poems culled from the Best American Poetry series, and offers insight into the art form's flourishing status.

Essential Pleasures: A New Anthology of Poems to Read Aloud / edited by Robert Pinsky --- PN6101 .E87 2009
A vibrant anthology and accompanying CD that revive a great American tradition: the joy of reciting poetry aloud.

The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food & Drink / edited by Kevin Young --- PN6110.F73 H86 2012
While some of the poems here are explicitly about the food itself, all are evocative of the experience of eating.

The Poets Laureate Anthology / edited by Elizabeth Hun Schmidt --- PS591.P63 P64 2010
Poems by each of the forty-three poets who have been named our nation's Poet Laureate since the post was established in 1937.

Words of Protest, Words of Freedom: Poetry of the American Civil Rights Movement and Era / edited by Jeffrey Lamar Coleman --- PS595.R32 W549 2012
This is the first comprehensive collection of poems written during, and in response to, the American civil rights struggle of 1955–75.

Working the Dirt: An Anthology of Southern Poets / edited by Jennifer Horne --- PS595.G33 W67 2003
Working the Dirt celebrates Southerners' connection to the land. The selected poems share themes of gardening, farming, and the rich Southern soil.

The World in Us: Lesbian and Gay Poetry of the Next Wave: An Anthology / edited by Michael Lassell and Elena Georgiou --- PS591.G38 W67 2000
The first substantial collection of gay/lesbian poetry in over a decade.

Individual Poets

Dickinson, Emily / Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries --- PS1541 .A6 2010
All of Dickinson's preoccupations, death, religion, love, the natural world, the nature of thought, are explored here in detail, but the author always takes care to emphasize the poet's startling imagination and the ingenuity of her linguistic invention.

Erdrich, Louise / Original Fire: Selected and New Poems --- PS3555.R42 O75 2003
Profound and accessible, this collection anticipates and enlarges upon many of the themes, and even the characters, of Erdrich's prose. These poems reveal that poetry emerges from what we fear most, and that memory is endurance.

Frost, Robert / The Art of Robert Frost --- PS3511.R94 Z7585 2012
This book presents a selection of sixty-five poems from across Frost's writing career. It is the first book on Frost to combine selected poems with a critical study.

Hicok, Bob / Elegy Owed --- PS3558.I28 E44 2013
Hicok gives readers unexpected conjunctions and oddly offbeat thoughts, most darkly whimsical, and has us embrace them wholeheartedly.

Larkin, Philip / The Complete Poems --- PR6023.A66 A17 2012
Prominence is given, in this collection, to the poet's comments on his own poems which often outline the circumstances that gave rise to a poem or state what he was trying to achieve.

Philips, Carl / Silverchest --- PS3566.H476 S55 2013
In poems shot through with his signature mix of Eros, restless energy, and moral scrutiny, Phillips argues for the particular courage it takes to look at the self squarely—not with judgment but with understanding—and extend that self more honestly toward others.

Plath, Sylvia / Ariel: The Restored Edition --- PS3566.L27 A7 2004
This facsimile edition of Plath's posthumous volume of poetry restores, for the first time, the selection and arrangement as she left it at the point of her death, and includes notes the poet made for the BBC.

Sendak, Maurice / My Brother's Book --- JUV PS3569.E6 M9 2013
Fifty years after Where the Wild Things Are was published comes the last book Maurice Sendak completed before his death in May 2012, My Brother's Book. With influences from Shakespeare and William Blake, Sendak pays homage to his late brother, Jack, whom he credited for his passion for writing and drawing.

Thomas, Dylan / The Poems of Dylan Thomas --- PR 6039 .H52 A17 1971
Dylan’s work, noted for its lush metaphors, musicality, and playfulness within traditional forms, was largely responsible for modernizing poetic verse.

Whitman, Walt / Song of Myself and Other Poems --- PS3222 .S6 2010
In this beautiful book, Robert Hass and Paul Ebencamp walk us through Whitman's Song of Myself—one of the greatest poems in American literature.

African American Poetry

Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry / edited by Charles Henry Rowell --- PS508.N3 A86 2013
Angles of Ascent looks to the immediate past of contemporary African American poetry before turning toward the current thriving literary scene and beyond.

