Hi guys! Because my 2015 is all about binge-reading poetry books, I would like to share with you the books that made it to my top list, at least for the year 2015.
I have rekindled my love for poetry last 2015, and I never knew my collection of poetry books will grow so fast. To date I already own 74. 🙂 My dream to fill a book case with just poetry books is really taking shape and I couldn’t be any happier.
I have discovered a lot of great poets and they become an instant favorite, Sarah Kay, Marlen Komar, Henri Cole, Tyler Knott Gregson and Brian Russel definitely made it to my favorite contemporary poets. While CP Cavafy became one of my favorite classic poets along with Edgar Allan Poe and Pablo Neruda.
I have been asked a couple of times by people who would like to explore poetry where to start. And I am more than delighted to give recommendations. Well, I am not claiming to be an adept poetry reader, let’s just say I have read a little more poetry books than an average reader, and hence no one can stop me giving recommendations. Well I want everyone to love poetry, because seriously what is there not to love? I reckon that if people would just take time to read poetry, the world has a chance of actually being a better place. I mean, poetry evokes so many emotions, opens up minds, sends strong message and just plain amazing tool to express one’s self. If we just take time to appreciate it, then we could be more compassionate and more reasonable. Ha! That’s just my 2 cents.
So let’s just proceed with my top poetry books for 2015. This does not mean that they were published 2015 (obviously), but these are the books I have read that year. The Raven is a reread but I’m including it anyway. And oh this ain’t in any particular order.
- No Matter The Wreckage by Sarah Kay I think my whole blogging and instagramming or my whole life in general was about this book. I have mentioned it almost every single time. That’s how much I love it.
Following the success of her breakout poem, “B,”Sarah Kay releases her debut collection of poetry featuring work from the first decade of her career. No Matter the Wreckage presents listeners with new and beloved poetry that showcases Kay’s talent for celebrating family, love, travel, and unlikely romance between inanimate objects (“The Toothbrush to the Bicycle Tire”). Both fresh and wise, Kay’s poetry allows listeners to join her on the journey of discovering herself and the world around her. It is an honest and powerful collection.
2. Chasers of The Light by Tyler Knott Gregson. Another book I’ve mentioned quite a lot. I couldn’t help it. His poems are so on point. It is literally everything.
The epic made simple. The miracle in the mundane.
One day, while browsing an antique store in Helena, Montana, photographer Tyler Knott Gregson stumbled upon a vintage Remington typewriter for sale. Standing up and using a page from a broken book he was buying for $2, he typed a poem without thinking, without planning, and without the ability to revise anything.
He fell in love.
Three years and almost one thousand poems later, Tyler is now known as the creator of the Typewriter Series: a striking collection of poems typed onto found scraps of paper or created via blackout method. Chasers of the Light features some of his most insightful and beautifully worded pieces of work—poems that illuminate grand gestures and small glimpses, poems that celebrate the beauty of a life spent chasing the light.
3. Memories by Lang Leav Lang Leav’s works will always be a reminder why I love poetry. She writes poems about love and heartbreak that are way too relatable, it is as if it was written for you. Memories is her third collection of poetry books.
4. The Lifting Dress by Lauren Berry The poetry book I was not prepared for. It tackled a sensitive issue – rape. This collection of poetry is about the life of a teenager after she was raped. The poems are so vivid yet hidden behind subtleties. Such a powerful read.
Lauren Berry’s bracing and emotionally charged first collection of poetry delivers visions of a gothic South that Flannery O’Connor would recognize. Set in a feverish swamp town in Florida, The Lifting Dress enters the life of a teenage girl the day after she has been raped. She refuses to tell anyone what has happened, and moves silently toward adulthood in a community that offers beauty but denies apology. Through lyric narratives, readers watch her shift between mirroring and rejecting the anxious swelter of her world, until she ultimately embraces it with the same violent affection once tendered to her.
