Nerdy Talks’ Top 16 Poetry Books of 2016

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Happy New Year guys! 2016 had been a roller coaster in the most literal sense. A lot can really happy in a year! But here’s to surviving that year and hoping that 2017 will be kinder.

So to end the year right and start yet another awesome and fruitful (yes I am claiming it), I’ll be sharing with you the Top 16 Poetry Books I have read this year. 2016 has been a year of discovering new poets, meeting one of them, and finding new favorites. It was an amazing year, literature wise. And I wouldn’t be ending the year without sharing with you the books that made me feel plethoras of emotions, may it be pure joy or immense pain. So without further ado, here are the poetry books that made it to my list. You  can also check my Top 16 Books of 2015.

 

1. Hai[Na]Ku and Other Poems by AA Patawaran

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Hai[Na]Ku and Other Poems by AA Patawaran

This book was one of the first poetry books written by a Filipino that I have read. I was never exposed to Filipino poetry and that is the problem I need to remedy sooner rather than later. We have a rich culture and it is just right to read more of it and give the appreciation that is due them. Hai[Na]Ku and Other Poems is a great place to start, Sir AA Patawaran had the gift of putting relevance and humanity in his poems. Hai[na]ku is about celebrating life, reflection of the society through certain places and certain norms, it was about love, too, it was so much more than what it is. You have to read it out loud, savor the words in your very mouth, because that’s the best way to taste the beauty of it.

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Excerpt from his poem It’s Not What I Thought:

I used to think that love was simple; that it was all a matter of finding it, until I found it – and it’s harder because , unless I constantly work on it, I feel as hollow as I feel full, I feel unsure as I feel certain, I feel as lost as I feel found.

xx

I used to think that sadness was a form of self-indulgence, until I got depressed – and it’s harder now when I feel sad because, long swept under the rug, cast in the shadows, dismissed and denied, the emotion feels so strange, so foreign, so unexplored.

I used to think that happiness was the result of good things happening, until I found happiness on the bleakest day, like a ray of light in the darkest night – and it’s harder, much harder now to know that, no matter what happens, no matter how great my sorrows, no matter how terrible my tragedies, happiness will always be a choice.

2. Lace Bone Beast by N.L. Shompole

51fajkccjml  Lace Bone Beast is more than what its synopsis tells you about. Though it is not officially released yet, fret not, it will be available by the 10th of January, thanks to the publishing team, editor and NL Shompole for providing me an advance copy. If it weren’t for them I wouldn’t know the brilliance of this collection of poetry.

Let me first put the blurb for you guys, so you would know what you are in for:

Here is emptiness. Here is a mouth after a recent excavation, black with soot, devoid of kisses. Here are hands, trembling against the soft ache of morning, here are eyes, wet, wide, half-full of sky and loneliness. Here is belly, back, femur, spine, ragged and smooth all at once, all at once. Here are dreams, ink black and speckled, lost behind the eyes. Here is a muted elegy, crow’s feet feathered over the eyes like lace. Here are the last strains of a dirge, wild, discordant, free.

The play on words was simple yet with impact. Raw yet sincere. There was beauty to it that I cannot fully assess, something that enthralls you without overdoing it. I loved how it sounded personal to the author yet fully relatable. If you are a fan of Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey and The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace then this book is right up your alley.

Here are some of the poems I adored:

no one is coming to save you & other fairytales for wicked children

There will be blood

there will be tears
there will be despair
there will be days so dark
they bleed into night
each undistinguishable
from the other
There will be storms
there will be ruin
there will be wreckage
there will be fire
that will raze the everything
down to the bone, down to ember,
down to ash.
& if you want it 
there will be hope
only if you want it,
only if you want it.
the heart is a casket for forgotten things

Love the body through

all the stages of ruin, and
resurrection.
 
Love the body through
the dark winter, and
into spring.
 
Love the body
for it has housed you
through the collapse, and
the catastrophe.
meditations & other mantras for the soft-hearted
When you are offered magic, take it. When you are offered joy, curl your fingers around it, revel in it. Drink, until your stomach is stretched full against the jagged edge of your ribcage. when you are offered love, accept it. Even if it os only for a day, an hour, even if it’s only for a second.

3. Prelude to Bruise by Saeed Jones

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Prelude To Bruis has got to be one of the most powerful and evocative poetry book I have read this 2016. Saeed Jones works as editor of BuzzFeedLGBT. This collection of poetry hits you with such impact that will leave you in awe. The way every poem was phrased and the way it tells a story, made you feel it under your very skin. It was an amazing poetry book tackling the issue of sexuality, gender and race, and all the struggles that go with it. I wouldn’t deny, this book gave me goosebumps. Saeed Jones’ voice offers something different, it was bold and brave, never hiding its message into subtleties neither sugar coating them, it was what it was, and it is damn beautiful.
Here’s a poem I loved:

 

Cruel Body

You answer his fist and the blow
shatters you to sparks.
Unconscious is a better place, but swim back in yourself.
Behind a door you can’t open, his drinks 
to keep loving you,
then wades out into the blue hour,
Still on the floor, waiting for your name 
to claim your mouths,
Get up. Find your legs, leave.

4. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

23513349Were you surprised to find milk and honey here? Nah. I think it is already a given. 2016 was a great year for Rupi Kaur’s book, it is literally everywhere, read and adored by many, (me, definitely included). At first I tried to resist to buy a copy, I don’t know why, but I’m not one to join in a hype. I can’t even remember what pushed me into actually getting myself a copy, but I am happy I did. This collection of poetry, though simply written, provides you with sense of empowerment and at the same time a feeling of melancholy. Rupi Kaur’s poetry is proven to be universal, fully relatable and speaks of everyone’s heartbreaks and struggles without losing its essence. It talked about every facet of human life, especially that of women – from love, loss, despair, femininity and everything in between. I say it is a must read for everyone, especially when you are new to poetry, this is a good place to start. And though I was not completely in awe of the depth of Rupi Kaur’s poetry, I did not miss the simplicity of her poetry and the message it was sending across. I can’t wait to read more of her works and see her talent evolve into a more profound work of art.

5. Dear Almost by Matthew Thorburn

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Dear Almost is another one of a kind collection of poetry. I never thought I would love it so much, especially when the poems revolve around the immense pain of parents losing a child due to miscarriage. It wasn’t something I went through, but the way the author had put together the words, I couldn’t help but feel what the people in the poems actually felt. And that was the beauty in it, the way it was able to transcend despite the utter difference in the situation of its readers. There was something raw and heartrending that warranted a positive response from me. Matthew Thorburn wrote each poems with full emotions without any reservations, it was pure and sincere. You can not simply miss the way it was able to touch a person in ways only good poetry can.
Here is a poem I loved:
So give me a sign if
you’re out there, if you’re
the light swaying, swinging
between trees, that light
growing faint, drifting deeper
into the shadowy woods,
if you’re that pale glow between the elms and alders.
What star do you steer by?
Where are you going?
Tell me you can hear this
if that’s you who pauses
beside a ragged oak,
head cocked to one side
like a doe, light bouncing back
from your dark eyes,
if that’s you moving under
starlight and moonlight,
waiting for a gauze of cloud
to dim the worldso you can slip away
once more. Tell me, are these
your footprints I find
in the morning in the dark
wet earth, faint traces
in the muck and loam
that slowly fill with water?

6. Bright Dead Things by Ada Limon

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Bright Dead Things is another exceptional collection of poems. It was just by accident that I found this one. I was in the mood for something uplifting and empowering, and when  I read the synopsis of this book and discovered that it was written by a known feminist, I just knew right then and there I need to read it, like one needs air in order to survive – and it was brilliant. It was beautiful in ways you cannot fully grasp. It is a reflection of every soul you encounter just as much as it is a reflection of your own. It was easily digestible and was not phrased in a way that is intimidating but at the same time still eloquent, perfect for new poetry lovers. Her poetry sticks with you, much like every lesson in life.
Here is a poem I loved:
Glow
In the black illegible moment of foolish want, there is also a neon sign flashing, the sign above the strip joint where my second big love worked as a bouncer and saved the girls from unwanted hands,
unpaid-for hands. Thin lipped ladies with a lot on their minds and more on their backs, loaded for bear, and for the long winter’s rain, loaded for real, and I’ve always been a jealous girl, but when he’d come home with a 4a.m. stomp in his boots and undress to bed, he was fully there, fully in the room, my sleeping body made awake, awake, and there was a gentleness to this, a long opening that seemed to join us in the saddest hour. Before now, I don’t know if I have ever loved anyone, or if I have ever been loved, but men have been very good to me, have seen my absurd out-of-place-ness, my bent grin and un-called-for loud laugh and gave wanted to love me for it, have been so warm in their wanting that sometimes I wanted to love them too.
And I think that must be worth something,
that it should be a celebrated thing,
that though I have not stood on a mountain under the usual false archway of tradition and chosen one person forever, what I have
done is risked everything for that hour,
that hour in the black night, where one flashing light looks like love, I have pulled over my body’s car and let myself believe that the dance was only for me, that this gift of a breathing one-who-wants was always a gift, was the only sign worth stopping for, that the neon glow was a real star, gleaming in its dying, like us all.