Angelou Maya / The Complete Poetry --- PS3551.N464 A6 2015
Throughout her illustrious career in letters, Maya Angelou gifted, healed, and inspired the world with her words. Now the beauty and spirit of those words live on in this new and complete collection of poetry that reflects and honors the writer's remarkable life.

Baraki, Amiri / S O S: Poems 1961-2013 --- PS3552.A583 A6 2014
Selected by Paul Vangelisti, this volume comprises the fullest spectrum of Baraka's rousing, revolutionary poems, from his first collection to previously unpublished pieces composed during his final years.

Clifton, Lucille, edited by Kevin Young and Michael S. Glaser / The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 --- PS3553 .L45 2012
This collection combines all eleven of Lucille Clifton's published collections with more than sixty previously unpublished poems.

Cullen, Countee / Collected Poems: Countee Cullen / edited by Major Jackson --- PS3505.U287 A6 2013
A major and sometimes controversial figure of the Harlem Renaissance, Countee Cullen fused a mastery of the formal lyric with a passionate engagement with themes social, religious, racial, and personal.

Hughes, Langston, woodcuts by Antonio Frasconi / Let America Be America Again --- PS3515.U274 L48 2004
The poems collected here offer a hopeful, truly democratic vision for America. Incantatory and stirring, passionate and provocative, they are as resonant for our times as they were over half a century ago.

Lewis, Robin Coste / Voyage of the Sable Venus and other poems--- PS3612.E98 A6 2016
A stunning poetry debut: this meditation on the black female figure throughout time introduces us to a brave and penetrating new voice. Winner National Book Award for Poetry 2015.

Walker, Alice / The World Will Follow Joy: Turning Madness Into Flowers (New Poems) --- PS3573.A425 W67 2013
The author offers more than 60 new poems to incite and nurture contemporary activists... These poems remind us of our human capacity to come together and take action, even in troubled political times, and illuminate what it means to live in our world today.

World Poetry – Anthologies

Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond / edited by Tina Chang, Nathalie Handal, and Ravi Shankar --- PS591.A7 I53 2008
A landmark anthology, providing the most ambitious, far-reaching collection of contemporary Asian and Middle Eastern poetry available.

The Oxford book of Latin American Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology / edited by Cecilia Vicuña and Ernesto Livon-Grosman --- PQ7087.E5 O897 2009 
Here is the first anthology to present a full range of multilingual poetries from Latin America, covering over 500 years of a poetic tradition as varied, robust, and vividly imaginative as any in the world.

Pinholes in the Night: Essential Poems from Latin America / selected by Raul Zurita; edited by Forrest Gander --- PQ7087.E5 P56 2014
This intensely focused bilingual anthology pinpoints the heart of Latin American self-identification. In selecting these fifteen essential poems, Chilean poet Raúl Zurita was guided by the question, "What poem, had it not been written, would have rendered the author another author and Latin American poetry something else?"

The Poetry of our World: An International Anthology of Contemporary Poetry / edited by an international anthology of contemporary poetry --- PN6109.8 .P64 2004
Filled with the best poetry written in the last fifty years, this anthology showcases the work of poets from Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the English-speaking world.

World Poetry – Individual Poets

Akhmatova, Anna Andreevna, translated by D.M. Thomas / Poems: Akhmatova --- PG3476.A324 A2 2006
A legend in her own time both for her brilliant poetry and for her resistance to oppression, Anna Akhmatova is one of the greatest Russian poets of the twentieth century.

Aleixandre, Vicente, edited by Lewis Hyde / A Longing for the Light: Selected Poems of Vicente Aleixandre --- PQ6601.L26 A23 2007
A Longing for the Light is the only available bilingual Spanish-English translation of the poetry of Nobel Laureate Vicente Aleixandre.

Alexie, Sherman / One Stick Song--- PS3551.L35774 O53 2000
Native American poet Sherman Alexie exhibits his ability to handle multiple perspectives and complex psychological subject matter with a humor that feeds readability...