5. The Year of What Now by Brian Russel Ahh this one made me cry. It hits home. Especially because I could relate to it, since my father died of cancer too. This collection of poetry is about living with someone with cancer. It truly captivated what is actually happening in the daily lives of someone with cancer and the ones surrounding him. This poetry book is so good it actually hurts.
“The Year of What Now is not a book of poems about cancer. It’s not a book that wears its heart on its sleeve. It doesn’t parade the autobiographical in your face, though the conventions seem at first to be autobiography. It’s not a cry in extremis, de profundis, etc. It’s more casual, more canny, more casually well-made, more philosophically oriented . . . This book seems to me to represent a way forward for other young poets in its wide engagement with the world, in its unabashed embrace of the personal, and its equally galvanizing skepticism about the limits of subjective speech. At its deepest level, it embodies the desire to establish true sequences of pain from the cellular level to the most abstract operations of culture, technology, and possible worlds of the spirit.” —Tom Sleigh, Bakeless Prize judge, from the introduction
6. I Hate and I Love by Catullus Catullus holds nothing back, and that what makes a good poet!
Dazzling modern lyrical poems from Catullus – by turns smutty, abusive, romantic and deeply moving.
7. Ugly People Beautiful Hearts by Marlen Komar I caught myself nodding the entirety of the book. It was so good, it depicts perfectly the complexities of love. I love it so much. Easily made it to the top of my list.
Ugly People Beautiful Hearts is a poetry book with over 70 poems that explores loneliness, quiet sadness, bursts of happiness, and contentment over the fact that everything you have, will eventually go okay. But that’s sort of beautiful in its own right.
It has verses moving between the feelings of loving someone, feeling loss, trusting the night sky, losing your light, resolving that hurt is beautiful, and finding compassion in a stranger’s smile.
8. The Night Is Darkening Round Me by Emily Bronte I didn’t know she wrote poems, and this collection of poetry is really good, left me wanting more.
‘… ever-present, phantom thing; My slave, my comrade, and my king’
Some of Emily Brontë’s most extraordinary poems
9. Cut Up Apologetic by Jamie Sharpe This poetry book sends deep and often melancholic message, depicting the truth of the struggles of people of the present day wanting to be someone else, or how sometimes people contradict their own selves. It was unique as it was engaging.
Up-and-coming poet Jamie Sharpe presents a finely tuned second collection
Cut-up Apologetic, Sharpe’s second collection, explores aging in a world where youth is terrible and something we desperately want back. These are poems about failing to leave our mark while marks are left on us — about the collective insatiability of emptying surroundings in an attempt to fill ourselves.
At the same time, Cut-up Apologetic is naïve and playful even when examining fear expressed as discrimination or the ways restlessness transitions into an inertia spelling cultural death. Sharpe finds strange new horizons “extend(ing)/only backward, into memory.”
10. Ariel by Sylvia Plath Sylvia Plath intrigued me for ages, she has remained to be mysterious as her death. This book explained why she is phenomenal. Loved it.
Ariel was the second book of Sylvia Plath’s poetry to be published, and was originally published in 1965, two years after her death by suicide. The poems in Ariel, with their free flowing images and characteristically menacing psychic landscapes, marked a dramatic turn from Plath’s earlier Colossus poems.
11. Salad Anniversary by Machi Tawara the first poetry book I read by a Japanese Author. I was thinking of Haruki Murakami and his deep and complex way of putting things into words and I was expecting the same vibe with this book and it did not disappoint. Now I am craving for more works written by Japanese authors.
Ms. Tawara’s book has already sold more than 2 million copies in Japan. Now, in a wonderfully natural English-language rendition, the appealingly romantic voice of Ms. Tawara is available for the first time to American readers. 10 photographs
12. All The Words Are Yours by Tyler Knott Gregson This is a collection of Haikus. Of course wouldn’t want to miss this one. So I immediately got myself a copy on its release date and yes it was good.
13. Remember, Body by CP Cavafy O boy, yes! Yes! Yes! I loved this book so much! There was sense of sadness, beauty, regrets, forbidden love, it was all the good things and then some more. I have found a new favorite poet in the person of C.P. Cavafy. Ahhh I just can’t get over how good it was!