7. Today Means Amen by Sierra DeMulder

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I first heard of Sierra DeMulder on youtube, she was a known Spoken Word artist, I have watched few of her performances and was immediately drawn to her craft. Today Means Amen is a proof that DeMulder’s talent deserves every spotlight. I suggest that you watch her performances first before immersing yourself with the written words, I promise you would appreciate her more. Today Means Amen evokes positivity  amidst the chaos of our daily lives. It is the affirmation you needed to hear at the end of a cruel day. It was a beacon of light, but ultimately it was the amalgamation of every person’s trials and triumphs, of believing in a higher being and knowing one’s worth.
“Dear you, whoever you are, however you got here,
this is exactly where you are supposed to be.T
his moment has waited its whole life for you.
This moment is your lover and you are a soldier.
Come home, baby, it’s over. You don’t need
to suffer anymore. Dear you, this momentis your surprise party. You are both hiding
in the dark and walking through the door.

This moment is a hallelujah. This moment
is your permission slip to finally open that love

letter you’ve been hiding from yourself,
the one you wrote when you were little

when you still danced like a sparkler at dusk.”

8. Tuwing Ikatlong Sabado by Words Anonymous compiled by Juan Miguel Severo

Tuwing Ikatlong Sabado is another collection of 32710231-_uy1200_ss1200_poems by Filipino poets. These are originally spoken word poetry performed by various poets at Sev’s Cafe in Manila. What I loved about this collection is that it touches you in ways you didn’t know possible. There is depth, sense, flavor and more importantly heart. Should I dare say that this collection represent every plight of every human? May it be about heartbreak, sexual identity crisis, society’s ugly side, depression – this poetry collection got it covered.
Here are some of my favorites:
Dulo’t Simula
Transition Girl
Para sa Naghihintay at Naiinip
and Women Need Saving

9. Apology for Want by Mary Jo Bang

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Mary Jo Bang is a known poet for quite sometime already, and it is only in 2016 that I have learned about her. Apology For Want had a melancholic tone to it, something you could not simply miss, but also it had assertiveness . It was a perfect mixture of push and pull, of gentleness and aggressiveness, of longing and wanting. It was something that you would go back to over and over, for each poem takes on a different meaning every time you encounter them.
Here is a favorite poem from this collection:

Autopsy

How bare the soul – unmasked, deveined,
picked clean. How smooth the flesh
in death. Someone has arrived
to wash the dust away. Mulberry stains.
Indelible marks in hidden places.
Look at you. No longer resisting, unfolding
with ease; revealing scars 
from wounds that were slow to heal.
The body remembers. You never won
but dearly battled. The sky here
is streaked with tile.
The scientific community
and the mildly curious have all come
to watch. You bloom in this forest of white. 

10. Laws of My Nature by Margot Schilpp

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Margot Schilpp is another poet I honestly never heard of. (Oh the joys of discovering new poets!) Laws of My Nature if I am not mistaken is Schilpp’s second book of poetry, the first being The World’s Last Night. Laws of My Nature is a collection of poetry that was personal, something that builds connection from the author to its readers. A bond that you didn’t know existed until you turn the very last page. Her poems speak to you in an emotional as well as intellectual level.
 Here is a favorite poem from this collection:

Takeover

by Margot Schilpp

Heartsound: thunk and paddle
up the stream of appetitte that cloaks

me in sleep. In the split
of my personality, there’s you and

everything else, all the parallelograms
and missiles hiding in the silos.

Or deep, way down in the water,
you’ll find the torpedoes, their mischief

and fickle heads, thinking
about the kill, the kill. If

our nights together aren’t to be, why
play awake during the day?

Duck your head if you’re too tall
to enter the familiar

nothing of regret. You’ll fit.
You’ll fit nicely. I’m going

back to origami and the alphabet,
where order reigns. I’m going

back to original, where at least
I’ll have a sense of humor.

This life splits me:
one half, red. The other,

blue. Very red. Very blue.
But I can conjure. I can cast. I can bring

you in. The weeds in my garden
have it all over the perennial

 11. Love Poems by Pablo Neruda

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Of course I wouldn’t let the year pass without reading a work of my favorite poet of all time – Pablo Neruda. Love Poems   is about sensuality and sincerity of the poet’s feelings towards Matilde Urrutia. It was erotic yet romantic, you will fully understand the depth of Pablo Neruda’s emotions, adoration and devotion to his love. Again, it captivated me just as much as his other collection Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair. 
Here is an excerpt from one of my favorites
 Your Feet
“But I love your feet
only because they walked
upon the earth and upon
the wind and upon the waters,
until they found me.”