Blanco, Richard / Looking for the Gulf Motel --- PS3552.L36533 L66 2012
For this author, family continues to be a wellspring of inspiration and learning. As a whole this collection of poetry is looking for the beauty of that which we cannot hold onto, be it country, family, or love.

D'Aquino, Alfonso, translated by Forrest Gander / Fungus Skull Eye Wing: Selected Poems of Alfonso D'Aquino --- PQ7298.1.Q56 A2 2013
Aquino's collection of contemporary Mexican poetry. He is an editor, poetry instructor, snake handler, and author of six books.

Herrera, Juan Felipe / Senegal Taxi --- PS3558.E74
Known for his activism and writings that bring attention to oppression and injustice, Herrera turns to stories of genocide and hope in Sudan. Senegal Taxi offers the voices of three children escaping the horrors of war in Africa.

hooks, bell / Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place --- PS3608.O594 A84 2012
A collection of poems centered around life in Appalachia addresses topics ranging from the marginalization of the region's people to the environmental degradation it has endured throughout history.

Liu, Xiaobo, translated from the Chinese by Jeffrey Yang / June Fourth Elegies --- PL2518.8.T53 X53 2012
Poems written across twenty years in memory of fellow protestors at Tiananmen Square, as well as poems addressed to his wife, Liu Xia.

Neruda, Pablo, edited by Ilan Stavans / All the Odes: Pablo Neruda --- PQ8097.N4 A2 2013
A career-spanning volume, charting the Nobel laureate's work in the ode form. Collectively they read like the personal diary of a man in search of meaning who sings to life itself, to our connections with one another, and to the place we have in nature and the cosmos.

Nye, Naomi Shihab / 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East --- PS3564.Y44 A613 2002
Nineteen poems about the Middle East and about being an Arab American living in the United States.

Pushkin, Aleksandr Sergeevich, translated by Audrey Kneller / Wondrous Moment --- PG3237.E5 W6 2011
Alexander Pushkin is widely considered to be Russia's greatest writer. This small, dual-language collection is an assortment of some of his best known poetry with some of the lesser known works.

Satyamurti, Carole / Mahabharata: A Modern Retelling --- PR6069.A776 M34 2015
Innovatively composed in blank verse rather than prose, Carole Satyamurti's English retelling covers all eighteen books of the Mahabharata. This new version masterfully captures the beauty, excitement, and profundity of the original Sanskrit poem as well as its magnificent architecture and extraordinary scope.

Poetry for Children

Elliott, David, illustrated by Holly Meade / In the Sea --- JUV PS3555.L5674 I5 2012
A New York Times best-selling author and a Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator explore life in the ocean with clever poems and bold, expressive woodcuts.

Engle, Maragarita / Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir --- JUV PS3555.N4254 Z46 2015
In this poetic memoir Engle, the first Latina woman to receive a Newbery Honor, tells of growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War.

Janeczko, Paul B. / The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 objects --- JUV PN6109.97.D43 2015
A collection of "poems through history inspired by objects--earthly and celestial--reflecting the time in which each poet lived.

Muth, John J. / Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons --- JUV PS3563.U849 K66 2013
The author and his delightful little panda bear, Koo challenge readers to stretch their minds and imaginations with twenty-six haikus about the four seasons.

Poems to Learn by Heart / selected by Caroline Kennedy; paintings by Jon J. Muth --- JUV PS586 .P575 2013
Kennedy's hand-selected favorite poems that lend themselves to memorization.

Silverstein, Shel / Every Thing On It: Poems and Drawings --- PS3569.I47224 E94 2011
This collection includes more than one hundred and thirty never-before-seen poems and drawings completed by the cherished American artist and selected by his family from his archives.

VanDerwater, Amy Ludwig, illustrations by Robbin Gourley / Forest Has a Song: Poems --- JUV PS3622.A5947 F67 2013
VanDerwater lets the denizens of the forest speak for themselves in twenty-six lighthearted, easy-to-read poems. The graceful, appealing watercolor illustrations perfectly suit these charming poems that invite young readers into the woodland world at every season.

Woodson, Jacqueline / Brown Girl Dreaming --- JUV PS3573.O64524 Z46 2014
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement.

* Book summaries taken from publisher's descriptions.

Last Updated: April 2017

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