Happy National Poetry Month!

Stack of poetry books with some journals in the background

 

It seems people either love poetry or wouldn't go near it with a 10-foot pole. 

No matter your own feelings about it, however, there's a reason it's been around for centuries and continues to be a highly regarded form of writing. 

Being human means having strong emotions. But how to express those emotions? How do we express anything?

 

Through language, whether that's body language, spoken language, or written language. 

 

The beauty of poetry is that you can say so much with so little, the proof that words have power. With so few words to read, each word must be important, must have a reason for it's spot in the line up. 

So the act of writing poetry can be difficult, finding the perfect word for that exact experience or emotion. One word could mean the difference between a masterpiece and mediocrity. 

That delicate and painstaking attention from the writer is passed along to the reader, doors and hearts swung open in full display for anyone's interpretation. 

And that vulnerability allows for that emotion to be released, empathized with, giving readers permission to feel. 

An open book with the poem: "Hell with it, this one's for me."

In celebration of this wonderful writing style, pick up some poetry, any poetry and give it a chance. Open yourself up to possibilities, vulnerabilities, emotions that you may not had any words for before. 

Here are some of our modern favorites: 

 

Joy Harjo 

An American Sunrise: Poems by Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate of the United States book coverWeaving Sundown in a Scarlet Light by Joy Harjo book cover

Joy Harjo is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. She is the author of nine poetry collections and two memoirs, most recently Poet Warrior. The recipient of the 2023 Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2023 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry, and the 2017 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, she lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

From Rebecca G. - "Past Poet Laureate of the United States Jo Harjo's works are raw, insightful, and illuminating. Her poetry succinctly and powerfully tells the history beneath the history and highlights the trials and challenges that Native Americans have face. And yet, she still brings in the culture and life ways that she holds so dear. Beautiful and haunting."

 

Rupi Kaur

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur book coverThe Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur book coverHome Body by Rupi Kaur book cover

A breakout literary phenomenon and #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Rupi Kaur wrote, illustrated, and self-published her first poetry collection milk and honey in 2014. Next came its artistic siblings the sun and her flowers and home body, both debuting at #1 on bestseller lists across the world. These collections have sold more than 11 million copies and have been translated into over 43 languages. In 2022, she released her fourth book Healing Through Words which is a journey of guided writing exercises to help the reader explore their creativity.

From Kalli - "Rupi Kaur's poetry is so relatable. Her books helped me realize and understand my own feelings. I don't usually read very much poetry, but I highly recommend these books."

 

Maggie Smith

Goldenrod: Poems by Maggie Smith book cover

A 2011 recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Smith has also received several Individual Excellence Awards from the Ohio Arts Council, two Academy of American Poets Prizes, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Sustainable Arts Foundation and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She has been widely published, appearing in The New York TimesThe New YorkerThe Paris ReviewThe Best American Poetry, and more. 

From Jacey - "For fans of poetry and those who are yet to become fans, Smith writes in a voice for everyone. The topics flutter right into your heart before hitting your head. You'll love how they make you think on life both before and after the last few momentous years."

 

 

We love our modern poetry voices, but poetry spans far and wide through the ages.

Here are some poet names you're probably familiar with: 

  • Rumi - The ecstatic, spiritual poetry of Rumi is more popular than ever, and The Essential Rumi continues to be far and away the top-selling title of all Rumi books. With the addition of many new poems and a new introduction, The Essential Rumi is now clearly the definitive, and most delightful selection of Rumi’s poetry.
  • Mary Oliver - Born in a small town in Ohio, Mary Oliver published her first book of poetry in 1963 at the age of 28. Over the course of her long career, she received numerous awards. Her fourth book, American Primitive, won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1984. She led workshops and held residencies at various colleges and universities, including Bennington College, where she held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching. She died in 2019. Some of her best collections include: Devotions, Upstream, Felicity, Dog Songs, and more. 
  • Pablo Neruda - Pablo Neruda was born in 1904 in the town of Parral in Chile. He received numerous prestigious awards for his work, including the International Peace Prize in 1950, the Lenin Peace Prize and the Stalin Peace Prize in 1953. In 1971, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Two years later he died of leukemia in Santiago, Chile. We regularly keep his collection entitled Love Poems in stock.

 

Whether you're reading it or writing it, Happy National Poetry Month!