I’ve always liked the idea of poetry, or maybe just the idea of being the kind of person who reads poetry. But, as a reader, I’ve sometimes felt intimidated—like I must not be smart enough to really get poetry.
I needed to talk to some smart readers and poet-friends, who helped me to see that poetry is powerful because of what you bring to the page, whatever you react to and want to think more deeply about. If you’re in the hands of a good poet, they should be able to guide you through a complex, emotional experience captured as poetry. All you need is the confidence to trust how you respond and engage with their words. In other words, you become an essential piece of the writing itself. And once you begin to trust your poetry “legs,” you become more courageous and adventurous in your reading choices, whatever they may be.
So here are some poetry recommendations that will meet you wherever you are as a reader—whether you are just looking to gain a solid footing in poetry, or discover work that will challenge your expectations.
Bright Brave Phenomena by Amanda Nadelberg
The everyday language in this collection makes it easy to enter into, but offers unexpected surprises and meanings around every corner.
Click and Clone by Elaine Equi
Equi writes poetry that speaks to our modern, technological lives. Her voice is clear, declarative, and alive.
Becoming Weather by Chris Martin
Airy, and a bit existential, these poems are part philosophy and part song.
Rounding the Human Corners by Linda Hogan
Hogan, lyrical but eminently clear, weaves a universe of intimate connections, drawing lines between microscopic creatures, horses, and humans.
In the Futurity Lounge /Asylum for Indeterminacy by Marjorie Welish
Highly architectural, these poems are experimental, deconstructed, and post-modern.
The Iovis Trilogy by Anne Waldman
Epic. Dense. Monumental. For when you want to really sink into a poetic experience, and expand your notions of history and feminism.