Body, remember not only how deeply you were loved,
not only the many beds where you lay,
but also those desires that flashed
openly in their eyes
or trembled in the voice – and were thwarted
by some chance impediment.
Now that all of them are locked away in the past,
it almost seems as if you surrendered
to even those pre-empted desires – how they flashed,
in the eyes of those who looked at you, how they trembled
in the voice for you, remeber, body.
He’s lost him for good, and now on the lips
of each new lover he seeks the lips
of the one he lost; in every embrace
with each new lover he tries to believe
that he’s giving himself to the same young man.
He’s lost him for good, as if he’s never existed.
The boy wished – so he said – he wished to be freed
from the stigma and reproach of that unhealthy pleasure;
from the stigma and reproach of that shameful pleasure.
It wasn’t too late – he said – for him to break free.
He’s lost him for good, as if he’d never existed.
Through imagination, and self-delusion,
he seeks those lips on the lips of others;
he’s trying to feel the lost love again.
These two poems are my ultimate favorite! ❤️
14. Monster by Robin Morgan As this is not my first poetry book mainly centered on feminism, this book was able to give out a whole new shade to the ever growing predicament that women face today. This poetry book was so powerful and it was really able to send its message across, loud and clear. However, her way of putting everything into verse painted a very gloomy picture of how women is viewed today, I am not going to claim that I am a hard core feminist, but her poems only showed a portion of the whole pie. I wished there was more to it, some of her poems were repetitive, but I really enjoyed the poem that pertained to Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, I have always been intrigued by the suicide of Plath and subsequently the second wife of Ted Hughes, how both women used an oven (a very peculiar way of taking your life, if I may add) to end their respective lives. Now I wanted to read Ted Hughes works and be able to see glimpse of what was happening then.
I commend how the poems were written it was hypnotic and puzzling and by the end you will literally have goosebumps.
But Monster is more than just a book; it has become a phenomenon. Written at a time of political turmoil during the birth of contemporary feminism, the title poem was adopted by women as the anthem of the women’s movement; it was chanted at demonstrations and some of its lines became slogans. “Arraignment” stirred an international controversy over Ted Hughes’s influence on Sylvia Plath’s suicide—complete with lawsuits, the banning of this book, and the publication of underground, pirated feminist editions, all of which Morgan reveals in her new preface.
From her well-wrought poems in classical forms to the searing energy and poignant lyricism of the longer, later ones, Morgan’s work when it was first released spoke to women hungry for validation of their own reality—and the book sold thirty thousand copies in hardcover alone in its first six months, which was unheard of for poetry.
Available now for the first time in years, Monster is an intense, propulsive journey deep into the heart of one of feminism’s greatest heroes.
14. Black Bird and Wolf by Henri Cole Henri Cole also instantly became a favorite. His poems are raw, honest, engaging and just so awesome. My favorite poem by him is Gravity and Center.
In his sixth collection of poetry, Henri Cole deepens his excavations of autobiography and memory. “I don’t want words to sever me from reality,” he asserts, and these poems–often hovering within the realm of the sonnet–combine a delight in the senses with the rueful, the elegiac, the harrowing. Many confront the human need for love, the highest function of our species. But whether writing about solitude or the desire for unsanctioned love, animals or flowers, the dissolution of his mother’s body or war, Cole maintains a style that is neither confessional nor abstract. And in Blackbird and Wolf, he is always opposing disappointment and difficult truths with innocence and wonder.
15. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe This was a reread, it was better the second time. Hence making it to my top list. You can never go wrong with Edgar Allan Poe.
16. Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda Pablo Neruda holds the top spot. I just love everything he writes. I know whatever I say would not give him justice. So let me stop by saying, if you haven’t read Neruda then what are you doing with your life?
I hope this one helps those who want to branch out to poetry. May you have a great reading year ahead. And tell me the poetry books you enjoyed last year. I need more recommendations. Till next time! 🙂