These poetry collections will move you to tears and make you burst out laughing.
After the year we’ve had, let’s take a minute to step back, breathe deep, and browse through some evocative poetry. For some of you, it might not be your go-to genre, you might find it hard to read and relate to. But I’m here to tell you, you’re mistaken. Poetry can be approachable, it can also be artful. But it should not be underestimated or overlooked. Some of the best poetry collections will move you to tears. Others will make you burst out laughing. They’ll force you to get up, find a pen, and underline the words. You might even find yourself taking a picture and posting a line or two on Instagram, perhaps sending them to a friend in need. Or you might just need these words for you.
I’ve collected some of my favorite poetry books that will do all that and then some. Below you’ll find poetry books from writers like Jasmine Mans, Matt Haig, Sabrina Benaim, and more.
If you haven’t read poetry since seventh grade, now is the time. What they didn’t tell you back then: these short and sweet missives are all you might have time for – and they’re mighty enough to turn your entire mood around. They’re a great way to enter a new year or a new phase in your life. So, try them!
5 Best Poetry Books for Adults
The follow-up to Maggie Smith’s essay book Keep Moving, Goldenrod is like a memoir in poetry and includes poignant poems about modern motherhood, divorce, voice, time, and more. If you’re unfamiliar with this poet, this is not the British actress, but she’s just as beloved.
Themes of Black girlhood, heartbreak, relationships, and home course through spoken word artist Jasmine Mans’s beautiful collection of poems. Each poem reads like a song in this 2021 collection.
Poet Sabrina Benaim’s second collection is fantastic and addresses her own relationship with her mother after she was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm in a somewhat fictional way. Her poems circle loneliness, plants that look like Shrek ears, anxiety, and love.
This isn’t officially billed as poetry, but instead as a collection of notes, lists, and stories written over several years. But it is poetry. In these short excerpts from bestselling author of The Midnight Library Matt Haig, he shares his depressive episodes as a way to remind his future self that things won’t always be grim. His journey will uplift and encourage you to persevere.
This slim, hilarious poetry book is part of a three-pack by award-winning humor writer and New Yorker contributor John Kenney. The other titles include Love Poems (for People with Children) and Love Poems (for the Office or Wherever). But this edition is my favorite — it covers everything about married life once a relationship settles, from sex to pet peeves to parenting. He wrote it after his New Yorker piece of the same name took off. These engaging short snippets will have you howling in recognition.
Zibby Owens is an author, publisher, and podcaster.