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Top 10 Recommended Poetry Books for April (uh, May?)

Updated: May 17


 April is National Poetry Month! Whether you consider yourself a poetry connoisseur or simply prefer to casually meander through stanzas, there are various forms of poetry for everyone to enjoy!  

 

At Leon Valley Public Library, we have many poetry books to choose from (section 811 in adult nonfiction). However, in honor of our upcoming National Poetry Month, I have highlighted ten recommended poetry books! 

 

10. Dandelion by Gabbie Hanna 

 

New York Times bestselling author Gabbie Hanna delivers everything from curious musings to gut-wrenching confessionals in her long-awaited sophomore collection of illustrated poetry. 

 

This edition includes a collection of uncomfortably honest personal essays about Gabbie's childhood and relationships. 

 

In this visually thrilling installment of the inner-workings of Gabbie's mind, we're taken on a journey of self-loathing, self-reflection, and ultimately, self-acceptance through deeply metaphorical imagery, chilling twists on child-like rhymes, and popular turns of phrase turned on their heads. Through raw, provocative tidbits, Dandelion explores what it means to struggle with a declining mental health in a world where mental health is both stigmatized and trivialized. The poems range from topics of rage and despair to downright silliness, so if you don't know whether to laugh or cry, just laugh until you cry.” 

 

9. And I Still Rise by Maya Angelou 


“Maya Angelou's unforgettable collection of poetry lends its name to the documentary film about her life, And Still I Rise, as seen on PBS's American Masters. 

  

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies. 

I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size 

But when I start to tell them, 

They think I'm telling lies. 

I say, 

It's in the reach of my arms, 

The span of my hips, 

The stride of my step, 

The curl of my lips. 

I'm a woman 

Phenomenally. 

Phenomenal woman, 

That's me. 

  

Thus begins "Phenomenal Woman," just one of the beloved poems collected here in Maya Angelou's third book of verse. These poems are powerful, distinctive, and fresh--and, as always, full of the lifting rhythms of love and remembering. And Still I Rise is written from the heart, a celebration of life as only Maya Angelou has discovered it. 

  

"It is true poetry she is writing," M.F.K. Fisher has observed, "not just rhythm, the beat, rhymes. I find it very moving and at times beautiful. It has an innate purity about it, unquenchable dignity. . . . It is astounding, flabbergasting, to recognize it, in all the words I read every day and night . . . it gives me heart, to hear so clearly the caged bird singing and to understand her notes." 

 

8. The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country by Amanda Gorman; Foreword by Oprah Winfrey 


The instant #1 New York Times bestseller and #1 USA Today bestseller 

 

Amanda Gorman's electrifying and historic poem "The Hill We Climb," read at President Joe Biden's inauguration, is now available as a collectible gift edition. 

 

"Stunning." --CNN 

"Dynamic." --NPR 

"Deeply rousing and uplifting." --Vogue 

On January 20, 2021, Amanda Gorman became the sixth and youngest poet to deliver a poetry reading at a presidential inauguration. Taking the stage after the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden, Gorman captivated the nation and brought hope to viewers around the globe with her call for unity and healing. Her poem "The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country" can now be cherished in this special gift edition, perfect for any reader looking for some inspiration. Including an enduring foreword by Oprah Winfrey, this remarkable keepsake celebrates the promise of America and affirms the power of poetry. 

 

7. Indecency by Justin Phillip Reed 


“Winner of the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry 

 

Indecency is boldly and carefully executed and perfectly ragged. In these poems, Justin Phillip Reed experiments with language to explore inequity and injustice and to critique and lament the culture of white supremacy and the dominant social order. Political and personal, tender, daring, and insightful--the author unpacks his intimacies, weaponizing poetry to take on masculinity, sexuality, exploitation, and the prison industrial complex and unmask all the failures of the structures into which society sorts us.” 

 

6. Make Me Rain: Poems & Prose by Nikki Giovanni 


“One of America's most celebrated poets challenges us with this powerful and deeply personal collection of verse that speaks to the injustices of society while illuminating the depths of her own heart. 