12. Double Shadow by Carl Phillips

61g4fuxe13l I have to admit, I have a love-hate relationship with Carl Phillips’ poetry. I already have read four of his collection namely: Tether, Speak Low, Double Shadow and Riding Westward. I adored Speak Low and Double Shadow,  however Tether and Riding Westward didn’t connect to me the way poetry should. Half of the time I have no idea what he was talking about, sometimes it felt like they are all just words all jumbled into one poem, but there are also times that his poetry leaves me in awe – just like his poems here in this collection. Double Shadow is lyrical and haunting. It is  about life’s contrasts, of how two shadows are cast from one origin.
Here is a favorite poem from this collection:
Clear, Cloudless

Tonight – in the foundering night, at least,
of imagination, where what I don’t in fact
believe anymore, all the same, is true –
the stars look steadily down upon me. I look
ip, at the stars. Life as a recklessly fed bonfire
growing unexpectedly more reckless seems
neither the best or worst of several choices
within reach, still. I wear on my head a crown
of feathers – among which, sure, I have had my favorites.
Fear, though, is the bluest feather,
and it is easily the bluest feather that the wind loves most.

13. Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver

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Mary Oliver is another known poet whose works I was just recently exposed to. I started this poetry book the very first week of 2016 and I think this was what set my great reading streak when it comes to poetry books. I should probably start another poetry book by her this January 2017. Hmmm.
Mary Oliver’s writing style is unique and captivating. She mostly uses animals and plants in her poetry, incorporating them as a metaphor for something profound and at times larger than life. The use of animals and the nature in her poetry simplifies her poems yet also gives off that comfortable vibe, something astounding and not pretentious. Why I Wake Early is an affirmation of everyday blessings that we often take for granted. Mary Oliver has a way of showing you the little things that are far more important that anything else.
Here is a favorite poem in this collection:
Some Things, Say the Wise Ones

Some things, say the wise ones who know everything,
are not living. I say
you live your life your way and leave me alone.
I have talked with the faint clouds in the sky when they
are afraid of being left behind; I have said, Hurry! hurry!
and they have said: Thank you, we are hurrying.
About cows, and starfish, and roses, there is no
argument. They die, after all.
But water is a question, so many living things in it, 
but what is it, itself, living or not? Oh gleaming
generosity, how can they write you out?
As I think this, I am sitting on the sand beside
the harbor. I am holding in my had
small pieces of granite, pyrite, schist.
Each one, just now, so thoroughly asleep.

14. The Truro Bear and Other Adventures by Mary Oliver

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The Truro Bear and Other Adventures is another of Mary Oliver’s brilliant work. This is another great collection of poetry about the nature and the beautiful creatures in it. And good god, I loved the poems about Percy! Mary Oliver’s poems are always a pleasure to read. Her poetry is something you always go back to over and over and each time is another fresh experience.

 

Here is a favorite poem in this collection:

 

I Ask Percy How I Should Live My Life
Love, love, love, says Percy.
And hurry as fast as you can
along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust.

Then, go to sleep.
Give up your body heat, your beating heart.
Then, trust.

15. Habang Wala Pa Sila by Juan Miguel Severo

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Habang Wala Pa Sila is another Filipino poetry book, as I have mentioned I am remedying my lack of exposure to Filipino poetry. Habang Wala Pa Sila  is a good place to start. Juan Miguel Severo is a known spoken word artist, and this collection of poem though written in such a simple way will still hit you where it is supposed to. Habang Wala Pa Sila solidifies the truth that every heartbreak and longing is universal, it may vary from one person to another but the immense pain or the sense of fulfillment of loving someone until it hurts is worth it. I have always been drawn to poems about love, it may be the easiest topic to write about but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the words are any less true.

16. The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson

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And of course this list wouldn’t be complete if a classic poet is not included. I have finally read The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson and she is loved by many and even idolized my most authors for a reason. Emily Dickinson’s writing is addictive. This collection is a good place to start if you want to know about Emily Dickinson’s poetry without being overwhelmed. I think I read this book in piece meal, I didn’t rush in finishing it as I wanted to savor all the words and the beauty and subtlety of how she perceived things, life and love.
Here is an excerpt of a poem I loved:
Life is but Life! And Death, but Death! 
Bliss is, but Bliss, and Breath but Breath! 
And if indeed I fail,
At least, to know the worst, is sweet! 
Defeat means nothing but Defeat,
No drearier, can befall! 
I hope you are able to find new poetry books to read! Here’s to hoping our 2017 will be filled with beautiful words and great stories! Have a lovely year ahead!
You can check my Top 16 Books of 2016 here.
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Top 16 Poetry Books of 2015

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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.

  1. 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 extremisde 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!

Remember, Body..

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,
remember,
in the eyes of those who looked at you, how they trembled
in the voice for you, remeber, body.

In Despair
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! 🙂