For more than fifty years, Nikki Giovanni's poetry has dazzled and inspired readers. As sharp and outspoken as ever, she returns with this profound book of poetry in which she continues to call attention to injustice and racism, celebrate Black culture and Black lives, and and give readers an unfiltered look into her own experiences. 

In Make Me Rain, she celebrates her loved ones and unapologetically declares her pride in her black heritage, while exploring the enduring impact of the twin sins of racism and white nationalism. Giovanni reaffirms her place as a uniquely vibrant and relevant American voice with poems such as "I Come from Athletes" and "Rainy Days"--calling out segregation and Donald Trump; as well as "Unloved (for Aunt Cleota)" and ""When I Could No Longer"--her personal elegy for the relatives who saved her from an abusive home life.  

Stirring, provocative, and resonant, the poems in Make Me Rain pierce the heart and nourish the soul.” 

 

5. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur  


“Watch Rupi Kaur live now on Prime Video. 

 

"Rupi Kaur is the Writer of the Decade." - The New Republic 

 

#1 New York Times bestseller milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. 

 

The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.” 

 


“Explore the transcendent world of unity and ultimate beauty in Edgar Allan Poe's verse in this complete poetry collection. 


Although best known for his short stories, Edgar Allan Poe was by nature and choice a poet. From his exquisite lyric "To Helen," to his immortal masterpieces, "Annabel Lee," "The Bells," and "The Raven," Poe stands beside the celebrated English romantic poets Shelley, Byron, and Keats, and his haunting, sensuous poetic vision profoundly influenced the Victorian giants Swinburne, Tennyson, and Rossetti. 


Today his dark side speaks eloquently to contemporary readers in poems such as "The Haunted Palace" and "The Conqueror Worm," with their powerful images of madness and the macabre. But even at the end of his life, Poe reached out to his art for comfort and courage, giving us in "Eldorado" a talisman to hold during our darkest moments-a timeless gift from a great American writer.” 

 

3. Potent: Advice for Lovers by Jemma Chapel 


This is the third book from the series 360 Notes on Love by Jemma Chapel. 

 

2. ME (MOTH) by Amber McBride 


“FINALIST FOR THE 2021 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR YOUNG PEOPLE'S LITERATURE 

 

A debut YA novel-in-verse by Amber McBride, Me (Moth) is about a teen girl who is grieving the deaths of her family, and a teen boy who crosses her path. 

 

Moth has lost her family in an accident. Though she lives with her aunt, she feels alone and uprooted. 

 

Until she meets Sani, a boy who is also searching for his roots. If he knows more about where he comes from, maybe he'll be able to understand his ongoing depression. And if Moth can help him feel grounded, then perhaps she too will discover the history she carries in her bones. 

 

Moth and Sani take a road trip that has them chasing ghosts and searching for ancestors. The way each moves forward is surprising, powerful, and unforgettable. 

 

Here is an exquisite and uplifting novel about identity, first love, and the ways that our memories and our roots steer us through the universe.” 

 

1. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo 


“Winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, and the Pura Belpré Award! 

 

Fans of Jacqueline Woodson, Meg Medina, and Jason Reynolds will fall hard for this astonishing New York Times-bestselling novel-in-verse by an award-winning slam poet, about an Afro-Latina heroine who tells her story with blazing words and powerful truth. 

 

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. 

 

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers--especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. 

 

With Mami's determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school's slam poetry club, she doesn't know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can't stop thinking about performing her poems. 

 

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent. 

 

"Crackles with energy and snaps with authenticity and voice." --Justina Ireland, author of Dread Nation 

 

"An incredibly potent debut." --Jason Reynolds, author of the National Book Award Finalist Ghost 

 

"Acevedo has amplified the voices of girls en el barrio who are equal parts goddess, saint, warrior, and hero." --Ibi Zoboi, author of American Street” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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